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John Anderson, My Jo Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Burns Type: Poetry Views: 1251

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John Anderson, my jo, John,

When we were first acquent;

Your locks were like the raven,

Your bonie brow was brent;

But now your brow is beld, John,

Your locks are like the snow,

But blessings on your frosty pow,

John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,

We clamb the hill thegither;

And mony a cantie day, John,

We've had wi' ane anither:

Now we maun totter down, John,

And hand in hand we'll go,

And sleep thegither at the foot,

John Anderson, my jo.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

"My Jo" is another way of saying my sweetheart. This is his wife talking to him directly.

| Posted on 2014-05-19 | by a guest

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This poem is not about his wife or his friend. He wrote it to one of his body parts.

| Posted on 2014-01-28 | by a guest

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I just discovered at a local Robbie Burns party celebrating his birthday last night, here in western Canada, what I, for 3 or more decades, have loved and sung in Norwegian as an old Norwegian folk song. This is “Jon Anderson, Min Jo”.
Last night at the party, I discovered the English-language song called “John Anderson, my Joe” – to nearly the same tune (some of the ancient natural-scale tones common in the Norwegian folk music had been anglicized or ‘normalized’ according to english folk tunes) and with basically the same verses, in English.
I said to my friend driving home in the car, “I wonder if Burns heard this song and ‘lifted’ it for its beauty and lovely sentiment,” ~ maybe while travelling in Norway, or in a pub meeting Norwegian travellers (brought together by the prospect of beer, ever-alluring to both our peoples, from early days of mead-making and viking-travel, on doubt!)!
Finding your site, my theory has yet more potential to it.
Meanwhile, ‘plagiarism’ then and now, are not the same. And the whole idea of ‘intellectual property’ a fuzzy one; can one own ideas that are timeless and always have been around in the human heart?
Still, I would love to know if the Norwegians adapted Burns’ song — and where did the melody Burns wrote to come from — or did Burns adapt the Norwegian version?
Best wishes,

| Posted on 2010-01-24 | by a guest

.: :.

fshh fshh fshh fshh fshh fshh fshh fshh fshh fshh.

| Posted on 2009-04-30 | by a guest

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It is not about his wife. It is about his good friend John Anderson who was his actual friend that he was close to.

| Posted on 2009-04-05 | by a guest

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The speaker in the poem is obviously his wife.
The way she names him gives it more credibility and also adds a hint of intimacy.
The poem is balanced by the structure. In stanza 1, lines 1-4 are about youth, and 5-8 are about their present old age.
In stanza 2, lines 1-4 are about youth, and 5-8 about their inevitable and eventual death.
There are a few contrasts in the poem -
Your locks were like the raven
Your locks are like the snow
Were and are - these are contrasts and the contrast of black and white works well comparing the past to the present.
We clamb the hill thegither - suggests a struggle
Now we maun totter down - walking slowly, not struggling.
Also the hill is a metaphor for life and death - when they are going up they are young and when they are going down they are old. "And sleep thegither at the foot" - the idea that they will be together even in death.
The alliteration "John Anderson, my jo" suggests youthfulness and vigour.

| Posted on 2006-01-24 | by Approved Guest

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