'Last May a Braw Wooer' by Robert Burns

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Last May a braw wooer cam down the lang glen,
And sair wi' his love he did deave me;
I said there was naething I hated like men:
The deuce gae wi 'm to believe me, believe me,
The deuce gae wi 'm to believe me.

He spak o' the darts in my bonie black een,
And vow'd for my love he was diein;
I said he might die when he liked for Jean:
The Lord forgie me for liein, for liein,
The Lord forgie me for liein!

A weel-stocked mailen, himsel for the laird,
And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers:
I never loot on that I ken'd it, or car'd,
But thought I might hae waur offers, waur offers,
But thought I might hae waur offers.

But what wad ye think? in a fortnight or less,
(The deil tak his taste to gae near her!)
He up the lang loan to my black cousin Bess,
Guess ye how, the jad! I could bear her, could bear her
Guess ye how, the jad! I could bear her.

But a' the niest week I fretted wi' care,
I gaed to the tryste o' Dalgarnock,
And wha but my fine fickle lover was there,
I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock, a warlock.
I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock.

But owre my left shoulder I gae him a blink,
Lest neibors might say I was saucy;
My wooer he caper'd as he'd been in drink,
And vow'd I was his dear lassie, dear lassie,
And vow'd I was his dear lassie.

I spier'd for my cousin fu' couthy and sweet,
Gin she had recover'd her hearin,
And how her new shoon fit her auld shachl't feet--
But, heavens! how he fell a swearin, a swearin,
But, heavens! how he fell a swearin.

He begg'd, for gudesake, I wad be his wife,
Or else I wad kill him wi' sorrow:
So e'en to preserve the poor body in life,
I think I maun wed him to-morrow, to-morrow,
I think I maun wed him to-morrow.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Last May a Braw Wooer: A Love Poem by Robert Burns

Oh, how beautiful is love! It is a feeling that transcends time and space, and it is the subject of many a great poem. Among the great poets who have celebrated the beauty of love, one name that stands out is Robert Burns. The Scottish bard's poetry is full of passion, romance, and a profound sense of humanity. In this essay, I will be looking at one of Burns' most famous love poems, "Last May a Braw Wooer," and exploring its themes, form, and literary devices.

The poem's themes

"Last May a Braw Wooer" is a poem about love, courtship, and the fleeting nature of happiness. The poem tells the story of a young couple who fall in love, court each other, and eventually get married. However, their happiness is short-lived, as the young man dies of a fever, leaving the young woman to mourn his loss. The poem is full of contrasts: joy and sorrow, life and death, love and loss. It is a reflection on the transience of life and the fragility of human happiness.

The poem's form

"Last May a Braw Wooer" is written in the form of a ballad. A ballad is a narrative poem that tells a story in a simple, straightforward manner. Ballads were popular in Scotland and other parts of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Burns was a master of the form. The poem has a regular rhyme scheme (ABCB), and the lines are mostly iambic tetrameter (four iambs per line). The poem has six stanzas, each with four lines. The simplicity of the form allows the poem to convey its message in a direct and unadorned manner, making it accessible to a wide audience.

The poem's literary devices

Despite its simple form, "Last May a Braw Wooer" is full of literary devices that enrich its meaning and make it a memorable poem. One of the most notable devices is the use of contrast. The poem juxtaposes the joy of courtship and the sadness of death, creating a powerful emotional effect. The contrast between the young man's life and death is particularly striking:

But lang may his lady Look o'er the Castle Doune, Ere she see the green graff Growing over his bane.

The use of repetition is another device that Burns employs to great effect. The refrain of the poem, "And we'll a' be happy yet," is repeated at the end of each stanza, creating a sense of continuity and optimism. The repetition of the phrase also serves to emphasize the transience of happiness and the need to cherish it while it lasts.

The poem's interpretation

"Last May a Braw Wooer" can be interpreted in many ways, depending on the reader's perspective. One possible interpretation is that the poem is a celebration of love and the human spirit. Despite the sadness of death, the poem ends on a hopeful note, with the promise of happiness in the future. The poem can also be seen as a reflection on the fragility of human happiness and the need to appreciate it while it lasts. The young couple in the poem are happy for a short time, but their happiness is cut short by death. The poem reminds us that life is short and that we should make the most of it.


In conclusion, "Last May a Braw Wooer" is a beautiful love poem that celebrates the joys of courtship, the pain of loss, and the hope of happiness. Burns' use of contrast, repetition, and other literary devices make the poem a memorable and powerful work of art. The poem's themes are universal and timeless, making it a classic piece of literature that continues to resonate with readers today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Last May a Braw Wooer: A Classic Poem by Robert Burns

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, is known for his romantic and lyrical poetry that celebrates the beauty of nature and the joys of love. One of his most famous poems, Last May a Braw Wooer, is a classic example of his poetic style and his ability to capture the essence of love and romance.

The poem is a ballad that tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman. The wooer is described as "braw," which means handsome or attractive in Scottish dialect. The poem is set in May, which is traditionally associated with love and romance, as it is the month of flowers and new beginnings.

The poem begins with the wooer describing his love for the woman, saying that he would "lay him down and dee" (die) for her. He then goes on to describe her beauty, saying that she is "sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet, and soft as their parting tear." The wooer's love for the woman is intense and passionate, and he is willing to do anything to win her heart.

The woman, however, is not easily won over. She is described as being "proud and saucy" and "hard to please." The wooer tries to win her over with gifts and flattery, but she remains unimpressed. She tells him that she is not interested in him and that he should find someone else to love.

Despite her rejection, the wooer remains persistent. He continues to pursue her, hoping that she will eventually come around. He tells her that he will "roam through the wilds, and the deep glens sae dreary," and that he will "cross the broad ocean, for thee, bonnie Jeanie." His love for her is unwavering, and he is willing to go to great lengths to win her heart.

The poem ends with the wooer still pursuing the woman, but with no clear resolution. The final lines of the poem are:

"But seas between us braid hae roar'd Sin' auld lang syne. And there's nae a lad in a' the land But wishes he were mine."

These lines suggest that the wooer and the woman are still separated by distance and that their love remains unfulfilled. However, the final line suggests that the wooer's love for the woman is still strong and that he is still hopeful that they will one day be together.

The poem is a classic example of Burns' romantic and lyrical style. His use of Scottish dialect and his descriptions of the Scottish landscape add to the poem's charm and authenticity. The poem also reflects Burns' own experiences with love and romance, as he was known for his many love affairs and his passionate nature.

Overall, Last May a Braw Wooer is a beautiful and timeless poem that celebrates the power of love and the beauty of nature. It is a classic example of Burns' poetic style and his ability to capture the essence of love and romance.

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