'A Red, Red Rose' by Robert Burns

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O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Oh, my heart is all aflutter with the beauty of Robert Burns' classic poem, "A Red, Red Rose." How can one not be swept away by the lyrical words and enchanting imagery that Burns weaves together so effortlessly? Let us dive deep into this timeless piece of literature and explore its many layers of meaning and significance.

The Poem's Structure and Form

First, let's take a look at the poem's structure and form. "A Red, Red Rose" is a ballad, a type of poem that originated in medieval Europe and is characterized by its simple, rhythmic structure and often tells a story. Burns' ballad is comprised of four stanzas, each containing four lines, and follows an ABAB rhyme scheme. The poem's meter is also consistent, with each line containing four stressed syllables followed by an unstressed syllable.

The formality of the poem's structure is juxtaposed by the poem's romantic and emotional content. The repetition of certain phrases, "my love is like a red, red rose" and "till a' the seas gang dry," emphasizes the speaker's devotion and commitment to his lover. This repetition also imbues the poem with a certain musicality, as if the words are meant to be sung rather than simply spoken.

The Poem's Theme

At its core, "A Red, Red Rose" is a love poem. The speaker is expressing his undying love and devotion to his beloved, using vivid and passionate imagery to convey his feelings. The comparison of his love to a "red, red rose" is particularly powerful, as the rose is widely regarded as a symbol of love and beauty. The speaker's use of this imagery suggests that his love is not only passionate but also timeless and enduring.

However, there is more to the poem than just a simple expression of love. The final stanza, in particular, suggests that the speaker is grappling with the idea of mortality and impermanence. He acknowledges that even though he loves his beloved now, "when the seas gang dry" and "the rocks melt wi' the sun," his love may not endure. This recognition of the fleeting nature of love and life adds a layer of complexity to the poem and elevates it beyond a mere love sonnet.

The Poem's Imagery

One of the most striking aspects of "A Red, Red Rose" is the poem's vivid and evocative imagery. Burns uses a variety of sensory details to bring the poem to life, making the reader feel as though they are experiencing the speaker's emotions firsthand. For example, the opening lines of the poem, "O my Luve's like a red, red rose / That's newly sprung in June," conjure up images of vibrant colors and sweet fragrances, as well as a sense of newness and freshness.

Throughout the poem, Burns continues to use sensory details to convey the speaker's emotions. The lines "And I will luve thee still, my dear, / Till a' the seas gang dry" suggest a vast and endless expanse of water, while the image of "the rocks melt[ing] wi' the sun" paints a picture of heat and intensity. These vivid sensory details help the reader to fully understand and appreciate the depth of the speaker's love and passion.

The Poem's Language

The language of "A Red, Red Rose" is both simple and elegant, with Burns using straightforward language to convey complex emotions. The poem is written in Scots, a dialect of English that was common in Scotland during Burns' time. This dialect lends the poem a certain authenticity and adds to its overall charm and appeal.

One of the most striking aspects of the poem's language is its use of repetition. As mentioned earlier, the repetition of certain phrases throughout the poem adds to its musicality and helps to emphasize the speaker's emotions. Additionally, the repetition of the phrase "O my Luve's like a red, red rose" at the beginning and end of the poem creates a sense of circularity and completeness, as if the speaker's love is always present and unchanging.

Interpretation of the Poem

So what does "A Red, Red Rose" mean, exactly? In my interpretation, the poem is a celebration of love and all its complexities. The speaker's devotion to his beloved is unwavering, yet he is also aware of the impermanence of life and love. He recognizes that even though he loves his beloved deeply now, that love may not endure forever.

Furthermore, I believe that the poem is a tribute to the beauty and power of language. Burns uses simple, straightforward language to convey complex emotions and ideas, creating a poem that is both accessible and profound. The poem's use of repetition and vivid imagery further enhances its emotional impact, making it a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today.


In conclusion, "A Red, Red Rose" is a masterpiece of literature that has stood the test of time. Burns' use of simple language, vivid imagery, and repetition combine to create a powerful and emotional love poem that touches the hearts of readers even centuries after its creation. Whether one is a lover of poetry or simply a lover of love, "A Red, Red Rose" is a work that is sure to inspire and delight.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

A Red, Red Rose: A Timeless Classic by Robert Burns

Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, is known for his lyrical and romantic poetry that has captured the hearts of readers for centuries. One of his most famous works is the poem "A Red, Red Rose," which has become a timeless classic that continues to inspire and move people to this day.

The poem was first published in 1794 in a collection of Burns' works called "A Selection of Scots Songs." It is a love poem that expresses the poet's deep affection for his beloved, and it is written in a simple yet powerful language that is easy to understand and appreciate.

The poem begins with the famous lines, "O my Luve's like a red, red rose / That's newly sprung in June." These lines immediately set the tone for the rest of the poem, which is filled with vivid imagery and passionate emotions. The comparison of the speaker's love to a red rose that has just bloomed in the month of June is a beautiful and romantic metaphor that captures the freshness and intensity of the speaker's feelings.

The second stanza of the poem continues with the same theme of the speaker's love being as pure and beautiful as nature itself. The lines "O my Luve's like the melodie / That's sweetly play'd in tune" compare the speaker's love to a sweet and harmonious melody that fills the air with joy and happiness. The use of music as a metaphor for love is a common theme in Burns' poetry, and it is a testament to his belief in the power of love to bring people together and create beauty in the world.

The third stanza of the poem takes a more melancholic turn, as the speaker acknowledges that he must leave his beloved and go away. The lines "And I will luve thee still, my Dear, / Till a' the seas gang dry" express the speaker's commitment to his beloved, even in the face of separation and distance. The use of the sea as a metaphor for the vastness and unpredictability of life is a powerful image that adds depth and complexity to the poem.

The final stanza of the poem brings the theme of love and nature full circle, as the speaker declares that his love will continue to grow and flourish even after he is gone. The lines "And fare thee weel, my only Luve! / And fare thee weel awhile! / And I will come again, my Luve, / Tho' it were ten thousand mile!" express the speaker's hope and optimism that his love will endure and overcome any obstacle, no matter how great.

Overall, "A Red, Red Rose" is a beautiful and timeless poem that captures the essence of love and nature in a way that is both simple and profound. Burns' use of vivid imagery and powerful metaphors creates a sense of intimacy and emotional depth that is rare in poetry. The poem has inspired countless readers and lovers over the years, and it continues to be a beloved classic that will endure for generations to come.

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