'Address To The Woodlark' by Robert Burns

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O stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay,
Nor quit for me the trembling spray,
A hapless lover courts thy lay,
Thy soothing, fond complaining.
Again, again that tender part,
That I may catch thy melting art;
For surely that wad touch her heart
Wha kills me wi' disdaining.
Say, was thy little mate unkind,
And heard thee as the careless wind?
Oh, nocht but love and sorrow join'd,
Sic notes o' woe could wauken!
Thou tells o' never-ending care;
O'speechless grief, and dark despair:
For pity's sake, sweet bird, nae mair!
Or my poor heart is broken.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Address To The Woodlark: A Literary Analysis

Are you looking for a poem that will make you feel like you're walking in a serene forest, listening to the cheerful chirping of birds? Then Robert Burns' "Address to the Woodlark" will not disappoint you. This classic piece of poetry, full of vivid imagery, symbolisms, and musicality, will take you on a journey that will awaken your senses and make your heart sing.


Robert Burns was a Scottish poet, lyricist, and songwriter, born in 1759 in Alloway, Scotland. He was a farmer by profession but gained recognition and fame for his literary works, which showcased his love for nature, humanity, and Scottish culture. Burns' poetry is known for its simple, lyrical style, and use of Scottish dialect, which added a unique flavor to his verses.

"Address to the Woodlark" is one of Burns' lesser-known poems, but it remains a testament to his poetic prowess. It was first published in 1799, two years after Burns' death, in James Currie's edition of Burns' works.

Poem Summary

The poem is a conversation between the speaker and a woodlark, a small songbird known for its melodious voice. The speaker praises the woodlark for its beautiful singing and asks it to continue singing, even though the bird's mate has left. The speaker also takes the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of nature and the fleetingness of life.

The poem is divided into four stanzas, each with five lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABB, and the meter is iambic tetrameter, with eight syllables in each line. The poem's structure follows the traditional form of a pastoral ode, where the speaker addresses the beauty of nature and the pleasures of rural life.

Literary Analysis


One of the most striking features of "Address to the Woodlark" is its vivid imagery. Burns uses rich, descriptive language to paint a picture of the woodlark's natural habitat and the beauty of the Scottish countryside.

In the first stanza, the speaker describes the woodlark's singing as "liquid notes," which create a "wild wood-melody." The use of the word "liquid" gives the impression that the woodlark's singing is fluid and smooth. The phrase "wild wood-melody" evokes the image of a forest bustling with life and activity.

In the second stanza, the speaker describes the woodlark's flight as "wavering," "fluttering," and "airy." These adjectives create the impression of a graceful, delicate bird that is at one with the natural world.

In the third stanza, the speaker shifts his focus to the natural beauty around him. He describes the "dews of the morning" and "the breath of the gale" as they "chase the cares of life away." These natural elements, represented by the personification of the dew and the gale, are shown as purifying and rejuvenating.


The poem also contains several symbols that add to its depth and meaning. One of the most prominent symbols is the woodlark itself, which represents the beauty of nature and the fleetingness of life. The speaker acknowledges that the woodlark's mate has left and that its singing may be a way to cope with its loss. This is a reminder that even in the beauty of nature, there is loss and heartache.

Another symbol is the "dews of the morning," which represent the purity and freshness of a new day. The speaker uses this symbol to contrast the cares of life, which are depicted as burdensome and heavy.


As with many of Burns' works, "Address to the Woodlark" is musical and lyrical. The use of alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm create a pleasing and memorable poem. The ABABB rhyme scheme creates a sense of symmetry and balance, while the iambic tetrameter creates a gentle, flowing rhythm.

The poem's musicality is further enhanced by the use of repetition. The phrase "sweet bird" is repeated several times throughout the poem, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort. The repetition of this phrase also emphasizes the speaker's admiration for the woodlark's singing.


At its core, "Address to the Woodlark" is a celebration of the beauty of nature and the pleasures of rural life. The speaker admires the woodlark's singing, the natural surroundings, and the peace that can be found in the countryside. However, the poem also acknowledges the fleetingness of life and the inevitability of loss. Through the woodlark's singing, the speaker finds comfort and solace in the beauty of nature.


"Address to the Woodlark" may not be one of Robert Burns' most well-known poems, but it is a beautiful ode to nature and rural life. Through vivid imagery, symbolism, and musicality, Burns takes the reader on a journey that celebrates the beauty of the natural world while acknowledging the inevitable hardships of life. This poem is a must-read for anyone who wants to be transported to a world of serenity and beauty.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Address to the Woodlark: A Poetic Masterpiece by Robert Burns

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, is known for his lyrical and romantic poetry that captures the essence of nature and the human experience. One of his most famous works, "Address to the Woodlark," is a beautiful ode to the small bird that sings sweetly in the woods. This poem is a perfect example of Burns' ability to capture the beauty of nature in his writing.

The poem begins with the speaker addressing the woodlark, calling it a "minstrel of the morn." The woodlark is described as a "wild-wood warbler" that sings "sweet notes" in the morning. The speaker is clearly enamored with the bird's song, and he praises it for its ability to bring joy to the world.

The second stanza of the poem is where Burns really shines as a poet. He describes the woodlark's song as a "liquid note" that flows like a "silver stream." The imagery here is stunning, as the reader can almost hear the bird's song and see the stream of notes flowing through the air. Burns also uses alliteration to great effect in this stanza, with the repeated "l" sounds creating a sense of fluidity and movement.

In the third stanza, the speaker addresses the woodlark directly, asking it to continue singing its sweet song. He tells the bird that its song is a "balm to care" and a "charm to pain." This is a powerful statement, as it suggests that the woodlark's song has the power to heal and soothe those who are suffering. Burns is often praised for his ability to capture the human experience in his poetry, and this stanza is a perfect example of that.

The fourth stanza of the poem is perhaps the most beautiful. Burns describes the woodlark's song as a "heavenly melody" that is "fraught with love's enchanting wile." The imagery here is breathtaking, as the reader can almost feel the love and enchantment that the bird's song brings. Burns also uses personification in this stanza, describing the woodlark's song as a "voice of love." This adds to the romantic and lyrical quality of the poem.

The final stanza of the poem is a call to action. The speaker urges the woodlark to continue singing, and he tells it that its song will be remembered long after it is gone. He also tells the bird that its song will be heard by future generations, who will be inspired by its beauty. This is a powerful message, as it suggests that the beauty of nature can have a lasting impact on the world.

In conclusion, "Address to the Woodlark" is a beautiful and lyrical poem that captures the essence of nature and the human experience. Burns' use of imagery, alliteration, and personification creates a sense of beauty and enchantment that is truly breathtaking. The poem is a perfect example of Burns' ability to capture the beauty of nature in his writing, and it is a testament to his status as one of the greatest poets of all time.

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