Literary Analysis of Robert Burns’ ‘A Red, Red Rose’
‘A Red, Red Rose’ is a poem by Romanticist poet Robert Burns. The piece conveys the use of language in 18 century England. The author is renowned to be one of the best during his time, particularly in Scotland where he is considered the national poet. Based on the information presented in this literary piece, the poem centers on the key theme of love and how Burns utilizes his own unique approach in conveying information to audiences. By bringing together this theme, his work is able to transcend to numerous audiences even after his death.
Analyzing the poem, it is comprised of four-line stanzas. It follows a masculine rhyme where the second and fourth stanzas rhyme with one another (Elia 1). Likewise, the poem is an iambic tetrameter and each line is composed of eight syllables. Assessing the piece further, Burns utilizes different figures of speech in order to provide meaning to readers. For instance, the use of simile can be seen in the first stanza while hyperbole, a form of exaggeration can be seen in the second stanza (Elia 1).
Looking closely, one of the most noticeable themes depicted by his piece corresponds to the notion of love. Given that Burns is a Romanticist, the poem utilizes the expression and profession of the persona to her beloved. Carefully examining the stanzas, each line provides different reasons as to why the speaker’s loves the other person. For example, Burns provides that “And I will luve thee still, my dear, | Till a’ the seas gang dry” (1) emphasizes the use of his language in order to convey a strong impact to audiences. Since the speaker is said to be embarking on a journey, it is valuable that he/she understand her passion and feelings for the other and makes the promise of coming back still having the same emotions.
Another indicative theme outlined by the poem is the notion of time. Here, the speaker of the poem undermines the duration of the time he will be away from his love. Arguably, the analogy of how the love connects with the natural things provide information on how it remains to be enduring and significant that nothing can hold it back, even time. This remains to be exhibited in the last stanza of the poem. In particular, Burns provides that “And I will come again, my luve, | Though it were ten thousand mile.” (1). Based from this quote, it seeks to present readers with the notion that amidst the distance and time the speaker might be away from his love, the feelings would remain and grow stronger in time.
Lastly, Burns connects the professed love in the poem to the natural world. Specifically, different lines in the poem connect the emotions of the speaker to the things happening in nature. Arguably, each part has its corresponding meaning in influencing the feelings of the speaker in the poem. For example, the ability to show enduring love is compared to the time when seas would dry up, which remains to be long and difficult to happen. By establishing these connections, Burns is able to convey that the feelings of love remain to be natural and difficult to change (Humanities.Washington.edu 1).
Overall, Robert Burns ‘A Red, Red Rose’ is one of his works that features 18th century English Romanticism. As the speaker of the poem seeks to portray love and emotion, readers are also able to capture the author’s background with the use of language in the piece. Equally, the poem adds depth and complexity with the author’s use of figures of speech to denote significance and meaning. Altogether, these features remain to be significant in showcasing the artistic elements evident during the specific period.
Burns, Robert. ‘A Red, Red Rose’ Poetry Foundation.org. Web. Accessed 28 August 2014.
Elia, Anas. Literary Analysis of Robert Burns’ A Red, Red Rose, 25 March 2013. Web. Accessed 28 August 2014.
Humanities.Washington.edu.Robert Burns: A Red, Red Rose. 2013. Presentation.