This poem is a love song composed by Robert burns, a Scottish poet whose poems mostly fall under the genre of love. In “red rose”, the reader is made to read about a romantic affair of two persons who are intimately in love. This essay will ventilate the poem with a view to analyzing its structure, theme, subject matter, characters, stylistic devices that the poet uses to convey his message and the traits of the characters that the poet uses in the poem.
Structure of the poem:
This poem contains four stanzas. Each stanza comprises four lines/verses hence each of the stanzas is a quatrain. Each line is further broken down into iambs or beats. The beats in all the lines are not regular and this could be partly because of the many years ago that the poem was written. Another reason could be because the poem was meant to be a song.
The persona in this poem is a lover who is expressing his love to his lover. The use of the words “my luve is like a red rose” illustrates this. All through the entire poem, the persona praises his lover by use of a wide range of lovely words.
The major theme discussed in this poem is love or romance. The persona by use of selected romantic words portrays the love he has towards the lover in a way that leaves the reader craving for more. The use of artistic and literary devices by the poet expressly shows the quantum of love that the persona has towards the “my luve” in the poem. The use of such words as “so deep in luve am I” and “my only love” illustrates this. The poet expresses this theme of love through vivid metaphors, symbols and hyperbolic comparisons to portray the extent to which he loves his lover.
There are two main characters in this poem; the “I” and the “my luve”. The “I” in the poem is the person who is expressing his love for the subject matter of the poem, who happens to be the “my luv”. The artistic nature in which the “I” in the poem communicates his love to the “my luv” is amazing. The reader can literally “feel” the touch of the words as if they were recited to them at that particular time.
As noted earlier in this paper, there are two main characters in this poem; the “I” and the “my luv”. It is important that we discuss them separately for purposes of in-depth analysis of their traits.
The “I” is presumed to be a male lover although it is not expressly stated as such in the poem. The choice of words may be presumed to show this. The “I” is extremely loving/ romantic. He narrates his love to the “my luv” in the poem and equates her to a single rose. This means that she is the only lover that he has. He further says that he is so deep in love with her by use of the words “so deep in love am I”. Secondly, he is desperate for love. He says that he is so deep in love with her and that he will come again for her. These are words used by a person who is so desperate of love that the only thing they can do is to put it in writing. He is faithful. His use of the words “my only rose” shows that he does not have another lover and therefore his love is the only one that he has. He is caring. He wishes his lover all the best until they meet again by use of the words “fare thee well”. He further wishes that they are only they are only going to be away from each other for a “while”.
The “my luv”
She is the subject matter of the poem. This is because all the words used by the persona in this poem are directed to her. She is lovable and that is why the persona chants lovely words to her. It is presumed that she is beautiful. The “I” says that she is like a melody which is only played in tune. The “I” further calls her his only red rose. This flower is likened with beauty and therefore it can be concluded that she is beautiful.
Literary/stylistic devices used in the poem
Literary devices are those linguistic features that the poet uses to communicate their message to the reader. The poet here uses a number of linguistic devices to show how he loves the subject matter of the poem. Such devices include similes, metaphors, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, irony and symbolism. These are illustrated below:
In the first stanza, the poet uses two similes; the first instance is when he compares his love to a rose by saying that “o my luv’s like a red, red rose”. The second instance is when he compares his love to a melody by saying that “o my luv’s like a melodie”. The effect of these similes is to show how much he loves her.
The poet uses metaphors in a number of instances. The first instance is in stanza three where he says that he will love her until the seas go dry. He does not mean the seas really going dry literally, but only shows the extent of his love to her. The second instance is in the same stanza where he says that the rocks are melting with the sun and that the sands of life shall return. As explained earlier, the effect of this is to show the extent of his love to her lover.
In the second stanza, the persona calls his lover a bonnie. Bonnie is a French word that means pretty or very good. He uses literary exaggeration to show his love to her. His statement that the seas shall go dry and the rocks shall melt with the sun is exaggeration too.
The words “my dear” and “my luv” are used repetitively by the poet to emphasize the love that the persona has towards his lover.
The use of the words “rose”, “rock” and “seas” are symbolic. They are used to represent not the objects they are but to portray a special meaning. The use of the word rose for example, is used to mean lover.
In conclusion, this poem is interesting and communicates its point effectively with the effective and conclusive use of the poetic devices available to the poet.