have you figured out the theme yet?
(Poem #81) A Red, Red Rose
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 play'd 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: And 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 were ten thousand mile!
Another poem that's no less good for it's popularity...but not a poem one can say much about by way of commentary. thomas. PS. As an aside, I'm in Edinburgh today - a particularly apt coincidence <g> [Biography] Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland in 1759. His father, a poor tenant farmer, tutored his sons at home and sought to provide them with as much additional education as his resouces allowed. An avid reader, Burns acquired a grounding in English before studying the poetry of his Scottish heritage. During his youth Burns endured the hard work and progressively worsening financial difficulties which beset his family as they moved from one rented farm to another. As a young man Burns developed a reputation for charm and wit, engaging in several love affairs that brought him into conflict with the Presbyterian Church. He also angered the church by criticizing such accepted beliefs as predestination and mankind's inherent sinfulness, which he considered incompatible with human nature. In 1786 Burns proposed marriage to Jean Armour, who was pregnant with his twin sons. Her parents rejected his offer and demanded financial restitution. As a result, Burns determined to sail to the West Indies and start a new life. However, with the successful publication that year of his 'Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect', Burns abandoned his plans and traveled to Edinburgh, where he was much admired in literary circles. While in Edinburgh Burns met James Johnson, a printer involved in a project to publish all the folk songs of Scotland. Burns subsequently traveled throughout the country, collecting over 300 songs, which were printed in Johnson's six-volume Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803) and George Thomson's five-volume Select Collection of Original Airs for the Voice (1793-1818). Many of the songs he collected were revised or edited by Burns - as with 'John Anderson My Jo' - or, in some cases, newly written by him - as with 'A Red, Red Rose'. One consequence of his journeys around Scotland was his rise to national prominence and popularity. Burns finally married Armour in 1788 and divided his time between writing poetry and farming until he obtained a government position three years later. He died from rheumatic heart disease in 1796. [Criticism] After the 1786 publication of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, Robert Burns spent the last ten years of his life collecting and editing songs for The Scots Musical Museum, an anthology intended to preserve traditional Scottish lyrical forms. During this time, Burns also composed more than three hundred original works for the volume, songs that relied heavily on forms and sentiments popular in the folk culture of the Scottish peasantry. 'A Red, Red Rose', first published in 1794 in A Selection of Scots Songs, edited by Peter Urbani, is one such song. Written in ballad stanzas, the verse - read today as a poem - pieces together conventional ideas and images of love in a way that transcends the "low" or non-literary sources from which the poem is drawn. In it, the speaker compares his love first with a blooming rose in spring and then with a melody "sweetly play'd in tune." If these similes seem the typical fodder for love-song lyricists, the second and third stanzas introduce the subtler and more complex implications of time. In trying to quantify his feelings - and in searching for the perfect metaphor to describe the "eternal" nature of his love - the speaker inevitably comes up against love's greatest limitation, "the sands o' life." This image of the hour-glass forces the reader to reassess of the poem's first and loveliest image: A "red, red rose" is itself an object of an hour, "newly sprung" only "in June" and afterward subject to the decay of time. This treatment of time and beauty predicts the work of the later Romantic poets, who took Burns's work as an important influence. [Construction] 'A Red, Red Rose' is written in four four-line stanzas, or quatrains, consisting of alternating tetrameter and trimeter lines. This means that the first and third lines of each stanza have four stressed syllables, or beats, while the second and fourth lines have three stressed syllables. Quatrains written in this manner are called ballad stanzas. The ballad is a old form of verse adapted for singing or recitation, originating in the days when most poetry existed in spoken rather than written form. The typical subject matter of most ballads reflects folk themes important to common people: love, courage, the mysterious, and the supernatural. Though the ballad is generally rich in musical qualities such as rhythm and repetition, it often portrays both ideas and feelings in overwrought but simplistic terms. The dominant meter of the ballad stanza is iambic, which means the poem's lines are constructed in two-syllable segments, called iambs, in which the first syllable is unstressed and the second is stressed. As an example of iambic meter, consider the following line from the poem with the stresses indicated: That's sweet / ly play'd / in tune. This pattern exists most regularly in the trimeter lines of the poem, lines which most often finish the thoughts begun in the a regularity which gives the poem a balanced feel that enhances its musical sound. -- from the Gale Poetry Resource Center http://www.gale.com/gale/poetry/poetset.html