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What are the figures of speech used in "A Red, Red Rose"?  

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fadla | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2008 at 1:29 PM via web

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What are the figures of speech used in "A Red, Red Rose"?

 

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted February 22, 2008 at 9:47 PM (Answer #1)

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The poem, by Robert Burns, begins with four lines, composed of two similes, both using the word "like" to create the comparison.  First he compares his love to a rose, then he compares his love to a melody.  The second stanza of the poem uses another comparison when poet says he will love his love until the seas go dry.  This is imagery since the reader conceptualizes that this would be a very, very long time.  Burns begins the next stanza by repeating what he said at the end of the previous stanza and adding, for emphasis, that he will continue to love until the rocks are melted by the sun.  This is more imagery and could even be considered some hyperbole since it is exaggeration.  He ends that third stanza with a popular metaphor comparing life to sand running through an hourglass.  The poem ends with the poet's promise to return to his love.  Again, he uses exaggeration, or hyperbole, saying he'll return even though it's ten thousand miles.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 22, 2008 at 10:50 PM (Answer #2)

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I've identified several of them for you below. Use this as a starting point to find the rest.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June: [simile] 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. [rhyme]

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun: [hyperbole] And I will luve thee still, my Dear, While the sands o’ life shall run. [imagery]

And fare thee weel, [alliteration] my only Luve! And fare thee weel, awhile! And I will come again, my Luve, Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

Additionally, Burns made use of rhythm and meter. Here is what the eNotes Study Guide has to say:

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 previous line. The rhythm’s regularity gives the poem a balanced feel that enhances its musical sound.

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umnmun | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 6, 2012 at 11:36 PM (Answer #3)

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sorry but thee weel is not alliteration it is assonance

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