"O, my Luve is like a red, red rose/ That's newly sprung in June;" What is the feeling inspired by this quote from Robert Burns' poem, "A Red, Red Rose"?

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of the most famous short poems by Scottish poet Robert Burns. The feelings experienced upon reading it may differ from one reader to the next. Some readers may find the poem overly sentimental or simplistic, or just plain old-fashioned (well, it was written over two hundred years ago!); but most readers will agree that it is a strong declaration of love from the speaker to the subject.

This first line is very visual; the color red is repeated twice. The color red is associated with love, romance, sexuality, passion, and desire. The flower is "newly sprung in June" and so it is a fresh bloom, at the height of the flowering season. June is a traditional month for weddings. Spring is the season of growth and fertility, reflected in the natural world, which was a favorite subject of Burns that appears throughout his poetry and songs. This is a very symbolic image: the rose is often said to symbolize female genitalia, and many traditional songs of the British Isles refer to the "roses" in a pretty girl's cheeks or lips, referring to their red or pink hue. 

The freshness and newness of the image of the rose gives a feeling of hope and infatuation to this lover's song; but the poem ends with him saying farewell. It seems important for the poem to begin on this note of optimism and passion, to establish the strength of feeling the speaker feels for the subject.