A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

A Red, Red Rose book cover
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What kind of love is Burns expressing in "A Red, Red Rose"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Burns is expressing romantic love in "A Red, Red Rose." As the poem's title indicates, he is at the height of being head-over-heels in love. The red, red rose is a metaphor for his feeling of his love being in the fullest possible bloom. It is at its peak, just as a rose is in the month of June.

Burns captures how love feels when one is most intensely and passionately in love. Not only is it like the most beautiful red rose, it is like a sweet melody. Further, when one is deeply in love, one feels as the speaker does, that the love will last even to point that the seas go dry or the rocks melt in the sun. It seems incomprehensible that such a powerful emotion could ever fade.

While the lover is saying a temporary farewell to the beloved, he looks forward to seeing her again. He is convinced he will do so, for he would travel 10,000 miles to find her.

However, there is an underlying fragility in the bloom of the red, red rose: it can only fade, which adds an undertone of poignance to the poem. Will the lover's passion ever be at this peak again?

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This famous love poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns expresses a love that, according to the speaker, is eternal and will never diminish, whatever shall happen in life. Note the kind of images that the speaker uses to express his love to his beloved:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
O I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

I am not too sure how your Scots is, but here the speaker is saying that his love will remain constant until all the seas run dry and until the rocks melt with the heat of the sun. His love will never change while the sands of life itself still run. Thus he uses a series of very powerful images to express his eternal love towards the loved one to whom this poem is addressed.

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