What is the theme of Robert Burns' "Green Grow the Rashes, O"?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would say that the theme of this song or poem is the idea that love is what makes the world go 'round, as they say.  The speaker is saying that it is "the lasses" that make life happy.

In the poem, the speaker says, for example, that the material things in life are no good when compared the pleasures of being in love.  He says that you can have all the riches you want, but you will not really be content.  By contrast, if you have a love, if you have a woman to spend your time with, you will be a happy person.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The speaker is an individual who is celebrating his love for women. He is unabashed in his pronouncements and there is no reason to take his remarks as anything but serious, despite his hyperbolic praise. The speaker claims that he has spent his “sweetest hours” among “the lasses.” He also seeks to corroborate his attitude by claiming that the “wisest man the war’l e’er saw” was also a person who “dearly loved the lasses, O.” He is uncomplimentary toward sober people who might sneer at his pronouncements (lines 17–18). This view of men professing love is a natural extension of the poet's feelings of expression with no holding back.

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