"Luve Will Venture In, Where It Daur Na Weel Be Seen"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Appearing in his 1793 collected poems in two volumes, just ahead of a poem he dated 1787 when sending it to Mr. Ballantine, is a seven-stanza poem about a posie or bouquet of flowers that Burns would collect for his "ain dear May." However, he was a better poet than a botanist because into the Posie "tied round wi' the silken band o' luve," he puts flowers of spring, summer, and autumn. In the verses, Burns reveals the same love of living things that made him write eight "Burns Stanzas" to a mouse whose nest he turned up with a plough in November, 1785. On that occasion, he pointed out the futility of the "beastie's" attempted forethought to provide for the cold winter, and wrote: "But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane (not alone)/ In proving foresight may be vain:/ The best laid plans o' mice an' men/ Gang aft agley (often go astray)/ An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain/ For promis'd joy." In his desire to "pu'" (pull or pluck) flowers for May, he says he will gather some of the hawthorn, "but the songster's nest within the bush/ I winna tak away." In the first stanza of the poem, with its three lines rhyming somewhat more closely than frequently happens in Burns' poetry, and with an unrhymed fourth line that appears in variations like a chorus in the other six stanzas, Burns tells how a lover ventures into spots where he dare not be seen, and where Wisdom knows enough not to return, in order to collect a bouquet for his true love.

O luve will venture in, where it daur na weel be seen,
O luve will venture in, where wisdom ance hath been;
But I will down yon river rove, amang the wood sae green,
And a' to pu' a Posie to my ain dear May . . .
I'll tie the Posie round wi' the silken band o' luve,
And I'll place it in her breast, and I'll swear by a' above,
That to my latest draught o' life the band shall ne'er remuve,
And this will be a Posie to my ain dear May.