Full Exercise Solution of the Poem “A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns” All Notes: Questions & Answers
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. To which two things does the speaker compare his love in the first stanza?
➜ In this poem, there are four distinct stanzas in which we see speakers contrasting, admiring, hoping and promising. The speaker compares his beloved to the young, delicate and lovely red rose of July in the very first stanza. Next, he compares it to a sweet melody that is played sweetly with a fine-tune. Here, these contrasts demonstrate the elegance of the speaker’s beloved.
b. What does the speaker promise in the second and third stanzas?
➜ In the second and third stanzas, the speaker promises different things to his beloved. He vows to love his beloved until the earthly seas have dried up, the fire of the sun has melted the ice, and human life is over.
c. What imagery does he use in his promise, and why do you think he uses such language?
➜ He uses the imagery of the dry seas, melted rocks in the second and third stanza, and the end of human life. In the fourth stanza, he uses an illustration of a long journey. I assume he uses such words because his love for his beloved is so profound and genuine.
d. In the last stanza, what event is about to happen by mentioning the number of miles?
➜ Here, the event of reconciliation is about to happen by mentioning the number of miles. The speaker promises to return to her life after a brief temporary separation with his beloved, though the journey is so long and takes a long time.
e. Which image in the poem do you find the most memorable or surprising and why?
➜ Here in this poem, I find the most surprising image of the dry seas throughout the world, because the speaker’s promise is managed in a very interesting way. I keep on pondering the state of the earth without water after reading his lovable promises.
Reference to the context
a. What can you infer about the speaker’s devotion to his beloved from the following lines?
And I will come again, my love,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!
➜ This beautiful and promising line was taken from Robert Burns’ love poem ‘A Red, Red Rose. At the end of the fourth stanza, we find this line. This is where the speaker is in deep love with his beloved. He makes a promise with his beloved that he will return to her life after their temporary separation. He promises to be with her, no matter how long the journey takes.
b. What is the theme of the poem?
➜ The immortality of the bond of love and its feelings is the primary theme of this poem.
This poem demonstrated the idea that the relationship of love never dies. It continues to travel indefinitely.
c. Paraphrase the whole poem into simple prose form.
➜ The speaker is intensely in love with his beloved. His feelings are so deep and genuine for his beloved.
Right now, his beloved is not there with him. By making comparisons, promises, wishes, etc., he keeps recalling his beloved. He compares his lovely beloved to a lovely fresh, delicate June rose and a sweet melody. He promises that he will forever love her. He vows to love and live with her until the oceans have dried up, the rocks have melted, and human life is over. For a brief moment, he gives her a fine farewell and wishes for her bright future. He promises to be back in her life again, although the journey is very long.
d. Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to present their ideas, emotions, and feelings and also help the readers understand those more profound meanings. Analyse the poem in terms of the literary devices such as simile, symbolism, imagery, alliteration, and assonance.
➜ Here in this poem, we find different uses of literary devices. Simile is a literary technique used to create comparisons using like or as. Here, in the very first stanza, the speaker used a simile where he contrasted his beloved with July’s beautiful fresh red rose and sweet melody using like.
Next, Symbolism is a literary device that uses symbols, whether words, people, marks, places, or abstract ideas to represent something beyond the literal meaning. For the love of the speaker, the red rose and sweet melody are symbolically portrayed here. Love here symbolizes the immortal relationship in this poem.
Imagery is a literary device used to represent concepts through the use of images. The speaker used a number of images for his beloved and his promises. Here we find images of red roses, dry seas, melted rocks, the end of human life, farewell, long journeys, etc.
Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at short intervals at the start of two or more words. We can find alliteration here in this poem in the very first line that my love is like a red, red rose (L&R). We notice alliteration once again in the fourteenth line: well, a while! (W).
Next, assonance is typically the repetition in literature or poetry of similar or identical vowel sounds. These vowel sounds are in a line and even within consonant words in closer words. From the first to the last line, we find assonance in the poem.
Where Assonance appears in the poem:
- Line 1: “O,” “e,” “e,” “o”
- Line 2: “ew,” “y,” “u”
- Line 3: “O,” “o,” “y”
- Line 4: “ee,” “y,” “u”
- Line 6: “ee”
- Line 7: “i,” “ee,” “i,” “ea”
- Line 8: “i,” “ea”
- Line 9: “ea,” “ea”
- Line 11: “i,” “ee,” “i,” “ea”
- Line 13: “ee,” “ee,” “y”
- Line 14: “ee,” “ee”
- And I will love thee still, my dear,
- Till a’ the seas gang dry.
- And fare thee weel