🎤POEM: “My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns

“My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, Scottish (1759-1796)

Robert Burns, Scotland’s most famous poet, was educated by his father, an Ayrshire farmer.  Although Burns was not fond of farming, it was his closeness to nature that enabled him to depict the hardships of Scottish rural life and the beauty of the landscape in his poems.  Two such poems are “To a Mouse” and “To a Mountain Daisy.”  His approach was opposite to that of the English Romantic poets who depicted rustic life as idyllic.  I love Burns’ use of the Scottish dialect, the freshness of simple, everyday language.  There is nothing abstract or ambiguous in his poetry.

Burns had a great sense of humor. Although he gained widespread admiration for poems such as “Holy Willy’s Prayer,” the Scottish clergy deemed them blasphemous.  Here is one verse from this poem–and it is the least offensive!

“O Lord! Yestreen, thou knows, wi’ Meg,

Thy pardon I sincerely beg,

O! may’t ne’er be a livin plague

To my dishonor,

An’ I’ll ne’er lift a lawless leg

Again upon her.”

Robert Burns published his poems in 1786, ten years before he died of rheumatic fever.

“My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose”

In this poem, Burns addresses his Luve with all the longings and passion of a young lover who has to leave his “Bonny Lass.”  In the first verse, Burns tells us his Luve is like a sweet melody and a newly-sprung, red rose.  Burns implies she is young, a rose bud–a maiden.  And, of course, the image of a red rose represents true love. In the next three stanzas, Burns addresses his Luve directly, telling her that nothing will come between them, and he will love her until he dies, promising to return to her, no matter the distance.

I love this poem.  When I first learned it at school, I knew nothing about true love–the longing, despair, the unpredictability and uncertainty of it all.  As a child, I felt the poet’s intensity.   I was terribly sad the lovers had to part and even more upset when my English teacher, Mrs. O’ Shea, said the Lover might never return. What then?  Well, then ensued a homework assignment where I had to write a love poem, which was a pale imitation of Robert Burns’ little masterpiece.

Did you enjoy the audio recording and review?  I would value your opinion in the comment box.  Thank you.

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Sarah M. Fredericks © 2015

Carpe Librum!📚Seize the Book…and let the page-turning begin!


Filed under AUDIO🎤, POEM, Scotland

14 responses to “🎤POEM: “My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns

  1. Hayley

    I really enjoyed your reading of the poem, Sarah. As you know, it is one of my particular favorites. Mr. Burns’ Scottish dialect can be challenging for Americans, of course. I think it helps greatly to hear it read aloud!


  2. Carl

    Great reading of a classic poem that still touches you every time you hear it. It reminds me of love that is lost, or love that will never be. Makes you sad and sentimental for times past, but, at the same time, fills your heart with warm memories.


    • Thank you, Carl. Robert Burns definitely had a way with words. He transports us back in time to re-experience our “first love,” where all our senses were heightened, and we were so blinded by passion, we saw no flaws in our lover😊.


  3. Richard

    It’s incredible how intensely you can feel for another human being, especially when you are very young. I was “in love” many times as a young man, an all encompassing obsession that is rightly compared to a drug as in Bryan Ferry’s song…”But Oh…the sweetest drug….” especially when you attain your goal. Burns was obviously a man who felt deeply, but, like Shakespeare, he was able to articulate his feelings more accurately than most. Time may pass, but we remember our past loves as if we had only just met their sweet gaze yesterday. At least our minds stay young and true – even if our bodies falter. Great reading Sarah ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know exactly what you mean about “true love” being all consuming, Richard. I am currently reading The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy and discovered this wonderful description of “first love” between Jon and Fleur on p. 786.
      “It was love-in-a-mist – one of those illumined pages of Life, where every word and smile, and every light touch they gave each other were as little gold and red and blue butterflies and flowers and birds scrolled in among the text – a happy communing….”
      It is interesting that Galsworthy, like Burns, uses analogies from nature to describe intense feelings.


  4. Al Odierno

    My favorite of Burns’ is “To a Louse” – to paraphrase: If God would only give us the ability to see ourselves as others see us. It’s a great insight, though maybe a little bit insecure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Al. I must say that Robert Burns picked some very original subject matter for his poems. You mentioned “To a Louse.” He also wrote “Address to a Haggis,” “Halloween,” and “To a Mouse.” Who says a poet has to write all romantic poems?😊


  5. Marcus J Copley

    Great reading Sarah – I hope his love was reciprocated! If not, it might be the case of the following poem….

    “How kind it was then that she,
    Though not in love with me,
    Returned my embraces equally,
    That even someone looking on,
    Would be moved to think – erroneously,
    On seeing us break apart,
    Initiated by me,
    That I loved less than she.”

    On Robert Burns though – I remember my mother loved his work, and would always ask me about Burns’ Night Supper, which I celebrated every year with my friends whilst living in Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anna

    Another discovery thanks to you, Sarah!
    And I really do wonder what has separated those two lovers…!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is hard to say, Anna. Perhaps the young Lover is heading to a large city in search of work. When Burns wrote his poetry, Scottish agriculture was waning due to the dawning of the Industrial Revolution. Or, perhaps the young Lover was “heading for the Highlands” to help fight the English. Burns was born 13 years after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden.


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