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Major English XI Notes for Major English Notes

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O My Loves Like a Red, Red Rose

O My Loves Like a Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

Summary of O My Loves Like a Red, Red Rose

Stanza 1
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

Summary of Stanza 1
The speaker presents two similes, the first comparing his love to a rose and the second comparing his love to a melody. The speaker also uses repetition to echo his sentiments–my luve’s like in lines 1 and 3; that’s newly and that’s sweetly (pronoun, verb, and adverb combinations) in lines 2 and 4.

Stanza 2
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Summary of Stanza 2
The speaker addresses the young lady as bonnie (pretty). Bonnie is derived from the French word bon (good). In the last line of the stanza, a’means all and gang means go. This line introduces to the poem hyperbole, a figure of speech that exaggerates.

Stanza 3
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

Summary of Stanza 3
The speaker links the first line of the third stanza with the last line of the second stanza by repetition. The speaker continues hyperbole in the second and fourth lines. He also again relies on repetition in the third line by repeating the third line of the second stanza.

Stanza 4
And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve,
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

Summary of Stanza 4
The speaker again addresses his beloved, noting that though he must leave her for a while he will return for her even if he must travel ten thousand miles. Repetition occurs in the first and second lines, and hyperbole occurs in the last line. Fare-thee-weel means fare thee well.

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