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A Red, Red Rose

A Red, Red Rose

by Robert Burns

Stanza 2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 5-6

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:

  • The speaker says he is as "deep in luve" as the "bonnie lass" is fair (a word that, once upon a time, meant pretty, beautiful, or attractive).
  • Really, this is a fancy pants way of saying something that's not so fancy pants at all. Imagine a really hot girl or guy, and now imagine that you love that person as much as he or she is hot.
  • Bonnie, by the way, is a word that means beautiful or pretty (just like "fair"). It is, for the most part, a Scottish dialect word. As is lass, which just refers to a girl (although sometimes it means something like sweetheart).
  • This guy is one sweet talker.

Lines 7-8

And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

  • The speaker says he will "luve" his "bonnie lass" until all the seas dry up.
  • The word "a'" is a shortened form of the word "all"; this elision (the removal of letters from a word) is very common in Scots English (i.e. the form of English spoken in Scotland), but you'll see it in regular English poems, too.
  • "Gang" doesn't refer to a group of people; it is an old word that means "go" or "walk." Say it to yourself. Doesn't it kind of sound like "gone" or "going"?
  • The seas will probably never "gang dry," so the speaker seems to be saying that he will love his "lass" forever. Or at least until the apocalypse.