Take a few homeschool minutes this weekend to remember (and listen to) Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, born on this day in 1759.
The poetry of Robert Burns has been read and sung around the world for more than 200 years. Many of Burns’ poems are written in the Scottish dialect of English, which is sometimes a bit difficult for beginners, but with a little practice and thought (and with occasional help from a good dictionary) their structure and imagery are easily understood. His famous poem of the departing lover who promises to return, “A Red, Red Rose,” is an excellent Burns introduction for any young poetry student:
A Red, Red Rose
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till all the seas gang dry.
Till all the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands of life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my dear,
Though it were ten thousand miles.
But “A Red, Red Rose” isn’t just a poem, it’s a song, and this fine version by the Scottish-Canadian singer John McDermott may help your students understand and appreciate it more — I think it even works as a lullaby:
Happy birthday, Robbie — may your songs be remembered till all the seas gang dry!
❡ Here, said the year: This post is one of our regular homeschool poems-of-the-week. Print your own River Houses poetry calendar for the whole school year at riverhouses.org/calendars and follow along with us as we visit forty-eight of our favorite friends.
❡ Though it were ten thousand miles: If a special line or turn of phrase happens to strike you in one of our weekly poems, just copy it onto your homeschool bulletin board for a few days and invite your students to speak it aloud — that’s all it takes to begin a new poetical friendship and learn a few lovely words that will stay with you for life. 😊