John Anderson By Robert Burns

Jon Anderson, My Jo, by Robert Burns, is a poem written in a Scottish dialect in 1796. This poem is about a beloved and a lovers relationship slowly coming to an end. The speaker describes life as a hill, the top of the hill being middle-age and the slope down is headed towards death.

This poem differs a few ways from the other poems that we have reviewed in the poetry handout we were given. In this poem, the beloved is speaking about the lover instead of the lover speaking to the beloved. The speaker throughout this describes there love sadly coming to an end due to age and death. This shows that they had a good and healthy relationship with each other. But so far the poems we have reviewed are about a lover trying to achieve this long everlasting love with the beloved, this tends to come off to me as rather desperate, annoying, and sounds like a crying puppy. But in this poem, instead, it shows the rare case of true love.   You can see this on (ll-2) “We climb the hill together” this shows that they go through life together and shows there love for each other. 

This poem has a mixed rhyme scheme, this is different compared to the previous poems we have seen with a very simple rhyme scheme such as ABAB, or with no rhyme scheme at all. When I read the poem overall it seems like a reflection of a happy couple. This also is very different from, for example, e.e cummings, Since Feeling First” Where the speaker is trying to convince the beloved to stop thinking and hurry up and just be together, but she is playing hard to get. The speaker in this poem is a woman but the writer of the poem is a male, this is something I found interesting because it may be a challenge for the writer to understand the perspective of the opposite gender in these kinds of poems. 

Throughout this poem, it will express the sadness of separation and happiness of everlasting love that will live on forever. This to me is very enjoyable to read, it is nice to hear someone who was actually happy with there other lover compared to all the other sad poems we have had. 


One thought on “John Anderson By Robert Burns”

  1. Jackson, you have interesting thoughts about this poem. One thing I thought I would mention is that you, during your second paragraph, said “the beloved is speaking about the lover instead of the lover speaking to the beloved.” This is inaccurate, but an easily understood confusion considering the poems we have read thus far. The “beloved” simply means the person who is being loved, and has no association with gender. The same goes for the lover. In this case, the speaker is the lover, not the beloved, despite being a female. She is not speaking about being loved by John, she is speaking about loving him.


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