Compare and contrast the two poems, ‘My love is like a red, red rose,’ by Robert Burns and ‘Mag’ by Carl Sandburg. ‘My Love is Like a Red; Red Rose’ is a Scottish poem written in 1794 by Robert Burns. Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He was born in 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire.’ Mag’ is an American poem written in 1912 By Carl Sandburg. Carl Sandburg was an American writer and editor. He was born in 1878 in Galesburg, Illinois.
The first similarity you recognize about both the poems is that both poems are about love; however, the love couldn’t be any different in each poem. In Robert Burns’ ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’ the love is positive and passionate. It is about a man proclaiming his love for a woman. Whilst in Carl Sandburg’s ‘Mag,’ the love is negative and regretful. It is about the breakdown of one man’s love.
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $14
Prices start at $12
The layout of each poem differ completely in ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’ it is set out in to four equal stanzas and follows a regular form throughout, and there is a rhyme on every 2nd and 4th line whilst in ‘Mag’ it is set out as a sonnet which was traditionally used when writing a love poem. In ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose,’ the poet’s feelings of love are compared to a flower, in this case, ‘a rose.’
And in doing this, it gives a positive image to the reader straight away. And also, on the second line where it says ‘Newly sprung in June,’ it entends this image of positivity. Still, it goes on to make it sound even more beautiful and pure and gives you the idea that this is a fresh emotion of love and excitement, and he is in the first stages of his relationship. However, in ‘Mag,’ the poet’s feelings are not compared to anything. Instead, it begins with the poet saying, ‘I wish to God I never saw Mag,’ which creates an image of regret and negativity.
The poet then emphasizes this image when he says in the 2nd and 3rd lines, ‘I wish you never quit your job and came along with me’ and ‘I wish we never bought a license and a white dress.’ But this also gives you the idea that this poem is about a relationship breakdown and the negative side of love, varying greatly to ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’s image of positivity.
In ‘Mag,’ the poet’s regretful feelings of his love are known to the reader even more when he repeats ‘I wish’ and ‘I wish to God.’ It makes you think that this man is totally and utterly depressed with what is happening in his relationship, to the point he wishes his children away. ‘ I wish to God the kids had never come,’ which makes you think the poet feels sorry for himself here? Is this just the initial result of a bad argument between him and his partner?
However, the poet does give reference to the fact he has money worries, ‘And rent and clothes to pay for and a grocery man calling for cash,’ has this created the downfall in the relationship it just seems hard to believe that he wants to forget his past life, his wife and above all his children. This leads me to my next comparison. In ‘Mag,’ the poet is very quick to wish his love away and in ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose,’ the poet announces he will love his woman forever, no matter what happens. ‘Till the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun; I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o’ life shall run.’
This shows a substantial difference between the two different characters of each poem. For example, whilst in ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’ the man is passionate and loving, the man in ‘Mag’ is selfish and doesn’t realize how lucky he is. Also, at the end of ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose,’ you learn the character is being separated from his love, which makes you feel for him deeply, but also furthers the difference between the two characters because even though he’s being separated from his love, he says. ‘And fare-thee-weel, my only luve! And fare-thee-weel, a while! And I will come again, my Luve, Tho’ twere ten thousand miles!’
Even though this separation is imminent, he tells her she will be his only love and that he will travel ten thousand miles if he has to, to see her again. Overall I found both poems really enjoyable however my favourite of the two was ‘My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose’ by Robert Burns. I favoured this over ‘Mag’ by Carl Sandburg because of the passion portrayed in the poem. It was amazing to see the love this man held for his beloved and what lengths he was willing to go to, to only see her.