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Last May a Braw Wooer

Within the series of poems “Last May a Braw Wooer” is one of the best poems of Robert Burns.

If we, the readers go through the analysis of the poem then will see that Robert Burns used many Scottish words in his poem that makes the poem complex.

Except that, the content of the poems remains easy to understand.

Summary and Analysis

This is a long type of poem that consists of eight stanzas. The first line begins with an image in May where a good wooer came down to the long lane. And then he shared his story with the poet.

“I said there was naething I hated like men:
The deuce gae wi ‘m to believe me, believe me,
The deuce gae wi ‘m to believe me.”

In these lines, the poet tells that there is nothing to hate a man and in those words, the wooer tells that the deuce gives it to him. So these lines are repeated because the poet wants to highlight the motive of the wooer.

Robert Burns is Wooing Lassie
Robert Burns is Wooing Lassie

In the next stanza, he speaks on the wooer who is speaking on the dart. Then he is vowing the love of the poet because he may not have it.

Then on the answer, Burns here writes that he could have died when he liked Jean. Here the wooer is praying to god to forgive as he stated a lie. Here also the poet highlighted the lines by writing twice. Here also the stanza ends and the third stanza begins with the line,

“A weel-stocked mailen, himsel for the laird,
And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers:
I never loot on that I ken’d it, or car’d,
But thought I might hae waur offers, waur”

Now the wooer is saying that the well-stocked princess or ‘mailen’ has come then he laid. Her marriage aff hands were of his proffers. Now he is saying that he never looted that he Ken’s it and also car’d.

And then he thought that he might be aware of the offers. Here, the poet is highlighting the lines by repeating the lines. In the next stanza, the wooer is further saying what would the poet think on the matter.

Then the poet used a Scottish line. Now the poet is further uttered he is up on a long loan for his cousin who is black. Like the other stanzas, here the poet repeats the line how he rooted it and told to guess the ‘jad’.

In the next stanza, he further states that he spends nine weeks. There was his fickle lover to whom he watched. He looked at her as if he has seen a ‘warlock’. Now the poet comes back to his state and writes that he gave wooer a blink from his left side.

Maybe he gets a bit emotional and that is why the neighbours will say to the poet that he was saucy. As the wooer, she had been in drink. Then he vowed for his dear Lassie.

“I spier’d for my cousin fu’ couthy and sweet,
Gin she had recover’d her hearin,
And how her new shoon fit her auld shachl’t feet—
But, heavens! how he fell a swearin, a swearin”

The poet spired for a comfortable and sweet gin that she had recovered. But now the poet can feel sworn in. So, this is the language he tried to express.

Now at the last time here, the wooer is begging for good sake that the author would be his wife else he will kill him with sorrow. Because he does not want to live alone.

Even he will preserve his poor body and that is the reason for the poet’s thinking. He will that he would be silent tomorrow.


The poem is having a total of eight stanzas. Here, the poet opens the sorrow for the wooer. Sorrow is the main theme. Throughout the poem, Burns expresses the pain and the struggle of the person.

But as the language is getting messed up, the readers will feel creepy. A mixture of languages is also a theme.

Literary Devices

Literary devices are the pillars of the poem because based on them the poem is established. Here Robert Burns used a rhyming pattern that is “ababb cdcdc”. A reader will find rhymes in lines it will be a pleasure to read. Maybe this is why Robert Burns used this.

Syncope is one of the major rhetorical devices that means writing a word by using an apostrophe. Here, Burns expresses the words using apostrophes just as,”wi’ “, “fu’ “, “caper’d”, etc.

As there is a mixture in the language so we can find a hybrid language that is also a device that takes place in this poem.

Assonance is a rhetorical device where the sounds are repeated again and again like,

“l dear lassie, dear lassie,”

Here the ‘l’ sound is repeated twice.

Then comes Anaphora which means the repetition of the same words at the beginning of two lines one after another like,

“And vow’d I was his dear lassie, dear lassie,
And vow’d I was his …”

Some minor devices remain in the poem that are playing important roles like imagery, symbolism, etc.