Robert Burns (part 2)

  A. Listen to the poem and read it.

Для прослушивания аудиозаписи требуется MP3 player

John Anderson, My Jo

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a canty day, John,
We've had wi' ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
And hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.

jo: dear
acquent: acquainted
brent: unwrinkled
beld: bald
snaw: snow
pow: head
clamb: climbed
thegither : together
mony: many
canty: happy
wi' ane anither: with one another
maun: must
totter: walk with weak unsteady steps

B. Answer the questions.

  1. Who is the speaker in the poem?
  2. What are the speaker's feelings towards John Anderson?
  3. What are lines 1-4 in each stanza about? What are lines 5-8 about?
  4. What is contrasted in the poem? Find all examples.
  5. What figurative language is used in the poem? Find all examples.
  6. Find examples of alliteration.
  7. What is the main idea of the poem?

In the video below you can listen to the song "John Anderson, my Jo" sung by Isobel Baillie. The song was recorded in 1942. There are several modern versions of the song in the Internet, but I liked this one best (despite the low quality of the sound).

C. The next poem is a ballad. What kind of poem is a ballad? Who are ballads usually written about? Give examples.

D. Listen to the poem and read it.

Для прослушивания аудиозаписи требуется MP3 player


Для прослушивания аудиозаписи требуется MP3 player

John Barleycorn: A Ballad

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough'd him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show'd he began to fail.

His colour sicken'd more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell'd him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turn'd him o'er and o'er.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him further woe;
And still, as signs of life appear'd,
They toss'd him to and fro.

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us'd him worst of all,
For he crush'd him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.

'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy;
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

E. Answer the questions.

  1. Who is the main character of the poem?
  2. What happens with the main character? How are the events of his life similar to what usually happens in a ballad?
  3. Find examples of figurative language.
  4. Find examples of alliteration.
  5. What is the tone of the poem?
  6. What idea does the poet express?