Structure

The poem falls into four stages

  • Stanzas 1 and 2
  • Stanzas 3 and 4
  • Stanzas 5 and 6
  • Stanzas 7 and 8

The Standard Habbie

The Standard Habbie stanza has six lines, with longer lines 1-3 and 5 rhyming and short lines 4 and 6 rhyming only with each other. This poetic form allows the poet to build up some momentum on the first three rhyming lines and then do something different with the final three. The two short lines can provide a ‘kick’ or ironic aside in A Poet’s Welcome.

Persona

The narrative persona is very important when studying Burns. He has created a narrative voice, a ‘character’ or speaker, who speaks to us but also to an audience which might be the mouse, or the Devil or humanity.

In this poem Burns is very much speaking from the heart but he is still selecting aspects of himself and of his response to this event to express his feelings. We should see him ‘speaking’ in the persona of a proud and defiant father.

Burns feels pride towards his daughter
Burns feels pride towards his daughter