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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Let's start with the easy part: this poem is actually a kind of song, called a ballad. For the most part, ballads are conventionally written in quatrains (stanzas or verses of four lines), which ar...

Speaker

Young Lord Randall, like many a young lad, isn't exactly the most forthcoming son. His mother has to coax his story out of him one question at a time (to which his answers are anything but clear)....

Setting

We can't really offer much in terms of setting except to say that it's vaguely Medieval, and, in this version, vaguely Scottish. You know, Braveheart-type stuff, like half-timbered cottages and win...

Sound Check

Since this poem's dialogue form is pretty darn obvious, you guys are about to roll your eyes in a minute. but bear with us. This poem, being a dialogue between mother and son, really sounds like a...

What's Up With the Title?

To be fair, this poem can be found in many different forms, under many different names. The simplest and most common among them is plain old "Lord Randall," though in other versions, the main chara...

Calling Card

To be fair, we have know idea who originally penned this poem, so it might be more than a little difficult—okay, impossible¬—to pin down a calling card for this poem's style and features. But...

Tough-o-Meter

Yes, this poem is super old. Yes, it looks confusing at first glance, what with all the repetition and everything. However, once you realize that it's a pretty straightforward story about a guy who...

Trivia

An alternate version of this song names the protagonist "Henry," which may point to one of the origins of the song. King Henry I of England died in 1135, supposedly from eating "a surfeit of lampre...

Steaminess Rating

Though young Lord Randall makes reference to a special lady friend (his "true love," who turns out not to be so true after all), the raciest thing he admits to doing with this femme fatale is eatin...

Allusions

Lord Randal's death-by-eel is often read as a reference to King Henry I of England, who is said to have died from eating too many lampreys in 1135. We'd guess that this is probably among the top te...
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