Study Guide

Lord Randall Death

By Anonymous

Death

"I ha'e been to the wild wood: mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down." (3-4)

These two short lines contain volumes. Lord Randall has been "to the wild wood," which means that he hasn't just been out for a stroll in the park. This suggests that he's been around, and he's seen something of life; now, though, he's "weary" and tired of it.

"What became of your bloodhounds, Lord Randall my son?
What became of your bloodhounds, my handsome young man?"
"O they swelled and they died: mother, make my bed soon…" (13-15)

The death of Lord Randall's poor dogs is the first definite mark of mortality in this poem. Once the dogs go, we get the feeling that their master won't be far behind.

"O I fear ye are poisoned, Lord Randall my son!
O I fear ye are poisoned, my handsome young man!" (17-18)

Lord Randall's mother interprets the dogs' deaths the same way we do, and she speaks for us here. Thanks, Mrs. R!

"O yes, I am poisoned: mother, make my bed soon,
For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain wald lie down." (19-20)

Lord Randall's refrain changes a wee bit here. Where he used to claim that he was weary from his hunting trip, he now admits to being "sick at the heart." This so-called sickness seems more important even than the fact that he's poisoned, suggesting that the poor young man is really dying of lovesickness (well, and poison).

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