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Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

  

by Robert Browning

Analysis: Allusions

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

  • Arius, a heretic from the 4th century C.E. who denied the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. (Line 39)
  • Galatians, the 9th book of the Christian New Testament, written by Paul the Apostle around 200 C.E. The specific text in Galatians referenced does not exist. (Line 49)
  • Manichee, a member of a Gnostic heretical group from the 3rd century C.E. (Line 56)
  • Belial, a demon from the Judeo-Christian tradition sometimes associated with naughty, wicked physical pleasure. (Line 60)
  • Vespers, the evening prayer service in Catholic monasteries. (Line 71)
  • Plena gratia, the second line of the Catholic "Hail, Mary" prayer, in Latin. (Line 71)
  • Ave, Virgo! The first line in Latin of the Litany to the Blessed Virgin, which was not actually a part of the Vespers service at this time. (Line 72).

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