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Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister


by Robert Browning

Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister Religion Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line)

Quote #4

There's a great text in Galatians,
Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine distinct damnations,
One sure, if another fails (lines 49-52)

The speaker apparently has scoured the New Testament looking for ways of getting Brother Lawrence damned to hell on a technicality, and he's found a "great" way in the book of Galatians. (Don't get too excited, though: the actual text doesn't really exist.)

Quote #5

If I trip him just a-dying,
Sure of heaven as sure can be,
Spin him round and send him flying
Off to hell, a Manichee? (lines 53-56)

The speaker imagines whipping out this text from Galatians when Brother Lawrence is on his deathbed and managing to trick him into saying something that isn't exactly right, according to the letter of the Christian law. If he screws up on his deathbed, he'd have to go to hell, the speaker hopes.

Quote #6

Or, there's Satan! – one might venture
Pledge one's soul to him, yet leave
Such a flaw in the indenture
As he'd miss till, past retrieve,
Blasted lay that rose-acacia (lines 65-69)

The speaker actually imagines making a deal with Satan to do away with Brother Lawrence (or just his favorite rose-acacia bush; it's not totally clear). But he says he wouldn't really pledge his soul to Satan – he'd be clever enough to leave a loophole in the fine print and get out of it! Riiight.

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