Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister
by Robert Browning
Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister Summary
The unnamed speaker of the poem opens by sputtering and growling as he watches Brother Lawrence pass by. The title of the poem, plus the name "Brother Lawrence," tip us off that the setting is a monastery. The speaker is Brother Lawrence's fellow monk.
The speaker goes through his day – working in the monastery gardens, eating his meal, and reading – while grumbling about how immoral and despicable Brother Lawrence is. But after a short time, it becomes clear that the speaker doesn't really have much to complain about. Brother Lawrence seems like an OK guy; the speaker just... hates him. A lot. Enough that he'd be willing to sell his soul to Satan to get rid of his rival. Yikes. That's a lot of hatred in a supposedly righteous, religious man!