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The Laboratory

The Laboratory


by Robert Browning

Stanza 11 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 41

Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose; 

  • She wonders again if the poison is done, and asks him to take off the glass mask. 
  • She tells the poison-maker to cheer up, to not be "morose," or sad. 
  • Sorry, but after hearing about how this woman wanted the horrible pain of death to eat another lady's face, we might feel a little "morose" too.

Line 42

It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close: 

  • The mask bugs her because she can't get a close look at the poison that's going to kill her rival.
  • She also reminds us that this woman's death is something she's really excited about.

Line 43-44

The delicate droplet, my whole fortune's fee—
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me? 

  • She's giving up all her money in return for one little bit of poison, one "delicate droplet." 
  • She's not scared of this deadly stuff either. 
  • She can't imagine how anything that would kill the woman she hates most could ever be bad for her.
  • There's some pretty great alliteration here, too. See that? "Delicate droplet" and "fortune's fee" both repeat the same initial sounds.

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