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The Laboratory

The Laboratory

  

by Robert Browning

Stanza 12 Summary

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

Line 45

Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,

  • Finally, she offers the poison-maker all of her jewels. 
  • She tells him to get his fill of gold, too. 
  • Clearly they made a deal where she would give him a fortune in return for this poison.
  • We also want to point out that Browning pulls off the poetic version of a double axel ice skating move here. The words "gorge gold" have both alliteration (the two "g" sounds) and assonance (the repeated "o" sounds) in them. We think that's awesome, but you already knew that we're giant poetry nerds.

Line 46

You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will! 

  • But that's not all. She's willing to let this old guy kiss her on the mouth, too. 
  • It's just one more kind of weird and creepy twist in an already weird and creepy scene. 
  • This woman is willing to give anything to accomplish her awful goal.

Line 47-48

But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it—next moment I dance at the King's!

  • Now she just needs to brush off the dust and dirt of the laboratory, which she worries will horrify the beautiful people who hang out at the court. 
  • Because that's where she's headed, to finish the job and kill her rival.

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