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Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister GR-R-R--there go, my heart's abhorrence! Water your damned flower-pots, do! If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence, God's blood, would not mine kill you! What? Your myrtle-bush wants trimming? Oh, that rose has prior claims-- Needs its leaden vase filled brimming? Hell dry you up with its flames! At the meal we sit together; _Salve tibi_! I must hear Wise talk of the kind of weather, Sort of season, time of year: "Not a plenteous cork-crop: scarcely Dare we hope oak-galls, I doubt: What's the Latin name for parsley?" What's the Greek name for swine's snout? Whew! We'll have our platter burnished, Laid with care on our own shelf! With a fire-new spoon we're furnished, And a goblet for ourself, Rinsed like something sacrificial Ere 'tis fit to touch our chaps-- Marked with L. for our initial! (He-he! There his lily snaps!) _Saint_, forsooth! While Brown Dolores Squats outside the Convent bank With Sanchicha, telling stories, Steeping tresses in the tank, Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horsehairs, ---Can't I see his dead eye glow, Bright as 'twere a Barbary corsair's? (That is, if he'd let it show!) When he finishes refection, Knife and fork he never lays Cross-wise, to my recollection, As I do, in Jesu's praise. I the Trinity illustrate, Drinking watered orange-pulp-- In three sips the Arian frustrate; While he drains his at one gulp! Oh, those melons! if he's able We're to have a feast; so nice! One goes to the Abbot's table, All of us get each a slice. How go on your flowers? None double? Not one fruit-sort can you spy? Strange!--And I, too, at such trouble, Keep them close-nipped on the sly! There's a great text in Galatians, Once you trip on it, entails Twenty-nine distinct damnations, One sure, if another fails; 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? Or, my scrofulous French novel On gray paper with blunt type! Simply glance at it, you grovel Hand and foot in Belial's gripe; If I double down the pages At the woeful sixteenth print, When he gathers his greengages, Ope a sieve and slip it in't? 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 We're so proud of! Hy, Zy, Hine ... 'St, there's Vespers! _Plena gratia Ave, Virgo_! Gr-r-r--you swine! -- Robert Browning