Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ASOLANDO: THE POPE AND THE NET, by ROBERT BROWNING

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ASOLANDO: THE POPE AND THE NET, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: What, he on whom our voices unanimously ran
Last Line: "why, father, is the net removed?"" ""son, it hath caught the fish."
Subject(s): Popes; Papacy

WHAT, he on whom our voices unanimously ran,
Made Pope at our last Conclave? Full low his life began:
His father earned the daily bread as just a fisherman.

So much the more his boy minds book, gives proof of mother-wit,
Becomes first Deacon, and then Priest, then Bishop: see him sit
No less than Cardinal erelong, while no one cries "Unfit!"

But some one smirks, some other smiles, jogs elbow and nods head:
Each winks at each: "I'-faith, a rise! Saint Peter's net, instead
Of sword and keys, is come in vogue!" You think he blushes red?

Not he, of humble holy heart! "Unworthy me!" he sighs:
"From fisher's drudge to Church's prince -- it is indeed a rise:
So, here's my way to keep the fact forever in my eyes!"

And straightway in his palace-hall, where commonly is set
Some coat-of-arms, some portraiture ancestral, lo, we met
His mean estate's reminder in his fisher-father's net!

Which step conciliates all and some, stops cavil in a trice:
"The humble holy heart that holds of newborn pride no spice!
He's just the saint to choose for Pope!"
Each adds, "'T is my advice."

So, Pope he was: and when we flocked -- its sacred slipper on --
To kiss his foot, we lifted eyes, alack, the thing was gone --
That guarantee of lowlihead, -- eclipsed that star which shone!

Each eyed his fellow, one and all kept silence.
I cried, "Pish!
I'll make me spokesman for the rest, express the common wish.
Why, Father, is the net removed?" "Son, it hath caught the fish."

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