Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ASOLANDO: WHICH?, by ROBERT BROWNING

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ASOLANDO: WHICH?, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: So, the three court-ladies began
Last Line: "seems terribly like what perhaps gains god's preference."
Subject(s): Likes & Dislikes; Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives

So, the three Court-ladies began
Their trial of who judged best
In esteeming the love of a man:
Who preferred with most reason was thereby confessed
Boy-Cupid's exemplary catcher and cager;
An Abbe crossed legs to decide on the wager.

First the Duchesse: "Mine for me --
Who were it but God's for Him,
And the King's for -- who but he?
Both faithful and loyal, one grace more shall brim
His cup with perfection: a lady's true lover,
He holds -- save his God and his king -- none above her."

"I require" -- outspoke the Marquise --
"Pure thoughts, ay, but also fine deeds:
Play the paladin must he, to please
My whim, and -- to prove my knight's service exceeds
Your saint's and your loyalist's praying and kneeling --
Show wounds, each wide mouth to my mercy appealing."

Then the Comtesse: "My choice be a wretch,
Mere losel in body and soul,
Thrice accurst! What care I, so he stretch
Arms to me his sole savior, love's ultimate goal,
Out of earth and men's noise -- names of 'infidel,' 'traitor,'
Cast up at him? Crown me, crown's adjudicator!"

And the Abbe uncrossed his legs,
Took snuff, a reflective pinch,
Broke silence: "The question begs
Much pondering ere I pronounce. Shall I flinch?
The love which to one and one only has reference
Seems terribly like what perhaps gains God's preference."

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