- The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church is a poem by Robert Browning.
- The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church is published in 1845 and is a dramatic monologue and it is also considered the first blank verse dramatic monologue in English literature. Moreover, Robert Browning is also considered the master of dramatic monologue.
- Dramatic Monologue is a type of poetry that is meant to read to the audience. The whole poem is narrated by a single speaker. In this type of poetry, the speaker is talking to one person however, it is meant to address the whole audience.
|The other poems like My Last Duchess, Andrea Del Sarto, Porphyria’s Lover, and Fra Lippo Lippi are all dramatic monologue (summary and analysis are available, check the links at the end of this article).|
- Robert Browning used dramatic irony to criticize the hypocrisy of materialism in religion in The Bishop orders his Tomb.
- The Bishop is on his deathbed and confronts death that religious people seek and they are also not afraid of death. However, he is also concerned about his tomb that it should be built magnificently.
- The poem The Bishop orders his Tomb is narrated by a Bishop who is on his deathbed and he can die at any time.
- A group of young men is around him, he is talking to them and addresses them as nephews.
- However, there is a hint that maybe one of them is his son, whose name is Anselm.
- He mentions a woman that he once loved and how his predecessors the Old Gandolf was envious of him for having the woman.
- He talks about the certainty of death but he also makes sure to them that they have to build his tomb at St. Praxed’s Church.
- Bishop tells young men that Old Gandolf was envied of him because of having a woman also stolen the place where he himself planned to be buried. (He has died before Bishop and is buried where Bishop wanted to be buried with precious stones).
- Now he has plans to be buried a magnificent tomb and to be bathed in luxury.
- He also discloses that he hid a precious stone Lapiz Lazuli that they should dig now.
- He advises them to bury that stone between his knees in order to make Gandolf jealous.
- However, he notices that the young men are plotting against him.
- He accuses them of waiting for his death so that they would be able to sell all his wealth and bury him in the plain tomb. The young men are waiting for his death so that they would go and steal precious stones and they also have no intention to waste money on his burial as he is expressing his wish.
- He requests them to decorate his tomb with precious stones and to chooses an epitaph that would be worthy of his legacy.
- He notices that the young men have no intentions to do as he is advising them but he blesses them all.
- In the end, he again recalls how Gandolf was jealous of his relationship with the woman that he mentioned at the beginning of the poem.
The poem shows how even religious people who all their lives advised other people to live with simplicity, collect precious things. They advise other people to not think about worldly pleasure but are involved with women and wealth. At their death bed, they are more concerned about the place of their burial or the precious things they have hidden all their lives. The poem shows the hypocrisy and corruption of the church too that Priest does not practice what they preach.
Other Robert Browning Poems Analysis and Summary: