The Ring and the Book "Everyone Soon Or Late Comes Round By Rome"

Robert Browning

"Everyone Soon Or Late Comes Round By Rome"

Context: Count Guido Franceschini, the smooth-tongued murderer of his wife and her parents, tells the court about his family's honor and service to the church and state. Arguing that the murder was done with God's blessing, he attempts to create a favorable impression; however, as he speaks, his greed and duplicity frequently creep into his statements so that the reader more and more distrusts his defense. When he describes how his friends advised him to go to Rome in order to live off the corruption in the church, his defense reaches one of its peaks of hypocrisy: he claims that he was too honest to do such a dishonorable thing; instead, he sought a wife who had a large dowry. In effect, he says that the result of his honesty was his marriage to a girl whose "parents" had purchased her from a prostitute and who was not really an heir to the fortune he needed to redeem his family's honor and that he had the right to murder the people who had deceived him.

I waited thirty years, may it please the Court:
Saw meanwhile many a denizen o' the dung
Hop, skip, jump o'er my shoulder, make him wings
And fly aloft,–succeed, in the usual phrase.
Every one soon or late comes round by Rome:
Stand still here, you'll see all in turn succeed.
Why, look you, so and so, the physician here,
My father's lacquey's son we sent to school,
Doctored and dosed this Eminence and that,
Salved the last Pope his certain obstinate sore,
Soon bought land as became him, names it now: . . .