Give me the between the lines summary of "The bishop orders his tomb at saint praxed's church" by Browning.

Expert Answers
alison3000 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This poem covers many themes that Browning was fond of such as corruption in the church. If the Bishop was religious, as he should have been, then how does he have sons? This was forbidden by the Catholic church as celibacy was required. He also does not seem to be very humble as he is concerned with the memorial that will be left to him and wants it to be better than that of 'Old Gandolf' who only has 'paltry onion-stone' which is an inferior sort of marble. The poem has a feeling of decadence that is not really appropriate.

Browning is pointing to the essential clash between religious and earthly delights 'Ready to twitch the Nymph's last garment off' as well as man's desire for riches.      


blowhard | Student

Thanks Alison. I'm an old man myself, and I'm spending hours and hours memorizing the poem for a family reading (my own pleasure). I believe the worldly bishop is 'saved' by his love for his long-dead mistress. That's about all he has going for him.... But the Shakespearian verse is BEAUTIFUL! (And unusual for Browning.) (Also I rushed out and bought some lapis lazuli earings for my own mistress (I mean 'wife')!