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Robert Browning

(1812-1889 / London / England)

The Twins


Give'' and ``It-shall-be-given-unto-you.''

I.

Grand rough old Martin Luther
Bloomed fables---flowers on furze,
The better the uncouther:
Do roses stick like burrs?

II.

A beggar asked an alms
One day at an abbey-door,
Said Luther; but, seized with qualms,
The abbot replied, ``We're poor!

III.

``Poor, who had plenty once,
``When gifts fell thick as rain:
``But they give us nought, for the nonce,
``And how should we give again?''

IV.

Then the beggar, ``See your sins!
``Of old, unless I err,
``Ye had brothers for inmates, twins,
``Date and Dabitur.

V.

``While Date was in good case
``Dabitur flourished too:
``For Dabitur's lenten face
``No wonder if Date rue.

VI.

``Would ye retrieve the one?
``Try and make plump the other!
``When Date's penance is done,
``Dabitur helps his brother.

VII.

``Only, beware relapse!''
The Abbot hung his head.
This beggar might be perhaps
An angel, Luther said.

Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001
Edited: Sunday, May 13, 2001

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