The canterbury tales, p.130
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.130

           Geoffrey Chaucer
168 Cf. Proverbs 6:34–5.

  169–73 Anselm, Meditationes I, printed in SA2 I, 610–11.

  174 Unidentified.

  176–7 Job 10:20–22.

  189 1 Samuel 2:30 (the words are not spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, but by an unnamed ‘man of God’).

  191 Job 20:25 (Vulgate version).

  193 Psalm 75:6 (Vulgate version).

  195 Deuteronomy 32:24, 33.

  198 Isaiah 14:11.

  201 Micah 7:6.

  204 Psalm 10:6 (AV 11:5).

  208 An echo of Matthew 13:42 and 25:30.

  209 Isaiah 24:9.

  210 Isaiah 66:24.

  214–15 Gregory, Moralia in Job IX.lxvi.100 (CCSL 143, p. 528, lines 24–6).

  216 Revelation 9:6.

  218 Cf. Wisdom 11:21.

  220 Cf. Psalm 106:33–4 (AV 107:33–4), but the connection is loose.

  221 Basil, Homilia in Psalmum XXVIII verse 7 (Patrologiae Cursus Completus Series Graeca, ed. J.-P. Migne (Paris, 1857–68), vol. 29, col. 298).

  227 Proverbs 11:7.

  229 Cf. Ecclesiasticus 1:17–18.

  230 Unidentified. 236–7 Ezekiel 18:24.

  238–9 Gregory, Homiliae in Hiezechielem I.xi.21 (CCSL 142, p. 178, lines 371–3).

  248 The same line of French is quoted in Chaucer’s short poem ‘Fortune’ (line 7).

  253–4 The quotation from St Bernard is unidentified. It alludes to Luke 16:2 and 21:18.

  256–9 Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo in quarta feria hebdomadae sanctae 11 (Opera, V, 64).

  261–2 Cf. Augustine, De Genesi contra Manichaeos II.11 (PL 34, cols. 204–5).

  269 Unidentified.

  274 Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo II In ramis palmarum 4 (Opera, V, 48).

  281 Isaiah 53:5.

  284 Jesus Nazarenus rex Judeorum: Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews.

  285 The etymology derives from Jerome’s Interpretation of Hebrew Names (Liber interpretationis hebraicorum nominum; CCSL 72, p. 136, line 24).

  286 Matthew 1:21.

  287 Acts 4:12 (Peter speaking to the Jewish elders).

  288 This etymology derives from Jerome’s gloss on ‘Nazareth’ (CCSL 72, p. 137, lines 24–5): ‘flos aut virgultum eius’ (‘a flower or its twig’).

  289–90 Revelation 3:20.

  302–3 Ps. Augustine, De vera et falsa poenitentia IX.24 (PL 40, col. 1121).

  304 Jonah 2:8 (AV 2:7).

  307 Psalm 96:10 (AV 97:10).

  309 Psalm 31:5 (AV 32:5). The gloss ‘I purposed fermely’ makes more sense in relation to the correct form of the biblical quotation: ‘I said, “I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord,” and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin.’

  313 Cf. Ephesians 2:3–6.

  318–19 It has been suggested that these lines confuse the ‘conditions’ of confession with the ‘circumstances’ of sin, but Wenzel, ChauR, 16 (1982), 239, gives an example of the two words used interchangeably in relation to sin.

  322 Romans 5:12.

  325–30 Genesis 3:1–7.

  331–2 For the Augustinian identification of the three stages in the process of sin – suggestion, delight and consent – with the devil, Adam and Eve respectively, see De Genesi ad Manichaeos II.14 (PL 34, cols. 206–7). Cf. Augustine, De sermone domini in monte I.xii.34 (CCSL 35, pp. 36–7).

  333 ff. Original sin is ‘the hereditary sin incurred at conception by every human being as a result of the original sinful choice of the first man, Adam’ (New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1967)). The doctrine was developed by St Paul; see Romans 5:12–19.

  336 The identification of the three types of temptation as ‘the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life’ derives from 1 John 2:16, but was a medieval commonplace (see D. R. Howard, The Three Temptations: Medieval Man in Search of the World (Princeton, NJ, 1966), ch. 2).

  342 Galatians 5:17.

  343 Based on 2 Corinthians 11:23–7.

  344 Romans 7:24.

  345–6 Jerome, Epistulae XXII.7 (CSEL 54, p. 153).

  348 James 1:14.

  349 1 John 1:8.

  351 subjeccioun: Richard de Wetheringsett’s parallel list of the stages in sinning (see next n.) has ‘suggestio diaboli’ here, and other manuscripts read ‘suggestioun’. MED (s.v. 3) cites only one other example of ‘subjeccioun’ meaning ‘suggestion’.

  355 Based on Exodus 15:9 (from the song of triumph sung by Moses and the Israelites after the destruction of the pursuing Egyptians in the crossing of the Red Sea): ‘The enemy said: I will pursue and overtake, I will divide the spoils, my soul shall have its fill: I will draw my sword, my hand shall slay them.’ A treatise by Richard of Wetheringsett (early 13th c.) interprets the ‘enemy’ (inimicus) as the devil, and applies the quotation to the various stages in the process of falling into sin (Kellogg, Chaucer, Langland, pp. 339–42). Richard’s list of the seven stages of sin corresponds closely to the six steps listed in Pars 350–54; he also uses the metaphor of the devil’s bellows which appears in Pars 351 (Wenzel, ChauR, 16 (1982), 243–5).

  358 Deadly or mortal sin incurs eternal damnation unless repented of; venial sins are less serious and do not deprive the soul of salvation.

  362 See Whiting S397.

  363 The metaphor of the leaky ship derives from Augustine; see Epistulae CCLXV.8 (CSEL 57, p. 646), Tractatus in Ioannis Evangelium XII.14 (CCSL 36, p. 129), and Enarrationes in Psalmos LXVI.7 (CCSL 39, p. 865).

  368 A free rendering of Augustine, De libero arbitrio I.xvi.34 (CCSL 29, pp. 234–5, lines 14–21).

  375 On sex as a marital ‘debt’, see WB 129–30 and n., and cf. Mch 2048, Pars 940.

  381 The preceding list of venial sins derives from a sermon In lectione apostolica, attributed to St Augustine (Sermo CIV.3, PL 39, cols. 1946–7).

  383–4 The parallel between charity consuming venial sin and a drop of water falling into a furnace has not been traced in Augustine but is found in a number of medieval writers and seems to have been something of a commonplace. For examples, see Peter Lombard, Sententiae IV.xxi.3 (PL 192, col. 896); Peter of Poitiers, Sententiae III.5 and III.25, where it is attributed to Augustine (PL 211, cols. 1055 and 1119); an anonymous Commentarium in Septem Psalmos Poenitentiales Psalm XXXI (PL 217, cols. 1007–8).

  386 Confiteor: A prayer beginning ‘confiteor domino meo’ (‘I confess to Almighty God’).

  387 On the history of the concept of the seven major sins, see M. W. Bloomfield, The Seven Deadly Sins (State College, MI, 1952; repr. 1967).

  388 The image of sin as a tree was conventional; see A. Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Medieval Art (London, 1939), pp. 63–8. The image also appears at Mch 1640–41.

  406 clappeth as a mille: Proverbial. See Cl 1200 and Whiting C276, M557.

  407 kisse pax: The Kiss of Peace, given first by the officiating priest and then passed from one member of the congregation to another, is part of the central ceremony of the Mass. In Chaucer’s day, the Kiss was not given to one’s neighbour, but to a ‘paxboard’, a wooden or metal plaque decorated with a picture of the Crucifixion or other religious subject, which was handed round in order of social rank. For examples of the violent quarrels which could occur if the order of rank was not properly observed, see E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400–1580 (New Haven, CT, 1992), pp. 126–7. Similar anxieties over precedence were felt in respect of the Offertory; see GP 450 and n.

  413 See Luke 16:19.

  414 Cf. Gregory, Homiliae in Evangelia XL.3 (CCSL 141, p. 399, lines 133–44); Gregory refers to the biblical passage alluded to in Pars 413 while condemning fine clothing in general terms, but does not say what is attributed to him here.

  424 Medieval encyclopedias (e.g., Isidore, Etymologies XII.ii.31) report that apes rejoice when the moon is new and grow progessively more miserable as it wanes. D. Biggins suggests that the image here is of an ape bent over by grief, ‘moving painfully on all fours, with its bare poster
ior conspicuously on view’ (MÆ, 33 (1964), 200–203, at p. 202). This does not explain why a female ape is specified. B. Rowland suggests that the allusion is to the period of estrus (believed to be related to the phases of the moon), when the she-ape ‘displays bright purple-red patches on her swollen hindquarters’, and ‘offers herself for copulation’ (ChauR, 2 (1967), 159–65, at p. 164).

  434 Zachariah 10:5.

  435 Matthew 21:7.

  442 Psalm 54:16 (AV 55:15).

  443 See Genesis 31 and 47:7–10. El and Hg link Pharaoh with Jacob and Laban with Joseph, but it should clearly be the other way round.

  445 castelled with papir: There is a similar reference to elaborate food-coverings made out of paper, and decorated with gold paint, in the ME poem ‘Cleanness’ (lines 1407–8). See R. W. Ackerman, JEGP, 56 (1957), 410–17.

  450 The notion of three types of divine gift derives from the Somme des vices et des vertus of Frère Lorens; see its ME translations: Dan Michel, Ayenbite of Inwit, ed. R. Morris, EETS o.s. 23 (London, 1866), pp. 23–5, and The Book of Vices and Virtues, ed. W. N. Francis, EETS o.s. 217 (London, 1942), pp. 19–21. Cf. Pard 295 and n.

  462–3 Similar ideas are expressed at WB 1109–76 (cf. esp. Pars 463 and WB 1158), and in Chaucer’s short poem, ‘Gentilesse’.

  467–8 Seneca, On Mercy I.iii.3 and I.xix.3.

  470 Cf. Gregory, Moralia in Job XXXIII.xii.25 (CCSL 143B, p. 1695, lines 119–24).

  473 Cf. Cl 995–1001.

  477 Cf. Bernard of Clairvaux, De gradibus humilitatis et superbiae I.2 (Opera, III, 17).

  484 the philosophre: R. C. Fox (NQ, 203 (1958), 523–4) suggests the source is Aristotle’s Rhetoric II.10. R. Newhauser (SA2 I, 585, n. 2) refers to two Latin translations of the Rhetoric (Aristoteles latinus 31.1–2, ed. B. Schneider (Leiden, 1978), pp. 87 and 244, and also to Boethius’s Latin translation of Aristotle’s Topics II.2 (Aristoteles latinus 5.1–3, ed. L. Minio-Paluello (Leiden, 1969), p. 33). For Augustine’s definition of envy, see n. to Phys 114–17. Both writers speak only of pain at another’s good fortune, not joy at another’s harm.

  493–4 Wenzel cites a parallel to this idea in John of Grimestone’s Preaching Book (Traditio, 30 (1974), 359, n. 27).

  502 John 12:4–6.

  504 Luke 7:39.

  515 Cf. Matthew 22:37–9, Mark 12:30–31, Luke 10:27.

  526 Matthew 5:44.

  532 The normal meanings of ‘paas’ (‘step, pace’, or ‘passage, section’) do not seem to fit here. Wenzel (ChauR, 16 (1982), 245–8) suggests that the word means ‘way, progression, process’, implying that the remedial virtues are linked stages in the process of spiritual healing, but in context the word does not seem to carry so great a burden of meaning. Perhaps it should be emended to ‘caas’, meaning ‘category’ (see MED s.v. cas 7d).

  535 Augustine, City of God XIV.15 (CCSL 48, p. 438, lines 74–5).

  536 the philosophre: Aristotle; see his De anima I.1, echoed by Seneca, On Anger II.xix.3 (see R. C. Fox, MLN, 75 (1960), 101–2, and A. V. C. Schmidt, NQ, 213 (1968), 327–8).

  539 Ecclesiastes 7:4 (AV 7:3): ‘Anger is better than laughter’.

  540 Psalm 4:5.

  551 The tree is the juniper; see Isidore, Etymologies XVII.vii.35. The Hg text ends at this point, the remainder of the manuscript having been lost. The text printed for the rest of the tale is thus based on El only.

  562 oold wratthe: The definition of hate as old wrath derives from Augustine, Sermo LVIII.vii.8 (PL 38, col. 397).

  564–79 On homicide as the product of ire, cf. Sum 2009. The section on homicide is not in William Peraldus’s Summa de vitiis (the ultimate source for the treatment of the sins in ParsT), but from Raymond of Pennaforte’s penitential treatise (see D. R. Johnson, PMLA, 57 (1942), 51–6, and cf. Hartung, in Literature and Religion, ed. Newhauser and Alford, pp. 72–3). The confusion in enumerating the six types of spiritual manslaughter on which Johnson comments is in effect the result of Robinson’s punctuation (carried over into Riverside), which fails to register that the biblical quotation in 568 is a mere parenthetical gloss on type 3. Johnson correctly notes, however, that having announced four types of manslaughter, ParsT defines three of them (by law, by necessity and by chance), but omits to say that the fourth is voluntary manslaughter, illustrated by various methods of infanticide.

  565 1 John 3:15.

  566 Cf. Proverbs 25:18.

  568 Proverbs 28:15.

  569 Gratian, Decretum I.lxxxvi.21 (Corpus Iuris Canonici, I, col. 302).

  582 Cf. Psalm 144:9 (AV 145:9).

  588–90 Exodus 20:7; Matt 5:34–7.

  591 Cf. Pard 472–5 and 629–59.

  592 Jeremiah 4:2.

  593 Ecclesiasticus 23:12.

  597 Acts 4:12.

  598 Philippians 2:10.

  599 Cf. James 2:19.

  600 Cf. Pard 631–2.

  603 The reference is to various methods of divining the future or casting spells. On scapulomancy, the practice of telling one’s fortune from the cracks in the shoulder-bone of a sheep, see Rowland, Blind Beasts, pp. 149–52.

  605 Divination by observing the flight of birds or the entrails of beasts was a common practice in Roman times. On geomancy, see n. to Kn 2045. On the gnawing of mice or rats as a bad omen, see Bächtold-Stäubli, VI, 47–8.

  608–11 The definition of lying and the distinction between the various types derive ultimately from Augustine, De mendacio V and XXV (CSEL 41, pp. 419 and 444).

  614 The saying attributed to Solomon does not appear in the Solomonic books of the Bible in this exact form, but it may be an inexact allusion to Proverbs 28:23 (cf. Mel 1705).

  617 On the phrase ‘to sing “Placebo”’, meaning ‘to flatter’, see Sum 2075 and n.

  619 Malisoun … harm: This sentence does not make good sense and is probably corrupt.

  as seyth Seint Paul: 1 Corinthians 6:10.

  623 as Crist seyth in the gospel: Matthew 5:22.

  627 after the habundance of the herte …: Matthew 12:34.

  629 Proverbs 15:4.

  630 seyth Seint Augustin: The Latin equivalent at this point in William Peraldus’s Summa is ‘Nihil est similius actibus demonum quam litigare’ (K. O. Petersen, The Sources of the Parson’s Tale (Boston, 1901; repr. New York, 1973), p. 57), which is an echo of St Augustine’s comment on the jeerers and scoffers among his fellow-students in Carthage: ‘Nihil est illo actu similius actibus daemoniorum’ (Confessions III.iii.6, CCSL 27, p. 29, line 25). Seint Paul seyth: 2 Timothy 2:24.

  631 Proverbs 27:15. Cf. WB 278–80 and n., Mel 1086.

  633 Proverbs 17:1.

  634 Colossians 3:18. Cf. WB 160–61.

  639 According to 2 Samuel 17:14, the counsel given to Absalom, the rebellious son of King David, was good, but because God wished to destroy Absalom he caused him to ignore it.

  640 The quotation does not come from the Bible, but from the Summa of William Peraldus, which is the ultimate source of this section of ParsT (see Headnote).

  642 Cf. Proverbs 6:16–19 and Ephesians 2:14–16.

  648 Cf. Matthew 12:36.

  649 Ecclesiastes 5:2 (AV 5:3).

  650 Previously unidentified, but this is quite a well-known story told of Socrates: it is found in the florilegium attributed to ‘Caecilius Balbus’ (see n. to Mel 1178), ed. E. Woelfflin, XLIII.1 (p. 33); John of Salisbury’s Policraticus V.6; the Compendiloquium of John of Wales III.iii.12 (Summa De regimine vitae humanae …, Argentorati [Strasbourg], 1518, f. cxxv, col. b); Albertano of Brescia, Liber de doctrina dicendi et tacendi V.57 (ed. Navone, p. 38); Walter Burley’s De vita et moribus philosophorum (see n. to WB 180–83), cap. XXX (ed. Knust, p. 124).

  651 Seint Paul: Ephesians 5:4.

  657 Cf. Paschasius Radbertus, Expositio in Matheo III.v.4 (CCCM 56, p. 285).

  658 The definition ‘homo est animal mansuetum natura’ is found in Boethius’s Latin translation of Aristotle’s Topics V.1, 3 (Aristoteles latinus 5.1–3, ed. Minio-Paluello, pp. 86, 95). Cf. Boethius’s trans
lation of Aristotle’s On Interpretation, 11 (Aristoteles latinus 2.1–2, ed. L. Minio-Paluello (Leiden, 1965), p. 23).

  659 In Postquam (see Headnote), this sentence is attributed to Gregory; Wenzel (Summa virtutum, ch. 4, 140; p. 159 and n. on p. 346) identifies the source as Gregory’s Homiliae in Evangelia XXXV.4 (CCSL 141, p. 324, lines 109–11).

  660 Moralium dogma philosophorum, ed. Holmberg, p. 30, lines 9–10.

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