The canterbury tales, p.131
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.131

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  661 seyth Crist: Cf. Matthew 5:9.

  seyth the wise man: The quotation translates part of a popular Latin couplet (Walther 16974, cf. Whiting S865). ‘Nobile vincendi genus est patientia. Vincit | qui patitur. Si vis vincere, disce pati’ (‘Patience is a noble form of conquering. He who suffers, conquers. If you wish to conquer, learn to suffer’). See also Fkl 773–8 and n., and R. Hazelton, Speculum, 35 (1960), 357–80, at pp. 367–8.

  664 Proverbs 29:9.

  670–73 The source of this anecdote has not been identified. It resembles Seneca’s story of Socrates saying to his slave, ‘I would beat you if I were not angry’ (On Anger I.xv.3), and Boethius’s story about the man who would have earned the right to call himself a philosopher by being patient under insults if he had not drawn attention to his own patience (Boece II pr.7.123–40).

  678 This Augustinian definition properly applies to envy rather than sloth (see Pars 484, and n. to Phys 114–17).

  679 The reference is probably to 2 Chronicles 19:7, rather than to any of the Solomonic books of the Bible.

  680 Jeremiah 48:10 (with ‘deceitfully’, not ‘negligently’).

  687 Cf. Revelation 3:16.

  688 Proverbs 18:9.

  690 William of Saint-Thierry, Epistola ad fratres de monte dei I.viii.23 (PL 184, col. 323).

  692 as seyth Seint Gregorye: In Quoniam, which is the source here, the saying is likewise attributed to Gregory, but the quotation has not been traced in his works.

  694 Previously unidentified, but for the idea, see Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos CXLIV.11 (CCSL 40, pp. 2096–7), and Sermo LXXXVII.8 (PL 38, col. 535).

  696 Judas hanged himself in despair after betraying Christ; see Matthew 27:5.

  700–703 Luke 15:7, 11–24; 23:42–3.

  705 Axe and have!: an echo of Matthew 7:7.

  709 Proverbs 8:17.

  710 Ignorance is called the ‘mother of errors’ and ‘nurse of vices’ in Isidore of Seville’s Synonyma de lamentatione animae peccatricis II.64 (PL 83, col. 860B–C), and the ‘mother of vice’ in John of Salisbury’s Policraticus III.1.

  712 Ecclesiastes 7:19 (AV differs).

  714 For the idea that idleness is the gate to sin, see SN 2–3 and n.

  716 Psalm 72:5 (AV 73:5).

  723 Cf. Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones super Cantica Canticorum LIV.8 (Opera, II, 107).

  725 2 Corinthians 7:10.

  731 The gloss is based on the etymology of ‘magnanimitee’: magn(us) (‘great’) and animus (‘mind’).

  739 1 Timothy 6:10. Cf. Pard 333–4 and Mel 1130, 1840.

  741 Augustine, City of God XIV.15 (CCSL 48, p. 438, lines 75–6).

  748 Ephesians 5:5.

  749 The same idea is found in Dante, Inferno XIX.112–14.

  750–51 Exodus 20:3–4.

  754–6 Augustine, City of God XIX.15 (CCSL 48, p. 682, lines 21–2), referring to Genesis 9:25–7; the text’s reference to Book IX is an error.

  759 Seneca, Moral Epistles XLVII.1.

  761–2 Cf. Seneca, Moral Epistles XLVII.10, 11, 17, compared with this passage by H. M. Ayres, RomR, 10 (1919), 1–15, at p. 4. For the idea that death makes no distinction of social rank, cf. Kn 3030 and ML 1142.

  764 Cf. Seneca, Moral Epistles XLVII.10.

  766 Genesis 9:25–7.

  768 The source here (Quoniam; see Headnote) cites Augustine at a slightly earlier point, which may be why this statement is attributed to him (Wenzel, Traditio, 30 (1974), 368, and n. in Riverside). It has not been traced.

  773 Cf. Romans 13:1.

  775–6 An allusion to Matthew 7:2, Luke 6:38.

  782 irreguler: In canon law, the term applied to those disqualified in perpetuity from receiving or exercising holy orders (Dictionnaire de droit canonique, s.v. Irrégularités, section II).

  783 See Acts 8:18–24.

  788 Damasie: Pope Damasus I (366–84). The quotation is attributed to Damasus in the Summa of William Peraldus; it occurs in Gratian, Decretum II.i.vii.27 (Corpus Iuris Canonici, I, col. 438), in a section which is attributed to ‘Pascalis papa’, but cap. 25 is attributed to ‘Damasus papa’.

  792 One would expect ‘shepherds’ rather than ‘lambs’ in the first of these two sentences; cf. John 10:12.

  793 Cf. Pard 591–4 and n.

  797 The story of Susanna, falsely accused of adultery by two elders whose sexual advances she had rejected, is related in the noncanonical part of Daniel (Daniel 13).

  801 hurtinge of holy thinges: The gloss is based on a false etymology of ‘sacrilege’: ‘sacrum laedere’ (‘to harm the holy’). The true derivation is from ‘sacrum’ and ‘legere’ (‘to gather up, steal’).

  806 Moralium dogma philosophorum, ed. Holmberg, p. 27, lines 17–18.

  819 corrumped al this world: Cf. Pard 504. For the identification of Adam’s sin as gluttony, see Sum 1915–17 and n., Pard 508–11 and n.

  820 Philippians 3:18–19. Cf. Pard 529–33.

  822 sepulture of mannes resoun: William Peraldus attributes this definition to Rabanus Maurus, while Quoniam attributes it to Ambrose (Wenzel, Traditio, 30 (1974), 370 and n. 78), but it has not been traced in either author. However, it does occur in the widely known Alexandreis of Walter of Châtillon (ed. Colker, I.171–2); cf. Pard 558–9 and n.

  828–9 Gregory, Moralia in Job XXX.xviii.60 (CCSL 143B, p. 1531, lines 64–70). Cf. SA, pp. 742–4, 749–50.

  830 The South English Legendary has a comparable (though not identical) description of temptation as the ‘five fingers of the devil’; see G. M. Sadlek, in The South English Legendary: ACritical Assessment, ed. K. P. Jankofsky (Tübingen, 1992), pp. 49–64. Cf. Pars 852–64.

  831 Galien: The Greek physician Galen was held in the highest reverence as a medical authority in the Middle Ages. The idea that over-eating was responsible for many illnesses was common; see Rawcliffe, Medicine, pp. 39–40; cf. NP 2837–41 and PPl VI.256–71.

  831–2 The source attributes this saying to (ps.) Augustine, De vera innocentia, which is a traditional title for Prosper of Aquitaine’s Sententiae, but the quotation has not been traced (Wenzel, Traditio, 27 (1971), 433–53, at p. 445 and n. 35).

  837 Exodus 20:14 (one of the Ten Commandments).

  838 Deuteronomy 22:21 (stoning) and Leviticus 21:9 (burning). The ‘old law’ stipulates that a man and a bondswoman who have had sex should be beaten, but specifies that they should not be beaten to death (Leviticus 19:20).

  839 On the flood, see Genesis 6:5–7, 17; the idea that lechery was its special cause arose from reading verses 1–4 as indicating the nature of the wickedness referred to in verse 5. For the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven, see 19:24–5.

  841 Revelation 21:8.

  842 See Genesis 2:18–25 and Matthew 19:5.

  843 Ephesians 5:32.

  844 Exodus 20:17 (the last of the Ten Commandments).

  845 seyth Seint Augustin: De sermone domini in monte I.xii.36 (CCSL 35, p. 39, lines 837–8).

  seyth Seint Mathew: Matthew 5:28.

  850 as seyth the prophete: At the corresponding point in Quoniam, the idea that lechery destroys one’s reputation is supported by quotations from Ecclesiasticus 9:10: ‘Every woman that is a harlot, shall be trodden upon as dung in the way’ (with the comment ‘that is, she will be considered vile and abominable’), and Jeremiah 2:36 (where God is addressing Israel as a harlot who has abandoned him): ‘How exceeding base art thou become’ (see Wenzel, Traditio, 30 (1974), 372).

  852–64 On the ‘five fingers of the devil’ see n. to Pars 830. The definition of the five stages in love-making (the so-called ‘gradus amoris’) was a well-known topos which appears in both erotic and religious literature; see L. J. Friedman, RPh, 19 (1965), 167–77.

  853 The basilisk is a mythical beast which figures in medieval bestiaries; it was reputedly able to kill a man with a glance (TheBestiary: A Book of Beasts, tr. T. H. White (New York, 1954), p. 168).

  854 Ecclesiasticus 26:10 and 13:1.

See n. to Mch 1839–41.

  864 For these infernal punishments, see Mark 9:44, 46, 48 (worms and fire); Matthew 13:42, 50 (wailing and fire); Job 20:25 (trampling by devils; cf. Pars 191).

  867 Apparently a rather garbled allusion to Galatians 5:19–21.

  869 The parable of the sower, whose seed brought forth varying quantities of fruit depending on where it fell (Matthew 13:8), was traditionally interpreted in terms of the varying degrees of heavenly reward allotted to chaste matrimony (thirtyfold), widowhood (sixtyfold), and virginity (a hundredfold). See, for example, Jerome, Adv. Jov. I.3.

  871 For examples of the importance of virginity in medieval thinking about sexual crimes, see C. Saunders, Rape and Ravishment in the Literature of Medieval England (Cambridge, 2001), chs. 1 and 2.

  874 The gloss renders the fanciful etymology of the word ‘adulterium’ which is given in the Summa of William Peraldus, ‘ad alterius thorum accessio’ (Wenzel, Traditio, 30 (1974), 373, n. 99).

  875–85 manye harmes: Compare the four harms listed at Ecclesiasticus 23:33 as inflicted by an adulterous woman: (1) she has not followed God’s law; (2) she has offended against her husband; (3) she has fornicated in adultery; (4) she has produced children by another man.

  879 1 Corinthians 3:17.

  880–81 Genesis 39:8–9.

  883 Cf. Pars 842 and n.

  887 Exodus 20:13–15.

  888 the olde lawe of God: Leviticus 20:10.

  889 John 8:11.

  891 hospitaliers: The Knights Hospitallers were a religious order originally established in Jerusalem around the time of the First Crusade, and dedicated to the care of the sick poor. In following centuries, the order acquired bases all over western Europe.

  895 2 Corinthians 11:14.

  897 1 Samuel 2:12.

  898 withouten juge: The biblical gloss on ‘Belial’ is ‘absque iugo’ (‘without a yoke’). Skeat (V, 471) suggested that the mistake may have arisen from confusion of OF joug (‘yoke’) with juge (‘judge’); this would imply that ParsT had a French source.

  898–9 free bole: On the medieval custom by which the lord of the manor provided a bull to range at will with the village cows and impregnate them, see G. C. Homans, RES, 14 (1938), 447–9.

  900 1 Samuel 2:13–17.

  904 Jerome, Adv. Jov. I.49.

  906 Tobit 6:17.

  907 affinitee: In canon law, the relationship between persons connected to each other by marriage (and thus prohibited from marrying each other).

  910 Sodomy was conventionally spoken of as the sin that could not be named. For a biblical allusion to it, see Romans 1:26–7.

  911 the sonne that shineth on the mixne: Proverbial. See Whiting S891, and cf. Walther 29914a.

  912–14 This list of four causes of nocturnal emission was traditional among scholastic theologians; the first two kinds were held to be sinless, unlike the third and fourth (see M. Müller, Divus Thomas [Friburgensis]: Jahrbuch für Philosophie und spekulative Theologie, 3rd series, 12 (1934), 442–97).

  916 two maneres: A third category of chastity (virginity) is mentioned at Pars 948.

  918 a ful greet sacrement: Ephesians 5:32. Cf. Mch 1319.

  919 John 2:1–11.

  920 See n. to Pars 939–40.

  921 See Augustine, De bono coniugali XX–XXI (CSEL 41, pp. 213–14), and cf. Mch 1446–52.

  922 Ephesians 5:22–32; 1 Corinthians 11:3.

  925–9 Cf. Genesis 2:22; the interpretation given here is traditional (see Kelly, Love and Marriage, pp. 40–41).

  927 For a competing appeal to ‘experience’, see WB 1 ff.

  929 Ephesians 5:25.

  930 1 Peter 3:1–4.

  931 the decree: Gratian, Decretum II.xxxiii.v.17 (Corpus Iuris Canonici, I, col. 1255).

  933 Seint Jerome: The quotation is not from St Jerome but from Cyprian, De habitu virginum XIII (CSEL 3.1, p. 197).

  Seint John: Revelation 17:4.

  934 Gregory, Homiliae in Evangelia XL.3 (CCSL 141, p. 399, lines 136–8).

  939–40 thre thinges: The three things that legitimate marital sex are traditional (see Kelly, Love and Marriage, pp. 254–61, and cf. Mch 1441–55). On sex as a marital ‘debt’, see WB 129–30 and n. The fourth reason named here (940, 943) is not counted in the ‘three things’ because it is not a legitimate one.

  941 the decree: Possibly a reference to Gratian, Decretum II.xxxiii.v.1 (Corpus Iuris Canonici, I, col. 1250), but there said of a husband, not of a wife.

  946 On the practice of a husband and wife agreeing to abstain from sex while remaining married, see D. Elliott, Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock (Princeton, NJ, 1993).

  947 An allusion to the story of the woman, traditionally identified with Mary Magdalene, who anointed Christ’s feet from a box of precious ointment (Matthew 26:7, Luke 7:36–8).

  948 For descriptions of virginity as ‘the life of angels’, see Augustine, De sancta virginitate XXIV, LIV (CSEL 41, pp. 260, 300); Sermo CXXXII.3 (PL 38, col. 736).

  951 Cf. Whiting B506.

  955 For Samson’s disastrous susceptibility to feminine charms, see nn. to WB 721–3 and Mk 2023–30. David’s lust for Bathsheba led him to bring about the death of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11:2–17). On Solomon’s lechery, see WB 35–6 and n., Mch 2298. The trio were commonly cited as evidence of a fatal weakness for women.

  956 the Ten Comandementz: Patterson (Traditio, 34 (1978), 334–40) shows that ParsT is unusual in its concentration on purely penitential material; other penitential manuals usually took the opportunity to include a variety of didactic materials, such as explanations of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the seven sacraments, and so on.

  957 … I lete to divines: Cf. Kn 1323. According to Skeat (V, 472), this sentence indicates that the speaker is a layman (i.e., Chaucer rather than the Parson); it would thus support the theory that ParsT was first composed as an independent work. A parish priest might still, however, differentiate himself from professional theologians and defer to their authority; cf. Pars 1043.

  958 The discussion of the second part of Penitence began much earlier, at Pars 316, but it was interrupted by the section on the Seven Deadly Sins and their remedies (387–955), which derives from sources other than Raymond’s Summa (see Headnote). From this point on, ParsT is again following Raymond’s work, although not its exact order: the section of his Summa corresponding to Pars 960–78 succeeds the section corresponding to Pars 982–1027 (see 1603 edition, pp. 463B–464A and 455B– 462A, respectively). Within the latter section, the passages corresponding to Pars 1025–7 are also in a different position from the one they hold in ParsT.

  959 Augustine, Contra Faustum XXII.27 (CSEL 25, p. 621).

  960–78 This account of the different ‘circumstances’ that affect assessment of the gravity of a sin follows a standard list. Raymond’s Summa (see SA2 I, 555) quotes a hexameter couplet which serves as a mnemonic: ‘Quis, quid, ubi, per quos, quotiens, cur, quomodo, quando | Quilibet observet, animae medicamina dando’ (‘Who, what, where, by means of whom, how often, why, how, when, should be considered by anyone administering medicine to the soul’); cf. Walther 25429a and 25431. ‘How’ and ‘when’ are here conflated in the seventh circumstance (976–8).

  983 Isaiah 38:15 (cf. Pars 135 and n.)

  985 Ps. Augustine, De vera et falsa poenitentia X.25 (PL 40, col. 1122).

  986 Luke 18:13.

  987 Unidentified.

  988 1 Peter 5:6.

  994 Matthew 26:75.

  996 The woman sinner who anointed Christ’s feet at dinner (Luke 7:36–8) was traditionally identified as Mary Magdalene (mentioned at Luke 8:2).

  997 obedient to the deeth: An echo of Philippians 2:8.

  1003 wikked haste dooth no profit: Cf. Mel 1054.

  1008 This principle is appealed to by the sick man in SumT (see 2095–8). According to Patterson (Traditio, 34 (1978), 366–9), there are no parallels to this advice either in Raymond’s Summa or in other penitential trea

  1015 On Judas’s despair, see n. to Pars 696. For Cain’s declaration that his crime was too great to be pardoned by God, see Genesis 4:13 (Vulgate version): ‘My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon.’

  1020 Augustine, Sermo CLXXXI.iv.5 (PL 38, col. 981).

  1026 Ps. Augustine, De vera et falsa poenitentia X.25 (PL 40, col. 1122).

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