The canterbury tales, p.83
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.83

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  Certes, this cursed sinne anoyeth557 bothe to the man himself and eek to his neighebore. For soothly, almoost al the harm that any man dooth to his neighebore comth of wratthe. | For certes, outrageous558 wratthe dooth al that evere the devel him comaundeth, for he ne spareth neither Crist ne his swete moder. | And in his outrageous anger and ire, allas, allas, ful many oon at that time feleth in his herte ful wikkedly bothe of Crist559 and eek of alle hise halwes. | Is nat this a cursed vice? Yis, certes. Allas, it binimeth from man his wit, and his resoun, and al his debonaire560 lif espirituel that sholde kepen his soule. [560] | Certes, it binimeth eek Goddes due lordshipe, and that is mannes soule and the love of his neighebores. It striveth eek alday561 again trouthe; it reveth him the quiete of his herte and subverteth his soule. |

  Of ire comen thise stinkinge engendrures: first, hate, that is oold wratthe; discord, thurgh which a man forsaketh his olde freend that he hath loved ful longe; | and thanne cometh werre, and every manere of wrong that man dooth to his neighebore in body or in catel. | Of this cursed sinne of ire cometh eek manslaughtre. And understonde wel, that homicide, that is manslaughtre, is in diverse wise564: som manere of homicide565 is spirituel, and som is bodily. | Spirituel manslaughtre is in sixe thinges: first, by hate; as seyth Seint John, ‘he that hateth his brother is homicide.’ [565] | Homicide is eek by bakbitinge, of whiche bakbiteres seyth Salomon that they han two swerdes with whiche they sleen hire neighebores; for soothly, as wikke is to binime him his good name as his lif. | Homicide is eek in yevinge of wikked conseil567 by fraude, as for to yeven conseil to areisen wrongful custumes and taillages | (of whiche seyth Salomon: ‘Leoun roringe, and bere hongry, ben like to the cruel lordshipes’), in witholdinge or abregginge568 of the shepe, or the hire, or of the wages of servauntz, or elles in usure, or in withdrawinge of the almesse of povere folk. | For which the wise man seyth, ‘Fedeth him that almoost dieth for honger.’ For soothly, but if thow fede him, thow sleest him; and alle thise ben dedly sinnes. | Bodily manslaughtre is whan thow sleest him with thy tonge in oother manere, as whan thow comandest to sleen a man, or elles yevest him conseil to sleen a man. [570] | Manslaughtre in dede is in foure maneres: that oon is by lawe, right as a justice571 dampneth him that is coupable to the deeth; but lat the justice be war that he do it rightfully, and that he do it nat for delit to spille blood, but for kepinge of rightwisnesse. | Another homicide is doon for necessitee, as whan a man sleeth another in his defendaunt572, and that he ne may noon ootherwise escape from his owene deeth. | But certeinly, if he may escape withouten slaughtre of his adversarye and sleeth him, he dooth sinne, and he shal bere penance as for deedly sinne. | Eek, if a man by caas or aventure574 shete an arwe or caste a stoon with which he sleeth a man, he is homicide. | Eek, if a womman by necligence overlieth575 hire child in hir sleping, it is homicide and deedly sinne. [575] | Eek, whan man destourbeth concepcioun of a child, and maketh a womman outher576 bareine by drinkinge of venemouse herbes thurgh whiche she may nat conceive, or sleeth a child by drinkes wilfully, or elles putteth certeine material thinges in hire secree places to slee the child, | or elles dooth unkindely577 sinne by which man or womman shedeth hire nature in manere or in place theras a child may nat be conceived, or elles if a womman have conceived, and hurt hirself and sleeth the child, yet is it homicide. | What seye we eek of wommen that mordren hir children for drede of worldly shame? Certes, an horrible homicide. | Homicide is eek if a man approcheth to579 a womman by desir of lecherye thurgh which the child is perissed, or elles smiteth a womman witingly thurgh which she leseth hir child. Alle thise been homicides and horrible dedly sinnes. |

  Yet comen ther of ire manye mo sinnes, as wel in word as in thoght and in dede; as he that arretteth upon580 God or blameth God of thing of which he is himself gilty, or despiseth God and alle hise halwes, as doon thise cursede hasardours in diverse contrees. [580] | This cursede sinne doon they whan they felen in hir herte ful wikkedly of God and of hise halwes. | Also, whan they treten unreverently582 the sacrement of the auter, thilke sinne is so greet that unnethe may it ben releessed but that the mercy of God passeth alle hise werkes; it is so greet, and he so benigne. | Thanne comth of ire attry583 anger; whan a man is sharply amonested in his shrifte to forleten his sinne, | thanne wole he be angry, and answeren hokerly584 and angrily, and deffenden or excusen his sinne by unstedefastnesse of his flessh; or elles he dide it for to holde compaignye with hise felawes; or elles, he seyth, the feend enticed him; | or elles he dide it for his youthe; or elles his compleccioun585 is so corageous that he may nat forbere; or elles it is his destinee, as he seyth, unto a certein age; or elles, he seyth, it cometh him of gentillesse of hise auncestres, and semblable thinges. [585] | Alle this manere of folk so wrappen hem in hir sinnes that they ne wol nat delivere586 hemself. For soothly, no wight that excuseth him wilfully of his sinne may nat been delivered of his sinne til that he mekely biknoweth his sinne. | After this thanne cometh swering, that is expres again the comandement of God, and this bifalleth ofte of anger and of ire. | God seyth: ‘Thow shalt nat take the name of thy lord God in vein or in idel.’ Also, oure lord Jesu Crist seyth by the word of Seint Mathew: | ‘Ne wol ye nat swere in alle manere589; neither by hevene, for it is Goddes trone; ne by erthe, for it is the bench of his feet; ne by Jerusalem, for it is the citee of a greet king; ne by thin heed, for thow mayst nat make an heer whit ne blak; | but seyeth by youre word “ye, ye” and “nay, nay”, and what that is moore, it is of ivel’ – thus seyth Crist. [590] | For Cristes sake, ne swereth nat so sinfully in dismembringe of Crist, by soule, herte, bones, and body. For certes, it semeth that ye thinke that the cursede Jewes ne dismembred nat inough the preciouse persone of Crist, but ye dismembre him moore. | And if so be that the lawe compelle yow to swere, thanne rule yow after592 the lawe of God in youre swering; as seyth Jeremye, quarto capitulo, thow shalt kepe thre condicions: thou shalt swere ‘in trouthe, in doom, and in rightwisnesse’. | This is to seyn, thow shalt swere sooth, for every lesinge is agains Crist, for Crist is verray trouthe. And thinke wel this, that ‘every greet swerere nat compelled lawefully to swere, the wounde shal nat departe from his hous’ whil he useth swich unleveful593 swering. | Thow shalt sweren eek in doom, whan thow art constreined by thy domesman594 to witnessen the trouthe. | Eek thow shalt nat swere for envye, ne for favour, ne for mede595, but for rightwisnesse, for declaracioun of it to the worship of God and helping of thine evene Cristene. [595] | And therfore, every man that taketh Goddes name in idel, or falsly swereth with his mouth, or elles taketh on him the name of Crist, to be called a Cristene man, and liveth agains Cristes livinge and his techinge, alle they taken Goddes name in idel. | Looke, eek, what seyth Seint Peter, Actuum quarto597: ‘non est aliud nomen sub celo,’ etc. ‘Ther nis noon oother name’, seyth Seint Peter, ‘under hevene yeven to men, in which they mowe be saved’ – that is to seyn, but the name of Jesu Crist. | Take kepe598 eek how precious is the name of Jesu Crist; as seyth Seint Paul, ad Philipenses secundo, ‘in nomine Jesu, etc.,’ that ‘in the name of Jesu every knee, of hevenely creatures or erthely or of helle, sholden bowe’, for it is so heigh and so worshipful that the cursede feend in helle sholde tremblen to heren it ynempned. | Thanne semeth it that men that sweren so horribly by his blessed name, that they despise it moore boldely than dide the cursede Jewes, or elles the devel, that trembleth whan he hereth his name. | Now certes, sith that swering, but if it be lawefully doon, is so heighly600 deffended, muche worse is forswering falsly and yet nedelees. [600] | What seye we eek of hem that deliten hem601 in swering, and holden it a gentrye or a manly dede to swere grete othes? And what of hem that of verray usage ne cesse nat to swere grete othes, al be the cause nat worth a straw? Certes, this is horrible sinne. | Sweringe sodeinly withoute avisement602 is eek a sinne. | But lat us go now to thilke horrible swering of adjuracioun603 and conjuracioun, as doon thise false enchauntours or nigromanciens in bacins ful of water, or in a bright swerd, in a cercle, or in a fir, or in a shulder-boon of a sheep. | I kan nat se
ye but that they doon cursedly and dampnably, agains Crist and al the feith of Holy Chirche. | What seye we of hem that bileeven in divinailes605, as by flight or by noise of briddes, or of beestes, or by sort, by geomancye, by dremes, by chirkinge of dores or crakkinge of houses, by gnawinge of rattes and swich manere wrecchednesse? [605] | Certes, al this thing is deffended by God and by Holy Chirche, for which they been acursed, til they come to amendement, that on swich filthe setten hire bileve. | Charmes for woundes or maladye of men or of bestes, if they taken any effect, it may be, paraventure, that God suffreth607 it for folk sholden yeve the moore feith and reverence to his name. |

  Now wol I speken of lesinges608, which generally is fals signifi-cacioun of word, in entente to deceiven his evene Cristene. | Som lesinge is of which ther comth noon avantage to no wight, and som lesinge turneth to the ese and profit of o man, and to disese and damage of another man. | Another lesinge is for to saven his lif, or his catel610. Another lesinge comth of delit for to lie, in which delit they wol forge a long tale and peinten it with alle circumstaunces, where al the ground of the tale is fals. [610] | Som lesinge comth for he wole sustene611 his word; and som lesinge comth of reccheleesnesse withouten avisement, and semblable thinges. | Lat us now touche the vice of flateringe, which ne comth nat gladly612 but for drede or for coveitise. | Flaterye is generally wrongful preisinge. Flatereres ben the develes norices, that norissen hise children with milk of losengerye613. | For sothe Salomon seyth that flaterye is wors than detraccioun; for som time detraccioun maketh an hautein614 man be the moore humble for he dredeth detraccion, but certes, flaterye maketh a man to enhauncen his herte and his contenaunce. | Flatereres ben the develes enchauntours, for they make a man to wene of himself be615 lik that he nis nat lik. [615] | They ben lik to Judas, that bitraysed a man to sellen him to his enemy, that is to the devel. | Flatereres ben the develes chapelleins, that singen evere ‘Placebo617’. | I rekene flaterye in the vices of ire, for ofte time if o man be wrooth with another thanne wole he flatere som wight to sustene618 him in his querele. | Speke we now of swich cursinge as comth of irous herte. Malisoun619 generally may be seid every maner power of harm. Swich cursinge bireveth man fro the regne of God, as seyth Seint Paul. | And ofte time swich cursinge wrongfully retorneth again to him that curseth, as a brid that retorneth again to his owene nest. [620] | And over621 alle thing men oghten eschewe to cursen hire children, and yeven to the devel hire engendrure, as ferforth as in hem is; certes, it is greet peril and greet sinne. |

  Lat us thanne speken of chidinge and reproche, whiche ben ful grete woundes in mannes herte, for they unsowen622 the semes of frendshipe in mannes herte. | For certes, unnethes623 may a man pleinly ben accorded with him that hath him openly reviled and repreved and disclaundred. This is a ful grisly sinne, as Crist seyth in the gospel. | And taak kepe now, that he that repreveth his neighebore, outher he repreveth him by som harm of peine that he hath on his body, as ‘mesel624’, ‘croked harlot’, or by som sinne that he dooth. | Now if he repreve him by harm of peine, thanne turneth the repreve to Jesu Crist, for peine is sent by the rightwis sonde625 of God and by his suffrance, be it meselrye or maime or maladye. [625] | And if he repreve him uncharitably of sinne, as ‘thow holour626’, ‘thow dronkelewe harlot’, and so forth, thanne aperteneth that to the rejoisinge of the devel, that evere hath joye that men doon sinne. | And certes, chidinge may nat come but out of a vileins627 herte, for after the habundance of the herte speketh the mouth ful ofte. | And ye shul understonde that, looke, by any wey628, whan any man shal chastise another, that he be war from chidinge or reprevinge, for trewely, but he be war, he may ful lightly quiken the fir of angre and of wratthe, which that he sholde quenche, and paraventure sleeth him which that he mighte chastise with benignitee. | For, as seyth Salomon, ‘the amiable tonge is the tree of lif’ (that is to seyn, of lif espirituel), and soothly, a deslavee629 tonge sleeth the spirites of him that repreveth and eek of him that is repreved. | Loo, what seyth Seint Augustin: ‘Ther is nothing so lik the develes child as he that ofte chideth.’ Seint Paul seyth eek: ‘The servant of God bihoveth nat630 to chide.’ [630] | And how that631 chidinge be a vileins thing bitwixe alle manere folk, yet is it certes moost uncovenable bitwixe a man and his wif, for there is nevere reste. And therfore seyth Salomon: ‘An hous that is uncovered and droppinge, and a chidinge wif, ben like.’ | A man that is in a droppinge hous in manye places, though he eschewe the droppinge in o place, it droppeth on him in another place. So fareth it by a chidinge wif: but she chide him in o place, she wol chide him in another. | And therfore ‘bettre is a morsel of breed with joye than an hous ful of delices with chidinge’, seyth Salomon. | Seint Paul seyth, ‘O ye wommen, be ye subgetes to youre housbondes, as bihoveth in God, and ye men, loveth youre wives’ (Ad Colossenses tertio634). | Afterward speke we of scorninge, which is a wikked sinne, and namely whan he scorneth a man for hise goode werkes. [635] | For certes, swiche scorneres faren lik the foule tode636, that may nat endure to smelle the soote savour of the vine whanne it florissheth. | Thise scorneres ben parting-felawes637 with the devel, for they han joye whan the devel winneth, and sorwe whan he leseth. | They ben adversaries of Jesu Crist, for they haten that he loveth – that is to seyn, savacioun of soule. | Speke we now of wikked conseil, for he that wikked conseil yeveth is a traitour, for he deceiveth him that trusteth in him, ut Achitofel ad Absolonem639. But nathelees, yet is his wikked conseil first again himself. | For, as seyth the wise man, ‘every fals livinge640 hath this propretee in himself, that he that wole anoye another man, he anoyeth first himself.’ [640] | And men shul understonde that man shal nat taken his conseil of fals folk, ne of angry folk, or grevous641 folk, ne of folk that loven specially to muchel hir owene profit, ne to muche worldly folk, namely in conseilinge of soules. |

  Now comth the sinne of hem that sowen and maken discord amonges folk, which is a sinne that Crist hateth outrely642; and no wonder is, for he deide for to make concord. | And moore shame do they to Crist than dide they that him crucifiede; for God loveth bettre that frendshipe be amonges folk than he dide his owene body, the which that he yaf for unitee. Therfore ben they likned to the devel, that evere is aboute to maken643 discord. | Now comth the sinne of double tonge, swiche as speken faire biforn folk and wikkedly bihinde; or elles they maken semblant644 as though they speke of good entencioun, or elles in game and pley, and yet they speke of wikked entente. | Now comth biwreying645 of conseil, thurgh which a man is defamed; certes, unnethe may he restore the damage. [645] | Now comth manace, that is an open folye; for he that ofte manaceth, he threteth646 moore than he may perfourne ful ofte time. | Now cometh idel647 wordes; that is, withouten profit of him that speketh tho wordes, and eek of him that herkneth tho wordes. Or elles, idel wordes ben tho that ben nedelees, or withouten entente of naturel profit. | And al be it that idel wordes ben som time venial sinne, yet sholde men douten hem, for we shul yeve rekeninge of hem bifore God. | Now comth jangling649, that may nat ben withoute sinne. And, as seyth Salomon, it is a signe of apert folye. | And therfore a philosophre seide, whan men axed him how that men sholde plese the peple, and he answerde, ‘Do manye goode werkes, and spek fewe jangles.’ [650] | After this comth the sinne of japeres651, that ben the develes apes, for they maken folk to laughen at hire japerye as folk doon at the gawdes of an ape. Swiche japes deffendeth Seint Paul. | Looke how that vertuouse wordes and holy conforten652 hem that travaillen in the servise of Crist, right so conforten the vileins wordes and knakkes of japeris hem that travaillen in the service of the devel. |

  Thise ben the sinnes that comen of the tonge, that comen of ire, and of othere sinnes mo.|

  [The Remedy Against the Sin of Wrath]

  The remedye agains ire is a vertu that men clepen mansuetude654, that is debonairetee, and eek another vertu that men callen pacience or suffraunce. |

  Debonairetee withdraweth and refreineth655 the stiringes and the moevinges of mannes corage in his herte, in swich manere that they ne skippe nat out by angre ne by
ire. [655] | Suffrance suffreth swetely alle the anoyaunces and the wronges that men doon to man outward. | Seint Jerome seyth thus of debonairetee, that ‘it dooth noon harm to no wight ne seyth, ne for noon harm that men doon or seyn he ne eschawfeth nat657 agains his resoun.’ | This vertu som time comth of nature, for, as seyth the philosophre, ‘a man is a quik658 thing, by nature debonaire’ and tretable to goodnesse, but whan debonairetee is enformed of grace thanne is it the moore worth. | Pacience, that is another remedye agains ire, is a vertu that suffreth swetely every mannes goodnesse, and is nat wrooth for noon harm that is doon to him. | The philosophre seyth that pacience is thilke vertu that suffreth debonairely alle the outrages660 of adversitee and every wikked word. [660] | This vertu maketh a man lik to God, and maketh him Goddes owene deere child, as seyth Crist. This vertu disconfiteth661 thin enemy; and therfore seyth the wise man, ‘If thow wolt venquisse thin enemy, lerne to suffre.’ |

  And thow shalt understonde that man suffreth foure manere of grevances662 in outward thinges, agains the whiche foure he moot have foure manere of paciences. | The firste grevance is of wikkede wordes; thilke suffrede Jesu Crist withouten grucching, ful paciently, whan the Jewes despised and repreved663 him ful ofte. | Suffre thow therfore paciently, for the wise man seyth, ‘If thow strive with a fool, though the fool be wrooth or though he laughe, algate664 thow shalt have no reste.’ | That oother grevance outward is to have damage of thy catel665. Theragains suffred Crist ful paciently whan he was despoiled of al that he hadde in this lif, and that nas but hise clothes. [665] | The thridde grevance is a man to have harm in his body; that suffred Crist ful paciently in al his passioun. | The fourthe grevance is in outrageous667 labour in werkes. Wherfore I seye that folk that maken hir servantz to travaillen to grevously, or out of time, as on haly dayes, soothly they do greet sinne. | Heeragains668 suffred Crist ful paciently, and taughte us pacience, whan he baar upon his blissed shulder the crois upon which he sholde suffren despitous deth. |

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