The Canterbury Tales
: The Parson's Tale (Part Two: Seven Deadly Sins)
Sequitur de septem peccatis mortalibus et eorum
dependenciis, circumstanciis, et speciebus
§ 24 Now is it bihovely thyng to telle whiche been the sevene deedly synnes, this is to seyn, chiefaynes of synnes. Alle they renne in o lees, but in diverse manneres. Now been they cleped chieftaynes, for as muche as they been chief and spryng of alle othere synnes. Of the roote of thise sevene synnes, thanne, is Pride the general roote of alle harmes. For of this roote spryngen certein braunches, as Ire, Envye, Accidie or Slewthe, Avarice or Coveitise (to commune understondynge), Glotonye, and Lecherye. And everich of thise chief synnes hath his braunches and his twigges, as shal be declared in hire chapitres folwynge.
§ 25 And thogh so be that no man kan outrely telle the nombre of the twigges and of the harmes that cometh of pride, yet wol I shewe a partie of hem, as ye shul understonde. Ther is inobedience, avauntynge, ypocrisie, despit, arrogance, inpudence, swellynge of herte , insolence, elacioun, inpacience, strif, contumacie, presumpcioun, irreverence, pertinacie, veyne glorie, and many another twig that I kan nat declare. Inobedient is he that disobeyeth for despit to the comandementz of God, and to his sovereyns, and to his goostly fader. Avauntour is he that bosteth of the harm or of the bountee that he hath doon. Ypocrite is he that hideth to shewe hym swich as he is, and sheweth hym swich as he noght is. Despitous is he that hath desdeyn of his neighebor, that is to seyn, of his evene-cristene, or hath despit to doon that hym oghte to do. Arrogant is he that thynketh that he hath thilke bountees in hym that he hath noght, or weneth that he sholde have hem by his desertes, or elles he demeth that he be that he nys nat. Inpudent is he that for his pride hath no shame of his synnes. Swellynge of herte is whan a man rejoyseth hym of harm that he hath doon. Insolent is he that despiseth in his juggement alle othere folk, as to regard of his value, and of his konnyng , and of his spekyng, and of his beryng. Elacioun is whan he ne may neither suffre to have maister ne felawe. Inpacient is he that wol nat been ytaught ne undernome of his vice, and by strif werreieth troughe wityngly, and deffendeth his folye. Contumax is he that thurgh his indignacioun is agayns everich auctoritee or power of hem that been his sovereyns. Presumpcioun is whan a man undertaketh an emprise that hym oghte nat do, or elles that he may nat do; and this is called surquidrie. Irreverence is whan men do nat honour there as hem oghte to doon, and waiten to be reverenced. Pertinacie is whan man deffendeth his folie, and truseth to muchel to his owene wit. Veyneglorie is for to have pompe and delit in his temporeel hynesse, and glorifie hym in this worldly estaat. Janglynge is whan a man speketh to muche biforn folk, and clappeth as a mille, and taketh no keep what he seith.
§ 26 And yet is ther a privee spece of Pride, that waiteth first to be salewed er he wole salewe, al be be lasse worth than that oother is peraventure ; and eek he waiteth or desireth to sitte, or elles to goon above hym in the wey, or kisse pax, or been encensed, or goon to offryng biforn his neighebor, and swiche semblable thynges, agayns his duetee, peraventure, but that he hath his herte and his entente in swich a proud desir to be magnified and honoured biforn the peple. Now been ther two maneres of pride: that oon of hem is withinne the herte of man, and that oother is withoute. Of whiche, soothly , thise forseyde thynges, and no that I have seyd, apertenen to pride that is in the herte of man; and that othere speces of Pride been withoute. But natheles that oon of thise speces of pride is signe of that oother, right as the gaye leefsel atte taverne is signe of the wyn that is in the celer. And this is in manye thynges: as in speche and contenaunce, and in outrageous array of clothyng. For certes, if ther ne hadde be no synne in clothyng, Crist wolde nat so soone have noted and spoken of the clothyng of thilke riche man in the gospel. And as seith Seint Gregorie, that "precious clothyng is cowpable for the derthe of it, and for his softenesse, and for his strangenesse and degisynesse, and for the superfluitee, or for the inordinat scantnesse of it." Allas! may man nat seen, as in oure dayes, the synful costlewe array of clothynge, and namely in to muche superfluite, or elles in to desordinat scantnesse?
§ 27 As to the first synne, that is in superfluitee of clothynge, which that maketh it so deere, to harm of the peple; nat oonly the cost of embrowdynge, the degise endentynge or barrynge, owndynge, palynge, wyndynge or bendynge, and semblable wast of clooth in vanitee; but ther is also costlewe furrynge in hir gownes, so muche pownsonynge of chisels to maken holes, so muche daggynge of sheres; forthwith the superfluitee in lengthe of the forseide gowens, trailynge in the dong and in the mire, on horse and eek on foote, as wel of man as of womman, that al thilke trailyng is verraily as in effect wasted, consumed, thredbare, and roten with donge, rather than it is yeven to the povre, to greet damage of the forseyde povre folk. And that in sondry wise; this is to seyn that the moore that clooth is wasted, the moore moot it coste to the peple for the scarsnesse. And forther over, if so be that they wolde yeven swich pownsoned and dagged clothyng to the povre folk, it is nat convenient to were for hire estaat, ne suffisant to beete hire necessitee, to kepe hem fro the distemperance of the firmament. Upon that oother side, to speken of the horrible disordiant scantnesse of clothyng, as been thise kutted sloppes, or haynselyns, that thurgh hire shortnesse ne covere nat the shameful membres of man, to wikked entente. Allas! somme of hem shewen the boce or hir shap, and the horrible swollen membres, that semeth lik the maladie of hirnia, in the wrappynge of hir hoses; and eek the buttokes of hem faren as it were the hyndre part of a she-ape in the fulle of the moone. And mooreover, the wrecched swollen membres that they shewe thurgh disgisynge, in departynge of hire hoses in whit and reed, semeth that half hir shameful privee membres weren flayne. And if so be that they departen hire hoses in othere colours, as is whit and blak, or whit and blew, or blak and reed, and so forth, thanne semeth it, as by variaunce of colour, that half the partie of hire privee membres were corrupt by the fir of Seint Antony, or by cancre, or by oother swich meschaunce. Of the hyndre part of hir buttokes, it is ful horrible for to see. For certes, in that partie of hir body ther as they purgen hir stynkynge ordure, that foule partie shewe they to the peple prowdly in despit of honestitee, which honestitee that Jhesu Crist and his freendes observede to shewen in hir lyve. Now, as of the outrageous array of wommen, God woot that though the visages of somme of hem seme ful chaast and debonaire, yet notifie they in hire array of atyr likerousnesse and pride. I sey nat that honestitee in clothynge of man or womman is uncovenable, but certes the superfluitee or disordinat scantitee of clothynge is reprevable. Also the synne of aornement or of apparaille is in thynges that apertenen to ridynge, as in to manye delicat horses that been hoolden for delit, that been so faire, fatte, and costlewe; and also in many a vicious knave that is sustened by cause of hem, and in to curious harneys , as in sadeles, in crouperes, peytrels, and bridles coverd precious clothyng, and riche barres and plates of gold and of silver. For which God seith by Zakarie the prophete, "I wol confounde the rideres of swiche horses." This folk taken litel reward of the ridynge of Goddes sone of hevene, and of his harneys whan he rood upon the asse, and ne hadde noon oother harneys but the povre clother of his disciples; ne we ne rede nat that evere he rood on oother beest. I speke this for the synne of superfluitee, and nat for resonable honestitee, whan reson it requireth. And forther over, certes , pride is greetly notified in holdynge of greet meynee, whan they be of litel profit or of right no profit; and namely whan that meynee is felonous and damageous to the peple by hardynesse of heigh lordshipe or by wey of offices. For certes, swiche lordes sellen thanne hir lordshipe to the devel of helle, whanne they sustenen the wikkednesse of hir meynee. Or elles, whan this folk of lowe degree, as thilke that holden hostelries, sustenen the thefte of hire hostilers, and that is in many manere of deceites. Thilke manere of folk been the flyes that folwen the hony, or elles the houndes that folwen the careyne. Swich forseyde folk stranglen spiritually hir lordshipes; for which thus seith David the prophete: "wikked deeth moote come upon thilke lordshipes, and God yeve that they moote descenden into helle al doun; for in hire houses been iniquitees and shrewednesses, and nat God of hevene. And certes, but if they doon amendement, right as God yaf his benysoun to (Laban) by the service of Jacob, and to (Pharao) by the service of Joseph, right so God wol yeve his malisoun to swiche lordshipes as sustenen the wikkednesse of hir servauntz, but they come to amendement. Pride of the table appeereth eek ful ofte; for certes, riche men been cleped to festes, and povre folk been put awey and rebuked. Also in excesse of diverse metes and drynkes, and namely swich manere bake-metes and dissh-metes, brennynge of wilde fir and peynted and castelled with papir, and semblable wast, so that it is abusioun for to thynke. And eek in to greet preciousnesse of vessel and curiositee of mynstralcie, by whiche a man is stired the moore to delices of luxurie, if so be that he sette his herte the lasse upon oure lord Jhesu Crist, certeyn it is a synne; and certeinly the delices myghte been so grete in this caas that man myghte lightly falle by hem into deedly synne. the especes that sourden of pride, soothly whan they sourden of malice ymagined, avised, and forncast, or elles of usage, been deedly synnes, it is no doute. And whan they sourden by freletee unavysed, and sodeynly withdrawen ayeyn, al been they grevouse synnes, I gesse that they ne been nat deedly.
§ 28 Now myghte men axe wherof that pride sourdeth and spryngeth, and I seye, somtyme it spryngeth of the goodes of nature, and somtyme of the goodes of fortune, and somtyme of the goodes of grace. Certes, the goodes of nature stonden outher in goodes of body or in goodes of soule. Certes, goodes of body been heele of body, strengthe, delivernesse, beautee, gentrice, franchise. Goodes of nature of the soule been good wit , sharp understondynge, subtil engyn, vertu natureel, good memorie. Goodes of fortune been richesse, hyghe degrees of lordshipes, preisynges of the peple. Goodes of grace been science, power to suffre spiritueel travaille, benignitee, vertuous contemplacioun, withstondynge of temptacioun, and semblable thynges. Of whiche forseyde goodes, certes it is a ful greet folye a man to priden hym in any of hem alle. Now as for to speken of goodes of nature, God woot that somtyme we han hem in nature as muche to oure damage as to oure profit. As for to speken of heele of body, certes it passeth ful lightly, and eek it is ful ofte enchesoun of the siknesse of oure soule. For, God woot, the flessh is a ful greet enemy to the soule; and therfore, the moore that the body is hool, the moore be we in peril to falle. Eke for to pride hym in his strengthe of body, it is an heigh folye. For certes, the flessh coveiteth agayn the spirit; and ay the moore strong that the flessh is, the sorier may the soule be. And over al this, strengthe of body and worldly hardynesse causeth ful ofte many a man to peril and meschaunce . Eek for to pride hym of his gentrie is ful greet folie; for ofte tyme the gentrie of the body binymeth the gentrie of the soule; and eek we ben alle of o fader and of o mooder; and alle we been of o nature, roten and corrupt, bothe riche and povre . For sothe, o manere gentrie is for to preise, that apparailleth mannes corage with vertues and moralitees, and maketh hym Cristes child. For truste wel that over what man that synne hath maistrie, he is a verray cherl to synne. Now been ther generale signes of gentillesse, as eschewynge of vice and ribaudye and servage of synne, in word, in werk, and contenaunce; and usynge vertu, curteisye, and clennesse, and to be liberal, that is to seyn, large by mesure; for thilke that passeth mesure is folie and synne. Another is to remembre hym of bountee, that he of oother folk hath receyved. Another is to be benigne to his goode subetis; wherfore seith Senek, "ther is no thing moore covenable to a man of heigh estaat than debonairetee and pitee. And therfore thise flyes that men clepen bees, whan they maken hir kyng, they chesen oon that hath no prikke wherwith he may stynge." Another is, a man to have a noble herte and a diligent, to attayne to heighe vertuouse thynges. Now certes, a man to pride hym in the goodes of grace is eek an outrageous folie; for thilke yifte of grace that sholde have turned hym to goodnesse and to medicine, turneth hym to venym and to confusioun, as seith Seint Gregorie. Certes also, whoso prideth hym in the goodes of fortune, he is a ful greet fool; for somtyme is a man a greet lord by the morwe, that is a caytyf and a wrecche er it be nyght; and somtyme the richesse of a man is cause of his deth; somtyme the delices of a man ben cause of the grevous maladye thurgh which he dyeth. Certes, the commendacioun of the peple is somtyme ful fals and ful brotel for to triste; this day they preyse, tomorwe they blame. God woot, desir to have commendacioun eek of the peple hath caused deeth to many a bisy man.
Remedium contra peccatum Superbie
§ 29 Now sith that so is that ye han understonde what is pride, and whiche been the speces of it, and whennes pride sourdeth and spryngeth, now shul ye understonde which is The remedie agayns the synne of pride; and that is hymylitee, or mekenesse. That is a vertu thurgh which a man hath verray knoweleche of hymself, and holdeth of hymself no pris ne deyntee , as in regard of his desertes, considerynge evere his freletee. Now been ther three maneres of hymylitee: as humylitee in herte; another hymylitee is in his mouth; the thridde in his werkes. The humilitee in herte is in foure maneres. That oon is whan a man holdeth hymself as noght worth biforn God of hevene. Another is whan he ne despiseth noon oother man. The thridde is whan he rekketh nat, though men holde hym noght worth. The ferthe is whan he nys nat sory of his humiliacioun. Also the humilitee of mouth is in foure thynges: in attempree speche, and in humblesse of speche, and whan he biknoweth with his owene mouth that he is swich as hym thynketh that he is in his herte. Another is whan he preiseth the bountee of another man, and nothyng therof amenuseth. Humilitee eek in werkes is in foure maneres. The firste is whan he putteth othere men biforn hym. The seconde is to chese the loweste place over al. The thridde is gladly to assente to good conseil . The ferthe is to stonde gladly to the award of his sovereyns, or of hym that is in hyer degree. Certein, this is a greet werk of hymylitee.
Sequitur de Invidia
§ 30 After Pride wol I speken of the foule synne of Envye, which that is, as by the word of the Philosophre, "sorwe of oother mannes prosperitee"; and after the word of Seint Augustyn, it is sorwe of oother mennes wele, and joye of othere mennes harm. This foule synne is platly agayns the hooly goost. Al be it so that every synne is agayns the Hooly Goost, yet nathelees, for as muche as bountee aperteneth proprely to the Hooly Goost, and envye comth proprely of malice, therfore it is proprely agayn the bountee of the Hooly Goost. Now hath malice two speces; that is to seyn, hardnesse of herte in wikkednesse, or elles the flessh of man is so blynd that he considereth nat that he is in synne, or rekketh nat that he is in synne, which is the hardnesse of the devel. That oother spece of malice is whan a man werreyeth trouthe, whan he woot that it is trouthe; and eek whan he werreyeth the grace that God hath yeve to his neighebor; and al this is by Envye. Certes, thanne is Envye the worste synne that is. For soothly , alle othere synnes been somtyme oonly agayns o special vertu; but certes, envye is agayns alle vertues and agayns alle goodnesses. For it is sory of alle the bountees of his neighebor, and in this manere it is divers from alle othere synnes. For wel unnethe is ther any synne that it ne hath som delit in itself, save oonly envye, that evere hath in itself angwissh and sorwe. The speces of envye been thise. Ther is first, sorwe of oother mannes goodnesse and of his prosperitee; and prosperitee is kyndely matere of joye; thanne is envye a synne agayns kynde. The seconde spece of envye is joye of oother mannes harm; and that is proprely lyk to the devel, that evere rejoyseth hym of mannes harm . Of thise two speces comth bakbityng; and this synne of bakbityng or detraccion hath certeine speces, as thus. Som man preiseth his neighebor by a wikked entente; for he maketh alwey a wikked knotte atte laste ende. Alwey he maketh a but atte laste ende, that is digne of moore blame, than worth is al the preisynge. The seconde spece is that if a man be good, and dooth or seith a thing to good entente, the bakbitere wol turne al thilke goodnesse up-so-doun to his shrewed entente. The thridde is to amenuse the bountee of his neighebor. The fourthe spece of bakbityng is this, that if men speke goodnesse of a man, thanne wol the bakbitere seyn, parfey, swich a man is yet bet than he; in dispreisynge of hym that men preise. The fifte spece is this, for to consente gladly and herkne gladly to the harm that men speke of oother folk. This synne is ful greet, and ay encreesseth after the wikked entente of the bakbitere. After bakbityng cometh gruchchyng or murmuracioun; and somtyme it spryngeth of inpacience agayns god, and som-tyme agayns man. Agayn God it is, whan a man gruccheth agayn the peyne of helle, or agayns poverte, or los of catel , or agayn reyn or tempest; or elles gruccheth that shrewes han prosperitee, or elles for the goode men han adversitee. And alle thise thynges sholde man suffre paciently, for they comen by the rightful juggement and ordinaunce of God. Somtyme comth grucching of avarice; as Judas grucched agayns the Magdaleyne, whan she enoynted the heved of oure lord Jhesu Crist with hir precious oynement. This manere murmure is swich as whan man gruccheth of goodnesse that hymself dooth, or that oother folk doon of hir owene catel . Somtyme comth murmure of pride; as whan Simon the Pharisse gruchched agayn the Magdaleyne, whan she approched to Jhesu Crist, and weep at his feet for hire synnes. And somtyme grucchyng sourdeth of envye; whan men discovereth a mannes harm that was pryvee, or bereth hym on hond thyng that is fals. Murmure eek is ofte amonges servauntz that grucceh whan hir sovereyns bidden hem doon leveful thynges; and forasmuche as they dar nat openly withseye the comaundementz of hir sovereyns, yet wol they seyn harm, and grucche, and murmure prively for verray despit; whiche wordes men clepen the develes Pater noster, though so be that the devel ne hadde nevere Pater noster, but that lewed folk yeven it swich a name. Somtyme it comth of ire or prive hate, that norisseth rancour in herte, as afterward I shal declare. Thanne cometh eek bitternesse of herte, thurgh which bitternesse every good dede of his neighebor semeth to hym bitter and unsavory. Thanne cometh discord , that unbyndeth alle manere of freendshipe. Thanne comth scornynge of his neighebor, al do he never so weel. Thanne comth accusynge, as whan man seketh occasioun to anoyen his neighebor, which that is lyk the craft of the devel, that waiteth bothe nyght and day to accusen us alle. Thanne comth malignitee, thurgh which a man anoyeth his neighebor prively, if he may; and if he noght may, algate his wikked wil ne shal nat wante, as for to brennen his hous pryvely, or empoysone or sleen his beestes, and semblable thynges.
Remedium contra peccatum Invidie
§ 31 Now wol I speke of remedie agayns this foule synne of envye. First is the love of God principal, and lovyng of his neighebor as hymself; for soothly, that oon ne may nat been withoute that oother. And truste wel that in the name of thy neighebor thou shalt understonde the name of thy brother; for certes alle we have o fader flesshly, and o mooder, that is to seyn, Adam and Eve; and eek o fader espiritueel, and that is God of hevene . Thy neighebor artow holden for to love, and wilne hym alle goodnesse; and therfore seith God, love thy neighebor as thyselve, that is to seyn, to salvacioun bothe of lyf and of soule. And mooreover thou shalt love hym in word, and in benigne amonestynge and chastisynge, and conforten hym in his anoyes, and preye for hym with al thyn herte. And in dede thou shalt love hym in swich wise that thou shalt doon to hym in charitee as thou woldest that it were doon to thyn owene persone. And therfore thou ne shalt doon hym no damage in wikked word, ne harm in his body, ne in his catel, ne in his soule, by entissyng of wikked ensample . Thou shalt nat desiren his wyf, ne none of his thynges. Understoond eek that in the name of neighebor is comprehended his enemy. Certes , man shal loven his enemy, by the comandement of God, and soothly thy freend shaltow love in God. I seye, thyn enemy shaltow love for Goddes sake, by his comandement. For if it were reson that man sholde haten his enemy, for so he God nolde nat receyven us to his love that been his enemys. Agayns three manere of wronges that his enemy dooth to hym, he shal doon three thynges, as thus. Agayns hate and rancour of herte, he shal love hym in herte. Agayns chidyng and wikkede wordes, he shal preye for his enemy. Agayns the wikked dede of his enemy, he shal doon hym bountee. For Crist seith: loveth youre enemys, and preyeth for hem that speke yow harm, and eek for hem that yow chacen and pursewen, and dooth bountee to hem that yow haten. Loo, thus comaundeth us oure lord Jhesu Crist to do to oure enemys. For soothly , nature dryveyh us to loven oure freends, and parfey, oure enemys han moore nede to love that oure freendes; and they that moore nede have, certes to hem shal men doon goodnesse; and certes, in thilke dede have we remembraunce of the love of Jhesu Crist that deyde for his enemys. And in as muche as thilke love is the moore grevous to perfourne , so muche is the moore gret the merite; and therfore the lovynge of oure enemy hath confounded the venym of the devel. For right as the devel is disconfited by humylitee, right so is he wounded to the deeth by love of oure enemy. Certes, thanne is love the medicine that casteth out the venym of envye fro mannes herte. The speces of this paas shullen be moore largely declared in hir chapitres folwynge.
Sequitur de Ira
§ 32 After Envye wol I discryven the synne Ire. For soothly, whoso hath envye upon his neighebor, anon he wole comunly fynde hym a matere of wratthe, in word or in dede, agayns hym to whom he hath envye. And as wel comth Ire of Pride, as of Envye; for soothly, he that is proud or envyous is lightly wrooth.
§ 33 This synne of ire , after the discryvyng of Seint Augustyn, is wikked wil to been avenged by word, or by dede. Ire, after the philosophre, is the fervent blood of man yquyked in his herte, thurgh which he wole harm to hym that he hateth. For certes, the herte of man, by eschawfynge and moevynge of his blood, wexeth so trouble that he is out of alle juggement of resoun. But ye shal understonde that ire is in two maneres; that oon of hem is good, and that oother is wikked. The goode ire is by jalousie of goodnesse, thurgh which a man is wrooth with wikkednesse and agayns wikkednesse; and therfore seith a wys man that ire is bet than pley. This ire is with debonairetee , and it is wrooth withouten bitternesse; nat wrooth agayns the man, but wrooth with the mysdede of the man, as seith the prophete David, "irascimini et nolite peccare." Now understondeth that wikked ire is in two maneres; that is to seyn, sodeyn ire or hastif ire, withouten avisement and consentynge of resoun. The menyng and the sens of this is, that the resoun of a man ne consente nat to thilke sodeyn ire; and thanne is it venial . Another ire is ful wikked, that comth of felonie of herte avysed and cast biforn, with wikked wil to do vengeance, and therto his resoun consenteth; and soothly this is deedly synne . This ire is so displesant to God that it troubleth his hous, and chaceth the hooly goost out of mannes soule, and wasteth and destroyeth the liknesse of God, - that is to seyn, the vertu that is in mannes soule, - and put in hym the liknesse of the devel, and bynymeth the man fro God, that is his rightful lord.
§ 34 This ire is a ful greet plesaunce to the devel; for it is the develes fourneys, that is eschawfed with the fir of helle. For certes, right so as fir is moore mighty to destroyen erthely thynges than any oother element, right so ire is myghty to destroyen alle spiritueel thynges. Looke how that fir of smale gleedes, that been almost dede under asshen, wollen quike agayn whan they been touched with brymstoon; right so ire wol everemo quyken agayn, whan it is touched by the pride that is covered in mannes herte. For certes , fir ne may nat comen out of no thyng, but if it were first in the same thyng natureely, as fir is drawen out of flyntes with steel. And right so as pride is ofte tyme matere of ire, right so is rancour norice and kepere of ire. Ther is a maner tree, as seith seint Ysidre, that whan men maken fir of thilke tree, and covere the coles of with asshen, soothly the fir of it wol lasten a yeer or moore. And right so fareth it rancour; whan it is ones conceyved in the hertes of som men, certein, it wol lasten peraventure from oon estre day unto another estre day, and moore. But certes, thilke man is ful fer fro the mercy of God al thilke while.
§ 35 In this forseyde develes fourneys ther forgen three shrewes: pride, that ay bloweth and encreesseth the fir by chidynge and wikked wordes; thanne stant envye, the holdeth the hoote iren upon the herte of man with a peire of longe toonges of long rancour; and thanne stant the synne of contumelie, or strif and cheeste, and batereth and forgeth by vileyns reprevynges. Certes, this cursed synne annoyeth bothe to the man hymself and eek to his neighebor. For soothly, almoost al the harm that any man dooth to his neighebor comth of wratthe. For certes, outrageous wratthe dooth al that evere the devel hym comaundeth; for he ne spareth neigher Crist ne his sweete mooder. And in his outrageous anger and ire, allas! allas! ful many oon at that tyme feeleth in his herte ful wikkedly, bothe of Crist and eek of alle his halwes. Is nat this a cursed vice? Yis, certes. Allas! it bynymeth from man his wit and his resoun, and al his debonaire lif espiritueel that sholde kepen his soule. Certes, it bynymeth eek goddes due lordshipe, and that is mannes soule, and the love of his neighebores. It stryveth eek alday agayn trouthe. It reveth hym the quiete of his herte, and subverteth his soule.
§ 36 Of ire comen thise stynkynge 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 neighebor, in body or in catel. Of this cursed synne of ire cometh eek manslaughtre. And understonde wel that homycide, that is manslaughtre, is in diverse wise. Som manere of homycide is spiritueel, and som is bodily. Spiritueel manslaughtre is in sixe thynges. First by hate, as seith Seint John: "he that hateth his brother is an homycide." Homycide is eek by babkbitynge, of whiche bakbiteres seith Salomon that "they han two swerdes with whiche they sleen hire neighebores. For soothly, as wikke is to bynyme his good name as his lyf. Homycide is eek in yevynge of wikked conseil by fraude; as for to yeven conseil to areysen wrongful custumes and taillages. Of whiche seith Salomon: "leon rorynge and bere hongry been like to the crueel lordshipes" in witholdynge or abreggynge of the shepe (or the hyre), or of the wages of sevauntz, or elles in usure, or in withdrawynge of the almesse of povre folk. For which the wise man seith, fedeth hym that almoost dyeth for honger; for soothly, but if thow feede hym, thou sleest hym; and alle thise been deedly synnes. Bodily manslaughtre is, whan thow sleest him with thy tonge in oother manere; as whan thou comandest to sleen a man, or elles yevest hym conseil to sleen a man. Manslaughtre in dede is in foure maneres. That oon is by lawe, right as a justice dampneth hym 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 kepynge of rightwisnesse. Another homycide is that is doon for necessitee, as whan o man sleeth another is his defendaunt, and that he ne may noon ootherwise escape from his owene deeth. But certeinly if he may escape withouten slaughtre of his adversarie, and sleeth hym, he dooth synne and he shal bere penance as for deedly synne. Eek if a man, by caas or aventure, shete an arwe, or caste a stoon, with which he sleeth a man, he is homycide. Eek if a womman by necligence overlyeth hire child in hir slepyng, it is homycide and deedly synne. Eek whan man destourbeth concepcioun of a child, and maketh a womman outher bareyne by drynkynge venenouse herbes thurgh which she may nat conceyve, or sleeth a child by drynkes wilfully, or elles putteth certeine material thynges in hire secree places to slee the child, or elles dooth unkyndely synne, by which man or womman shedeth hire nature in manere or in place ther as a child may nat be conceived, or elles if a woman have conceyved, and hurt hirself and sleeth the child, yet is it homycide. What seye we eek of wommen that mordren hir children for drede of worldly shame? Certes, an horrible homicide. Homycide is eek if a man approcheth to a womman by desir of lecherie, thurgh which the child is perissed, or elles smyteth a womman wityngly, thurgh which she leseth hir child. Alle thise been homycides and horrible deedly synnes. Yet comen ther of ire manye mo synnes, as wel in word as in thoght and in dede; as he that arretteth upon God, or blameth God of thyng of which he is hymself gilty, or despiseth God and alle his halwes, as doon thise cursede hasardours in diverse contrees. This cursed synne doon they, whan they feelen in hir herte ful wikkedly of God and of his halwes. Also whan they treten unreverently the sacrement of the auter, thilke synne is so greet that unnethe may it been releessed, but that the mercy of God passeth alle his werkes; it is so greet, and he so benigne. Thanne comth of ire attry angre. Whan a man is sharply amonested in his shrifte to forleten his synne, thanne wole he be angry, and answeren hokerly and angrily, and deffenden or excusen his synne by unstedefastnesse of his flessh; or elles he dide it for to holde compaignye with his felawes; or elles, he seith, the feend enticed hym; or elles he dide it for his youthe; or elles his compleccioun is so corageous that he may nat forbere; or elles it is his destinee, as he seith, unto a certein age; or eles, he seith, it cometh hym of gentillesse of his auncestres; and semblable thynges. Alle thise manere of folk so wrappen hem in hir synnes that they ne wol nat delivere hemself. For soothly, no wight that excuseth hym wilfully of his synne may nat been delivered of his synne, til that he mekely biknoweth his synne. After this, thanne cometh sweryng, that is expres agayn the comandement of God; and this bifalleth ofte of anger and of ire. God seith: "thow shalt nat take the name of thy lord God in veyn or in ydel." Also oure lord Jhesu Crist weith, by the word of Seint Mathew, "ne wol ye nat swere in alle manere; 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 kyng; ne by thyn heed, for thou 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 yvel ," - thus seith crist. For Cristes sake, ne swereth nat so synfully in dismembrynge of Crist by soule, herte, bones, and body. For certes, it semeth that ye thynke that the cursede jewes ne dismembred nat ynough the preciouse persone of Crist, but ye dismembre hym moore. And if so be that the lawe compelle yow to swere, thanne rule yow after the lawe of God in youre sweriyng, as seith Jeremye, quarto capitulo: "thou shalt kepe three condicions: thou shalt swere "in trouthe, in doom, and in rightwisnesse." This is to seyn, thou shalt swere sooth; for every lesynge is agayns Crist. For Crist is verray trouthe . And thynk wel this, that "every greet swerere nat compedded lawefully to swere, the wounde shal nat departe from his hous" whil he useth swich unleveful swerying. Thou shalt sweren eek in doom, whan thou art constreyned by thy domesman to witnessen the trouthe. Eek thow shalt nat swere for envye, ne for favour, ne for meede, but for rightwisnesse, for declaracioun of it, to the worshipe of God and helpyng of thyne evene-cristene. And therefore every man that taketh goodes name in ydel, or falsly swereth with his mouth, or elles taketh on hym the name of Crist, to be called a cristen man, and lyveth agayns cristed lyvynge and his techynge, alle they taken Goddes name in ydel. Looke eek what Seint Peter seith, actuum, quarto, non est aliud nomen sub celo, etc., "ther nys noon oother name," seith Seint Peter, "under hevene yeven to men, in which they mowe be saved"; that is to seyn, but the name of Jhesu Crist. Take kep eek how precious is the name of Crist, as seith Seint Paul, ad philipenses, secundo, in nomine Jhesu, etc., "that in the name of Jhesu every knee of hevenely creatures, or erthely, or of helle sholde bowe," for it is so heigh and so worshipful that the cursede feend in helle sholde tremblen to heeren it ynempned. Thanne semeth it that men that sweren so horribly by his blessed name, that they despise it moore booldely that dide the cursede jewes, or elles the devel, that trembleth whan he heereth his name.
§ 37 Now certes, sith that sweryng, but if it be lawefully doon, is so heighly deffended, muche worse is forsweryng falsly, and yet nedelees.
§ 38 What seye we eek of hem that deliten hem in sweryng, and holden it a gentrie or a manly dede to swere grete others? 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 synne. Swerynge sodeynly withoute avysement is eek a synne. But lat us go now to thilke horrible sweryng of adjuracioun and conjuracioun, as doon thise false enchauntours or nigromanciens in bacyns ful of water, or in a bright swerd, in a cercle, or in a fir, or in a shulderboon of a sheep. I kan nat seye but that they doon cursedly and dampnably agayns Crist and al the feith of hooly chirche. What seye we of hem that bileeven on divynailes, as by flight or by noyse of briddes , or of beestes, or by sort, by nigromancie, by dremes, by chirkynge of dores, or crakkynge of houses, by gnawynge of rattes, and swich manere wrecchednesse? Certes, al this thyng is deffended by God and by hooly chirche . For which they been acursed, til they come to amendement, that on swich filthe setten hire bileeve. Charmes for woundes or maladie of men or of beestes, if they taken any effect, it may be peraventure that God suffreth it, for folk sholden yeve the moore feith and reverence to his name. Now wol I speken of lesynges, which generally is fals signyficaunce of word, in entente to deceyven his evene-cristene. Som lesynge is of which ther comth noon avantage to no wight ; and som lesynge turneth to the ese and profit of o man, and to disese and damage of another man. Another lesynge is for to saven his lyf of his catel. Another lesynge comth of delit for to lye, in which delit they wol forge a long tale, and peynten it with alle circumstaunces, where al the ground of the tale is fals. Som lesynge comth, for he wole sustene his word; and som lesynge comth of reccheleesnesse withouten avisement; and semblable thynges.
§ 39 Lat us now touche the vice of flaterynge, which ne comth nat gladly but for drede or for coveitise . Flaterye is generally wrongful preisynge. Flatereres been the develes norices, that norissen his children with milk losengerie. For sothe, Salomon seith that "flaterie is wors than detraccioun." For somtyme detraccion maketh an hauteyn man be the moore humble, for he dredeth detraccion; but certes flaterye, that maketh a man to enhauncen his herte and his contenance. Flatereres been the develes enchauntours; for they make a man to wene of hymself be lyk that he nys nat lyk. They been lyk to Judas that bitraysen a man to sellen hym to his enemy, that is to the devel. Flatereres been the develes chapelleyns, that syngen evere placebo. I rekene flaterie in the vices of ire; for ofte tyme, if o man be wrooth with another, thanne wole he flatere som wight to sustene hym in his querele.
§ 40 Speke we now of swich cursynge as comth of irous herte. Malisoun generally may be seyd every maner power of harm. Swich cursynge bireveth man fro the regne of God, as seith Seint Paul. And ofte tyme swiche cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest. And over alle thyng men oghten eschewe to cursen hir children, and yeven to the devel hire engendrure, as ferforth as in hem is. Certes, it is greet peril and greet synne.
§ 41 Lat us thanne speken of chidynge and reproche, whiche been ful grete woundes in mannes herte, for they unsowen the semes of freendshipe in mannes herte. For certes, unnethes may a man pleynly been accorded with hym that hath hym openly revyled and repreved and disclaundred. This is a ful grisly synne, as Crist seith in the gospel. And taak kep now, that he that repreveth his neighebor, outher he repreveth hym by som harm of peyne that he hath on his body, as "mesel", "croked harlot ", or by som synne that he dooth. Now if he repreve hym by harm of peyne, thanne turneth the repreve to Jhesu Crist, for peyne is sent by the rightwys sonde of God, and by his suffrance, be it meselrie, or maheym, or maladie. And if he repreve hym uncharitably of synne, as "thou holour," "thou dronkelewe harlot," and so forth, thanne aperteneth that to the rejoysynge of the devel, that evere hath joyde that men doon synne. And certes, chidynge may nat come but out of a vileyns herte. For after the habundance of the herte speketh the mouth ful ofte. And ye shul understonde that looke, by the wey, whan any man shal chastise another, that he be war from chidynge or reprevynge. For trewely, but he be war, he may ful lightly quyken the fir of angre and of wratthe, which that he sholde quenche, and peraventure sleeth hym, which that he myghte chastise with benignitee. For as seith Salomon, "the amyable tonge is the tree of lyf," - that is to seyn, of lyf espiritueel; and soothly, a deslavee tonge sleeth spirites of hym that repreveth and eek of hym that is repreved. Loo, what seith Seint Augustyn: "ther is nothyng so lyk the develes child as he that ofte chideth." Seint Paul seith eek, "the servant of God bihoveth nat to chide." And how that chidynge be a vileyns thyng bitwixe alle manere folk, yet is it certes moost uncovenable bitwixe a man and his wyf; for there is nevere reste. And wherfore seith Salomon, "an hous that is uncovered and droppynge , and a chidynge wyf, been lyke." A man that is in a droppynge hous in manye places, though he eschewe the droppynge in a place, it droppeth on hym in another place. So fareth it by a chydynge wyf; but she chide hym in o place, she wol chide hym in another. And therfore, bettre is a morsel of breed with joye than an hous ful of delices with chidynge, seith Salomon. Seint Paul seith: "o ye wommen, be ye subgetes to youre housbondes as bihoveth in God, and ye men loveth youre wyves." Add colossenses, tertio.
§ 42 Afterward speke we of scornynge, which is a wikked synne, and namely whan he scorneth a man for his goode werkes. For certes, swiche scorneres faren lyk the foule tode, that may nat endure to smelle the soote savour of the vyne whanne it florissheth. Thise scorneres been partyng felawes with the devel; for they han joye whan the devel wynneth, and sorwe whan he leseth. They been adversaries of Jhesu Crist, for they haten that he loveth, that is to seyn, salvacioun of soule.
§ 43 Speke we now of wikked conseil; for he that wikked conseil yeveth is a traytour. For he deceyveth hym that trusteth in hym, ut Achitofel ad Absolonem. But nathelees , yet is his wikked conseil first agayn hymself for, as seith the wise man, "every fals lyvynge hath this propertee in hymself, that he that wole anoye another man, he anoyeth first hymself." And men shul understonde that man shal nat taker his conseil of fals folk, ne of angry folk, or grevous folk, ne of folk that lovern specially to muchel hir owene profit, ne to muche worldly folk, namely in conseilynge of soules.
§ 44 Now comth the synne of hem that sowen and maken discord amounges folk, which is a synne that Crist hateth outrely . And no wonder is; for he deyde for to make concord. And moore shame do they to Crist, than dide they that hym crucifiede; for God loveth bettre that freendshipe be amonges folk, than he dide his owene body, the which that he yaf for unitee. Therfore been they likned to the devel, that evere is aboute to maken discord.
§ 45 Now comth the synne of double tonge; swiche as speken faire byforn folk, and wikkedly bihynde; or elles they maken semblant as though they speeke of good entencioun, or elles in game and pley, and yet they speke of wikked entente.
§ 46 Now comth biwreying of conseil, thurgh which a man is defamed; certes, unnethe may be restoore the damage. Now comth manace, that is an open folye; for he that ofte manaceth, he threteth moore than he may perfourne ful ofte tyme.
§ 47 Now cometh ydel wordes, that is withouten profit of hym that speketh tho wordes, and eek of hym that herkneth tho wordes. Or elles ydel wordes been tho that been nedelees, or withouten entente of natureel profit. And al be it that ydel wordes been somtyme venial synne, yet sholde men douten hem, for we shul yeve rekenynge of hem bifore God.
§ 48 Now comth janglynge, that may nat been withoute synne. And, as seith Salomon, "it is a sygne a apert folye." And therfore a philosophre seyde, whan men axed hym how that men sholde plese the peple, and he answerde "do manye goode werkes, and spek fewe jangles."
§ 49 After this comth the synne of japeres, that been the develes apes; for they maken folk to laughe at hire japerie as folk doon at the gawdes of an ape. Swiche japes deffendeth Seint Paul. Looke how that vertuouse wordes and hooly conforten hem that travaillen in the service of Crist, right so conforten the vileyns wordes and knakkes of japeris hem that travaillen in the service of the devel. Thise been the synnes that comen of the tonge that comen of ire and of othere synnes mo.
Sequitur remedium contra peccatum Ire
§ 50 The remedie agayns ire is a vertu that men clepen mansuetude, that is debonairetee; and eek another vertu, that men callen pacience or suffrance.
§ 51 Debonairetee withdraweth and refreyneth the stirynges and the moevynges of mannes corage in his herte, in swich manere that they ne skippe nat out by angre ne by ire. Suffrance suffreth swetely alle the anoyaunces and the wronges that men doon to man outward. Seint Jerome seith thus of debonairetee, that "it dooth noon harm to no wight ne seith; ne for noon harm that men doon or seyn, he ne eschawfeth nat agayns his resoun." This vertu somtyme comth of nature; for, as seith the philosophre, a man is a quyk thyng, by nature debonaire and tretable to goodnesse; but whan debonairetee is enformed of grace, thanne is it the moore worth.
§ 52 Pacience, that is another remedie agayns ire, is a vertu that suffreth swetely every mannes goodnesse, and is nat wrooth for noon harm that is doon to hym. The philosophre seith that pacience is thilke vertu that suffreth debonairely alle the outrages of adversitee and every wikked word. This vertu maketh a man lyk to god, and maketh hym Goddes owene deere child, as seith grist. This vertu disconfiteth thyn enemy. And therfore seith the wise man, "if thow wolt venquysse thyn enemy, lerne to suffre." And thou shalt understonde that man suffreth foure manere of grevances in outward thynges, agayns the whiche foure he moot have foure manere of paciences.
§ 53 The firste grevance is of wikkede wordes. Thilke suffrede Jhesu Crist withouten grucchyng , ful paciently, whan the jewes despised and repreved hym ful ofte. Suffre thou therfore paciently; for the wise man seith, "if thou stryve with a fool, though the fool be wrooth or though he laughe, algate thou shalt have no reste." That oother grevance outward is to have damage of thy catel . Ther agayns suffred Crist ful paciently, whan he was despoyled of al that he hadde in this lyf, and that nas but his clothes. 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 outrageous labour in werkes. Wherfore I seye that folk that maken hir servantz to travaillen to grevously, or out of tyme, as on haly dayes, soothly they do greet synne. Heer-agayns suffred Crist ful paciently and taughte us pacience, whan he baar upon his blissed shulder the croys upon which he sholde suffren despitous deeth. Heere man men lerne to be pacient; for certes noght oonly Cristen men been pacient, for love of Jhesu Crist, and for gerdoun of the blisful lyf that is perdurable, but certes, the olde payens that nevere were Cristene, commendeden and useden the vertu of pacience.
§ 54 A philosophre upon a tyme, that wolde have beten his disciple for his grete trespas, for which he was greetly amoeved, broghte a yerde to scoure with the child; and whan this child saugh the yerde, he seyde to his maister, "what thenke ye do?" "I wol bete thee," quod the maister, "for thy correccioun." "For sothe," quod the child, "ye oghten first correcte youreself, that han lost al youre pacience for the gilt of a child." For sothe," quod the maister al wepynge, "thow seyst sooth. Have thow the yerde, my deere sone, and correcte me for myn impacience." Of pacience comth obedience, thurgh which a man is obedient to Crist and to alle hem to whiche he oghte to been obedient in Crist. And understond wel that obedience is perfit, whan that a man dooth gladly and hastily, with good herte entierly, al that he sholde do. Obedience generally is to perfourne the doctrine of God and of his sovereyns, to whiche hym oghte to ben obeisaunt in alle rightwisnesse.
Sequitur de Accidia
§ 55 After the synne of envye and of ire, now wol I speken of the synne of Accidie. For envye blyndeth the herte of a man, and ire troubleth a man, and accidie maketh hym hevy, thoghtful, and wraw. Envye and ire maken bitternesse in herte, which bitternesse is mooder of accidie, and bynymeth hym the love of alle goodnesse. Thanne is accidie the angwissh of troubled herte; and Seint Augustyn seith, "it is anoy of goodnesse and joye of harm." Certes, this is a dampnable synne; for it dooth wrong to Jhesu Crist, in as muche as it bynymeth the service that men oghte doon to Crist with alle diligence, as seith Salomon. But Accidie dooth no swich diligence. He dooth alle thyng with anoy, and with wrawnesse, slaknesse, and excusacioun, and with ydelnesse, and unlust; for which the book seith, "acursed be he that dooth the service of God necligently." Thanne is accidie enemy to everich estaat of man; for certes, the estaat of man is in three maneres. Outher it is th'estaat of innocence, as was th'estaat of Adam biforn that he fil into synne, in which estaat he was holden to wirche as in heriynge and adowrynge of God. Another estaat is the estaat of synful men, in which estaat men been holden to laboure in preiynge to God for amendement of hire synnes, and that he wole graunte hem to arysen out of hir synnes. Another estaat is th'estaat of grace; in which estaat he is holden to werkes of penitence. And certes, to alle thise thynges is accidie enemy and contrarie, for he loveth no bisynesse at al. Now certes, this foule synne, accidie, is eek a ful greet enemy to the liflode of the body; for it ne hath no purveaunce agayn temporeel necessitee; for it forsleweth and forsluggeth and destroyeth alle goodes temporeles by reccheleesnesse.
§ 56 The fourthe thyng is that accidie is lyk hem that been in the peyne of helle, by cause of hir slouthe and of hire hevynesse; for they that been dampned been so bounde that they ne may neither wel do ne wel thynke. Of accidie comth first, that a man is anoyed and encombred for to doon any goodnesse, and maketh that God hath abhomynacion of swich accidie, as seith Seint John.
§ 57 Now comth Slouthe, that wol nat suffre noon hardnesse ne no penaunce. For soothly, slouthe is so tendre and so delicaat, as seith Salomon, that he wol nat suffre noon hardnesse ne penaunce, and therfore he shendeth al that he dooth . Agayns this roten-herted synne of accidie and slouthe sholde men exercise hemself to doon goode werkes, and manly and vertuously cacchen corage wel to doon, thynkynge that oure lord Jhesu Crist quiteth every good dede, be it never so lite. Usage of labour is a greet thyng, for it maketh, as seith Seint Bernard, the laborer to have stronge armes and harde synwes; and slouthe maketh hem feble and tendre. Thanne comth drede to bigynne to werke anye goode werkes. For certes, he that is enclyned to synne, hym thynketh it is so greet an emprise for to undertake to doon werkes of goodnesse, and casteth in his herte that the circumstances of goodnesse been so grevouse and so chargeaunt for to suffre, that he dar nat undertake to do werkes of goodnesse, as seith Seint Gregorie.
§ 58 Now comth wanhope, that is despeir of the mercy of God, that comth somtyme of to muche outrageous sorwe, and somtyme of to muche drede, ymaginynge that he hath doon so muche synne that it wol nat availlen hym, though he wolde repenten hym and forsake synne; thurgh which despeir or drede he abaundoneth al his herte to every maner synne, as seith Seint Augustin. Which dampnable synne, if that it continue unto his ende, it is cleped synnyng in the Hooly Goost. This horrible synne is so perilous that he that is despeired, ther nys no felonye ne no synne that he douteth for to do; as shewed wel by Judas. Certes, aboven alle synnes thanne is this synne moost displesant to crist, and moost adversarie. Soothly, he that despeireth hym is lyk the coward champious recreant, that seith, "creant" withoute nede , Allas! akkas! bedekes us he recreant and nedelees despeired. Certes, the mercy of God is evere redy to the penitent, and is aboven alle his werkes. Allas! kan a man nat bithynke hym on the gospel of Seint Luc, 15, where as Crist seith that "as wel shal ther be joye in hevene upon a synful man that dooth penitence, as upon nynty and nyne rightful men that neden no penitence." Looke forther, in the same gospel, the joye and the feeste of the goode man that hadde lost his sone, whan his sone with repentaunce was retourned to his fader. Kan they nat remembren hem eek that, as seith Seint Luc, 23, how that the theef that was hanged bisyde Jhesu Crist, seyde "lord, remembre of me, whan thow comest into thy regne? "For sothe," seyde Crist, "I seye to thee, to-day shaltow been with me in paradys." Certes, ther is noon so horrible synne of man that it ne may in his lyf be destroyed by penitence, thurgh vertu of the passion and of the deeth of Crist. Allas! what nedeth man thanne to been despeired, sith that his mercy so redy is and large? Axe and have. Thanne cometh sompnolence, that is, sloggy slombrynge, which maketh a man be hevy and dul in body and in soule; and this synne comth of slouthe. And certes, the tyme that, by wey of resoun, men sholde nat slepe, that is by the morwe, but if ther were cause resonable. For soothly, the morwe tyde is moost covenable a man to seye his preyeres, and for to thynken on God, and for to honoure God, and to yeven almesse to the povre that first cometh in the name of Crist. Lo, what seith Salomon "whoso wolde by the morwe awaken and seke me, he shal fynde." Thanne cometh necligence, or reccheleesnesse, that rekketh of no thyng. And how that ignoraunce be mooder of alle harm, certes, necligence is the norice. Necligence ne dooth no fors, whan he shal doon a thyng, wheither he do it weel or baddely.
§ 59 Of the remedie of thise two synnes, as seith the wise man, that he that dredeth god, he spareth nat to doon that him oghte doon. And he that loveth god, he wol doon diligence to plese God by his werkes, and abaundone hymself, with al his myght, wel for to doon. Thanne comth ydelnesse, that is the yate of alle harmes. An ydel man is lyk to a place that hath no walles; the develes may entre on every syde, or sheten at hym at discovert, by temptacion on every syde. This ydelnesse is the thurrok of alle wikked and vileyns thoghtes, and of alle jangles, trufles, and of alle ordure. Certes, the hevene is yeven to hem that wol labourn, and nat to ydel folk. Eek David seith that "they ne been nat in the labour of men, ne they shul nat been whipped with men," that is to seyn, in purgatorie. Certes, thanne semeth it, they shul be tormented with the devel in helle, but if they doon penitence.
§ 60 Thanne comth the synne that men clepen tarditas, as whan a man is to laterede or tariynge, er he wole turne to God; and certes , that is a greet folie. He is lyk to hym that falleth in the dych, and wol nat arise. And this vice comth of a fals hope, that he thynketh that he shal lyve longe; but that hope faileth ful ofte.
§ 61 Thanne comth lachesse; that is he, that whan he biginneth any good werk, anon he shal forleten it and stynten; as doon they that han any wight to governe, and ne taken of hym namoore kep, anon as they fynden any contrarie or any anoy. Thise been the newe sheepherdes that leten hir sheep wityngly go renne to the wolf that is in the breres, or do no fors of hir owene governaunce . Of this comth poverte and destruccioun, bothe of spiritueel and temporeel thynges. Thanne comth a manere cooldnesse, that freseth al the herte of a man. Thanne comth devoccioun, thurgh which a man is so blent, as seith Seint Bernard, and hath swich languour in soule that he may neither rede ne singe in hooly chirche , ne heere ne thynke of no devoioun, ne travaille with his handes in no good werk, that it nys hym unsavory and al apalled. Thanne wexeth he slough and slombry, and soone wol be wrooth, and soone is enclyned to hate and to envye. Thanne comth the synne of worldly sorwe, swich as is cleped tristicia, that sleeth man, as seith Seint Paul. For certes, swich sorwe werketh to the deeth of the soule and of the body also; for therof comth that a man is anoyed of his owene lif. Wherfore swich sorwe shorteth ful ofte the lif of man, er that his tyme be come by wey of kynde.
Remedium contra peccatum Accidie
§ 62 Agayns this horrible synne of accidie, an the branches of the same, ther is a vertu that is called fortitudo or strentthe, that is an affeccioun thurgh which a man despiseth anoyouse thinges. This vertu is so myghty and so vigerous that it dar withstonde myghtily and wisely kepen hymself fro perils that been wikked, and wrastle agayn the assautes of the devel. For it enhaunceth and enforceth the soule, right as accidie abateth it and maketh it fieble. For this fortitudo may endure by long suffraunce the travailles that been covenable.
§ 63 This vertu hath manye speces; and the firste is cleped magnanimitee, that is to seyn, greet corage. For certes, ther bihoveth greet corage agains accidie, lest that it ne swolwe the soule by the synne of sorwe, or destroye it by wanhope. This vertu maketh folk to undertake harde thynges and grevouse thynges, by hir owene wil, wisely and resonably. And for as muchel as the devel fighteth agayns a man moore by queyntise and by sleighte than by strengthe, therfore men shal withstonden hym by wit and by resoun and by discrecioun. Thanne arn ther the vertues of feith and hope in God and in his seintes, to acheve and acomplice the goode werkes in the whiche he purposeth fermely to continue. Thanne comth seuretee or sikernesse; and that is whan a man ne douteth no travaille in tyme comynge of the goode werkes that a man hath bigonne. Thanne comth magnificence, that is to seyn, whan a man dooth and perfourneth grete werkes of goodnesse; and that is the ende why that men sholde do goode werkes, for in the acomplissynge of grete goode werkes lith the grete gerdoun . Thanne is ther constaunce, that is, stablenesse of corage; and this sholde been in herte by stedefast feith, and in mouth, and in berynge, and in chiere, and in dede. Eke ther been mo speciale remedies against accidie in diverse werkes, and in consideracioun of the peynes of helle and of the joyes of hevene, and in the trust of the grace of the holy goost, that wole yeve hym myght to perfourne his goode entente.
Sequitur de Avaricia
§ 64 After accidie wol I speke of avarice and of coveitise, of which synne seith Seint Paul that "the roote of alle harmes is coveitise." Ad thimotheum sexto. For soothly, whan the herte of a man is confounded in itself and troubled, and that the soule hath lost the confort of God, thanne seketh he an ydel solas of worldly thynges. Avarice, after the descripcioun of Seint Augustyn, is a likerousnesse in herte to have erthely thynges. Som oother folk seyn that avarice is for to purchacen manye erthely thynges, and no thyng yeve to hem that han nede. And understoond that avarice ne stant nat oonly in lond ne catel, but somtyme in science and in glorie, and in every manere of outrageous thyng is avarice and coveitise. And the difference bitwixe Avarice and Coveitise is this: coveitise is for to coveite swiche thynges as thou hast nat; and avarice is for to withholde and kepe swiche thynges as thou hast, withoute rightful nede. Soothly, this avarice is a synne that is ful dampnable; for al hooly writ curseth it, and speketh agayns that vice; for it dooth wrong to Jhesu Crist. For it bireveth hym the love that men to hym owen, and turneth it bakward agayns alle resoun, and maketh that the avaricious man hath moore hope in his catel than in Jhesu Crist, and dooth moore observance in kepynge of his tresor than he dooth to the service of Jhesu Crist. And therfore seith Seint Paul ad ephesios, quinto, that an avaricious man is in the thraldom of ydolatrie.
§ 65 What difference is bitwixe an ydolastre and an avaricious man, but that an ydolastre, per aventure, ne hath but o mawmet or two, and the avaricious man hath manye? For certes, every floryn in his cofre is his mawmet. And certes, the synne of mawmettrie is the firste thyng that God deffended in the ten comaundementz as bereth witnesse in exodi capitulo vicesimo . Thou shalt have no false Goddes bifore me, ne thou shalt make to thee no grave thyng. Thus is an avaricious man, that loveth his tresor biforn God, an ydolastre, thurgh this cursed synne of avarice. Of coveitise comen thise harde lordshipes, thurgh whiche men been distreyned by taylages, custumes, and cariages, moore than hire duetee or resoun is. And eek taken they of hire boonde-men amercimentz, whiche myghten moore resonably ben cleped extorcions than amercimentz. Of whiche amercimentz and raunsonynge of boonde-men somme hordes stywards seyn that it is ryghtful, for as muche as a cherl hath no temporeel thyng that it ne is his lordes, as they seyn. But certes, thise lordshipes doon wrong that bireven hire bondefolk thynges that they nevere yave hem. Augustinus, De civitate, libro nono. Sooth is that the condicioun of thraldom and the firste cause of thraldom is for synne. Genesis nono. Thus may ye seen that the gilt disserveth thraldom, but nat nature. Wherfore thise lordes ne sholde nat muche glorifien hem in hir lordshipes, sith that by natureel condicion they been nat lordes over thralles, but that thraldom comth first by the desert of synne. And forther over, ther as the lawe seith that temporeel goodes of boonde-folk been the goodes of hir lordeshipes, ye, that is for to understonde, the goodes of the emperour, to deffenden hem in hir right, but nat for to robben hem ne reven hem. And therfore seith Seneca, "thy prudence sholde lyve benignely with thy thralles." Thilke that thou clepest thy thralles been Goddes peple; for humble folk been Cristes freendes; they been contubernyal with the lord.
§ 66 Thynk eek that of swich seed as cherles spryngen, of swich seed spryngen lordes. As wel may the cherl be saved as the lord. The same deeth that taketh the cherl, swich deeth taketh the lord. Wherfore I rede, do right so with the cherl, as thou woldest that thy lord dide with thee, if thou were in his plit. Every synful man is a cherl to synne. I rede thee, certes, that thou, lord, werke in swich wise with thy cherles that they rather love thee than drede. I woot wel ther is degree above degree, as reson is; and skile is that men do hir devoir ther as it is due; but certes, extorcions and despit of youre underlynges is dampnable.
§ 67 And forther over, understoond wel that thise conquerours or tirauntz maken ful ofte thralles of hem that been born of as roial blood as been they that hem conqueren. This name of thraldom was nevere erst kowth, til that noe seyde that his sone canaan sholde be thral to his bretheren for his synne. What seye we thanne of hem that pilen and doon extorcions to hooly chirche? Certes, the swerd that men yeven first to a knyght, whan he is newe dubbed, signifieth that he sholde deffenden hooly chirche, and nat robben it ne pilen it; and whoso dooth is traitour to Crist. And, as seith Seint Augustyn, they been the develes wolves that stranglen the sheep of Jhesu Crist; and doon worse than wolves. For soothly , whan the wolf hath ful his wombe, he styntheth to strangle sheep. But soothly, the pilours and destroyours of the Godes of hooly chirche no do nat so, for they ne stynte nevere to pile.
§ 68 Now as I have seyd, sith so is that synne was first cause of thraldom, thanne is it thus, that thilke tyme that al this world was in synne, thanne was al this world in thraldom and subjeccioun. But certes, sith the time of grace cam, God ordeyned that som folk sholde be moore heigh in estaat and in degree, and som folk moore lough, and that everich sholde be served in his estaat and in his degree. And therfore in somme contrees, ther they byen thralles, whan they han turned hem to the feith, they maken hire thralles free out of thraldom. And therfore, certes , the lord oweth to his man that the man oweth to his lord. The pope calleth hymself servant of the servantz of God; but for as muche as the estaat of hooly chirche ne myghte nat han be, ne the commune profit myghte nat han be kept, ne pees and rest in erthe, but if God hadde ordeyned that som men hadde hyer degree and som men lower, therfore was sovereyntee ordeyned, to kepe and mayntene and deffenden hire underlynges or hire subgetz in resoun, as ferforth as it lith in hire power, and nat to destroyen hem ne confounde. Wherfore I seye that thilke lordes that been lyk wolves, that devouren the possessiouns or the catel of povre folk wrongfully, withouten mercy or mesure, they shul receyven, by the same mesure that they han mesured to povre folk, the mercy of Jhesu Crist, but if it be amended . Now comth deciete bitwixe marchaunt and marchant. And thow shalt understonde that marchandise is in manye maneres; that oon is bodily, and that oother is goostly; that oon is honest and leveful, and that oother is deshonest and unleveful. Of thilke bodily marchandise that is leveful and honest is this that, there as God hath ordeyned that a regne or a contree is suffisaunt to hymself, thanne is it honest and leveful that of habundaunce of this contree , that men helpe another contree that is moore needy. And therfore ther moote been marchantz to bryngen fro that o contree to that oother hire marchandises. That oother marchandise, that men haunten with fraude and trecherie and deceite, with lesynges and f