Canterburry tales: the priest

Geoffrey Chaucer is an English writer and poet who was born in London in the 1340s and died in 1400 in that same city. His most famous work is Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales are, with Sire Gauvain and the Green Knight (from an anonymous person) and Peter the Plowman (by William Langland), the very first great works of English literature. Here is the first tale: the priest.

canterbury tales the priest

Canterburry Tales: The Cure's Tale

Here follows the prologue of the Curé's Tale.

When the manciple had finished his tale,
the sun had declined from the south line
so low that it was no longer, in my eyes,
only at the height of twenty-nine degrees.
It was four o'clock then, according to my calculation:
because eleven feet, or hardly more nor less,
measured my shadow at this hour, in this place,
of those feet that would have divided my waist
in six equal feet in proportion.
10Besides the exaltation of the Moon,
I mean Libra, began its ascent,
as we arrived at the entrance of a hamlet;
this is why our host, who was accustomed to guiding,
as in this case, our happy company,
spoke in these terms: "Messeigneurs, each and every one,
now we only need one tale.
My decision and judgment have been executed;
I think we've heard all kinds of it.
Almost everything was done according to my order;
20i pray to god he gives good luck
to whoever will tell us this tale joyfully.
Sir priest (he said), are you curate?
or are you pastor? tell the truth, by your faith!
Whoever you are, don't interrupt our game,
because everyone here, except you, has told his tale.

Take off the buckle and show us what you have in your bag;
because really is my opinion, to your mine,
that you must know how to hatch a great story.
Tell us a tale, soon, palsambleu! "
30 Our parish priest answered him immediately:
“You will not have a fairy tale, as far as I am concerned;
for Paul, writing to Timothy,
blame those who stray from the truth
and content with fables and other nonsense.
Why would I go and sow the chaff from my hand,
when I can sow wheat, if I like it?
That's why I say that please listen
a morality and an edifying material,
and then if you want to lend me an ear,
40 I will gladly give you, in all reverence to Christ,
entertainment allowed, my best.
But know it well, I am a southerner;
I don't know how to tell a story by repeating the letters - rum, ram, ruf ;
and, God is my witness, I do not appreciate the rhyme much better;
and that is why, please, I will not use periphrases.
I will tell you a pleasant tale in prose
to end this whole party and to end it.
And may Jesus, in his goodness, send me wisdom
to show you the way, during our trip,
50 of this perfect and glorious pilgrimage
what is called the heavenly Jerusalem!
And, if you allow it, nothing more
I will start my tale, on which I beg you
to give me your opinion, I can not say better.
But nevertheless, this meditation,
I submit it to any correction
clerics, because I am not textual,
I only take the meaning, believe me.
Also I make a statement
60 that I will accept any correction. "
Thereupon we hastened to give our assent,
because, it seemed to us, it was something to do

to end with some edifying instruction,
and to give the parish priest time and audience;
and we invited our host to tell him
that we all beg him to tell his tale.
Our box spoke for all of us:
“Sir priest (he said), heaven bless you!
Say what you like and we'll be happy to listen. "
70 And to these words he added a few words like this:
"Tell us (he said) your meditation,
but hurry, the sun is about to set.
Speak fruitfully, and that in a short time,
and to do well that God gives you grace. "

Explicit Prohemium.
The Tale of the Curé.
Here begins the Tale of the Curé.

[Despite the hostel's cautious advice, the good Curé should not be in haste to tell his tale, or rather his sermon. The text of this homily in prose spans 43 pages in two very tight columns in the Student's Chaucer. Here again a summary was essential, the matter not being not new, the original existing for the most part in French, as we will see in the note. A brief analysis will therefore be found in the following pages, in which the words of the Sum French. We indicate during this analysis our feeling on the authenticity of the work, a question which does not seem to have concerned commentators much.]

State super vias and videte and interrogate de viis antiquis, quæ sit via bona; and ambulate in ea, and invenietis refrigerium animabus vestris. (Jer.)

Exordium. - The roads which lead to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the reign of glory are numerous. One of them is called Penance. It is important for any man to inquire about it. This is why the preacher will define Penance, will show how it works, and what the different kinds are. But what things are necessary for true and perfect Penance? Three things: Contrition of heart, Confession of mouth, and Satisfaction. Penance is like a tree whose root is Contrition, Confession the branches and leaves, Satisfaction the fruit.

First point. - Contrition is the pain that man feels in his heart for his sins. It must be determined by six causes: and first “the memory of sins; think indeed that children of God you became members of the devil, a scandal for Holy Church, the food of the perfidious serpent; you often fall back into evil, as the dog returns to its vomiting ”. Such reflections make man ashamed of his sin. The other causes are the feeling of being a slave to sin, the fear of hell, the remembering of good works made in vain by the misconduct which ensued or of good works which recklessly were not done; it is fitting that someone who has not done a good work, will be able to sing this recent French song: "I lost everything, my time and my labor". The fifth cause is the remembering of Our Lord's Passion for our sins, and the last is the hope of forgiveness, sanctification and eternal life. - Man must now know the modes of contrition, which will be universal and total. Repentance is not only about deeds but also about intentions; not just the facts, but also words. Contrition is accompanied by wonderful anguish, Contrition is continual, because as long as it lasts, man can hope for forgiveness to be obtained. - Contrition has finally for effect to free man from sin. “It destroys the prison of hell, it irritates and weakens the forces of the devil, restores the gifts of the Holy Spirit and all good virtues. Much wise is who wants to apply himself to these things, because in truth during all his life he will never have the courage to sin, but will dedicate his body and his Soul to the service of Jesus Christ, and will do him homage, because in truth, our sweet Lord Jesus Christ has so easy-going spared us in our follies that, if it had not had pity on the souls of men, we would all be in the case of singing a sad song. "

Second point. - The second part of Penance is Confession, which is a sign of Contrition. Confession is the act by which one truly demonstrates one's sins to the priest; really, that is to say straightforward. For this, it is necessary to know where the sins come from, how they get worse, what they are. - Causes of sin: Sin entered the world with Adam, when he broke God's command. Original sin sums up all sins in itself: “the first idea comes from the devil, if as the serpent shows; we then see the carnal pleasure, if as shown by Eve; and after that the consent of reason, if as Adam shows ”. Sin therefore has three causes: temptation of Satan, lust of the flesh, assent of reason. - How can we understand the development of sin? Having its origin in the flesh, it grows through the weakness of the man who submits to the devil. “As a sword cuts a thing in two, so consent separates a man from God. "" Sin is mortal, or venial: mortal, when one loves the creature more than Jesus Christ; venial, when we love Jesus Christ less than we owe. "Let us beware of venial sins:" A big wave of the sea sometimes comes with such great violence that it engulfs the nave. And even misfortune, it is sometimes small drops of water which produce it, when they penetrate by a thin slit in the sentine and from there to the bottom of the nave, if the sailors do not care about emptying it. »Many sins that are thought to be insignificant are dangerous: namely, to drink and eat to excess, to talk too much, not to listen kindly to the poor, to neglect fasting, to arrive late for services, to give too much affection to the poor. wife and children. The remedies for all these shortcomings are easy: it is communion, it is holy water, alms, the recitation of the Confiteor at mass, it is the blessing of bishops and priests, and many other good works. .

[Here the sermon is interrupted. The preacher - it is perhaps an orthodox zealous who wanted by a pious fraud to invest with the authority of Chaucer a particularly popular chapter of the "Sum the King" - passes without transition to the question of the Seven Deadly Sins.]

Sequitur de Septem Peccatis Mortalibus et eorum dependenciis circumstanciis et speciebus. “Now it is appropriate to say what are the mortal sins, that is to say capital, because they are called capital, because they are the leaders from which all the others come. Pride is the root from which certain branches emerge and are born, Ire, Envy, Laziness, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust. Each of these deadly sins has its branches and twigs as it appears below. "

From Superbia

From Pride are born so many branches that there is no clerk who knew how to number them. We must be content to cite a few, namely: Revolt, Boast, Hypocrisy, Repentance, Arrogance, Impudence, Insolence, Impatience, Presumption. “There are two kinds of pride, one is inside the heart, the other outside. But one is a sign of the other, as the cheerful cork of the tavern is a sign of the wine in the cellar. "Pride is found in superfluous clothing," not only the embroidery, but the fur of the coats, coats too long in truth, which trail in the mud and the garbage, so that the part which trails is lost, instead of the give to the poor, to the chagrin of these poor people ”. Pride is also seen in the insufficiency of clothing, so tight that instead of covering and veiling, they uncover and undress. "Ornamental sin is in things which concern horsemanship, such as the number of the horses of great price, and the many rascals who are fed because of them, the curious harnesses, the saddles, croupiers, chests and bridles, covered with precious and rich fabrics, bars and plates of gold and silver. What is the use of maintaining a large household where there is no profit in doing so. The table makes pride appear in the excess of meats and drinks, the excess of precious metal vessels, the abuse of music. Finally “Pride comes from the goods of nature such as health, strength, beauty of the body, a subtle spirit to find well, good memory to retain well; fortune goods such as wealth, honors, prosperity; goods of grace as science, virtuous contemplation, strength to resist temptation ”.

The remedy for Pride is humility and gentleness. “Now there are three kinds of humility, that of the heart, that of the lips, that of works. There are four kinds of humility of heart: the first when man considers himself nothing in the face of God; the second when he does not despise any other man; the third when he does not care about the contempt of others; the fourth when he does not regret his shame. Likewise there are four kinds of humility of lips and humility of works.

From Invidia.

“After Pride it is appropriate to speak of Envy which is, according to the philosopher, sorrow for the prosperity of others, and according to Saint Augustine, sorrow for the happiness of others and joy for the evil happening to others. Envy comes from Wickedness. Wickedness is of two kinds: hardness of heart and opposition to truth. "Of course Envy is the worst of sins, because while all other sins fight a particular virtue, Envie fights them all. Envy may be the sorrow caused by the prosperity of others or the joy experienced in the misfortune of others, which makes man resemble the Devil his father, who always reveled in the misfortune of men. Envy generates Backbiting, of which here is an example: “Some people praise their neighbor with bad intention, always making a corn in closing who is worthy of more blame than is worth all the praise ”. There are five ways of Backbiting. Afterwards come frequent murmurs among the servants "who, not daring to openly resist the commandments of the Lord, speak ill of him, denigrating him, and murmur in spite", then Bitterness of heart, Discord, Contempt, Accusations, Malignity.

Love for God and neighbor is the remedy for this sin. “The neighbor must be considered as a brother, since all men have the same parents according to the flesh, namely Adam and Eve, and the same spiritual father, that is to say Our Heavenly Father. »Do to others what you want them to be done to you. Do not harm your neighbor, neither in his person, nor in his goods, nor in his soul, by deceiving him by bad examples. Do not covet his wife or anything that belongs to him. Love your enemy. When he says bad things about you, pray for him; when he wrongs you, show him proofs of goodness: Did not Jesus Christ die for his enemies? “As the Devil is confused by Humility, so is he wounded to death by our love for our enemy. Certainly Love is the medicine which purges the heart of man of the venom of Envy. "

From Ira.

Anger follows Envie, because whoever envies his neighbor easily finds cause for anger against him. Saint Augustine defines anger as the desire for revenge with words or deeds. There are "two ways of Ire: one is right, the other is wrong." Righteous anger is without rancor, it is the misdeeds of men, not men themselves that provoke it. There are two bad anger: one sudden, the other calculated; one is venial, the other fatal. “Anger is pleasing to the devil, for it is the devil's furnace, heated by the fire of Hell. As no element is more powerful than fire to destroy earthly things, so Wrath is powerful to destroy all spiritual things. See how this ember fire, almost dead under the ashes, will awaken on contact with the sulfur; thus Anger will awaken, if it is touched by Pride which slumbers at the bottom of the human heart. Grudge feeds and sustains Anger. “There is a species of tree, according to Saint Isidore, which, if men make a fire and cover the flame with ash, the fire will last a year and more. So it is with resentment. From Ire are engendered Hatred, Discord, War, Homicide. Homicide is spiritual or material. There are six kinds of spiritual homicide: homicide by hatred, backbiting, bad advice, non-payment of wages, usury, refusal to give alms; and four kinds of material homicide: by judgment, necessity, recklessness, lust. Other sins are engendered by Ire: they are swear words, perjury, conspiracies of demons: "What to say, in fact, of those who believe in divinations drawn from the flight of birds, spells, dreams, a crying door, a rat which gnaws, or other similar nonsense" . But we must come to the deceptions, facilitated by lies and flattery. Should we speak of curses, reproaches, contempt of the wrathful heart? Anger inspires the traitor's bad advice, encourages man to sow discord among his fellows, to utter threats and empty words, to prolong discussions, to lavish mockery.

The remedy is this virtue which is called Mansuétude or Bénignité. Patience is another virtue of which there are four varieties which help to suffer bad words, material harm, physical harm, excessive work respectively. “One day a philosopher, wanting to chastise his disciple, looked for a stick, and when the child saw the stick, he said to his master: What are you thinking of doing? - I want to strike you, said the master, in order to amend you. - In truth, cried the child, you should begin by amending yourself, who have lost all your patience for a child's fault. - In truth, cried the master, all in tears, you are telling the truth; take the stick from me and chastise me for my impatience. From Patience comes Obedience which is perfect, when a man does whatever he has to do.

From Aggidia.

If Envy blinds the heart of man and if Anger troubles it, Sloth weighs it down. It is a mortal sin, because the Book said, Cursed be he who does the service of God carelessly. In whatever state man finds himself, Sloth is his enemy. “In the state of innocence he should labor to glorify and worship God; in the state of sin, to pray for his amendment; in the state of grace, he is bound to perform the works of penance. But Sloth suffers neither pain nor penance. To combat this sin man must accustom himself to doing good works. “Work, says Saint Bernard, gives the worker strong arms and hard muscles, Laziness weakens and irritates him. Then comes Despair engendered by excessive pain or fear. He who despairs does not hesitate before any sin, witness Judas. What does he not think of the divine mercy of which every repentant sinner may be the object, of the prodigal son, of the good thief on the cross? Drowsiness comes next, which numbs body and soul, and Negligence, "nurturer of all evil as Ignorance is its mother", and Tarditas who alienates man from God, and Tristicia which causes the death of the soul.

The called virtue Fortitudo is the remedy to be used against this sin. “It is of various kinds: Magnanimity, that is to say great courage, Magnificence, when a man completes the great works of good which he has begun, Constance or stability of courage. There are other remedies for this sin in various works, in the meditation on eternal sorrows and the joys of Paradise, in faith in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

From Avaricia.

Avarice, according to Saint Augustine, is lust of the heart for the goods of the earth. We must distinguish between greed and covetousness, “covetousness is coveting what you don't have, avarice is keeping what you have, without needing it”. "What difference is there between an idolater and a stout miser, that the idolater by adventure has only one idol or two, and the miser has several? For all the florins in his chest are idols to him. From lust comes plunder from the lords, who claim that it is justice to skin their poor men by excessive sizes and customs, saying that the serf has no temporal good which does not belong to his lord. But serfdom is not prescribed by nature, it is only the punishment for a fault. “Lords should not boast of their lordships since in their natural condition they are not lords of serfs. Think of this seed from which serfs were born, also lords were born. Serf can be saved as well as lord. The same death who takes a slave takes a lord. So I say: act with your serf as you would like your lord to do with you, if you were in such sad condition. Every sinner is a slave to sin. What about those who plunder and plunder the Church? The sword given to the knight means that he must defend the Holy Church, not steal it, and he who does so is a traitor to Christ. Then comes Losengerie (flattery, deceit) between merchants, for commerce is in two ways, one is honest, enjoined by God, the other made of perjury and lies. Simonie is "dishonest spiritual commerce, that is to say the desire to acquire what concerns the sanctuary of God and the healing of souls." Through Simony thieves are introduced into the Church to steal the souls of Jesus Christ and destroy his heritage. It is to drive out the chosen one of God and to put in his place the child of the Devil. Then come the game, the false testimonies which make it possible to rob others, spiritual theft or sacrilege.

Mercy and pity are the remedies of Avarice. We must imitate Our Lord who gave us his person. Another remedy is reasonable expenditure, and here we must give thanks for the goods we have and remember that we do not know when or how we will die, and by giving, beware of lavishness. “He who spends badly, he is like a horse seeking to drink troubled water instead of drinking water from the clear fountain. "

From Gula.

Gluttony is an inordinate appetite for food and drink. It is sin that corrupted the world as seen in the sin of Adam and Eve. He who succumbs to it cannot resist anyone else. This sin is of several kinds: Drunkenness is the burial place of human reason; when a man is drunk he loses his mind and it is a mortal sin; yet if a man is not used to strong drinks or does not know the strength of the drink, or has toiled too much, and lets himself be surprised by the drink, sin is venial. "Drunkenness causes disturbance of the mind and loss of memory." Excess of meats leads to corruption of bodily moods. »Saint Gregory distinguishes the branches of this sin in a different way: “The first is to eat before the hour, the second is to seek delicate meat and drink, the third is to overeat, the fourth is curiosity to cook and pair meats, the fifth is to eat greedily. These are the five fingers of the devil's hand, by means of which he draws men to sin. "

Abstinence is the remedy for Gluttony, says Galen; but it is not meritorious to practice it only for the health of the body. Saint Augustine wants it to be accompanied by patience. Other remedies are Temperance, Shame, Sobriety, Economy.

From Luxuria

After Gluttony comes Luxure, for these two sins are cousins. “This sin is unpleasant to God who said: Do not fornicate. Also, in the old laws, he prescribed severe penalties against this sin. A slave woman guilty of this sin died under the stick, a woman of noble birth was stoned, a bishop's daughter burned. Let's talk about Adultery first, which will be punished in Hell by fire and brimstone. This grievous sin loses the soul, consumes the body, dispels property. It robs men and women of their good reputation and all their honor. "It is the other hand of the devil with its five fingers to lead the people to villainy: the first finger is mad look, the second false touching, because whoever touches a woman takes in his fingers a snake that bites or a pitch that stains, the a third is dirty words similar to fire which devours the heart, the fourth is kisses: in truth, a fool is he who approaches the lips of a furnace, even in legitimate marriage, for one can kill oneself with his own knife or get drunk on it. drinking from his tonne. The fifth finger is the stinking sin of Paillardise. Certainly, the five fingers of Gluttony, the devil puts them in the belly of man, and with the five fingers of Paillardise he seizes him by the loins and throws him into the furnace of Hell, where he will suffer eternally by fire and the gnawing worm, and there will be weeping and moaning, extreme hunger and thirst, and the horror of the devils who will trample on it, without respite and without end. Lust is of different kinds, such as fornication between people who have no marriage bond, defloration of a virgin, adultery; and although adultery has been mentioned, it is worth coming back to it. Adultery is theft, it is violation of a sacrament, the culprit may unknowingly have business with a relative. What about the foolish women who for a little gain abandon themselves to sin, sometimes for the benefit of the husband. Adultery is Homicide, since it separates those of whom God has made one flesh. Nevertheless by the law of Jesus Christ which is the law of pity, the forgiveness of this enormous sin is granted after penance, as Jesus Christ said to the woman taken in adultery and who was to be stoned according to the law of the Jews: Go , says Our Lord to him, and no longer have the will to sin, or else no longer to commit sin. There are still other varieties of this sin: when the culprits are men of religion, demons and not angels of light, sons of Helias and children of Belial, for certainly a bad priest is enough to corrupt an entire parish, like a bull let loose is enough for an entire city; marriage can also become adultery when this sacrament is not treated honestly and kept in great reverence or when the husband and the wife are related to a certain degree; adultery, finally, is that abominable sin that can hardly be named. “This sin displeases God so much that it rained fiery fire and sulfur upon the city of Sodom and Gomorrah and melted five cities into abysses. So men must behave wisely, otherwise they can very seriously sin.

Chastity and Continence are the remedies of Lust. Chastity is in two ways, in marriage and in widowhood. Marriage is the legitimate union of the man and the woman who receive by virtue of the sacrament the bond which cannot be separated during all the life, that is to say while they both live. In order to sanctify the marriage, God attended a wedding where he changed the water into wine. Marriage erases fornication and reunites the hearts as well as the flesh of those who are husband and wife. This is true marriage. The man must behave with his wife in patience and respect: it is not from the head of Adam that God drew the woman, so that she might have dominion over him, nor from his foot so that she was beyond measure. humbled, but from Adam's rib, that she might be his companion. The wife must obey the husband, serve him honestly, be modest in appearance, have restraint and restraint in his words and conduct, and finally keep his faith as he keeps it. Because marriage has three ends, to have lineage, to reciprocally donate one's body, to avoid bawling. - Chastity is also in widowhood. Widows should be clean in heart as well as in body and mind, modest in dress, sober in food and drink, in word and deed. - Remaining a virgin is a third way of being chaste. Virginity deserves the praises of this world, it brings martyrs together, it has in itself what lips cannot say nor heart can conceive. - Other remedies are to flee the excess of table, and bad company and that no man trusts his own perfection unless he is stronger than Samson, holier than David, wiser than Solomon.

Now, after listing the Seven Deadly Sins, some of their branches and their remedies, I would, if I could, tell you about the Ten Commandments; but such a lofty doctrine I leave to theologians. Nevertheless, it pleases God that we have been touched by this treaty, all to the last.

[Here the preacher returns to his subject by a rather awkward transition, suggesting the interpolation].

From Confessione.

Now, as the second part of Penance consists of Confession of the lips, as was said in the first chapter, I say, according to Saint Augustine, that sin is any word, any act, any intention contrary to the law of Jesus - Christ, that is to say to sin by the heart, the lips, in fact, by the five senses. It is necessary to consider who you are who commits the sin, if you are man or woman, young or old, noble or serf, freed or slave, in good health or sick, married or single, in orders or not, wise or fool, cleric or secular. Another circumstance is whether the sin was committed by fornication, adultery or incest; whether it is homicide, a horrible big sin or a small one, and how long the sin continued. Another consideration is the place where one sinned, who were the accomplices, the number of times one failed, as a result of what temptations and in what manner. The man and the woman, each on his side, will say everything openly, so that the priest, who is a judge, pronounces his judgment knowingly, after contrition of the sinner. - For Confession to be profitable, four conditions are necessary; first it must be done in bitterness and heartache; which condition has five signs: shame, humility, tears, desire to speak despite felt shame, obedience to the imposed penance, each of which signs are seen in the confession of the tax collector, St. Peter and Magdalene. Another condition for Confession is that it be done quickly, for fear of sudden death. However, it should not be rushed since the recapitulation of sins requires some thought. Other conditions are as follows: Confession must be made freely, a regularly ordained priest must receive it, it must not contain any lies, and finally it must be frequent. “Once a year at least, because certainly once a year all things are renewed. "

Third and last point. - The third part of Penance is satisfaction which consists of alms and corporal punishment. Alms are of three kinds: contrition of heart, when man makes an offering of himself to God; compassion for others; gift of good spiritual and temporal advice. Man indeed needs food, clothing, refuge, charitable advice, visits when he is in prison or sick, a burial after his death. Such is alms and you will hear about it on the day of judgment. These alms you will give them according to your capacities and while hiding. - Corporal punishments are prayers, vigils, fasting, teaching of prayers. The prime prayer is the Paternoster, in which Jesus understood most of the things; in three things is this privileged prayer: Jesus Christ made it, it is short and easy to remember, it contains in itself all the others. This prayer must be said with faith, honesty and charity. Afterwards we must watch, because watch, said Jesus Christ, and pray for fear of falling into temptation. Then fasting, or fasting is of three kinds, according to whether the man abstains from meat, from rejoicings, from sins. Teaching or discipline consists in setting the example by the word, the writing, the behavior; to wear the hairshirt, to strike one's chest, to flagellate oneself, to remain on one's knees, to endure great and pitiful tribulations. Four things disturb Penance: fear, shame, hope, despair; fear of suffering; ashamed to recite one's sins; hope to live long and to deserve the mercy of Christ; despair of divine mercy and its own amendment.

Peroration. - Thus will we be able to understand what is the fruit of Penance, namely, according to the word of Jesus Christ, the eternal beatitude of heaven; there, joy has neither contrariety of unhappiness nor sorrow; there, it is the end of all the evils of the present life; there, the man's body, formerly ordained and black, is no longer shining as the sun; there the body, formerly sickly, frail and weak and mortal, is immortal and so strong and so healthy that nothing can harm it; there is neither thirst, nor hunger, nor cold, so every soul is brought to perfection by the sight and knowledge of God. This reign of beatitude, men can acquire it by poverty in spirit, this glory by humility; that abundance of joy through hunger and thirst; and the rest by the excess of their labor; and life by death and the mortification of sin.

Here the author of the book takes leave of his readers.

“Now I pray all who hear this little treatise or read it, if there is anything in it that pleases them, to thank Our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom all intelligence and goodness proceed, And if there is something in the treatise something that displeases them, I also beg them to attribute it to the fault of my ignorance, and not to my will, which would have willingly said better if I had had knowledge. Because our book says: everything that is written is written to instruct us, and that is my intention. Now therefore I humbly beg you in the name of merciful God, to pray for me, that Christ may have mercy and forgive me my sins and, namely, my translations and editions of earthly vanities, which I repudiate in my retractions: such are the book of Troilus, the book of Fame, the book of the Nineteen Ladies; the Duchess's book; the Parliament of the Birds Valentine's Book; the Canterbury Tales, insofar as they lead to sin; the book of the Lion, and many others books if I remembered them, and many a song and many a lustful lay, may Christ, in his great mercy, forgive me the sin of them! But for the translation of Boëce by Consolatione and other books by legends Saints, homilies, morality and devotion, I thank Our Lord Jesus Christ and his blessed mother and all the saints in heaven, begging them henceforth and until the end of my life, to send me the grace to mourn my sins and apply myself to the salvation of my soul; and to grant me the grace to do true penance, confession and satisfaction in this present life; by the benevolent grace of Him who is king of kings, priest above all priests, who redeemed us with the precious blood of his heart; so that I may be one of those who on the day of judgment will be saved: who cum patre, etc. "

Here ends the book of Canterbury Tales, compiled by Geoffroy Chaucer, on whose soul may Jesus Christ have mercy. Amen.