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From The Tale of Melibee, paragraph 1-7:
About Melibeus, his wife Prudence, his daughter Sophie, an assault and excessive weeping
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Tale of Melibee
Paragraph 8-18
A gathering of people advising Melibeus on how to respond to the assault

§ 8        To thise forseide thynges answerde Melibeus unto his wyf Prudence: "Alle thy wordes," quod he, "been sothe, and therto profitable; but trewely myn herte is troubled with this sorwe so grevously that I noot what to doone." § 8        To these foresaid things answered Melibeus unto his wife Prudence: "All your words," said he, "are true and furthermore beneficial, but truly my heart is troubled with this sorrow so grievously that I know not what to do."
§ 9        "Lat calle," quod Prudence, "thy trewe freendes alle, and thy lynage whiche that been wise. Telleth youre cas, and herkneth what they seye in conseillyng, and yow governe after hire sentence. Salomon seith, 'werk alle thy thynges by conseil, and thou shalt never repente.'" § 9        "Have summoned," said Prudence, "all your true friends and of your family those that are wise. Tell your case, and listen what they say in advising, and govern yourself according to their advice." Salomon says 'do all your things after advice, and you shall never repent.'
§ 10        Thanne, by the conseil of his wyf Prudence, this Melibeus leet callen a greet congregacion of folk; as surgiens, phisiciens, olde folk and yonge, and somme of his olde enemys reconsiled as by hir semblaunt to his love and into his grace; and therwithal ther coomen somme of his neighebores that diden hym reverence moore for drede than for love, as it happeth ofte. Ther coomen also ful many subtille flatereres, and wise advocatz lerned in the lawe. § 10        Then, by the advice of his wife Prudence, this Melibeus had called up a great congregation of people, such as surgeons, physicians, old people and young, and some of his old enemies reconciled (as it seemed by their appearance) to his love and into his grace; and therewithal there came some of his neighbours that did him reverence more for fear than for love, as it often happens. There came also very many subtle flatterers and wise advocates learned in the law.
§ 11        And whan this folk togidre assembled weren, this Melibeus in sorweful wise shewed hem his cas. And by the manere of his speche it semed that in herte he baar a crueel ire, redy to doon vengeaunce upon his foes, and sodeynly desired that the werre sholde bigynne; but nathelees, yet axed he hire conseil upon this matiere. A surgien, by licence and assent of swiche as weren wise, up roos, and to Melibeus seyde as ye may heere: § 11        And when these people were assembled together, this Melibeus in sorrowful manner showed them his case. And by the manner of his speech it seemed that in heart he bore a cruel anger, ready to do vengeance upon his foes, and desired that the war should begin very soon; but nevertheless, yet he asked their advice upon this matter. A surgeon, by permission and assent of such as were wise, stood up and to Melibeus said as you can hear:
§ 12        "Sire," quod he, "as to us surgiens aperteneth that we do to every wight the beste that we kan, where as we been withholde, and to oure pacientz that we do no damage; wherfore it happeth many tyme and ofte that whan twey men han everich wounded oother, oon same surgien heeleth hem bothe; wherfore unto oure art it is nat pertinent to norice werre ne parties to supporte. But certes, as to the warisshynge of youre doghter, al be it so that she perilously be wounded, we shullen do so ententif bisynesse fro day to nyght that with the grace of God she shal be hool and sound as soone as is possible." § 12        "Sir," said he, "as to us surgeons it is our duty that we do to every person the best that we can, where we are employed, and to our patients that we do no damage, because of which it happens many times and often that when two men have each one wounded the other, one same surgeon heals them both; therefore unto our art it is not fitting to nourish war nor to support warring factions. But certainly, as to the curing of your daughter, although it be so that she is dangerously wounded, we shall do such diligent work from day to night that with the grace of God she shall be healthy and sound as soon as possible."
§ 13        Almoost right in the same wise the phisiciens answerden, save that they seyden a fewe woordes moore: that right as maladies been cured by hir contraries, right so shul men warisshe werre by vengeaunce. § 13        Almost in just the same way the physicians answered, except that they said a few words more: that just as maladies are cured by their contraries, just so shall men cure war by vengeance.
§ 14        His neighebores ful of envye, his feyned freendes that semeden reconsiled, and his flatereres maden semblant of wepyng, and empeireden and agreggeden muchel of this matiere in preisynge greetly Melibee of myght, of power, of richesse, and of freendes, despisynge the power of his adversaries, and seiden outrely that he anon sholde wreken hym on his foes, and bigynne werre. § 14        His neighbours full of envy, his feigned friends that seemed reconciled, and his flatterers made an outward show of weeping, and worsened and much aggravated this matter in praising greatly Melibee of might, of power, of riches, and of friends, despising the power of his adversaries, and said flatly that he immediately should avenge himself on his foes and begin war.
§ 15        Up roos thanne an advocat that was wys, by leve and by conseil of othere that were wise, and seide: "Lordynges, the nede for which we been assembled in this place is a ful hevy thyng and an heigh matiere, by cause of the wrong and of the wikkednesse that hath be doon, and eek by resoun of the grete damages that in tyme comynge been possible to fallen for this same cause, and eek by resoun of the grete richesse and power of the parties bothe; for the whiche resouns it were a ful greet peril to erren in this matiere. Wherfore, Melibeus, this is oure sentence: we conseille yow aboven alle thyng that right anon thou do thy diligence in kepynge of thy propre persone in swich a wise that thou ne wante noon espie ne wacche, thy persone for to save. And after that, we conseille that in thyn hous thou sette sufficeant garnisoun so that they may as wel thy body as thyn hous defende. But certes, for to moeve werre, ne sodeynly for to doon vengeaunce, we may nat demen in so litel tyme that it were profitable. Wherfore we axen leyser and espace to have deliberacion in this cas to deme. For the commune proverbe seith thus: 'He that soone deemeth, soone shal repente. and eek men seyn that thilke juge is wys that soone understondeth a matiere and juggeth by leyser; for al be it so that alle tariyng be anoyful, algates it is nat to repreve in yevynge of juggement ne in vengeance takyng, whan it is sufficeant and resonable. And that shewed oure lord Jhesu Crist by ensample; for whan that the womman that was taken in avowtrie was broght in his presence to knowen what sholde be doon with hire persone, al be it so that he wiste wel hymself what that he wolde answere, yet ne wolde he nat answere sodeynly, but he wolde have deliberacion, and in the ground he wroot twies. And thise causes we axen deliberacioun, and we shal thanne, by the grace of God, conseille thee thyng that shal be profitable." § 15        Up rose then an advocate that was wise, by leave and by advice of others that were wise, and said: "Gentlemen, the urgent matter for which we are assembled in this place is a very serious thing and an important matter, because of the wrong and of the wickedness that has been done, and also by reason of the great damages that in time coming are possible to befall for this same cause, and also because of the great riches and power of both the parties, for which reasons it would be a very great danger to err in this matter. Wherefore, Melibeus, this is our opinion: we advise you above all things that right away you do your best efforts in keeping of your own self in such a way that you not lack any spy nor guard in order to save your person. And after that, we advise that in your house you set sufficient garrison so that they can defend as well your body as your house. But certainly, to begin war, or suddenly to do vengeance, we can not decide in so little time that it would be to our advantage. Therefore we ask leisure and opportunity to have deliberation in this case to judge. For the common proverb says thus: `He that soon judges, soon shall repent.' And also men say that that judge is wise who soon understands a matter and judges at leisure; for although it be so that all tarrying is bothersome, it is not always to be reproved in giving of judgment nor in vengeance taking, when it is sufficient and reasonable. And that showed our Lord Jesus Christ by example, for when the woman that was taken in adultery was brought in his presence to know what should be done with her person, although it be so that he knew well hmself what he would answer, yet he would not answer suddenly, but he would have deliberation, and in the ground he wrote twice. And by these causes we ask time for deliberation, and we shall then, by the grace of God, advise you something that shall be beneficial."
§ 16        Up stirten thanne the yonge folk atones, and the mooste partie of that compaignye han scorned this olde wise man, and bigonnen to make noyse, and seyden that right so as, whil that iren is hoot, men sholden smyte, right so men sholde wreken hir wronges whil that they been fresshe and newe; and with loud voys they criden "Werre! Werre!" § 16        Up jumped then the young people at once, and the most part of that company have scorned this old wise man man, and began to make noise, and said that just so as while that iron is hot men should smite, just so men should avenge their wrongs while they are fresh and new; and with loud voice they cried "War! War!"
§ 17        Up roos tho oon of thise olde wise, and with his hand made contenaunce that men sholde holden hem stille and yeven hym audience. "Lordynges," quod he, "ther is ful many a man that crieth 'Werre! Werre! that woot ful litel what werre amounteth. Werre at his bigynnyng hath so greet an entryng and so large, that every wight may entre whan hym liketh, and lightly fynde werre; but certes what ende that shal therof bifalle, it is nat light to knowe. For soothly, whan that werre is ones bigonne, ther is ful many a child unborn of his mooder that shal sterve yong by cause of thilke werre, or elles lyve in sorwe and dye in wrecchednesse. And therfore, er that any werre bigynne, men moste have greet conseil and greet deliberacion. And whan this olde man wende to enforcen his tale by resons, wel ny alle atones bigonne they to rise for to breken his tale, and beden hym ful ofte his wordes for to abregge. For soothly, he that precheth to hem that listen nat heeren his wordes, his sermon hem anoieth. For Jhesus Syrak seith that "musik in wepynge is a noyous thyng"; this is to seyn: as muche availleth to speken bifore folk to which his speche anoyeth, as it is to synge biforn hym that wepeth. And whan this wise man saugh that hym wanted audience, al shamefast he sette hym doun agayn. For Salomon seith: "Ther as thou ne mayst have noon audience, enforce thee nat to speke." "I see wel," quod this wise man, "that the commune proverbe is sooth, that good conseil wanteth whan it is moost nede.'" § 17        Up rose then one of these old wise men, and with his hand made signal that men should hold themselves still and give him audience. "Gentlemen," said he, "there is very many a man that cries `War, war!' who knows very little what war amounts to. War at its beginning has so big an entryway and so large that every person may enter when he pleases and easily find war; but certainly what end that shall consequently befall, it is not easy to know. For truly, when war is once begun, there is very many a child unborn of his mother that shall die young because of that same war, or else live in sorrow and die in wretchedness. And therefore, before any war begins, men must have much advice and much deliberation." And when this old man intended to reinforce his argument by reasons, well nigh all at once they began to rise to interrupt his speech, and very often prayed him to abridge his argument. For truly, he who preaches to those who do not want to hear his words, his sermon annoys them. For Jesus son of Sirach says that "music in weeping is an annoying thing"; this is to say: it as much avails to speak before people whom his speech annoys as it is to sing before him who weeps. And when this wise man saw that he lacked an audience, all ashamed he set himself down again. For Solomon says: "Where you cannot have any audience, force yourself not to speak." "I see well," said this wise man, "that the common proverb is true, that `good advice is lacking when it is most needed.'"
§ 18        Yet hadde this Melibeus in his conseil many folk that prively in his eere conseilled hym certeyn thyng, and conseilled hym the contrarie in general audience. § 18        Yet had this Melibeus among his advisors many people that secretly in his ear advised him on certain matters, and advised him the contrary in the hearing of all.

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From The Tale of Melibee, paragraph 19-21:
Melibeus and Prudence argue on the value of a woman's advice