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From The Tale of Melibee, paragraph 58-59:
Melibeus says he is richer and more powerful than his enemies
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Tale of Melibee
Paragraph 60-62
Prudence explains that wealth and richness should be used wisely

§ 60        First, ye shul geten hem withouten greet desir, by good leyser, sokyngly and nat over-hastily. For a man that is to desirynge to gete richesses abaundoneth hym first to thefte, and to alle othere yveles; and therfore seith Salomon, 'he that hasteth hym to bisily to wexe riche shal be noon innocent.' He seith also that 'the richesses that hastily cometh to a man, soone and lightly gooth and passeth fro a man; but that richesse that cometh litel and litel, wexeth alwey and multiplieth.' And, sire richesses by youre wit and by youre travaille unto youre profit; and that withouten wrong or harm doynge to any oother persone. For the lawe seith that 'ther maketh no man himselven riche, if he do harm to another wight.' This is to seyn, that nature deffendeth and fordedeth by right that no man make hymself riche unto the harm of another persone. And Tullius seith that 'no sorwe, ne no drede of deeth, ne no thyng that may falle unto a man, is so muchel agayns nature as a man to encressen his owene profit to the harm of another man. And though the grete man and the myghty men geten richesses moore lightly than thou, yet shaltou nat been ydel ne slow to do thy profit, for thou shalt in alle wise flee ydelnesse. For Salomon seith that 'ydelnesse techeth a man to do manye yveles.' And the same Salomon seith that 'he that travailleth and bisieth hym to tilien his land, shal eten breed; but he that is ydel and casteth hym to no bisynesse ne occupacioun, shal falle into poverte, and dye for hynger.' And he that is ydel and slow kan nevere fynde covenable tyme for to doon his profit. For ther is a versifiour seith that 'the ydel man excuseth hym in wynter by cause of the grete coold, and in somer by enchesoun of the greete heete.' For thise causes seith Caton, 'waketh and enclyneth nat yow over-muchel for to slepe, for over-muchel reste norisseth and causeth manye vices.' And therfore seith Seint Jerome, 'dooth somme goode dedes that the devel, which is oure enemy, ne fynde yow nat unocupied.' For the devel ne taketh nat lightly unto his werkynge swiche as he fyndeth occupied in goode werkes. § 60        "First, you shall get them without great desire, by good deliberation, slowly and not over-hastily. For a man that is too desiring to get riches devotes himself first to theft, and to all other evils; and therefore says Solomon, `He that hastens him too busily to become rich shall be no innocent.' He says also that `the riches that hastily come to a man soon and easily go and pass from a man, but those riches that come little by little always grow and multiply.' And, sir, you shall get riches by your wit and by your work unto your advantage, and that without doing wrong or harm to any other person. For the law says that `there makes no man himself rich, if he does harm to another person.' This is to say, that nature prohibits and forbids justly that any man make himself rich unto the harm of another person. And Cicero says that `no sorrow, nor no fear of death, nor no thing that may happen to a man, is so much against nature as for a man to increase his own advantage to the harm of another man. And though the great men and the mighty men get riches more easily than you, yet you shall not be idle nor slow to do thy benefit, for you shall in all ways flee idleness.' For Solomon says that `idleness teaches a man to do many evils.' And the same Solomon says that `he that works and busies himself to till his land shall eat bread, but he that is idle and devotes himself to no business nor occupation shall fall into poverty and die for hunger.' And he that is idle and slow can never find suitable time to earn his profit. For there is a versifier who says that `the idle man excuses himself in winter because of the great cold, and in summer by reason of the great heat.' For these causes says Cato, `Wake and incline you not over-much to sleep, for over-much rest nourishes and causes many vices.' And therefore says Saint Jerome, `Do some good deeds that the devil, who is our enemy, not find you unoccupied.' For the devil takes not easily unto his power such as he finds occupied in good works.
§ 61        Thanne thus, in getynge richesses, ye mosten flee ydelnesse. And afterward, ye shul use the richesses which ye have geten by youre wit and by youre travaille, in swich a manere that men holde yow nat to scars, ne to sparynge, ne to fool-large, that is to seyen, over-large a spendere. For right as men blamen an avaricious man by cause of his scarsetee and chyncherie, in the same wise is he to blame that spendeth over-largely. And therfore seith Caton: 'use,' he seith, 'thy richesses that thou hast geten in swich a manere that men have no matiere ne cause to calle the neither wrecche ne chynche; for it is a greet shame to a man to have a povere herte and a riche purs.' He seith also: 'the goodes that thou hast ygeten, use hem by mesure;' that is to seyn, spende hem mesurably; for they that folily wasten and despenden the goodes that they han, what they han namoore propre of hir owene, they shapen hem to take the goodes of another man. I seye thanne that ye shul fleen avarice; usynge youre richesses in swich manere that men seye nat that youre richesses been yburyed, but that ye have hem in youre myght and in youre weeldynge. For a wys man repreveth the avaricious man, and seith thus in two vers: 'wherto and why burieth a man his goodes by his grete avarice, and knoweth wel that nedes moste he dye? For deeth is the ende of every man as in this present lyf.' And for what cause or enchesoun joyneth he hym or knytteth he hym so faste unto his goodes that alle hise wittes mowen nat disseveren hym or departen hym from his goodes, and knoweth wel, or oghte knowe, that whan he is deed he shal no thyng bere with hym out of this world? And therfore seith Seint Austyn that 'the avaricious man is likned unto helle, that the moore it swelweth. The moore desir it hath to swelwe and devoure.' And as wel as ye wolde eschewe to be called an avaricious man or chynche, as wel sholde ye kepe yow and governe yow in swich a wise that men calle yow nat fool-large. Therfore seith Tullius: 'the goodes,' he seith, 'of thyn hous ne sholde nat been hyd ne kept so cloos, but that they myghte been opened by pitee and debonairetee' -- that is to seyn, to yeven part to hem that han greet nede -- 'ne thy goodes shullen nat been so opene to been every mannes goodes. Afterward, in getynge of youre richesses and in usynge hem, ye shul alwey have thre thynges in youre herte, that is to seyn, oure lord god, conscience, and good name. First, ye shul have God in youre herte, and for no richesse ye shullen do no thyng which may in any manere displese God, that is youre creator and makere. For after the word of Salomon, 'it is bettre to have a litel good with the love of God, than to have muchel good and tresour, and lese the love of his lord God.' And the prophete seith that 'bettre it is to been a good man and have litel good and tresour, than to been holden a shrewe and have grete richesses.' And yet seye I ferthermoore, that ye sholde alwey doon youre bisynesse to gete yow richesses, so that ye gete hem with good conscience. And th' apostle seith that 'ther nys thyng in this world of which we sholden have so greet joye as whan oure conscience bereth us good witnesse.' And the wise man seith, 'the substance of a man is ful good, whan synne is nat in mannes conscience. Afterward, in getynge of youre richesses and in usynge of hem, yow moste have greet bisynesse and greet diligence that youre goode name be alwey kept and conserved. For Salomon seith that 'bettre it is an moore it availleth a man to have a good name, than for to have grete richesses.' And therfore he seith in another place, 'do greet diligence, seith Salomon, 'in kepyng of thy freend and of thy goode name; for it shal lenger abide with thee than any tresour, be it never so precious.' And certes he sholde nat be called a gentil man that after God and good conscience, alle thynges left, ne dooth his diligence and bisynesse to kepen his goode name. And Cassidore seith that 'it is signe of a gentil herte, whan a man loveth and desireth to han a good name.' And therfore seith Seint Austyn that 'ther been two thynges that arn necessarie and nedefulle, and that is good conscience and good loos; that is to seyn, good conscience to thyn owene persone inward, and good loos for thy neighebor outward.' And he that trusteth hym so muchel in his goode conscience that he displeseth, and setteth at noght his goode name or loos, and rekketh noght though he kepe nat his goode neam, nys but a crueel cherl. § 61        Then thus in getting riches you must flee idleness. And afterward, you must use the riches which you have gotten by your wit and by your labour in such a manner that men consider you not too niggardly, nor too frugal, nor too foolishly generous, that is to say, over-generous a spender. For just as men blame an avaricious man because of his niggardliness and miserliness, in the same way is he to blame that spends over-generously. And therefore says Cato: `Use,' he says, `your richness that you have gotten in such a manner that men have no reason nor cause to call you neither wretch nor miser, for it is a great shame to a man to have a poor heart and a rich purse.' He says also, `The goods that you hast gotten, use them by measure;' that is to say, spend them moderately, for they who foolishly waste and squander the goods that they have, when they have no more property of their own, they devote themselves to taking the goods of another man. I say then that you must flee avarice, using your richness in such a manner that men say not that your richness is buried but that you have them in your power and in your control. For a wise man reproves the avaricious man, and says thus in two verses: `For what reason and why buries a man his goods by his great avarice, and he knows well that by necessity he must die? For death is the end of every man in this present life.' And for what cause or reason he joins himself or he knits himself so fast unto his goods that all his wits can not separate him or depart him from his goods, and knows well, or ought know, that when he is dead he shall nothing bear with him out of this world? And therefore says Saint Austin that `the avaricious man is likened unto hell, that the more it swallows the more desire it has to swallow and devour.' And as well as you would shun to be called an avaricious man or miser, as well should you keep yourself and govern yourself in such a way that men do not call you foolishly generous. Therefore says Cicero: `The goods,' he says, `of thine house should not be hidden nor kept so close, but that they might not be opened by pity and graciousness' (that is to say, to give part to them that have great need), `Nor your goods must not be so open to be every man's goods.' Afterward, in getting of your riches and in using them you must always have three things in your heart (that is to say, our Lord God, conscience, and good name). First, you shall have God in your heart, and for no riches you shall do any thing which may in any manner displease God, that is your creator and maker. For after the word of Solomon, `It is better to have a little good with the love of God than to have much good and treasure and lose the love of his Lord God.' And the prophet says that `better it is to be a good man and have little good and treasure than to be held a scoundrel and have great riches.' And yet say I furthermore, that you should always do your business to get yourself riches, providing that you get them with good conscience. And the Apostle says that `there is nothing in this world of which we should have so great joy as when our conscience bears us good witness.' And the wise man says, `The substance of a man is very good, when sin is not in man's conscience.' Afterward, in getting of your riches and in using of them, you must have great effort and greet diligence that your good name be always kept and conserved. For Solomon says that `better it is and more it avails a man to have a good name than to have great riches.' And therefore he says in another place, `Do great diligence,' says Solomon, `in keeping of thy friend and of thy good name; for it shall longer abide with thee than any treasure, be it never so precious.' And certainly he should not be called a gentle man who after God and good conscience, all other things left aside, does his best efforts and effort to keep his good name. And Cassiodorus says that `it is sign of a gentle heart when a man loves and desires to have a good name.' And therefore says Saint Austin that `there are two things that are necessary and needful, and that is good conscience and good reputation; that is to say, good conscience to thine own person inward and good reputation for thy neighbor outward.' And he that trusts himself so much in his good conscience that he displeases, and sets at naught his good name or reputation, and cares not though he keep not his good name, is but a cruel churl.
§ 62        Sire, now have I shewed yow how ye shul do in getynge richesses, and how ye shullen usen hem, and I se wel that for the trust that ye han in youre richesses ye wole moeve werre and bataille. I conseille yow that ye bigynne no were in trust of youre richesses, for thay ne suffisen noght werres to mayntene. And therfore seith a philosophre, 'that man that desireth and wole algates han werre, shal nevere have suffisaunce; for the richer that he is, the gretter despenses moste he make, if he wole have worshipe and victorie.' And Salomon seith that 'the gretter richesses that a man hath, the mo despendours he hath.' And, deere sire, al be it so that for youre richesses ye mowe have muchel folk, yet bihoveth it nat, ne it is nat good, to bigynne werre, whereas ye mowe in oother manere have pees unto youre worshipe and profit. For the victorie of batailles that been in this world lyth nat in greet nombre or multitude of the peple, ne in the vertu of man, but it lith in the wyl and in the hand of oure lord God Almyghty. And therfore Judas Machabeus, which was Goddes knyght, whan he sholde fighte agayn his adversarie that hadde a gretter nombre and a gretter multitude of folk and strenger than was this peple of Machabee, yet he reconforted his litel compaignye, and seyde right in this wise: 'als lightly,' quod he, 'may oure lord God Almyghty yeve victorie to a fewe folk as to many folk; for the victorie of a bataille comth nat by the grete nombre of peple, but it cometh from oure Lord God of hevene.' And, deere sire, for as muchel is ther is no man certein if he be worthy that God yeve hym victorie, (ne plus que il est certain se il est digne de l' amour de Dieu), or naught, after that Salomon seith, therfore every man sholde greetly drede werres to bigynne. And by cause that in batailles fallen manye perils, and happeth outher while that as soone is the grete man slayn as the litel man; and as it is writen in the seconde Book of Kynges, 'the dedes of Batailles been aventurouse and nothyng certeyne, for as lightly is oon hurt with a spere as another;' and for ther is gret peril in werre; therfore sholde a man flee and eschue werre, in as muchel as a man may goodly. For Salomon seith, 'he that loveth peril shal falle in peril.'" § 62        Sir, now have I showed you how you shall do in getting riches, and how you shall use them, and I see well that for the trust that you have in your riches you will provoke war and battle. I advise you that you begin no war in trust of your riches, for they do not suffice to maintain wars. And therefore says a philosopher, `That man who desires and will continually have war, shall never have enough, for the richer that he is, the greater expenditures must he make, if he will have worship and victory.' And Solomon says that `the greater riches that a man has, the more spenders he has.' And, dear sir, although it be so that for your riches you can have much folk, yet it is not suitable, nor is it any good, to begin war whereas you can in another manner have peace unto your honor and advantage. For the victory of battles that are in this world lies not in great number or multitude of the people, nor in the strength of man, but it lies in the will and in the hand of our Lord God Almighty. And therefore Judas Machabeus, who was God's knight, when he had to fight against his adversary who has a greater number and a greater multitude of folk and stronger than was this people of Machabee, yet he comforted his little company, and said exactly in this way: `As easily,' said he, `may our Lord God Almighty give victory to a few people as to many people, for the victory of a battle comes not by the great number of people, but it comes from our Lord God of heaven.' And, dear sir, since there is no man certain if he be worthy that God give him victory (French: no more than it is certain that he is worthy of the love of God) or not, according to what Solomon says, therefore every man should greatly fear to begin wars. And because in battles many dangers befall, and happens another time that as soon is the great man killed as the little man; and as it is written in the second Book of Kings, `The deeds of battles are subject to chance and in no way certain, for as easily is one hurt with one spear as another'; and for there is great peril in war, therefore should a man flee and avoid war, insomuch as a man may goodly (do so). For Solomon says, `He who loves danger shall fall in danger'"

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From The Tale of Melibee, paragraph 63-72:
Prudence advises to forgive and make peace