Previous Previous:
From The Parson's Tale, paragraph 16-17:
About confession, the second part of penitence
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Parson's Tale
Paragraph 18
Original sin (Adam and Eve)

§ 18       Of the spryngynge of synnes seith Seint Paul in this wise: that "right as by a man synne entred first into this world, and thurgh that synne deeth, right so thilke deeth entred into alle men that synneden." And this man was Adam, by whom synne entred into this world, whan he brak the comaundementz of God. And therfore, he that first was so myghty that he sholde nat have dyed, bicam swich oon that he moste nedes dye, wheither he wolde or noon, and al his progenye in this world, that in thilke man synneden. Looke that in th' estaat of innocence, whan Adam and eve naked weren in paradys, and nothyng ne hadden shame of hir nakednesse, how that the serpent, that was moost wily of alle othere beestes that God hadde maked, seyde to the womman: "why comaunded God to yow ye sholde nat eten of every tree in paradys?" The womman answerde: "of the fruyt," quod she, "of the trees in paradys we feden us, but soothly, of the fruyt of the tree that is in the myddel of paradys, God forbad us for to ete, ne nat touchen it, lest per aventure we sholde dyen." The serpent seyde to the womman: nay, nay, ye shul nat dyen of deeth; for sothe, God woot that what day that ye eten therof, youre eyen shul opene, and ye shul been as goddes, knowynge good and harm." The womman thanne saugh that the tree was good to feedyng, and fair to the eyen, and delitable to the sighte. She took of the fruyt of the tree, and eet it, and yaf to hire housbonde, and he eet, and anoon the eyen of hem bothe openeden. And whan that they knewe that they were naked, they sowed of fige leves a maner of breches to hiden hire membres. There may ye seen that deedly synne hath, first, suggestion of the feend, as sheweth heere by the naddre; and afterward, the delit of the flessh, as sheweth heere by Eve; and after that, the consentynge of resoun, as sheweth heere by Adam. For trust wel, though so were that the feend tempted Eve, that is to seyn, the flessh, and the flessh hadde delit in the beautee of the fruyt defended, yet certes, til that resoun, that is to seyn, Adam, consented to the etynge of the fruyt, yet stood he in th' estaat of innocence. Of thilke Adam tooke we thilke wynne original; for of hym flesshly descended be we alle, and engendred of vile and corrupt mateere. and whan the soule is put in oure body, right anon is contract original synne; and that that was erst but oonly peyne of concupiscence, is afterward bothe peyne and synne. And therfore be we alle born sones of wratthe and of dampnacioun perdurable, if it nere baptesme that we receyven, which bynymeth us the culpe. But for sothe, the peyne dwelleth with us, as to temptacioun, which peyne highte concupiscence. And this concupiscence, whan it is wrongfully disposed or ordeyned in man, it maketh hym coveite, by coveitise of flessh, flesshly synne, by sighte of his eyen as to erthely thynges, and eek coveitise of hynesse by pride of herte. § 18       Of the springing of sins says Saint Paul in this manner: that "just as by a man sin entered first into this world, and through that sin death, just so this death entered into all men that sinned." And this man was Adam, by whom sin entered into this world, when he broke the commandments of God. And therefore, he who first was so mighty that he should not have died, became such one that he must needs die, whether he would or not, and all his progeny in this world, that in this man sinned. Look that in the estate of innocence, when Adam and Eve naked were in Paradise, and in no way had shame of their nakedness, how that the snake, that was most wily of all other beasts that God had made, said to the woman, Why commanded God to you you should not eat of every tree in Paradise?" The woman answered: "Of the fruit," said she, "of the trees in Paradise we feed us, but truly, of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of Paradise, God forbad us to eat, and not touch it, lest by chance we should die." The snake said to the woman, "Nay, nay, you shall not die of death; truly, God knows that whatever day that you eat thereof, your eyes shall open and you shall be as gods, knowing good and harm." The woman then saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and pleasurous to the sight. She took one of the fruit of the tree, and ate it, and gave it to her husband, and he ate, and at once the eyes of them both opened. And when that they knew that they were naked, they sewed of fig leaves a sort of breeches to hide their private parts. There can you seen that deadly sin has, first, suggestion of the fiend, as shows here by the snake; and afterward, the delight of the flesh, as shows here by Eve; and after that, the consenting of reason, as shows here by Adam. For trust well, though it were so that the fiend tempted Eve, that is to say, the flesh, and the flesh had delight in the beauty of the forbidden fruit, yet certainly, until reason, that is to say, Adam, consented to the eating of the fruit, yet stood he in the state of innocence. Of this Adam we took this sin original, for of him fleshly descended are we all, and engendered of vile and corrupt matter. And when the soul is put in our body, right away is contracted original sin; and what was at first but only pain of concupiscence is afterward both pain and sin. And therefore are we all born sons of anger and of eternal damnation, if it were not that we receive baptism, which takes away from us the guilt. But truly, the pain dwells with us, as a temptation, which pain is called concupiscence. And this concupiscence, when it is wrongfully disposed or arranged in man, it makes him covet, by covetousness of flesh, fleshly sin, by sight of his eyen as to earthly things, and also covetousness of high rank by pride of heart.

Next Next:
From The Parson's Tale, paragraph 19-20:
About concupiscence