Previous Previous:
From The Parson's Tale, paragraph 39-41:
About swearing
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Parson's Tale
Paragraph 42-44
About lying, flattering and cursing

§ 42       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. § 42        Now will I speak of lies, which generally is false significance of a word, in intent to deceive one's fellow-Christian. One sort of lie is one of which there comes no advantage to any person; and some lie turns to the ease and profit of one man, and to disease and damage of another man. Another lie is in order to save one's life or his possession. Another lie comes of delight in lying, in which delight they will falsify a long tale and adorn it with full details, where all the substance of the tale is false. Some lie comes for he will sustain his word; and some lie comes of recklessness without forethought; and similar things.
§ 43       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. § 43        Let us now touch on the vice of flattering, which comes not customarily but for fear or for covetousness. Flattery is generally wrongful praising. Flatterers are the devils nurses, that nourish his children with milk of deceit. For truly, Solomon says that "Flattery is worse than detraction." For sometimes detraction makes a haughty man be the more humble, for he dreads detraction; but certainly flattery, that makes a man to make his heart and his behavior grow proud. Flatterers are the devils enchanters; for they make a man to suppose himself to be like what he is not like. They are like to Judas that betray a man to sell him to his enemy; that is to the devil. Flatterers are the devils chaplains, that sing ever "Placebo (I shall please)." I reckon flattery in the vices of Anger, for oftentimes if one man is angry with another, then will he flatter some person to sustain him in his dispute.
§ 44       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. § 44        Speak we now of such cursing as comes of irate heart. Cursing generally may be said to be every sort of power of harm. Such cursing bereaves man from the reign of God, as says Saint Paul. And oftentimes such cursing wrongfully returns again to him that curses, as a bird that returns again to his own nest. And over all thing men ought to eschew cursing their children, and giving to the devil their offspring, insofar as they can. Certainly, it is great danger and great sin.

Next Next:
From The Parson's Tale, paragraph 45-54:
About chiding, reproach, scorning, wicked counsel, menace, etc. and mockery