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From The Second Nun's Tale, lines 400-413:
The executioner is converted and thereafter executed
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Second Nun's Tale
lines 414-441: The Roman governour Almachius arrests and interrogates Cecilia


But they, converted at hir wise loore,
415Wepten ful soore, and yaven ful credence
Unto hire word, and cryden moore and moore,
"Crist, Goddes sone, withouten difference,
Is verray God - this is al oure sentence -
That hath so good a servant hym to serve.
420This with o voys we trowen, thogh we sterve."
But since they were converted by her lore,
415They wept, and to a full belief they came
In what she said, and cried out more and more,
"O Christ, God's Son, whose substance is the same,
Thou'rt very God, and blessed be thy name,
Who hast so good a servant thee to serve;
420This with one voice we say, nor will we swerve."

       Almachius, that herde of this doynge,
Bad fecchen Cecile, that he myghte hir see,
And alderfirst, lo, this was his axynge:
"What maner womman artow?" tho quod he.
425"I am a gentil womman born," quod she.
"I axe thee," quod he, "though it thee greeve,
Of thy religioun and of thy bileeve."
       Almachius, who heard of this same thing,
Commanded that they bring her him to see,
And when she came, this was his questioning:
"What manner of woman are you?" then asked he.
425"I am a noblewoman born," said she.
"I ask," said he, "though to your harm and grief,
Of your religion and of your belief."

       "Ye han bigonne youre question folily,"
Quod she, "that wolden two answeres conclude
430In o demande; ye axed lewedly."
Almache answerde unto that similitude,
"Of whennes comth thyn answeryng so rude?'
"Of whennes?" quod she, whan that she was freyned,
"Of conscience and of good feith unfeyned."
       "You have begun your questions foolishly,"
Said she, "who would two answers so include
430In one demand; you asked me ignorantly."
Almachius answered that exactitude:
"Whence comes your answering so rough and rude?"
"Whence?" asked she, when that she was thus constrained,
"From conscience and from simple faith unfeigned."

435        Almachius seyde, "Ne takestow noon heede
Of my power?" And she answerde hym this:
"Youre myght," quod she, "ful litel is to dreede,
For every mortal mannes power nys
But lyke a bladdre ful of wynd, ywys;
440For with a nedles poynt, whan it is blowe,
May al the boost of it be leyd ful lowe."
435       Almachius said: "And do you take no heed
Of power I wield?" And she replied like this:
"Your might," said she, "is scarce a thing to dread;
For power of every mortal man but is
Like to a bladder full of wind, ywis.
440For with a needle's point, when it is blown,
Prick it, and all the pride of it comes down."





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From The Second Nun's Tale, lines 442-511:
Discussion and dispute on worldly and religious power
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