Previous Previous:
From The Second Nun's Tale, lines 512-525:
Cecilia is boiled, but not killed
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Second Nun's Tale
lines 526-553: Cecilia is finally killed and martyred


Thre strokes in the nekke he smoot hir tho,
The tormentour, but for no maner chaunce
He myghte noght smyte al hir nekke atwo.
And for ther was that tyme an ordinaunce
530That no man sholde doon men swich penaunce
The ferthe strook to smyten, softe or soore,
This tormentour ne dorste do namoore.
The executioner three times her smote
Upon the neck, and could not strike again,
Although he failed to cut in two her throat,
For at that time the ordinance was plain
530That no man might another give the pain
Of striking four blows, whether soft or sore;
This executioner dared do no more.

But half deed, with hir nekke ycorven there,
He lefte hir lye, and on his wey is went.
535The Cristen folk, which that aboute hir were,
With sheetes han the blood ful faire yhent.
Thre dayes lyved she in this torment,
And nevere cessed hem the feith to teche;
That she hadde fostred, hem she gan to preche.
But half dead, with her neck cut three times there,
He let her lie, and on his way he went.
535The Christian folk that all about her were,
With sheets caught up the precious blood she spent;
And three days lived she in this same torment,
But never ceased at all the faith to teach,
That she had fostered; dying did she preach;

540And hem she yaf hir moebles, and hir thyng,
And to the Pope Urban bitook hem tho,
And seyde, "I axed this at hevene kyng
To han respit thre dayes, and namo,
To recomende to yow er that I go
545Thise soules, lo, and that I myghte do werche
Heere of myn hous perpetuelly a chirche."
540To them she gave her goods and everything,
And of Pope Urban put them in the care,
And said: "This much I asked of Heaven's King,
A respite of three days, that you might share
With me these souls; and too I would prepare
545Before I go my house a church to make,
That it be kept forever for my sake."

       Seint Urban with hise deknes prively
This body fette, and buryed it by nyghte,
Among hise othere seintes, honestly.
550Hir hous the chirche of Seinte Cecilie highte;
Seint Urban halwed it, as he wel myghte,
In which, into this day, in noble wyse
Men doon to Crist and to his seinte servyse.
       Saint Urban, with his deacons, privately,
The body took and buried it by night
Among his other saints, right honourably.
550Her house is Church of Saint Cecilia hight;
Saint Urban hallowed it, as well he might;
Wherein in noble wise unto this day
To Christ and to his saint men service pay.


Heere is ended the Seconde Nonnes Tale





Home Chaucer's
Life and Times
The Canterbury Tales Links Librarius
Bookshop