Chaucer's Works (ed. Skeat) Vol. V/Parson
NOTES TO GROUP I.
NOTES TO THE PERSONES TALE.
The Parson's Prologue.
1. maunciple, manciple; see the last Tale. But there is no real connexion between this Group and Group H. It is most likely that the word maunciple was only inserted provisionally.
When the Manciple had told his Tale, it was still only morning; see H. 16, and the note. The Pilgrims, however, had not far to go. Perhaps we may suppose that they halted on the road, having a shorter day's work before them than on previous occasions, and then other Tales might have been introduced; so that the time wore away till the afternoon came. It is clear, from l. 16, that the Parson's Tale was intended, when the final reversion should be made, to be the last on the outward journey. Whatever difficulties exist in the arrangement of the Tales may fairly be considered as due to the fact, that the final revision was never made.
4. nyne and twenty. In my Preface to Chaucer's Astrolabe (E. E. T. S.), p. lxiii, I have explained this passage fully. In that treatise, part ii. sections 41-43, Chaucer explains the method of taking altitudes. He here says that the sun was 29° high, and in ll. 6-9 he says that his height was to his shadow in the proportion of 6 to 11. This comes to the same thing, since the angle whose tangent is 6/11 is very nearly 29°. Chaucer would know this, as I have shewn, by simple inspection of an astrolabe, without calculation.
5. Foure, four P. M. Many MSS. have Ten, but the necessity of the correction is undoubted. This was proved by Mr. Brae, in his edition of Chaucer's Astrolabe, pp. 71-74. We have merely to remember that ten P. M. would be after sunset, to see that some alteration must be made. Now the altitude of the sun was 29°, and the day of the year was about April 20; and these data require that the time of day should be about 4 P. M. Tyrwhitt notes that some MSS. actually have the reading Foure, and this gives us authority for the change. Mr. Brae suggests that the reading Ten was very likely a gloss upon Foure; since four o'clock is the tenth hour of the day, reckoning from 6 A. M. The whole matter is thus accounted for.
10. the mones exaltacioun, the moon's exaltation. I have discussed this passage in my Preface to Chaucer's Astrolabe, (E. E. T. S.), p. lxiii. Of course Chaucer uses exaltation here (as in other passages) in its ordinary astrological sense. The 'exaltation' of a planet is that sign in which it was believed to exert its greatest influence; and, in accordance with this, the old tables call Taurus the 'exaltation of the Moon,' and Libra the 'exaltation of Saturn.' These results, founded on no reasons, had to be remembered by sheer effort of memory, if remembered at all. I have no doubt, accordingly, that Chaucer (or his scribes) has made a mistake here, and that the reading should be 'Saturnes,' as proposed by Tyrwhitt. The sentence then means—'Therewith Saturn's exaltation, I mean Libra, kept on continually ascending above the horizon.' This would be quite right, as the sign of Libra was actually ascending at the time supposed. The phrase 'I mene Libra' may be paralleled by the phrase 'I mene Venus'; Kn. Tale, 1358 (A. 2216); see also Group B. 1860, 2141. alwey, continually, is common in Chaucer; see Clerkes Tale, E. 458, 810. gan ascende, did ascend, is the opposite to gan descende; Clerkes Tale, E. 392. It is somewhat remarkable that the astrologers also divided each sign into three equal parts of ten degrees each, called 'faces'; mentioned in Chaucer's Astrolabe, ii. 4. 39, and in the Squieres Tale, F. 50. According to this arbitrary scheme, the first 10 degrees of Libra were called the 'face of the moon,' or 'mones face.' This suggests that Chaucer may, at the moment, have confused face with exaltation, thus giving us, as the portion of the zodiac intended, the first ten degrees of Libra.
I doubt if the phrase is worth further discussion. For further information, see my Preface to Chaucer's Astrolabe (as above); and, for an ingenious (but impossible and unconvincing) theory, offered in explanation of the whole passage, see Mr. Brae's edition of the same, p. 74. Most unfortunately, more than one attempt has been made to fix the date of the Canterbury Tales, by adopting as the true reading the phrase 'In mene Libra,' and then pretending that the moon itself (not its exaltation) was 'in the middle of Libra.' But this reading is evolved out of a mistake in MS. Hl., which (after all) has not In mene, but In mena (!); neither does In mene mean 'in the middle.' All calculations founded on this rotten basis are necessarily worthless.
16. This means that the Parson's Tale was meant to be the last one on the outward journey. Unfortunately, there lack a great many more tales than one, as the matter really stands.
26. 'Unpack your wallet, and let us see what is in it.' In other words, tell us a story, and let us see what it is like.
32. See 1 Tim. i. 4, iv. 7; 2 Tim. iv. 4.
42. Southren. Nearly all alliterative poems are in the Northern or West-Midland dialect, as opposed to the East-Midland dialect of Chaucer, which approaches the Southern dialect. Still, it is the Parson himself, not Chaucer, who says he is a Southerner; though perhaps the poet meant, naturally enough, to tell us that he was himself resident in Kent (probably at Greenwich). The dialect of Kent was Southern. Many Southern forms occur in Gower.
43. rum, ram, ruf are of course nonsense words, chosen to represent alliteration, because they all alike begin with r. In most alliterative poetry, the number of words in a line beginning with a common letter is, as Chaucer suggests, three.
The word geste here means no more than 'tell a story,' without reference to the form of the story. It is, however, worth noting that one very long alliterative poem on the siege of Troy, edited by Panton and Donaldson (Early English Text Society), bears the title of 'Gest Hystoriale.' The number of distinctively Northern words in it is very considerable.
I think that this line has been forced by some out of its true meaning, and made to convey a sneer against alliterative poetry which was by no means intended. Neither Chaucer himself nor his amiable parson would have spoken slightingly of other men's labours. The introduction of the words rum, ram, ruf conveys no more than a perfectly good-humoured allusion. That this is the true view is clear from the very next line, where the Parson declares that 'he holds rime but little better.'
The most interesting question is—why should Chaucer allude to alliterative poetry at all? The answer is, in my view, that he distinctly wished to recognise the curious work of his contemporary William, whose Vision of Piers the Plowman had, by this time, passed, as it were, into a second edition, having been extremely popular in London, and especially amongst the lower classes. The author was not a Southerner, but his poem had come to London, together with himself, before A. D. 1377.
In his play entitled The Old Wives' Tale, Peele introduces a character named Huanebango who imitates the spluttering hexameters used by Stanyhurst in his translation of a part of Vergil's Æneid, and afterwards says:—'I'll now set my countenance, and to her in prose; it may be, this rim-ram-ruf is too rude an encounter.' He evidently borrowed the expression from Chaucer.
I may further observe that Chaucer did not invent these nonsense words himself; he probably borrowed them from some French source. For, in Sigart's Walloon Dictionary, we find these entries following.
'Rim ni ram (ça n'a ni), cela n'a ni rime ni raison.
Rim-ram, protocole, formulaire: C'est toudi l'même rim-ram, c'est toujours la même chanson.'
Again, in the Dispute between the Soul and the Body (Vernon MS.), printed in Wright's edition of Walter Mapes, p. 340, col. 2, we find:—
'For to bere thi word so wyde,
And maken of the rym and raf.'
51. Alluding to Rev. xxi. 2. There is also here a direct reference to the opening sentences of the Persones Tale; see I. 79, 80.
57. textuel, literally exact in giving the text. The next line means 'I only gather (and give you) the general meaning.' Most quotations at this period were very inexact, and Chaucer was no more exact than others.
67. hadde the wordes. Tyrwhitt says—'This is a French phrase. It is applied to the Speaker of the Commons in Rot. Parl. 51 Edw. III. n. 87: "Mons. Thomas de Hungerford, Chivaler, qi avoit les paroles pur les Communes d'Angleterre en cest Parlement," &c.' It means—was the spokesman.
The Persones Tale.
A considerable portion of this Tale (chiefly after § 23) is borrowed from a French Treatise by Frère Lorens, entitled 'La Somme des Vices et des Vertus,' the very treatise of which the Ayenbite of Inwyt is a translation. This treatise, says Dr. Morris, 'was composed in the year 1279 for the use of Philip the Second of France, by Frère Lorens (or Laurentius Gallus, as he is designated in Latin), of the order of Friars Preachers' or Dominicans. There are two MS. copies of this treatise in the British Museum, viz. MS. Cotton, Cleopatra, A. v., and the Royal MS. 19 C. ii.
The printed text (circa 1495) is scarce; but numerous quotations from the Cotton MS. are given by Dr. W. Eilers, in Essays on Chaucer, Part V., pp. 501-610, published by the Chaucer Society. I occasionally give extracts from these quotations below, and I simply denote them by the symbol 'Fr.' I also use 'Ayenb.' to denote the Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. Morris (E. E. T. S.). An interesting review, by Dr. Koch, of this essay by Eilers, will be found in Anglia, vol. v. pt. ii. p. 130.
The 'sections' (marked §) into which the Tale is divided are the same as in Tyrwhitt's edition, though he does not number them. Still, it renders reference to that edition an easy matter.
The clauses or 'lines,' or short subdivisions, are the same as in the Six-text edition. Each 'line' ends with a slanting stroke, as in the Tale of Melibee, and they are numbered 'by fives' in the margin.
Text. The 'text' at the head of the Tale is taken from the Vulgate version of Jer. vi. 16. The usual reading for viis is semitis.
I have only partially succeeded in finding the numerous quotations. For some of the references I am indebted to the Rev. E. Marshall.
75. A note in Bell's Chaucer suggests that we should read—'that wole that no man,' &c.; inserting wole that. But the old edd. agree with the MSS.; and the text is right as it stands. That no man wole perisse = that wishes no one to perish. For this common use of wole, see the very next phrase, which means—'but desires that we may all come.' The reference is to 2 Pet. iii. 9, where Wyclif's later version has a similar turn of expression, viz. 'and wole not that ony men perische, but that alle turne ayen to penaunce.'
77. A translation of Jer. vi. 16 above; it is nearest to Wyclif's earlier version: 'Stondeth up-on weies, and seeth, and asketh of the olde pathis, what is the goode weie; and goth in it, and yee shul fynde refreshinge to youre soules.'
79. espirituels, the pl. (French) adj. in s, following its sb.; see B. 2038, F. 1278.
80. Alluding to ll. 50, 51 of the Prologue to this Tale.
82. whennes it is cleped Penitence; our author entirely forgets this clause in the sequel, and takes no more notice of the point here noted.
84. 'Poenitentia est et mala praeterita plangere, et plangenda iterum non committere'; S. Ambrosii Opera, Appendix, Sermo xxv; ed. Migne (Cursus Patrologicus), vol. 17, col. 655.
The quotations, chiefly from the Latin fathers, in this Persones Tale, are so numerous, and often so brief and inexact, that I am not able to give the references in more than a few instances. I have, however, succeeded in finding some of them, such as the one above.
85. In the works of St. Ambrose, the following sentence occurs just above the one cited in the last note: 'Poenitentia vero est dolor cordis, et amaritudo animae pro malis quae quisque commisit.'
89. St. Isidore of Seville is here intended (born A.D. 570, died A.D. 636). Cf. 551 below, (p. 603). I find no passage which precisely answers to this quotation, but I think the following is intended: 'Nam qui plangit peccatum, et iterum admittit peccatum, quasi si quis lavet laterem crudum, quem quanto magis eluerit, tanto amplius lutum facit.'—S. Isidorus, Sententiarum lib. ii. c. 13; ed. Migne, vol. 83, col. 613. Here Isidore does not call the sinner a 'japer,' but says that he is as foolish as a man who washes an unburnt brick; for such a process only produces more mud.
92. St. Gregory the Great, the first pope of that name, is here meant; and the following is probably the passage referred to: 'Ut intelligas in anima gravissimo iniquitatis pondere obrutum ... ut ad sublimia levari jam non valeat, quoniam iniquitatis eam [mentem] gravitudo coarctat.'—S. Gregorius, in Septem Psalmos Poenitentiales Expositio; Ps. xxvii. v. 8; ed. Migne, vol. 79, col. 572.
93. and forlete sinne, and forsake sin before they die. This expression has already occurred at the end of the Phisiciens Tale; see C. 286.
94. Note the glosses in the footnotes; thus tak means tene, i. e. 'keep to'; and siker is certum, i. e. 'sure.'
96. It is quite hopeless to make any sense of this passage. It is perfectly clear that, as Koch suggests (see Anglia, V. pt. ii. p. 135), a considerable portion of the text is here lost. And no doubt it happened in the usual way, viz. by the omission of a clause included between some repeated words, such as that a man. Our author must have described, first of all, three actions of Penitence; and afterwards, three defautes (or defects) in doing penance. All that we have left is a notice of the first action (left unexplained), and a partial explanation of the three 'defautes.' I suggest, therefore, a lacuna after that a man; and I take it that the original text had: 'The firste accion of Penitence is that a man [do so and so. The second action is, that he do so and so. The third is, that he do so and so. Moreover, ye shall understand that there are three defautes in doing penance. The first is, if that a man] be baptized after that he hath sinned.' Some MSS. read that if a man or if a man before be baptized. I do not see that this helps us, because I do not think that this is where the fault really lies.
97. The quotation here meant is the following: 'Omnis enim, qui iam arbiter voluntatis suae constitutus est, cum accedit ad sacramentum fidelium, nisi eum poeniteat vitae veteris, novam non potest inchoare': Homil. l.; in Opp. Basil. 1569, tom. x. col. 552 C.
100. 'Est enim poenitentia bonorum et humilium fidelium poena quotidiana'; S. Aug. Opp. Basil. 1569, tom. ii. col. 507 A; Epist. cviii.
102. spyces, species, kinds; of frequent occurrence in this Tale.
103. The 'slaughter of children' here referred to is probably the accidental overlying of them by nurses, which was accounted a deadly sin, as being the result of negligence. This Chaucer expressly states below; see 575 (p. 604).
105. naked, i. e. thinly clad, in little more than a shirt-like garment.
108. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xvii. 29:—
'Cordis contricio cometh of sorwe in herte,
And oris confessio, that cometh of shrifte of mouthe,
And operis satisfactio, that for synnes payeth
And for alle synnes soueraynliche quiteth:
Cordis contricio, oris confessio, operis satisfactio.'
I find 'confessio' and 'cordis contritio' mentioned near together in the Latin version of St. Chrysostom's 20th homily on Genesis, cap. iv; ed. Migne, vol. liii. col. 170.
115. Not the words of Christ, but of St. John the Baptist; Matt. iii. 8.
116. See Matt. vii. 20.
119. 'Et in timore Domini declinatur a malo'; Prov. xvi. 6.
125. 'Iniquos odio habui, et legem tuam dilexi'; Ps. cxviii. (cxix.) 113.
126. Cf. Daniel iv. 10-27.
127. The reference is probably to Prov. xxviii. 13.
128. In this Penitence, i. e. in this 'spice' or particular portion of Penitence; for he is here speaking of Contrition only.
130. St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The reference may be to the following passage: 'Tertius gradus est dolor, sed et ipse trina connexione ligatus. Vere post cognitionem et poenitentiam dolor renovatus est, et in meditatione mea ignis incanduit, quia Creatorem offendi, Dominum non timui, sprevi benefactorem.'—S. Bernardus, Sermo xl. § 5; ed. Migne, vol. 183, col. 649.
134. I find nothing like this in Job; the nearest passage seems to be in ch. xxxiii. vv. 26-28, where the idea of forgiveness after confession is referred to.
135. Ezechie, king Hezekiah; see Isaiah, xxxviii. 15 (Vulgate).
136. From Rev. ii. 5.
138. Referring to 2 Pet. ii. 22.
141. From Ezek. xx. 43.
142. Really from John viii. 34; but cf. 2 Pet. ii. 19.
143. Here, again, the reference is wrong. The text intended is, probably, Job xlii. 6, where the Vulgate has:—'Idcirco ipse me reprehendo, et ago poenitentiam in favilla et cinere.' Cf. Ps. xxxviii. 6.
144. The allusions to Seneca are numerous, and sentences from other authors are frequently attributed to him.
150. 'Vis ut tibi seruiat cum quo factus es, et non uis seruire ei a quo factus es? Ergo cum uis ut seruiat tibi seruus tuus homo, et tu non uis seruire Deo, facis Deo quod tu pati non uis.'—S. Aug. Opp. Basil. 1569, tom. ix. col. 929 D; De Decem Chordis, cap. x.
151. Take reward of, have regard to.
154. vileynsly; an adv. formed from the adj. vileyns, base. See 652 below; &c.
156. See Prov. xi. 22. groyn, snout. 'Groyne of a swyne, Rostrum porcinum'; Prompt. Parv. Cotgrave has:—'Groin de porceau, the snowt of a Hog.' Florio's Ital. Dict. has:—'Grugno, the snout of a hog.' The Low Lat. form is grunnus; we find—'Grunnus, Anglice a gruyn, or a wrot'; Wright-Wülcker's Gloss. col. 587, l. 23. The A. S. word is wrōt; whence M. E. wroten, vb., as below.
159. This quotation is also given, in Latin, in Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, l. 4671:—'Siue comedam, siue bibam, siue aliquid aliud faciam, semper michi uidetur ilia tuba resonare in auribus meis, Surgite, mortui, uenite ad iudicium.' It occurs still earlier, in the Gesta Romanorum, cap. 37. It is not really from Jerome, but occurs in the Regula Monachorum, in S. Hieron. Opp. tom. v. App.; Paris, 1706. Cf. Lyndesay's Monarchè, book iv. l. 5606.
162. From Rom. xiv. 10.
164. essoyne, excuse; a common legal term; A. F. essoigne, essoyne; See Essoin in my Etym. Dict., 2nd ed., Addenda.
166. 'Nulla ibi dissimilatio, ubi reddenda ratio etiam de verbo otioso'; S. Bernardus, Sermo ad Prelatos in Concilio, § 5; ed. Migne, vol. 184, col. 1098.
168. This gives the general sense of Prov. i. 28.
169. 'O angustiae! Hinc erunt peccata accusantia; inde terrens iustitia; subtus patens horridum chaos inferni; desuper iratus iudex; intus urens conscientia; foris ardens mundus. Iustus uix saluabitur; peccator sic deprehensus in quam partem se premet? Constrictus ubi latebo? quomodo parebo? Latere erit impossibile; apparere intolerabile.'—S. Anselmi Meditatio Secunda; ed. Migne, vol. 158, col. 724. Cf. St. Bernard, Tractatus de Interiore Domo, cap. 22, § 46; Ancren Riwle, p. 304.
174. This passage from Jerome is probably founded upon Ps. xcvii. 3, 4.
176. From Job x. 20-22.
181. Referring to the quotation above; see 177.
182. I. e. Job calls it 'dark,' because he that is in hell is deprived of natural light. Of course material is here the adjective.
183. shal turne him al to peyne, shall all become painful to him; him is here a dative. In Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, ll. 6823, 6829, we find the above quotation from Job x. 20-22; and, soon after (l. 6879), a quotation from St. Augustine which seems to be here imitated:—'Demones igne scintillante uidebunt.'
186. defautes, wants, deprivations; agayn, as compared with.
189. Not from Jeremiah, but from 1 Sam. ii. 30; cf. Mal. ii. 9.
190. fortroden of, trodden down by; see fortreden in Stratmann; A. S. fortredan.
191. This singular quotation is said, in Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, l. 8592, to be from the book of Job. The reference is to Job xx. 25, where the Vulgate has: 'uadent et uenient super eum horribiles.' The word demones is supplied in Hampole before horribiles. Even Wycliffe's version has: 'orrible fendis schulen go, and schulen come on hym.' A. V. 'terrors are upon him.'
defouled, trodden down. In Ps. cxxxviii. 11, Wycliffe has—'schulen defoule me'; Vulgate, 'conculcabunt me.'
193. Chaucer extends this quotation by the insertion of the explanatory words about 'the riche folk'; see Ps. lxxvi. 5. oneden to, united to, entirely gave up (their hearts) to. The pp. oned, united, occurs in D. 1968. See Prompt. Parv. p. 365.
195. From Deut. xxxii. 24, 33. Cf. Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, l. 6755.
198. From Isaiah xiv. 11.
201. From Micah vii. 6.
204. The reference is to the Vulgate version of Ps. x. 6 (answering to Ps. xi. 6 in the A. V.): 'Qui autem diligit iniquitatem, odit animam suam.' Cf. Prov. xxix. 24.
207. The 'five wits' are the five senses. Cf. P. Plowman, B. xiv. 53:—
'Bi so that thow be sobre of syghte and of tonge,
In etynge and in handlynge, and in alle thi fyue wittis.'
208. grintinge, gnashing; cf. Matt. xiii. 42, xxv. 30.
209. nosethirles, nostrils. This seems to be taken from Jerome; for Hampole, in his Pricke of Conscience, l. 6677, says:—
'Of this Saynt Ierom, the haly man,
Says thus, als I here shewe yhow can:
Ibi est ignis inextinguibilis, et fetor intollerabilis.'
Isaye, Isaiah. The reference is to the Vulgate version of Isaiah, xxiv. 9:—'amara erit potio bibentibus illam.' But I may remark, that the corresponding passage in Hampole's Pricke of Conscience refers us, at l. 6770, to Job xx. 16; and that the word 'gall' occurs in Job xx. 14.
210. The reference is to the last verse in Isaiah.
211. Alluding to Job x. 22, already cited above; see note to 176. The Vulgate has:—'ubi umbra mortis.'
214. 'Fit ergo miseris mors sine morte, finis sine fine, defectus sine defectu, quia et mors uiuit, et finis semper incipit, et deficere defectus nescit';—S. Gregorius, Moralium lib. ix. c. 66; ed. Migne, vol. 75, col. 915.
216. From Rev. ix. 6. Cf. Hampole, Pricke of Conscience, ll. 6723, 7387.
217. Referring to the words 'et nullus ordo,' in Job x. 22; see 177 above.
218. This seems to have been the usual explanation of the passage. See the curious application of this text to the friars in Piers Plowman, B. xx. 268.
220. Referring to Ps. cvii. 34.
221. St. Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea (born in 329, died in 379). The passage alluded to is from his Homilies on the Psalms; on Ps. xxviii. 7; § 6.
223. The same text as that translated above (177) by 'grisly drede that ever shal laste.' 'Sempiternus horror inhabitat'; Job x. 22.
225. This probably refers to the words 'In inferno nulla est redemptio,' founded on Job vii. 9; see P. Plowm. C. xxi. 153.
227. From Prov. xi. 7.
229-230. I cannot trace these references. Cf. Eccl. i. 18.
236. From Ezek. xviii. 24.
248. This seems to be the refrain of a Balade. It is interesting to notice that Chaucer again quotes it, as a line of verse, in his poem on Fortune; see Minor Poems, x. 7 (vol. i. p. 383).
252. to paye with his dette, to pay his debt with.
253-4. This is evidently the same passage from St. Bernard as that referred to in Hampole's Pricke of Conscience, l. 5653:—'Sicut non peribit capillus de capite, ita non erit momentum de toto tempore, de quo sane non conqueratur.'
258. mowes, grimaces. 'Mowe, or skorne'; Prompt. Parv. p. 346. Cf. Troil. iv. 7.
273. This probably refers to Ps. lxix, which is frequently interpreted to refer to the sufferings of Christ; see vv. 7, 9, 18-21.
281. From Isaiah liii. 5.
284. From the Vulgate version of John xix. 19.
286. From Matt. i. 21.
287. From Acts iv. 12.
288. Nazarenus, an inhabitant of Nazareth.
There is a further reference to passages in which the promised Messiah is described as a nētser, i. e. a 'shoot' or 'sprout,' of Jesse. Genesius explains nētser as meaning 'a branch,' Isaiah xiv. 19, lx. 21; and, metaphorically, 'a Branch of Jesse,' Isaiah xi. 1. This sense of 'branch' or 'sprout' shews the origin of the explanation of the word as 'flourishing.'
289. From Rev. iii. 20.
300. and nat repente, and (for him) not to repent; used substantively, as equivalent to 'non-repentance.' So also repenten him, to repent, is equivalent to 'repentance.'
303. 'Scio enim Deum inimicum omni criminoso'; S. Aug. De Vera Poenitentia, cap. ix; Opp. Basil. 1569, tom. iv. col. 1044 C.
307. Ps. xcvii. 10 (xcvi. 10, in the Vulgate).
309. From Ps. xxxii. 5. The words that is to seyn are superfluous.
313. sone of ire, i. e. a child of wrath; Eph. ii. 3.
315. a sory song, i. e. a mournful song.
316. The subject of this second Chapter, viz. Confession, is interrupted, in §§ 23-84, by a long description of the Seven Deadly Sins. The subject is resumed in § 85, at p. 634. As to Confession, compare the Ancren Riwle, p. 299, and Myre's Instructions for Parish Priests, p. 24.
317. And whether it oghte nedes be doon or noon. Here again, as in 83 above, Chaucer forgets this clause, and pays no more heed to the matter.
320. Before avaunte, understand he moot; i. e. and (he must) not boast of his good works. Compare Ancren Riwle, p. 317; Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 255.
322. From Rom. v. 12.
326-330. Compare Wycliffe's later version of Gen. iii. 1-7.
337-340. This agrees rather closely with the Ninth of the Articles of Religion.
341. refreyded, chilled, cooled. Words of Anglo-French origin have ey or ei in place of the Central French oi. Cotgrave has:—'Refroidir, to coole, to take away the heat of, to slacken, to calme.' Cotgrave also has:—'Malefice, a mischiefe; ... also, a charme (wherby hurt is done); mischievous witchery.' It is the same word as the Span. malhecho, mischief, and Shakespeare's mallecho; Hamlet, iii. 2. 146.
342. From Gal. v. 17.
343. Cf. 2 Cor. xi. 25-27.
344. From Rom. vii. 24.
345. This passage refers to St. Jerome's 22nd Epistle to Eustochium, De Virginitate, § 7 (ed. Migne, vol. 22. col. 398). A long extract from this letter is given in Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints, under Sept. 30.
348. From James i. 14.
349. From 1 John i. 8.
351. The sense shews that suggestion is really meant; but it only appears in MSS. Selden and Lansdowne; all the rest have subieccion or subieccioun, which I have therefore retained in the text. The fact is, that the words were confused in medieval Latin. Ducange gives subjectio, as used for suggestio. However, we find the words 'by wikked suggestion' just below, in l. 355.
bely, i. e. bellows; so in all the seven MSS. It is precisely the same word as the mod. E. belly, notwithstanding the present difference in sense. The old sense was simply 'bag'; applied either to an inflated bag for blowing, or to the abdomen. The pl. form belies was also used in the double sense, viz. (1) a pair of bellows, and (2) bellies; in fact, a pair of bellows is still called blow-bellis in some parts of Shropshire; see Blow-bellows and Blow-bellys in Miss Jackson's Shropshire Glossary. And see the full explanations of Bellows and Belly in the New Eng. Dict.
355. 'Perhaps there may be some such passage in the Rabbinical histories of Moses, which the learned Gaulmin published in the last century (Paris, 1629, 8vo.), and which, among other traditions, contain that alluded to by St. Jude, Epist. 9.'—Tyrwhitt. An apocryphal book, called the Assumption of Moses, is mentioned by Origen.
358. Wycliffe protested against this attempted distinction between 'venial' and 'deadly' sin; see his Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 452. See also Myrc's Instructions for Parish Priests, p. 43.
362. Hazlitt gives this proverb in the form—'Many littles make a mickle'; from Camden's Remains. He adds several parallels from Ray's Proverbs. Another similar proverb is: 'A little leak will sink a great ship'; cf. 363.
363. crevace, crevice. thurrok, the holde of a ship. 'Thurrok of a schyppe, Sentina'; Prompt. Parv. The following remarkable passage occurs in The Myroure of oure Ladye, ed. Blunt (E. E. T. S.), pt. ii. pp. 108, 109:—'Noe [Noah] ioyed that hys Shyppe shulde be so pycked [pitched] wyth-in and wyth-out, that there shulde [be?] no thorrocke [bilge-water?] that myghte syee [leak, ooze in] or droppe in therto. Ye shall vnderstonde that there ys a place in the bottome of a shyppe wherein ys gatheryd all the fylthe that cometh in-to the shyppe, other by lekynge or by syinge in-to yt by the bourdes, when the shyppe is olde, or when yt is not wel pycked, or by eny other wyse. And that place stynketh ryghte fowle; and yt ys called in some contre [county] of thys londe a thorrocke. Other calle yt an hamron, and some calle yt the bulcke of the shyppe. And thys is the thorrocke that this Lesson spekyth of. For the shyppe of Noe was soo well pycked, that there gatheryd no soche fylthe therin.' It is cognate with Du. durk, Mid. Du. durck; Hexham's Du. Dict. has:—'Durck van het schip daer al het water ende vuyligheyt in loopt, The Bottom or Sink of a ship where all the water and filth runs in.' Sewel's Du. Diet, has:—'Durk (vuyl scheepswater), The foul water at the bottom of a ship.' This shews that the word meant (1) the lower part of the hold; and (2) the bilge-water that collects there. Probably a still older sense is simply 'hull'; for we find A. S. þurruc, as a gloss to 'Cumba, uel caupolus'; Wright-Wülcker's Gloss. 181. 35. And Ducange has:—'Cumba, cymba, navis, seu potius navis species ... Glossar. Arabico-Latinum; Lembus, navicula brevis, dicta et caupulus, et cumba, et lintris.... Ugutio: Cumba et cimba, ima pars navis et vicinior aquis.'
This image is doubtless borrowed from St. Gregory; see Sweet's ed. of Ælfred's translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care, cap. lvii.
378. tale, relate, narrate; cf. A. 772; Will. of Palerne, 160; Gower, C. A. iii. 329. A. S. talian. Tyrwhitt reads talke.
384. I find, in Caxton's Golden Legende, the expression—'yf they had done ony venyal synne, hit was anone putte awey by the loue of charyte, lyke as a drope of water in a fornays.'—Of the Commemoration of Al Soules. See my note to P. Pl. C. vii. 338.
386. Confiteor, I confess. In the Ancren Riwle, p. 137, the editor's translation has:—'Wherefore every anchoress saith to every priest Confiteor first of all, and confesseth herself first of all, and often.'
387. Here begins the famous and very common subject of the Seven Deadly Sins, largely borrowed from the treatise by Frère Lorens mentioned above (p. 447). I give occasional quotations from the French text, marked 'Fr.,' with references to the pages of Essays on Chaucer, Part V (Chaucer Society).
I here repeat, from my note on P. Plowman, C. vii. 3, some of the references to passages in which the Seven Sins appear. See, for instance, Ælfric's Homilies, ed. Thorpe, ii. 219; Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 119, 225; The Ancren Riwle, ed. Morton, pp. 198-204; Religious Pieces, ed. Perry (E. E. T. S.), pp. 11, 12; the Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. Morris, p. 16; Political, Religious, and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall, p. 215; Hymns to the Virgin and Christ, ed. Furnivall, p. 62; Myrc's Instructions for Parish Priests, p. 33; Dunbar's Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins; Spenser, F. Q. bk. i. c. 4; &c. See also Sins in Nares' Glossary.
The Seven Sins, in Chaucer's order, are:—
1. Superbia, Pride (p. 591); its 'remedy' is Humilitas, Humility.
2. Inuidia, Envy (p. 598); remedy, Caritas, Love.
3. Ira, Ire, Wrath (p. 601); remedy, Patientia, Patience.
4. Accidia, Sloth (p. 612); remedy, Fortitudo, Strength.
5. Auaricia, Avarice (p. 617); remedy, Misericordia, Pity.
6. Gula, Gluttony (p. 623); remedy, Abstinentia, Abstinence.
7. Luxuria, Lechery (p. 625); remedy, Castitas, Chastity.
springers, origins, sources. I adopted this reading from Hl., because none of the other MSS. make sense. They have spryngen of or springen of (Hn. sprynge of), which can only mean 'arise from,' thus exactly contradicting the sense intended. Thynne has springe of; but Wright, Morris, and Bell all have springers of, as they follow the Harl. MS. I know no other example of this rare word; and it is difficult to see why the commoner form springes would not have served the purpose. Tyrwhitt gets over the difficulty by transposing the words, as in the Selden MS., thus reading—'and of hem springen alle,' &c. But the other MSS. do not countenance this arrangement.
388. Pride is usually accounted as the chief of all sins, and the source of the rest; cf. Ecclus. x. 13; P. Plowman, C. vii. 3 (B. v. 63), and the note; Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 16.
There is a long passage in St. Gregory's Moralium lib. xxxi. c. 45 (ed. Migne, vol. 76. col. 621), to which I suppose that later writers were much indebted. It is explicitly referred to, for instance, by John of Salisbury, in his Policraticus, lib. viii. c. 1. I quote some passages from it further on, in suitable places. It begins thus:—
'Radix quippe cuncti mali Superbia est. Primae autem ejus soboles, septem nimirum principalia vitia, de hac virulenta radice proferuntur, scilicet inanis gloria, invidia, ira, tristitia, avaritia, ventris ingluvies, luxuria; ... sed habet contra nos haec singula exercitum suum.'
389. hise braunches, its branches. In the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 17, they are called boghes, boughs; and the 'twigs' are called little boghes.
390. In Essays on Chaucer, p. 510, Dr. Eilers gives a detailed and careful comparison of the English with the French text from which it is partly derived. The result, through no fault of his, is more bewildering than useful; for the numerous alterations in the arrangement of the parts of the subject are altogether too tedious to explain. The reader will gain the best idea of the state of the case, if I here quote Dr. Eilers' summary of his comparison of the two texts, as to their treatment of 'Pride.' Similar numberless alterations of detail occur in the treatment of the other 'Sins.' (Fr. = French text).
'From the above [comparison] it will appear that a well-ordered scheme underlies the French text. Orguel is divided into 7 branches, and each of these again into a similar number of reinselez (branchettes). Let us examine the English text (Chaucer's) more closely. After first pointing out (substantially in agreement with Fr.) the impossibility of naming all the parts (twigges) into which Pride may be divided, 16 twigges are enumerated, but without that logical coherence apparent in Fr. Next follow short definitions of the twigs, in which, however, the 11th twig (Strif) is omitted from the list, and is added instead at the end, under janglinge, which had never been mentioned before. These 16 twigs correspond partly to the branches, partly to the reinselez of Fr., whilst some of them are not found in Fr. at all, or at least not under the same heading.
'The definitions correspond only in their general sense with Fr. [Here instances are given.]
'Throughout this part there is in Ch. much confusion of particulars. The definition of "swelling of herte" is incorrect. "Arrogaunce" and "Presumpcion," which in Fr. are identical, appear in Ch. as distinct conceptions. On the other hand, the definitions of some of the words resemble each other closely.... The next section, on "a privee spece of Pryde" (§ 25), has nothing corresponding to it in Fr.; &c.... In the section "whennes Pride sourdeth and springeth" (§ 29), Ch. is in tolerably exact accordance with Fr.... The correspondence in this first Deadly Sin is confined to isolated expressions, points of arrangement common to both,' &c.
On account, then, of the complicated differences in the treatment of details, I do not think it advisable to give the full and exact results. I confine myself to passages in which the Fr. throws real light on the English text, and to the points of chief interest only.
I think it worth while to continue here the quotation from Gregory commenced in the note to l. 388 above:—'Nam de inani gloria inobedientia, jactantia, hypocrisis, contentiones, pertinaciae, discordiae, et novitatum praesumptiones oriuntur.' Here is the outline of the division of Pride into branches. He gives similar 'branches' of Inuidia, Ira, and the rest.
In the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 17, the first bough of Pride has three twigs, as in Fr.; in fact, it follows Fr. very closely, and gives a very good idea of its general contents and treatment.
In the Ancren Riwle, p. 199, 'the Lion of Pride' has 9 whelps, such as Vain Glory, Indignation, Hypocrisy, Presumption, &c.
392. Inobedient, disobedient. Cf. P. Plowman, C. vii. 19; Ayenb. (i. e. Ayenbite of Inwyt), p. 20, ll. 7. 8.
393. Avauntour, boaster; P. Pl. C. vii. 35; Ayenb. p. 22, ll. 5-15.
394. Ipocrite, hypocrite. Cf. P. Pl. C. vii. 36-40; Ayenb. p. 25 (Sixth Bough).
395. Despitous, scornful; cf. Ayenb. p. 20, ll. 4, 5. even-cristene, fellow-Christian; cf. Swed. jämn-christen, from jämn, even; Icel. jafnkristinn. Euene-cristene occurs in P. Plowm. B. ii. 94, v. 440; also spelt emcristene in the same, C. xx. 226, &c.
398. The definition does not well suit 'Swellinge of herte.' It better defines 'the envious man'; see Ayenb. p. 27, l. 15. And see P. 599, l. 492, below. At the same time, it is not so much out of place as the critics say it is, and is paralleled by the lines in P. Plowman, C. vii. 17, where Pride says that he was—
'nouht abaissed to agulte
God and alle good men, so gret was myn herte.'
399. This is parallel to P. Plowm. C. vii. 41-58.
401. This corresponds to Ayenb. p. 29, l. 19. 'The zixte is, to werri zoþnesse be his wytinde.' Fr. 'guerroier verité a son escient.'
402. Contumax, contumacious; as in P. Plowm. C. xiv. 85.
403. Surquidrie, presumption; O.F. surquiderie. It occurs in the Ancren Riwle, p. 56 (note h); Gawain and the Grene Knight, l. 2457; Barbour's Bruce, xi. 11, xvi. 327; &c.
406. See E. 1200, and the note. Cf. Ayenb. p. 58, l. 13:—'that byeth ase the cleper of the melle, thet ne may him naght hyealde stille.' Fr. 'vaines paroles, qui sont come li batels du moulin.'
407. There is nothing in Fr. corresponding to this passage. waiteth, i. e. watches his opportunity of being first saluted, or of taking a higher seat at table. above him, before him, as in a procession.
kisse pax, to kiss the pax. The pax was a small flat piece of wood or metal, quite distinct from the pyx, with which it is often confounded. See the full explanation in Nares. See also Bingham, Antiq. of the Christian Church; and Rock, Church of our Fathers.
goon to offring; see A. 450, and the note.
411. leefsel, a shady arbour, such as may still be seen before an ale-house-door, or a cottage-door, in some country villages. The word has already occurred in A. 4061, and has been explained in the note to that line. It is quite distinct from the ivy-bush which was so commonly suspended in place of, or in addition to, the sign which denoted an ale-house; see the chapter on Ale-house Signs in Brand's Pop. Antiquities. Perhaps we may assume that the descriptive epithet gaye is here of some force; the arbour in front of an inn-door would, usually, be either larger or more conspicuous than that in front of an ordinary cottage.
412. This 'outrageous array of clothing' answers to the 'plente des beles robes' in Fr.; cf. Ayenb. p. 24, last line but one.
413. Alluding to Luke xvi. 19. Really from S. Gregorii Homiliarum in Evangelia lib. ii. homil. xl. § 3: 'Quodsi uidelicet culpa non esset, nequaquam sermo Dei tam uigilanter exprimeret quod diues ... bysso et purpura indutus fuisset.' See Migne's ed. vol. 76. col. 1305.
414. From S. Gregorii Homiliarum in Evangelia lib. ii. homil. 40. § 3: 'Nemo quippe uestimenta praecipua nisi ad inanem gloriam quaerit, uidelicet, ut honorabilior caeteris esse uideatur.' Cf. lib. i. homil. vi. § 3 (on the text, Matt. xi. 2-10), where St. Gregory inveighs against such as—'solis exterioribus dediti, praesentis uitae mollitiem et delectationem quaerunt ... Nemo ergo existimet in fluxu atque studio uestium peccatum deesse;' (ed. Migne, vol. 76. col. 1097). He proceeds to refer to 1 Pet. iii. 5, 1 Tim. ii. 9.
415. costlewe, costly. 'Costelewe, costfull, costuous, Sumptuosus'; Prompt. Parv.; see Way's note. This form answers to the Icel. kostligr; and the only difference between the suffixes -lewe and -ly is that the former is Norse, and represents Icel. -ligr, whilst the latter represents the A. S. -lic. See Chokelew in the New Eng. Dict., and cf. drunken-lewe, drunken-like, sik-lewe, sickly.
416. Wyclif (Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 124) is similarly severe against proud array.
417. degyse, fashionable; O. F. desguisè, also spelt desguisiè (Godefroy). Chaucer found this word in Le Roman de la Rose, l. 827; see vol. i. p. 128.
endentinge, notching, or the use of indented lines. Indentee (better endentee) is still a term in heraldry, to signify that an edge or dividing line is notched or serrated, as shewn in any heraldic work. Several of the terms in this clause have, in heraldry, a special sense, and Chaucer seems to be thinking, in particular, of such coats-of-arms as were sometimes made of variously coloured cloths, cut into the requisite shapes.
barringe, cutting into stripes, or decoration with bars. A bar, in heraldry, is a horizontal stripe like the fess, but narrower.
oundinge, waving; decoration by the use of waved lines. Oundee or oundy (also onde, ondy) is the heraldic name for a waved line or edge. Criseyde's hair was ounded, i. e. waved; Troilus, iv. 736.
palinge, decoration with a 'pale' or upright stripe. A pale, in heraldry, is a broad upright stripe, occupying the third part of the field. Cf. note to HF. 1840 (vol. iii. p. 282).
windinge, twisting; decoration with curved lines. Many heraldic charges, such as a lion, had to be cut out in the cloth, by 'winding' the scissors about, along the outline required.
bendinge, decoration with bends. A bend, in heraldry, is a slanting stripe or band. The bend dexter is drawn from the dexter chief to the sinister base of the shield; the bend sinister (once a mark of bastardy) slopes the other way.
418. pounsoninge, punching, perforation. Strictly, the use of a puncheon or perforating implement. 'Punchon, stimulus, punctorium'; Prompt. Parv.
chisels, i. e. cutting instruments; we may note that, etymologically, chisels and scissors (M. E. cisoures) are closely related words.
dagginge, slitting, snipping, cutting into strips or narrow flapping ends. There is a special allusion to the custom of dagging, i. e. jagging, or foliating the edges of robes (especially of the sleeves), so common in the reigns of Edw. III. and Rich. II. See fig. 91 in Fairholt's Costume in England (1885), i. 124. See P. Plowman, C. xxiii. 143; Rich. the Redeless, iii. 193.
419. The length of the trains of gowns is a common subject of satire. See, in particular, Sir David Lyndesay's Minor Poems (E. E. T. S.), pp. 574-5.
421. bete, remedy, amend, better, relieve; cf. A. 2253.
422. cutted, cut short; see Leg. G. Women, 973, and note.
sloppes, garments; here, evidently, jackets of a short length. 'Sloppe, garment, Mutatorium'; Prompt. Parv.; Icel. sloppr, a robe, gown. There is a parallel passage in the Knight of La Tour-Landry, cap. xlvii (p. 63). Cf. oversloppe, G. 633.
hainselins (also spelt hanselins, anslets), the same as sloppes, i. e. jackets. Tyrwhitt unluckily says that 'it appears from the context to mean a sort of breeches,' whereas it was the shortness of the hainselin that enabled the breeches to be seen; and his error has been copied by others. This most unusual word answers to the rare O. F. hamselin, hamcellim, or hainselin, a sort of robe. Godefroy says—'sorte de robe longue'; whereas it was certainly 'courte.' His examples include the mention of 'un hainselin de vert brun' in 1416, 'hamselin' in 1403, and an extract from Christine de Pisan:—
'N'orent pas gonele a pointes,
Mais hamcellins a grans manches
Estroit serrez sus les hanches.'
I suppose the last line means 'tightly gathered in above the hips.' Cotgrave has: 'sus, above.' The word is probably of Frankish origin; from O. H. G. *hemithilīn, M. H. G. hemdelīn, dimin. of O. H. G. hemithi, a shirt (G. Hema). See Fig. 93 and Fig. 136 in Fairholt's Costume, i. 126, 180.
425. degysinge, mode of dress. This alludes to the singular habit of wearing parti-coloured dresses; see the remarks in Fairholt's Costume, i. 114, 115.
427. fyr of seint Anthony, St. Anthony's fire; a popular name for erysipelas, which this saint was supposed to cure.
429. honestetee, decency; as in B. 3908. In 431, it seems to mean 'neatness'; and so in 436.
432. aornement, the O. F. form of 'adornment'; see Adornment in the New E. Dict., in which the oldest quotation for this form is from Caxton. The expression 'in thinges that apertenen to rydinge' answers to 'his uaire ridinges' in Ayenb. p. 24, l. 3 from bottom; Fr. 'beles chevauchures.'
434. From Zech. x. 5.
435. This curiously expresses the view taken by the lower orders in England, who regarded the riders, mostly Normans, as belonging to the class of their oppressors. Hence the curious song against the Retinues of the Rich, in Wright's Political Songs, pp. 237-240.
437. greet meinee, a large household; 'the uayre mayné,' Ayenb. p. 24, l. 31; Fr. 'bele maisnie.'
440. As 'thilke that holden hostelries,' i. e. innkeepers, are here represented as upholding the cheating ways of the 'hostilers,' the latter must here be used (like mod. E. ostler) in the sense of the servants attached to the inn. In A. 241, hostiler may mean the innkeeper himself; but ostler goes well with tappestere, i. e. barmaid.
442. From Ps. lv. 15.
445. wilde fyr, fire caused by kindling some inflammable spirit, just as our modern 'Christmas pudding' or 'mince pie' is surrounded with the flames of burning brandy. It seems to have been called 'wild fire' as being not easily extinguishable, like the 'Greek fire' of the middle ages; see Ancren Riwle, p. 402, and Warton's note, Hist. Eng. Poetry, ed. 1871, ii. 154. In A. 4172, and E. 2252, it is used, metaphorically, to denote 'erysipelas.'
446. vessel, a collective noun, like mod. E. 'plate.' As to minstrelsy at feasts, see E. 1178, F. 268, &c.
448. sourden of, arise from, have their source in; F. sourdre.
450-5. Here the E. text is tolerably close to the Fr. original; cf. Ayenb. p. 24. The 'goodes' are Li bien de nature, being such as are (1) devers le cors, viz. sainteté (good health), biauté, force, proesce, noblesce, bone langue, bone voiz; and (2) devers l'ame, viz. cler sens, soutil engin, bone memoire, les vertuz natureles. Again, there are Li bien de fortune, viz. hautesces, honors, richesces, delices, prosperitez. Lastly, there are Li bien de grace, viz. vertuz, bones œvres.
459. Alluding to Gal. v. 17; see Wyclif's version.
460. causeth ... meschaunce, often brings many a man into peril and misfortune. The idiom is curious; but all the MSS. agree here, and Thynne's edition has the same. Tyrwhitt has 'causeth ful oft to many man peril,' &c. This is easier, but lacks authority.
467. Chaucer found this quotation from Seneca in the Latin treatise which is the original of 'Melibeus' (p. 124 of Sundby's edition), though the passage does not occur in his version of that tale. It is made up of two clauses, taken, respectively, from Seneca, De Clementia, i. 3. 3, and the same, i. 19. 2. 'Nullum clementia magis decet quam regem'; et iterum, 'Iracundissimae et parui corporis sunt apes, rex tamen earum sine aculeo est.' Cf. Pliny, Nat. History, bk. xi. c. 17; Batman upon Bartholomè, bk. xviii. c. 12; Hoccleve, de Regimine Principum, p. 121; Brunetto Latini, Li Livres dou Tresor, i. v. 155.
At the same time, it is remarkable that Chaucer's words resemble even more closely a passage from Cicero which is quoted on the preceding page of the same book:—'Nam Tullius dixit: Nihil est laudabilius, nihil magno et praeclaro viro dignius placabilitate atque clementia'; De Officiis, i. 25.
470. Here there is a slight change in the order; the 'goods of grace' are discussed before those of 'fortune'; see 454, 455.
473. Cf. the Clerkes Tale, E. 1000.
475. In the Fr. treatise, all the Sins come first, and then the Remedies are discussed afterwards. The alteration in this respect is an improvement.
476. mekenesse; called 'Mildenesse' in Ayenb. p. 130, and 'umilite' in Fr. The resemblance of this § 29 to the Fr. text is very slight.
483. to stonde gladly to, willingly to abide by.
484. See Ayenb. 26; Myrc's Instructions to Parish Priests, p. 37; P. Plowm. C. vii. 63 (B. v. 76); Ancren Riwle, p. 200; Wyclif's Works, ed. Arnold, iii. 128. In form and general contents, this chapter on Envy is a condensation of the corresponding chapter in the Fr. text, but there are several deviations.
philosophre; I do not know who is meant. However, St. Gregory (see the note to 388) says: 'De inuidia, odium, susurratio, detractio, exsultatio in aduersis proximi, afflictio autem in prosperis nascitur.'
Augustin. The quotation seems rather to follow the words of St. Gregory just quoted. I find, in St. Augustine, only one of the clauses, viz. 'Inuidia est enim odium felicitatis alienae'; S. Aug. in Psalm. civ. 25 (cv. 25 in the Vulgate); ed. Migne, vol. 37, col. 1399. This is the very quotation which has already done duty in the Phisicien's Tale; see C. 115, and the note. Cf. P. Plowm. B. v. 112, 113.
485. platly, &c.; Fr. 'il est contraires an saint esperit.' Cf. Ayenb. p. 28, l. 7 from bottom.
486. two; Dr. Eilers remarks—'Clearly three follow.' But we can easily count them as two; (1) hardness of heart; (2) warring against truth, or against grace given to one's neighbour.
487. Fr. 'guerroier verité a son escient'; and again, 'guerroier la grace du saint esperit en autrui.' See Ayenb. p. 29, ll. 2, 3, 18, 19.
490. Compare P. Pl. C. vii. 93.
491-492. See 484 above, and the note.
493. bakbyting; cf. Ancren Riwle, p. 86; P. Plowm. B. v. 89. Fr. text, 'detraction.'
493-494. Fr. 'quant on dist bien d'autrui devant lui, toz jors il i trueve e i met un mes'; where mes is the mod. F. mais, Chaucer's 'but.'
495. Fr. 'il pervertist e torne tout a la pior partie.'
496. Fr. 'il estaint e met a nient touz les biens que li hons fait.'
499. Fr. 'grondiller e murmurer.'
500. Fr. 's'il [Dieu] li envoie adversitez, povretez, chier tens, pluie, seccheresce, s'il done a l'un et toult a l'autre.' Cf. P. Pl. B. vi. 317.
502. See John xii. 4. enoynte, anointed, is the past tense; the pp. is enoynt, A. 2961; cf. anoint, A. 199.
504. See Luke vii. 39.
505. bereth him, &c., lays to his charge. Cf. D. 226, 380.
508. Compare the Fr. text:—'murmure contre Dieu et chante la pater-nostre au singe, certes mais la chancon au diable.'
515. This section, on the Remedy against Envy, is very much abridged from the Fr. original, and the points of contact are few. Cf. Ayenb. p. 144; Myrc, p. 52.
526. From Matt. v. 44.
532. 'The first part of this chapter is, in arrangement as in substance, a condensation of the corresponding chapter in Fr. The working out of the subject is interwoven with ideas, which are nowhere to be found in Fr. ... the verbal coincidences are very numerous.'—Essays on Chaucer, p. 533. See Ayenb. p. 29; Myrc, p. 38; Wyclif, Works, iii. 134.
535. 'Nam et ipsam iram nihil aliud esse, quam ulciscendi libidinem, veteres definierunt'; S. August. De Civitate Dei, lib. xiv. c. 15. § 2. Cf. Cicero, Tuscul. Disput. lib. iii. c. 5; lib. iv. c. 9.
536. Cf. Horace, Epist. I. 2. 62:—'Ira furor breuis est.'
537. trouble, i. e. troubled, agitated; F. trouble, adj. Cf. H. 279.
540. From Ps. iv. 5 (Vulgate).
551. 'Juniperus, ... Graece dicta, ... quod conceptum diu teneat ignem: adeo ut si prunae ex eius cinere fuerint opertae, usque ad annum perueniant; enim apud Graecos ignis dicitur'; S. Isidorus, Etymologiarum lib. xvii. c. 7; ed. Migne, vol. 82, col. 615. This is one of Isidore's delicious 'etymologies.' This remarkable story is founded on the imaginary fact that juniper is derived from the Gk. , fire!
562. hate, &c. This expression is from St. Augustine:—'Quid est odium? ira inueterata. Ira inuerata si facta est, iam odium dicitur'; Sermo lviii. c. 7; ed. Migne, vol. 38, col. 397.
565. six thinges; evidently an error for three. The three are: (1) hate; (2) backbiting; (3) deceitful counsel. The error may easily have arisen from misreading iij as uj. Most of the MSS. have '.vj.'; but '.ui.' and '.uj.' were also in use. See 1 John iii. 15.
566. Probably due to an imperfect remembrance of Prov. xxv. 18:—'Iaculum, et gladius, et sagitta acuta, homo qui loquitur contra proximum suum falsum testimonium.' Cf. xii. 18, xxx. 14.
568. From Prov. xxviii. 15; cf. iii. 27.
shepe, hire, is a rare word; hence the addition, either by Chaucer or by a scribe, of the words or the hyre, by way of a gloss. The writer of the Ayenbite writes ss for sh; and we there find the word ssepe, in the sense of 'hire' or 'pay,' no less than five times; at pp. 33, 40, 86, 113, 146, also the pl. ssepes, wages, at p. 39. Cf. A. S. scipe, pay, in Ælfric's Lives of Saints, ed. Skeat, xxxi. 55 (vol. ii. p. 222). See note to Anelida, 193.
569. From Prov. xxv. 21.
572. in his defendaunt, in his (own) defence; it looks like an imitation of the French phrase en se defendant.
575. Note the double use of homicide; it here translates homicidium; just above, it translates homicida.
580. Fr. 'Mais especiaument nous apelons ci blaspheme, quant on mesdit de Dieu e de ses sainz, on des sacramenz de sainte eglise.'
582. From Ps. cxlv. 9.
587. The French treatise includes seven forms of swearing (parjuremens) under the head of Ire.
588. See Exod. xx. 7; Matt. v. 34. Cf. C. 642.
591. Fr. 'Il resont plus cruel que li Iuys qui le crucifierent. Il ne briserent nul des os, mais cist le depiecent plus menu c'on ne fait pourcel en la boucherie.' Cf. Pard. Tale, C. 475, 651, and the notes.
592. See the parallel passage in the Pard. Tale, C. 635, and the note. From Jer. iv. 2; on which St. Jerome remarks: 'Animaduertendum est quod iusiurandum tres habet comites.'
593. See Pard. Tale, C. 649, and the note. The wounde is a translation of the Lat. plaga in Ecclus. xxiii. 12 (Vulgate):—'non discedet a domo illius plaga.'
597. From Acts iv. 12.
598. From Phil. ii. 10.
601. This section (§ 37) is rather closer than usual to the French text, but is amplified.
603. Fr. 'comme font les devines et les sorcieres et les charmeresses. Et touz ceus qui en tiex choses croient ... pecchent morteument; car toutes teles choses sont contre la foi, et por ce les deffent sainte eglise.'
bacins ful of water. These were sometimes used, instead of looking-glasses, for divination; Brand, Pop. Antiq. ed. Ellis, iii. 169. This kind of divination was called catoptromancy.
bright swerd, used, instead of a magic mirror, in catoptromancy; see Brand.
in a cercle. Circles were almost invariably drawn upon the ground by sorcerers, within which the invoked spirit was supposed to be confined; see Brand, iii. 56, 59.
in a fyr, as in pyromancy. 'Amphiaraus was the first that had knowledge in Pyromancie, and gathered signs by speculation of fire'; Holland, tr. of Pliny, bk. vii. c. 56. Cf. P. Plowman, A. xi. 158.
'Magic may be practised after diuers sorts; ... for it worketh by the means of (1) Water, hydromantia; (2) Globes or Balls, sphaeromantia; (3) Aire, aeromantia; (4) Starres, astrologia; (5) Fire-lights, pyromantia; (6) Basons, lecanomantia; and (7) Axes, axinomantia'; Holland, tr. of Pliny, bk. xxx. c. 2.
shulder-boon. See Pard. Tale, C. 351, and the note. Brand, in his Pop. Antiq., has a chapter on Divination by the Speal [rather Spaule], or Blade-bone. In Miss Burne's Shropshire Folk-Lore, p. 179, we are referred to Tylor, Prim. Culture, i. 124; Folk-Lore Record, i. 176; Henderson, Folk-Lore, p. 175.
605. divynailes, divinations. 'Devinailles, f. Divinations, predictions'; Cotgrave.
flight of briddes. This form of divination, so well known to the Romans, is still kept in remembrance by the use of the words augury and auspice. Divinations by beasts were common and various; the commonest method was by inspecting the entrails of a beast when sacrificed. See Brand's chapter on Omens, as e.g. by the howling of dogs, by cats, birds, animals crossing one's path, &c.
sort, lot; as by the Virgilian lots, Bible lots, &c.; see Brand, Pop. Antiq. iii. 336; Sir T. Browne, Vulgar Errors, bk. v. c. 24, § 7; Gay, Shepherd's Week, Pastoral 4.
geomancie, divination by dots made with a pointed stick in dust, &c. See the note on A. 2043, above. Divination by dreams needs no remark.
chirkinge, creaking. Strange noises have often caused superstitious terrors; a familiar instance is that of the death-watch. They are also sometimes regarded, with less evil effect, and perhaps, occasionally, with some truth, as weather-omens.
See Gay's Trivia, bk. i. l. 157; and the well-known Signs of Rain, by Dr. Jennings.
gnawynge of rattes. See Brand, Popular Antiq. iii. 188.
607. Charmes. See examples in Brand, Pop. Antiquities, of Rural Charms, Characts, and Amulets. It is curious to note Chaucer's qualified belief in them.
609. Cf. Fr. 'unes menconges aidans, ... unes nuisans, ... por faire domage a autrui.'
611. Som lesinge, &c.; 'some (kind of) lying arises, because a man wants to sustain (the credit of) his word.' Dr. Eilers marks he with the note—'grammatical error.' But it is quite right; he is used indefinitely, as frequently. It is just a little too bad to charge this as an error on the author.
612. The mention of flattery seems out of place. But, as Dr. Eilers says, we may well suppose that 'the English author, once having had recourse to the "pecchiez de male langue," exhausted its whole contents, perhaps intentionally, perhaps unintentionally, but certainly with no regard to the subject of anger.' If we turn to the Ayenbite, p. 57, we shall find that the sins of the tongue, including flattery, are there given at the end of the section on Gluttony, where their appearance is even more surprising. The fact is, that the grouping of all sins under the Seven Deadly Sins is extremely artificial, and there is no particular place for the insertion of flattery or of certain other sins. Moreover, in 618 below, Chaucer naively gives his reason for the arrangement which he has adopted.
613. Fr. 'Li losengier sont les norrices au diable, qui ses enfans alaitent et endorment en leur pecchies ... par lor biau chanter.' The same expression occurs in the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 60, l. 7.
614. Salomon. Chaucer gives the general sense of Prov. xxviii. 23.
615. Fr. 'les apele l'escripture enchanteors, car il enchantent tant l'ome que il les croit plus que soi meismes.' The Ayenbite has 'charmeres'; p. 60, l. 25.
616. Following Tyrwhitt, I have supplied the words between square brackets, which are wanting in all the seven MSS. and in Thynne's edition. Tyrwhitt supplies 'god; and thise flatereres betrayen.' But he does not tell us where (if anywhere) he found these words.
617. The Fr. text has the very expression 'quant il chantent touz jors Placebo.' The Ayenbite adds an explanation (p. 60, l. 7 from bottom): viz. they all sing Placebo, that is to say, 'my lord saith truth,' or 'my lord doth well'; and turn to good all that the master doth or saith, whether it be good or bad. See my note to P. Plowman, C. iv. 467.
Note the name Placebo in the Marchauntes Tale; see E. 1476.
619. Fr. 'Apres vienent les maudicons.... E saint Pol dist que tieus genz ne poent le regne Dieu avoir.' This refers to 1 Cor. vi. 10, where the Vulgate has: 'neque maledici (A. V. 'revilers') ... regnum Dei possidebunt.' So in Ayenb. p. 66, l. 22.
620. Not in the Fr. text. This is an old proverb, which Southey quotes, in a Greek form, as a motto prefixed to his Curse of Kehama. His English version of it is:—'curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost.'
623. gospel. See Matt. v. 22, 44.
624. Fr. 'on reproche à l'ome ou ses pecchiez, ou ses folies, ou sa povrete, ou ses povres parenz, ou aucune defaute qu'il a en lui.' Cf. Ayenb. p. 66, l. 27.
mesel, leper; so meselrie, leprosy, in 625.
625. maheym, maim, i. e. mutilation or bodily imperfection. Our maim is a contracted form of this M. E. maheym. In P. Plowman, B. xvii. 189, one MS. has y-mayheymed, where others have y-maymed. In Britton, i. 98, the Anglo-French form is maheyng; in the Liber Albus, p. 281, it is mahaym.
627. From Matt. xii. 34.
629. From Prov. xv. 4.
deslavee, lit. 'unwashed,' foul; from O. F. 'deslaver, v. a. salir, souiller; fig., souiller, ternir la reputation de quelqu'un'; Godefroy. The pp. deslave properly means: 'non lavé, crasseux, sale.' Chaucer seems to confuse this with the transitive sense of the active verb; and he evidently had in mind the above verse from the Proverbs, where the Vulgate has 'Lingua placabilis, lignum uitae; quae autem immoderata est, conteret spiritum.' Hence deslavee here means 'unbridled.'
630. From 2 Tim. ii. 24.
631. From Prov. xxvii. 15; the Vulgate has 'Tecta perstillantia.' Cf. Prov. xix. 13; and note to D. 278.
633. From Prov. xvii. 1. Below, see Col. iii. 18.
636. See Ayenb., p. 187. The toad was considered poisonous, and wine was an antidote. Hence the antipathy.
639. See 2 Sam. xvii. 1.
640. fals livinge, false liver, evil liver.
642-3. This passage resembles the Fr. text.
649. From Ecclesiastes, v. 3.
651. deffendeth, forbids; see Eph. v. 4.
654. The word Mansuetude is borrowed from the Fr. text.
657. Jerome seems to be quoting 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5.
660. Compare Boethius, bk. ii. pr. 7. ll. 91, 92 (vol. ii. p. 48).
661. Mat. v. 9. Cf. Frank. Tale, F. 773, and the note. The 'wise man' is Dionysius Cato, who says:—'Quem superare potes, interdum uince ferendo,' sometimes altered to 'superare nequis, patienter,' &c.; Distich. i. 38.
664. From Prov. xxix. 9.
670. This example somewhat resembles a story in Seneca, De Ira, lib. i. c. 15:—'Socrates seruo ait: Caederem te, nisi irascerer'; &c.
677. The description of Sloth answers to the description in the Fr. text chiefly as regards the general outline. The particular points of contact are few. Cf. Ayenb. of Inwyt, pp. 31-34.
678. This remark, from Augustine, properly applies to the sin of Envy; see note to 484 above; p. 461.
679. Salomon; with reference to Eccl. ix. 10.
680. See Jer. xlviii. 10; for 'necligently,' the Vulg. has 'fraudulenter'; A. V. 'deceitfully.'
687. Referring, probably, to Rev. iii. 16.
688. Cf. Prov. xx. 4; xxi. 25.
693. wanhope, despair; as in the parallel passage in the Ayenb. p. 34, l. 12. Cf. P. Plowman, C. viii. 59, 81, and note.
694. 'Quidam enim in peccata prolapsi desperatione plus pereunt'; S. Aug. De Natura et Gratia, cap. 35; ed. Migne, xliv. 266. A similar passage occurs in his Sermo xx. § 3; ed. Migne, xxxviii. 140.
698. The words recreant and creant are, curiously enough, used in almost exactly the same sense; perhaps creant was merely an abbreviated form. To 'say creant' and to 'yield oneself recreant' meant, 'to own oneself beaten'; the original sense being, apparently, 'to entrust oneself to the enemy' or confide in him, in the hope of obtaining mercy; see the explanation of se recredere in Ducange, and recreant and recroire in Godefroy. The E. phrase is well illustrated by P. Plowman, B. xii. 193, xviii. 100; see creant in the New E. Dict.
700-703. Alluding to Luke xv. 7; xv. 24; xxiii. 42, 43.
705. From Matt. vii. 7, John xvi. 24; compare Wyclif's version.
707. by the morwe, early in the morning; cf. D. 755, H. 16; and D. 1080.
709. From Prov. viii. 17.
712. From the Vulgate, Eccl. vii. 19 (18):—'qui timet Deum, nihil negligit.'
714. Cf. G. 3, and note; also Ayenb. p. 31, ll. 20-22.
715. thurrok, the sink in which all evil things collect; see note to 363, above, p. 454.
716. Cf. Matt. xi. 12. The reference to 'David' is to Ps. lxxiii. 5 (lxxii. 5 in the Vulgate):—'In labore hominum non sunt, et cum hominibus non flagellabuntur.' See the comment on this verse in Hampole's Psalter, ed. Bramley; which concludes with:—'for with men whaym God drawes to heven thai sal nought be swongen, but with fendes in hell.'
718. latrede, tardy (very rare); A. S. læt-rǣde, slow of counsel, deliberate (see Toller).
dich, ditch. In the Fr. text, the image is that of a prisoner, who, when the door is open, is too lazy to mount the steps; so in Ayenb. p. 32, l. 2. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xiv. 236, 237.
719. Cf. Ayenb. p. 32, l. 21:—'thou sselt libbe long'; also P. Pl. C. xii. 180; Prov. of Hendyng, l. 304.
723. This is something like the Fr. text; see Ayenb. p. 33, l. 14. But the Fr. text does not quote St. Bernard. The passage in St. Bernard seems to be one in his Vitis Mystica, cap. xix. § 66; ed. Migne, vol. clxxxiv. coll. 674, 675: 'Aliquando affligitur hoc uitio anima bonorum,... ut nec orare, nec legere, nec meditari, nec opus manuum libeat exercere.'
725. tristicia. The Fr. text has tristesce, translated by 'zorȝe' in the Ayenbite, p. 34, l. 8; see 2 Cor. vii. 10.
728. Fr. text—'La vertu de proesce'; Ayenb.—'uirtue' and 'prouesse,' p. 163, l. 22. Fortitude is one of the four cardinal virtues; P. Plowman, C. xxii. 289.
731. The 'speces,' or kinds, are here five, viz. magnanimity, faith, surety, magnificence, and constancy. These are taken from the Fr. text, which gives six kinds, viz. magnanimite, fiance, seurte, pacience, magnificence, constaunce. Patience is omitted, as having occurred above; see 659.
739. In this section we again find several hints taken from the Fr. text, especially in the arrangement of the subdivisions; cf. Ayenb. pp. 34-45. The text of St. Paul is quoted in the original, and in the Ayenb. p. 34; see note to C. 334, and cf. 1 Tim. vi. 10.
741. 'Amor mundi, amor huius saeculi, cupiditas dicitur'; S. Augustini enarratio in Psalmum xxxi, part ii. § 5; ed. Migne, vol. 36, col. 260.
748. 'Auarus, quod est idolorum seruitus'; Eph. v. 5.
749. mawmet, idol. It was unjustly supposed that Mahometans worshipped the prophet; whence Mahomet, corrupted to mawmet, came to mean an idol in general. See Marco Polo, ed. Yule, i. 174, for illustrations.
751. 'Non habebis deos alienos coram me. Non facies tibi sculptile'; Exod. xx. 3, 4. The addition of the second clause, taken from the second commandment, is remarkable. It was quite common to omit the second commandment altogether; cf. note to C. 641. Cf. Ayenb. pp. 5, 6.
752. tailages, &c. The Fr. text has:—'par tallies, par corvees, par emprunz, par mauvaises coustumes,' &c.; cf. 'be tailes, be coruees, be lones, be kueade wones'; Ayenb. p. 38. Cowel explains tallage as 'a tribute, toll, or tax.' It was, in fact, an exaction for which a tally, or acknowledgement (upon a notched stick) was given; see note to P. Plowman, B. iv. 57; and cf. Chaucer's Prologue, 570; P. Plowman, C. xxii. 37.
Dr. Murray explains cariage in this passage as meaning 'an obsolete service of carrying, or a payment in lieu of the same, due by a tenant to his landlord or feudal superior, or imposed by authority.'
amerciments, arbitrary fines inflicted 'at the mercy' of an affeeror. If the affeeror had no mercy, they became, as is here said, mere extortions.
754. The reference is given to Augustine's De Civitate Dei, lib. ix.; but is wrong. It should be to lib. xix. c. 15:—'Prima ergo seruitutis caussa peccatum est.'
755. See Gen. ix. 18-27. The reference to Gen. v. is a mistake, perhaps due to the fact that Ham is first mentioned in that chapter, at the end of it. See 766 below.
759. This is from Seneca, Epist. 47, which begins:—'Libenter ex his, qui a te ueniunt, cognoui, familiariter te cum seruis tuis uiuere; hoc prudentiam tuam, hoc eruditionem decet. Serui sunt? immo homines. Serui sunt? immo contubernales.'
760. contubernial with, dwelling together with, intimate with. Chaucer found the word in Seneca; see the last note.
761-3. The general sense of this passage is from Seneca, Epist. 47 (note to 759). Thus the words 'that they rather love thee than drede' answer to 'Colant [serui] potius te, quam timeant.'
766. See Gen. ix. 26, and note to 755.
767-8. Cf. Ayenb. p. 39, ll. 6-9; P. Pl. B. vi. 28. The Fr. Text has:—'ces gran prelaz qui acrochent ... par trop grans procuracions ... ce sont li lou qui manguent les berbiz.' It does not mention St. Austin.
783. So in Fr. text; see Ayenb. p. 41, near the bottom. See also the parallel passage in Wyclif's Works, ed. Matthew, p. 64.
788. Damasie; Damasus I., pope from 336 to 384. His day is December 11. St. Jerome (Epist. 61, c. 3) tells us that a Roman senator, envious of the pomp sometimes observed in church ceremonies, said to pope Damasus, 'Make me bishop of Rome, and I will be a Christian tomorrow.' (Alban Butler.)
793. See Pard. Tale, C. 590; Ayenb. p. 45, l. 13.
797. Cf. 'ualse notaryes'; Ayenb. p. 40, l. 8; and see 'Susannah' in the Apocrypha, as told in Dan. xiii., in the Vulgate version.
799. Corporel, bodily theft; see Ayenb. p. 37, l. 3.
801. Sacrilege; see Ayenb. p. 40, l. 26. chirche-hawes, church-yards; Fr. 'mostiers, ou sainz leus, cymetieres'; Ayenb. (p. 41)—'cherches, other holi stedes, cherchtounes.'
802. See Ayenb. p. 41, ll. 7-20. The concluding portion of this section resembles the Fr. text more closely than usual.
Dr. Eilers proposes to insert the words rentes and before rightes, because the Fr. text has 'les rentes ... e les autres droitures'; and it is remarkable that Tyrwhitt also inserts these words. But they neither appear in any of the seven MSS., nor in Thynne's edition.
804. misericorde answers to 'merci' in Ayenb. p. 185, l. 26.
811. largesse, bounty; so also in Ayenb. p. 188, l. 4.
813. fool-largesse, foolish prodigality, such as is satirised in P. Plowm. C. viii. 82-101.
818. This section has very little in common with the Fr. Text; cf. Ayenb. p. 50. It is also much shorter than the original.
819-20. Adam; mentioned also in Fr. text; see Ayenb. p. 50, l. 8 from bottom. See Pard. Tale, C. 505, and the note; also C. 529, and the note. From Phil. iii. 18, 19.
822. See Pard. Tale, C. 549, 558.
828. The mention of St. Gregory is copied from the Fr. text; see Ayenb. p. 51, l. 18. The passage meant is the following: 'Sciendum praeterea est quia quinque nos modis gulae uitium tentat. Aliquando namque indigentiae tempora praeuenit; aliquando uero tempus non praeuenit, sed cibos lautiores quaerit; aliquando quaelibet qua sumenda sint praeparari accuratius expetit; aliquando autem et qualitati ciborum et tempori congruit, sed in ipsa quantitate sumendi mensuram moderatae refectionis excedit.'—S. Gregorii Moralium Lib. xxx. cap. xviii. § 60; ed. Migne, vol. 76, col. 556.
829. curiositee; Fr. 'curieusete'; Ayenb. 'bysihede,' p. 55, l. 8 from bottom.
831. The remedy against Gluttony, in the Fr. text, is 'La vertu de Sobrete,' answering to 'the uirtue of Temperance' in the Ayenb. p. 245. The Fr. text treats this at great length; but Chaucer only says a few words. He mentions, however, 'Attemperaunce' and 'Mesure'; cf. Fr. 'atemprance' and 'mesure.'
836. This section contains a considerable amount of the matter found in the Fr. text, but the comparison between the texts is difficult, owing to the frequent changes in the arrangement of the material. Dr. Eilers says (p. 566):—'This chapter of the Eng. text, though twice as comprehensive as the French, contains more in quantity that corresponds with the Fr. than that diverges from it, and exceeds all the previous chapters in the degree of correspondence.' For details, see Dr. Eilers' essay, and cf. Ayenb. pp. 46-49.
After 'departe,' MS. Hl. supplies a reference to Eph. v. 18.
837-8. See Exod. xx. 14; Lev. xix. 20; Deut. xxii. 21; Lev. xxi. 9.
839. thonder-leyt, thunder-bolt, lit. thunder-flash; A. S. līget, līgetu, a flash; cf. note to Boethius, bk. i. met. 4. 8. See Gen. xix. 24.
841. stank, pool; 'stagno' in the Vulgate (Rev. xxi. 8).
842-5. See Matt. xix. 5; Eph. v. 25; Exod. xx. 17; Matt. v. 28.
852. that other, the second. The former is mentioned above, in 830. The 'five fingers' are, in Fr., called fol regart, fous atouchemenz, foles paroles, fous baisiers, le fait; all 'si come dist saint Gregoire.' Cf. Ayenb. p. 46.
853. basilicok, basilisk; Fr. Text, 'basilicoc.' The fabulous basilisk, or cockatrice, which had a head like a cock and a body like a serpent, was supposed to slay men by its mere glance. In the Wars of Alexander, ed. Skeat, 4837-57, we read how Alexander induced a basilisk to commit suicide by gazing in a mirror. Cf. Ayenb. p. 28, l. 12.
854. See Prov. vi. 26-9; vii. 26; Ecclus. xii. 13, 14; xiii. 1; xxvi. 7.
858. roser, rose-bush; as in Havelok, 2919.
busshes, as in Tyrwhitt, must be the right reading; but I can find no authority for it. The MSS. all have beautees, i. e. beauties, or some equivalent form. Thynne (ed. 1550) has benches, which is also found in some MSS.; but it does not help us.
859. Compare this with the March. Tale, E. 1840; and see Ayenb. p. 48, l. 25.
861. 'Si egeris patienter, coniunx mutabitur in sororem'; Hieron. c. Iouinianum, lib. i. (ed. 1524, t. ii. p. 25).
867. 'St. Paul gives them the kingdom due to sinners.' In fact, St. Paul denies them the kingdom due to saints; which comes to the same thing. See Gal. v. 19-21; and see 884 below. Cf. Rev. xxi. 8.
869. the hundred fruit, i. e. fruit brought forth a hundred-fold. Cf. 'dabant fructum, aliud centesimum,' &c.; Matt. xiii. 8. It was usual to liken virginity, widowhood, and matrimony, respectively, to the bringing forth of fruit a hundredfold, sixtyfold and thirtyfold; see P. Plowman, C. xix. 84-90, and note to l. 84; Hali Meidenhad, ed. Cockayne, p. 22; Ayenb. p. 234. 'Centesimus et sexagesimus et tricesimus fructus ... multum differt in numero. Triginta referuntur ad nuptias ... Sexaginta uero ad uiduas ... Porro centesimus numerus ... exprimit uirginitatis coronam'; Hieronymus contra Iouinianum, lib. i; ed. 1524, ii. 18. The Fr. text has: 'Ceus qui gardent virginite ont le centiesme fruit.' But Chaucer, being well acquainted with Jerome's treatise, recognised at once the Latin source; for in MS. Hl. we find the note, 'secundum Ieronimum contra Iouinianum.'
879. 'Him shall God destroy'; 1 Cor. iii. 17.
880. douted, feared. See Gen. xxxix. 8, 9.
884. 'Huanne me brecth the sacrement of spoushod, hit y-ualth otherhuyl desertesoun of eyr, and ualse mariages'; Ayenb. p. 48.
887. gladly, readily; hence, fittingly.
889. 'Iam amplius noli peccare'; John viii. 11.
895. as by the dignitee, i. e. on account of the dignity of their office; see note to 900.
'Satanas transfigurat se,' &c.; 2 Cor. xi. 14.
897-8. From 1 Sam. ii. 12 (in the Vulgate, Liber primus Regum). Belial signifies worthlessness; and hence, lawlessness, or evil. But in the Vulgate version of Judges, xix. 22, the word Belial is explained to mean 'absque iugo'; which in O. French would become 'sans ioug.' Chaucer seems to have met with this explanation, and perhaps misread it as 'sans iuge'; i. e. 'without Iuge.'
900. misterie, i. e. office, duty. As in 895 above, misterie is here short for ministerie, i. e. ministry, office, duty; in fact, the Selden and Lansdowne MSS. actually have the spelling mynysterie. MS. Cm., by a singular error, adds mynystre again, and has the reading: 'kunne not mynystre the mysterie.' Tyrwhitt has wrongly introduced the extra mynystre. Wright copied him; Bell copied Wright; and Morris copied Bell; so that these editions vary from the Harl. MS., which omits it! The question is easily settled. 'The Book' means the Bible; and the Vulgate version (1 Sam. ii. 12, 13) has 'nescientes ... officium sacerdotum ad populum.' Hence conne means 'know.'
904. 'Adulter est, inquit [Xystus, in sententiis] in suam uxorem amator ardentior,' &c.; S. Hieron. c. Iouinian. lib. i. (near the end)
906. There is no such passage in the E. version of the book of Tobit; but it occurs in the Vulgate, Tob. vi. 17; and see Ayenb. p. 223.
908. godsibbes, i. e. his godmother or his goddaughter. Already, in the Laws of Cnut (Eccles. § vii), we find that a man is forbidden to marry his godmother; and this rule was formerly stringent. Cf. Ayenb. p. 48.
915. This section has much in common with the Fr. text. 'We meet,' says Dr. Eilers, 'with whole sentences in entire agreement.' See Ayenb. pp. 202-238.
916. two maneres, two ways; cf. the two 'states,' in Ayenb. p. 220.
918-19. Eph. v. 32; Gen. ii. 24; John ii. 1.
922. Eph. v. 25, again quoted in 929; 1 Cor. xi. 3.
927. desray, disorder, 'dissarray'; A. F. desrei, O. F. desroi; see derai in Stratmann.
930. MS. Hl. adds cap. iij. after Peter; hence the reference is to 1 Pet. iii. 1.
933. Perhaps the reference is to Rev. xvii. 4, xviii. 16.
934. Gregorie; see note to 414 above, p. 458.
939. three thinges, three reasons; so in Ayenb. p. 222, l. 14.
944. widewe; cf. Ayenb. p. 225, l. 9.
947. boyste, box; Mat. xxvi. 7; John xii. 3.
948. lyf, life; i. e. she lives like them; Fr. semblant as angels du ciel,' i. e. like the angels of heaven. Cf. P. Plowman, C. xix. 89-100; Ayenb. p. 227, l. 13.
951. See the parallel passage; Ayenb. p. 204, at the bottom.
954. leyt, flame; the candle being stuck close to the wall.
955. Daniel; so in E. Cm.; but the other five MSS. have Dauid, i. e. David. It appears that David is the correct reading, since the names of Sampson, David, and Solomon occur both in the Fr. text, and in Ayenb. p. 204.
956-7. Probably Chaucer omitted the ten commandments, because he was getting tired of the work. He mentions them because they are treated of at length in the French treatise; see Ayenb. pp. 5-11. Hence his 'leaving them to divines' is a mere excuse. Cf. Kn. Tale, A. 1323; and see note to 1043 below (p. 474).
We may also see, in this expression, a clear proof that this Treatise was originally made by Chaucer in his own person. On assigning this Tale to the Parson, he should have struck out this tell-tale clause; for surely the Parson was 'a divine.'
De Confessione. Instead of this Title, most MSS., including E., have—'Sequitur secunda Pars Penitencie.' But this is unsuitable, as it has already appeared, viz. at p. 586. I have therefore taken, from MSS. Pt. and Christchurch, the alternative title—'De Confessione.' See p. 639.
958. This chapter, on Confession, answers to a similar chapter in the Fr. text, though the material has been re-arranged. See Ayenb. pp. 172-180; Ancren Riwle, pp. 299, 317. The reference to the 'firste chaptire' is to paragraph 107, on p. 572.
959. fyve wittes, five senses, also called 'the vif wittes of the bodie' in Ayenb. p. 177. And cf. P. Plowman, C. ii. 15, and the note.
960. that that, that which, what it is that.
961. This corresponds to Ayenb. p. 175, l. 23, and lines following, to p. 176, l. 12; but the order varies.
971. eschew, reluctant; lit. 'shy.' See E. 1812, and the note. Tyrwhitt reads slow, which is ingenious, but wrong.
979. engreggen, aggravate; Fr. 'les circumstances qui poent engreger le pecche.' Godefroy, s. v. engregier, quotes this very passage, from two other MS. which read, respectively, 'qui pueent engregier le pechie,' and 'qui engrigent les pechies.'
981. namely by the two, especially by the (former) two; penitence and shrift. the thridde, the third; i. e. satisfaction, reparation.
982. foure, four; Fr. 'six.' See Ayenb. p. 172, l. 6.
983. Ezekias, Hezekiah; Fr. text, 'Ezechias'; all the MSS. have Ezekiel (wrongly); see Isaiah, xxxviii. 15. The Ayenb. has 'ezechie'; p. 172, l. 9 from bottom.
986-8. See Luke xviii. 13; 1 Pet. v. 6.
994, 996. See Matt. xxvi. 75; Luke vii. 37.
998. hastily, without delay; Ayenb. 'hasteliche,' p. 173, l. 10; Fr. 'hastivement.' And see Ayenb. p. 173, l. 25 for the rest of the sentence.
1005. countrewaite, watch against, be on his guard against; see Tale of Melibeus, B. 2508.
1006. parcel, part; departe, divide; see Ayenb. p. 175.
1008. Cf. Somn. Tale, D. 2095-8.
1013. nayte, deny; Icel. neita; Tyrwhitt has nay. So, in Boeth. bk. i. met. 1. l. 16, where the original has negat, MS. Addit. has naieth; but the Camb. MS. has nayteth.
1020. This passage from St. Augustine is alluded to in the Ancren Riwle, p. 337:—'Qui causa humilitatis mentitur fit quod prius ipse non fuit, id est, peccator.' See S. August. Sermo clxxxi. § 4 (ed. Migne, vol. 38, col. 981): 'Propter humilitatem dicis te peccatorem.... Testis ergo falsus es contra te.'
1025. Cf. Ayenb. p. 178, l. 13; Ancren Riwle, p. 323.
1027. ones a yere, viz. at Easter. In the Ancren Riwle, p. 413, fifteen times are mentioned. See P. Plowman, C. xxi. 472, xxii. 3, and the note to the latter passage. renovellen, are renewed; i. e. in spring-time.
1030. In Religious Pieces, ed. Perry (E. E. T. S.), p. 9, the seven 'works of mercy' are (1) feeding the hungry; (2) giving drink to the thirsty; (3) clothing the naked; (4) sheltering the homeless; (5) visiting the sick; (6) visiting prisoners; (7) burying the dead poor.
1031. Cf. P. Plowman, C. ii. 20 (B. i. 20), and the note.
1034. Compare Ayenb. p. 192, l. 5.
1036. From Matt. v. 14-16. Chaucer's translation is smoother than Wyclif's.
1040-2. Compare Ayenbite, p. 99.
1043. Here again Chaucer really speaks in his own person; cf. note to 957 above. The reason for his mentioning the 'exposition' of the prayer is, that a long exposition, which he wished to avoid, is given in the Fr. text (see Ayenb. pp. 99-118).
1045. Epitomised from the Fr. text; see Ayenb. p. 207.
1048. wakinge, watching; see Matt. xxvi. 41.
1049. Cf. Ayenb. p. 53, where iolyuete answers to ioliuete in the Fr. text, and to Iolitee in Chaucer.
1051. On eating, see P. Plowman, C. ix. 273 (B. vi. 263). in untyme, at a wrong season; see P. Plowm. B. ix. 186.
1052. Observe that, in 1038, Chaucer says that bodily pain stands in (1) prayers; (2) watching; (3) fasting; and (4) virtuous teachings. He speaks of prayers in 1039-1047; of watching in 1048-9; of fasting in 1050-1. He now takes up 'teaching,' by which he means, in the first place, bodily 'discipline'; and the words 'or techinge by word or by writinge or in ensample' are, practically, parenthetical. The word discipline is due to the Fr. text; cf. Ayenb. p. 250, l. 2: 'ase ine uestinges, ine wakiinges, ine dissiplines,' &c.
heyres, hair-shirts; see P. Plowman, C. vii. 6, and the note.
haubergeons, habergeons, shirts of mail. It is surprising to find, in the Romance of Tristan, ed. Michel, ii. 36, that the heroine (Yseult) is described as wearing a 'byrnie' or shirt of mail next her skin:—'Vest une brunie à sa char nue.' Michel quotes from Le Voyage de Charlemagne à Constantinople, I. 635:—'Il lur a cumaundet que aient vestu brunies.'
1054. Tyrwhitt puts a comma after herte, and none after God, and other editors follow him. But the text (Col. iii. 12) has: 'Induite uos ergo, sicut electi Dei, ... uiscera misericordiae, benignitatem, ... patientiam.' Hence 'in herte of misericorde' simply translates 'uiscera misericordiae.'
1055-6. Not in the Fr. text. Cf. P. Plowm. C. viii. 61, and the note.
1057. The Fr. text mentions five things; the fifth is a wicked love of sin; see Ayenb. p. 179.
1059. Fr. 'au regart de la peine d'enfer.'
1067. surquidrie, too great confidence; see 403 above, and the note.
1069. From S. Gregorii Moralium lib. xxxiv. cap. xix. § 36 (ed. Migne, vol. 76, col. 738):—'Ad districti ergo iudicis iustitiam pertinet, ut nunquam careant supplicio, quorum mens in hac uita nunquam uoluit carere peccato.'
1073. There is here a sad oversight. For 'the seconde wanhope,' we should read 'the same wanhope.' The second kind of despair is discussed in 1074. All the MSS. have this mistake.
1080. poverte espirituel; this refers to the 'poor in spirit'; Matt. v. 3. lowenesse, i. e. meekness; Matt. v. 5. hunger; Matt. v. 6. travaille; Matt. v. 4, 10, 11. lyf; Rom. viii. 13. This concluding passage may be compared with the concluding passage of the Ayenbite, p. 261.
1081. This final paragraph is variously headed in the MSS. E. has: 'Here taketh the makere of this book his leue.' So also Cm. So also Pt., preceded by 'Explicit fabula Rectoris.' Hl. has: 'Preces de Chauceres.' The words 'this litel tretis' refer, of course, to the Persones Tale as originally written, so that some part of this concluding address was certainly added afterwards. The interpolation (due to Chaucer himself, if we may trust the evidence) probably extends (as Tyrwhitt suggested) from the words and namely in 1085 to the words salvacioun of my soule in 1090. This accounts for the unusual length of the sentence in 1084-1092. The addition was made at the time of revision, when Chaucer had made up his mind that the Persones Tale was to be the last; and he took the opportunity of writing the conclusion of the work before it was, in reality, completed. This accounts for the whole matter.
1083. Alluding to Rom. xv. 4.
1085. I revoke in my retracciouns, I recall by retracting what I may have said amiss. There is no need to lay an undue stress on this expression, as if the author had been compelled to denounce and retract most of his works. We may fairly understand the expression 'thilke that sownen into sinne' as applicable to all the works, and not to the Tales alone. Whilst thanking God for his devotional works, it was not out of place for him to 'recall' his more secular ones; for this expression seems to mean no more than that he could not claim that they were written in God's service. To 'revoke' cannot here mean 'to withdraw,' because the poems named were not withdrawn, nor was there any way in which such a result could have been brought about. Cf. vol. iii. p. 503.
1086. The book of the xix. Ladies is, of course, the Legend of Good Women. For xix., most MSS. have 'xxv.'; MS. Harl. 1758 has '25'; MS. Ln. has 'xv.'; and MS. Hl. has '29'; but we know, from the Poem itself, that 'xix.' is correct. Numbers, as the various readings shew, easily went wrong; see note to 565 above.
'The book of seint Valentynes day of the Parlement of Briddes' is all one title; the poem itself is well known.
1087. 'The book of the Lion' is now lost; most likely, as Tyrwhitt suggests, it was a translation from, or adaptation of, Le Dit du Lione, a poem by G. de Machault, composed in the year 1342. It is printed among Machault's poems. Lydgate, in his Prologue to the Falls of Princes, ascribes this work to Chaucer in the words:—
'And of the Lyon a boke he did wryte.'
But it is probable that Lydgate is merely quoting from the present passage, and knew no more of the matter than we do.
I may here note that Tyrwhitt expresses his astonishment that Chaucer does not expressly 'revoke' his translation of the Romaunt of the Rose; but it is sufficiently indicated by the words 'and namely [i. e. especially] of my translacions'; see 1085.
1088. Boece, i. e. his translation of Boethius. Legendes, i. e. the Legend of St. Cecilia and the Legend of the boy-saint in the Prioresses Tale. Omelies, homilies; such as the Parson's Tale and the Tale of Melibeus. moralitee and devocioun; such as Chaucer's A B C, and his Balades on Fortune, Truth, Gentilesse, and Lack of Steadfastness; also the Monkes Tale, which is expressly called 'a Tragedie.' The Pardoneres Tale, moreover, is called 'an honest thing'; and even of the Nonnes Prestes Tale we are bidden, at the end, to 'take the moralitee.'