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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Parson's Tale

Sequitur de Invidia

§ 30       After Pride wol I speken of the foule synne of Envye, which that is, as by the word of the Philosophre, "sorwe of oother mannes prosperitee"; and after the word of Seint Augustyn, it is sorwe of oother mennes wele, and joye of othere mennes harm. This foule synne is platly agayns the hooly goost. Al be it so that every synne is agayns the Hooly Goost, yet nathelees, for as muche as bountee aperteneth proprely to the Hooly Goost, and envye comth proprely of malice, therfore it is proprely agayn the bountee of the Hooly Goost. Now hath malice two speces; that is to seyn, hardnesse of herte in wikkednesse, or elles the flessh of man is so blynd that he considereth nat that he is in synne, or rekketh nat that he is in synne, which is the hardnesse of the devel. That oother spece of malice is whan a man werreyeth trouthe, whan he woot that it is trouthe; and eek whan he werreyeth the grace that God hath yeve to his neighebor; and al this is by Envye. Certes, thanne is Envye the worste synne that is. For soothly, alle othere synnes been somtyme oonly agayns o special vertu; but certes, envye is agayns alle vertues and agayns alle goodnesses. For it is sory of alle the bountees of his neighebor, and in this manere it is divers from alle othere synnes. For wel unnethe is ther any synne that it ne hath som delit in itself, save oonly envye, that evere hath in itself angwissh and sorwe. The speces of envye been thise. Ther is first, sorwe of oother mannes goodnesse and of his prosperitee; and prosperitee is kyndely matere of joye; thanne is envye a synne agayns kynde. The seconde spece of envye is joye of oother mannes harm; and that is proprely lyk to the devel, that evere rejoyseth hym of mannes harm. Of thise two speces comth bakbityng; and this synne of bakbityng or detraccion hath certeine speces, as thus. Som man preiseth his neighebor by a wikked entente; for he maketh alwey a wikked knotte atte laste ende. Alwey he maketh a but atte laste ende, that is digne of moore blame, than worth is al the preisynge. The seconde spece is that if a man be good, and dooth or seith a thing to good entente, the bakbitere wol turne al thilke goodnesse up-so-doun to his shrewed entente. The thridde is to amenuse the bountee of his neighebor. The fourthe spece of bakbityng is this, that if men speke goodnesse of a man, thanne wol the bakbitere seyn, parfey, swich a man is yet bet than he; in dispreisynge of hym that men preise. The fifte spece is this, for to consente gladly and herkne gladly to the harm that men speke of oother folk. This synne is ful greet, and ay encreesseth after the wikked entente of the bakbitere. After bakbityng cometh gruchchyng or murmuracioun; and somtyme it spryngeth of inpacience agayns god, and som-tyme agayns man. Agayn God it is, whan a man gruccheth agayn the peyne of helle, or agayns poverte, or los of catel, or agayn reyn or tempest; or elles gruccheth that shrewes han prosperitee, or elles for the goode men han adversitee. And alle thise thynges sholde man suffre paciently, for they comen by the rightful juggement and ordinaunce of God. Somtyme comth grucching of avarice; as Judas grucched agayns the Magdaleyne, whan she enoynted the heved of oure lord Jhesu Crist with hir precious oynement. This manere murmure is swich as whan man gruccheth of goodnesse that hymself dooth, or that oother folk doon of hir owene catel. Somtyme comth murmure of pride; as whan Simon the Pharisse gruchched agayn the Magdaleyne, whan she approched to Jhesu Crist, and weep at his feet for hire synnes. And somtyme grucchyng sourdeth of envye; whan men discovereth a mannes harm that was pryvee, or bereth hym on hond thyng that is fals. Murmure eek is ofte amonges servauntz that grucceh whan hir sovereyns bidden hem doon leveful thynges; and forasmuche as they dar nat openly withseye the comaundementz of hir sovereyns, yet wol they seyn harm, and grucche, and murmure prively for verray despit; whiche wordes men clepen the develes Pater noster, though so be that the devel ne hadde nevere Pater noster, but that lewed folk yeven it swich a name. Somtyme it comth of ire or prive hate, that norisseth rancour in herte, as afterward I shal declare. Thanne cometh eek bitternesse of herte, thurgh which bitternesse every good dede of his neighebor semeth to hym bitter and unsavory. Thanne cometh discord, that unbyndeth alle manere of freendshipe. Thanne comth scornynge of his neighebor, al do he never so weel. Thanne comth accusynge, as whan man seketh occasioun to anoyen his neighebor, which that is lyk the craft of the devel, that waiteth bothe nyght and day to accusen us alle. Thanne comth malignitee, thurgh which a man anoyeth his neighebor prively, if he may; and if he noght may, algate his wikked wil ne shal nat wante, as for to brennen his hous pryvely, or empoysone or sleen his beestes, and semblable thynges.


Remedium contra peccatum Invidie

§ 31       Now wol I speke of remedie agayns this foule synne of envye. First is the love of God principal, and lovyng of his neighebor as hymself; for soothly, that oon ne may nat been withoute that oother. And truste wel that in the name of thy neighebor thou shalt understonde the name of thy brother; for certes alle we have o fader flesshly, and o mooder, that is to seyn, Adam and Eve; and eek o fader espiritueel, and that is God of hevene. Thy neighebor artow holden for to love, and wilne hym alle goodnesse; and therfore seith God, love thy neighebor as thyselve, that is to seyn, to salvacioun bothe of lyf and of soule. And mooreover thou shalt love hym in word, and in benigne amonestynge and chastisynge, and conforten hym in his anoyes, and preye for hym with al thyn herte. And in dede thou shalt love hym in swich wise that thou shalt doon to hym in charitee as thou woldest that it were doon to thyn owene persone. And therfore thou ne shalt doon hym no damage in wikked word, ne harm in his body, ne in his catel, ne in his soule, by entissyng of wikked ensample. Thou shalt nat desiren his wyf, ne none of his thynges. Understoond eek that in the name of neighebor is comprehended his enemy. Certes, man shal loven his enemy, by the comandement of God, and soothly thy freend shaltow love in God. I seye, thyn enemy shaltow love for Goddes sake, by his comandement. For if it were reson that man sholde haten his enemy, for so he God nolde nat receyven us to his love that been his enemys. Agayns three manere of wronges that his enemy dooth to hym, he shal doon three thynges, as thus. Agayns hate and rancour of herte, he shal love hym in herte. Agayns chidyng and wikkede wordes, he shal preye for his enemy. Agayns the wikked dede of his enemy, he shal doon hym bountee. For Crist seith: loveth youre enemys, and preyeth for hem that speke yow harm, and eek for hem that yow chacen and pursewen, and dooth bountee to hem that yow haten. Loo, thus comaundeth us oure lord Jhesu Crist to do to oure enemys. For soothly, nature dryveyh us to loven oure freends, and parfey, oure enemys han moore nede to love that oure freendes; and they that moore nede have, certes to hem shal men doon goodnesse; and certes, in thilke dede have we remembraunce of the love of Jhesu Crist that deyde for his enemys. And in as muche as thilke love is the moore grevous to perfourne, so muche is the moore gret the merite; and therfore the lovynge of oure enemy hath confounded the venym of the devel. For right as the devel is disconfited by humylitee, right so is he wounded to the deeth by love of oure enemy. Certes, thanne is love the medicine that casteth out the venym of envye fro mannes herte. The speces of this paas shullen be moore largely declared in hir chapitres folwynge.




Next:
The Parson's Tale (§§ 32-54)