Previous Previous:
From The Summoner's Tale, lines 172-189:
Thomas' wife offers the friar a meal and says their son has recently died
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Summoner's Tale
lines 190-220: The friar says he saw his death in revelation and explains this friarly power of sudden revelation by strict abstinence

190        "His deeth saugh I by revelacioun,"
Seide this frere, "at hoom in oure dortour.
I dar wel seyn that, er that half an hour
After his deeth, I saugh hym born to blisse
In myn avision, so God me wisse!
195So didde oure sexteyn and oure fermerer,
That han been trewe freres fifty yeer;
They may now - God be thanked of his loone! -
Maken hir jubilee and walke allone.
And up I roos, and al oure covent eke,
200With many a teere trillyng on my cheke,
Withouten noyse or claterynge of belles;
Te Deum was oure song, and nothyng elles,
Save that to Crist I seyde an orison,
Thankynge hym of his revelacion.
205For, sire and dame, trusteth me right weel,
Oure orisons been moore effectueel,
And moore we seen of Cristes secree thynges,
Than burel folk, although they weren kynges.
We lyve in poverte and in abstinence,
210And burell folk in richesse and despence
Of mete and drynke, and in hir foul delit.
We han this worldes lust al in despit.
Lazar and Dives lyveden diversly,
And divers gerdon hadden they therby.
215Whoso wol preye, he moot faste and be clene,
And fatte his soule, and make his body lene.
We fare as seith th'apostle; clooth and foode
Suffisen us, though they be nat ful goode.
The clennesse and the fastynge of us freres
220Maketh that crist accepteth oure preyeres.
190       "His death saw I by revelation, aye,"
Replied this friar, "at home in dormitory
Less than an hour, I dare say, before to glory,
After his death, I saw him borne in bliss
In vision mine, may God me guide in this!
195So did our sexton and infirmarian,
Who have been true friars fifty years, each man;
And may now, God be thanked for mercy shown,
Observe their jubilee and walk alone.
And I rose up and did my brothers seek,
200With many a tear down trickling on my cheek,
And without noise or clashing of the bells;
Te deum was our song and nothing else,
Except that to Christ I said an orison,
And thanked him for the vision he had shown
205For, sir and dame, trust me full well in all,
Our orisons are more effectual,
And more we see of Christ's own secret things
Than folk of the laity, though they were kings.
We live in poverty and abstinence
210And laymen live in riches and expense
Of meat and drink, and in their gross delight.
This world's desires we hold in great despite.
Dives and Lazarus lived differently,
And different recompense they had thereby.
215Whoso would pray, he must fast and be clean,
Fatten his soul and keep his body lean.
We fare as says the apostle; clothes and food
Suffice us, though they be not over-good.
The cleanness and the fasting of us friars
220Result in Christ's accepting all our prayers.

Next Next:
From The Summoner's Tale, lines 221-229:
The abstinence of Moses