The Canterbury Tales
The Pardoner’s Tale: Page 2
Lo, how that dronken Loth, unkindely,
Lay by his doghtres two, unwitingly;
So dronke he was, he niste what he wroghte.
|Recall, for example, how Lot unknowingly had sex with his two daughters. He was in a drunken stupor and didn’t know what he was doing.|
Herodes, (who-so wel the stories soghte),
Whan he of wyn was replet at his feste,
Right at his owene table he yaf his heste
To sleen the Baptist Iohn ful giltelees.
|Or remember the story of Herod, the man who, when he was drunk and full from feasting, ordered John the Baptist’s execution, even though John hadn’t done anything wrong.|
Senek seith eek a good word doutelees;
He seith, he can no difference finde
Bitwix a man that is out of his minde
And a man which that is dronkelewe,
But that woodnesse, y-fallen in a shrewe,
Persevereth lenger than doth dronkenesse.
O glotonye, ful of cursednesse,
O cause first of our confusioun,
O original of our dampnacioun,
Til Crist had boght us with his blood agayn!
Lo, how dere, shortly for to sayn,
Aboght was thilke cursed vileinye;
Corrupt was al this world for glotonye!
|Seneca also talks about drunkenness. He says that drunkenness and insanity are one and the same, with the exception that insanity is a defect and lasts longer than drunkenness. Oh, gluttony is such an awful sin! It brought the downfall of mankind and doomed us until Christ saved us by sacrificing himself. Gluttony has caused so much trouble and corrupted the world so much.|
Adam our fader, and his wyf also,
Fro Paradys to labour and to wo
Were driven for that vyce, it is no drede;
For whyl that Adam fasted, as I rede,
He was in Paradys; and whan that he
Eet of the fruyt defended on the tree,
Anon he was out-cast to wo and peyne.
O glotonye, on thee wel oghte us pleyne!
O, wiste a man how many maladyes
Folwen of excesse and of glotonyes,
He wolde been the more mesurable
Of his diete, sittinge at his table.
Allas! the shorte throte, the tendre mouth,
Maketh that, Est and West, and North and South,
In erthe, in eir, in water men to-swinke
To gete a glotoun deyntee mete and drinke!
Of this matere, o Paul, wel canstow trete,
‘Mete unto wombe, and wombe eek unto mete,
Shal God destroyen bothe,’ as Paulus seith.
Allas! a foul thing is it, by my feith,
To seye this word, and fouler is the dede,
Whan man so drinketh of the whyte and rede,
That of his throte he maketh his privee,
Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee.
|You see, God banished Adam and Eve from Paradise to live lives of misery and toil because they were gluttons. Everything was fine in the Garden of Eden as long as Adam didn’t eat anything, but they got kicked out when he ate the forbidden fruit on the tree. Oh gluttony, we have every right to hate you! If people only knew how much sickness and disease overeating causes, they’d eat more moderately, that’s for sure. God! The wealthy glutton’s taste for fine food and wine makes the working folk everywhere—in the East and West and North and South, on land and at sea—work to death. St. Paul knew this, which is why he wrote, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them” Ugh, it’s awful, I swear, to talk about gluttony, and it’s far worse to actually be a glutton and turn your mouth into a toilet from drinking so much red and white wine.|