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The Canterbury Tales

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But herkneth, lordings, o word, I yow preye,
That alle the sovereyn actes, dar I seye,
Of victories in the olde testament,
Thurgh verray God, that is omnipotent,
Were doon in abstinence and in preyere;
Loketh the Bible, and ther ye may it lere.
Let me put it this way: All of the greatest deeds and triumphs you read about in the Old Testament that were done in the name of God, the omnipotent, were all done through prayer and without liquor. Just look in the Bible and you’ll see what I’m talking about.



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Loke, Attila, the grete conquerour,
Deyde in his sleep, with shame and dishonour,
Bledinge ay at his nose in dronkenesse;
A capitayn shoulde live in sobrenesse.
And over al this, avyseth yow right wel
What was comaunded unto Lamuel—
Nat Samuel, but Lamuel, seye I—
Redeth the Bible, and finde it expresly
Of wyn-yeving to hem that han Iustyse.
Na-more of this, for it may wel suffyse.
Or look at how the great warrior Atilla the Hun died in his sleep from a nosebleed he got from drunkenness. He died with nothing but shame and dishonor. Too bad. Leaders should always be sober. Or just

remember the warning

Proverbs 31:4

remember the warning
Lemuel—not Samuel, mind, you, but Lemuel—received about how judges who decide legal cases shouldn’t drink wine. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.



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140
And now that I have spoke of glotonye,
Now wol I yow defenden hasardrye.
Hasard is verray moder of lesinges,
And of deceite, and cursed forsweringes,
Blaspheme of Crist, manslaughtre, and wast also
Of catel and of tyme; and forthermo,
It is repreve and contrarie of honour
For to ben holde a commune hasardour.
And ever the hyër he is of estaat,
The more is he holden desolaat.
If that a prince useth hasardrye,
In alle governaunce and policye
He is, as by commune opinoun,
Y-holde the lasse in reputacioun.
Gluttony isn’t the only horrible vice, though. Gambling is just as bad. Gambling rolls so many other vices into one, including lying and cheating. It goes against God and is the biggest waste of time and money. That’s why being called a gambler is such a great shame. And the richer you are, the more shameful it is if you gamble. No one likes a king who is a gambler, for example, because who knows if he’ll also take such risks with the policies concerning his country and his people.

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