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The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale Lines 141-182 Summary

  • The night comes, and Cecilia must go to bed with her husband, as is the custom.
  • Privately to him she says, "O sweet and beloved dear spouse, there is a secret I wish to tell you, if you will hear it, as long as you swear not to betray me."
  • Valerian swears to Cecilia that he will never betray her for anything.
  • And then Cecilia says this to him:
  • "I have an angel that loves me with great love, wherever I wake or sleep, and is always ready to guard my body."
  • "And if he senses that you touch me, or love me vulgarly (i.e. have sex with Cecilia), he will kill you with the deed and you will die in your youth."
  • "And if you love me in clean love, he will love you as much as me for your chastity, and show you his joy and brightness."
  • Valerian, corrected as God wishes, answers, "To prove that I can trust you, let me see that angel, and if it is really an angel, then I will do as you ask. But if you love another man, I'll kill you both with my sword."
  • Cecilia answers, "If you wish, you will see the angel, as long as you believe in Christ and are baptized."
  • "Go to Via Appia, only three miles from here, and speak to the poor people who live there as I tell you to."
  • "Tell them that I, Cecilia, sent you to them, to show you good Urban the old, so that you may learn secrets, with good intention. And when you see Saint Urban, tell him what I have said to you."
  • "And when Urban has purged you from sin, you will see the angel before you depart."

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