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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 183-217 Summary

  • Valerian goes to the Via Appia, and just as he was taught by his learning, he finds the holy Urban among the saints' catacombs.
  • Without delay, he tells Urban his message, and Urban clasps Valerian's two hands in joy.
  • He lets the tears fall from his eyes.
  • "Almighty lord, O Jesus Christ," Urban says. "Sower of chaste counsel, shepherd of us all, take this fruit of the seed of chastity that you have sown in Cecilia."
  • "Like a busy bee, without guild, your servant Cecilia always serves you! For this spouse that she took just now as fierce as a lion, she sends here, as meek as a lamb, to you."
  • With these words, there appears an old man dressed in white clothes, carrying in his hands a book with letters of gold. He stands before Valerian.
  • In fear, Valerian falls down as if dead when he sees the man in white.
  • The man raises him up, and Valerian begins to read from his book:
  • "O lord, O faith, O God without any others; O Christianity, and father of all, above all, and over all, everywhere."
  • These words are written in gold.
  • When this is read, then the old man says, "Do you believe this? Do you say yes or no?"
  • "I believe all of this," says Valerian, "For no man under heaven may think a truer thing than this, I do declare."
  • Then the old man vanishes, to where, Valerian does not know.
  • Pope Urban baptizes Valerian right there.

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