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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 288-357 Summary

  • Tiburtius says, "Whoever doesn't believe this is a beast, if I shall not lie."
  • And Cecilia, hearing this, kisses his breast, very glad that he can see the truth.
  • "This day I take you as my ally," says the blissful young woman.
  • And afterward, she says, "As the love of Christ made me your brother's wife, so for my ally do I take you, since you despise idols."
  • "Go with your brother now, and get baptized, and make yourself clean, so that you can behold the face of the angel your brother told you about."
  • Tiburtius answers, "Dear brother, first tell me where I should go, and to what man?"
  • "To whom?" replies Valerian, "Come forward with good cheer. I will lead you to Pope Urban."
  • "To Urban?" replies Tiburtius, "My brother Valerian, will you take me there? I think that is a wondrous thing indeed!"
  • "Surely you don't mean the Urban who is so often damned to death, and lives in dark places, dodging here and there, and dare not once stick his head out?"
  • "Men would burn him in a very hot fire if he were found or anyone saw him. And us, too, if we keep company with him. While we search for the divinity that is hidden in heaven, in this world we will be burned to ashes!"
  • Cecilia boldly answers Tiburtius, "It would be reasonable for men to fear losing this life, if this were the only one. But there is a better life in another place, that will never be lost – don't worry – which God's son (Jesus Christ) told us about through his grace."
  • "That father's son has made all things with a skillful thought."
  • "The holy Spirit, that proceeds from the father, has given souls to everyone."
  • "When he was in this world, God's son declared by word and by miracle that there was another life that men may dwell in."
  • Tiburtius answers Cecilia, "O dear sister, didn't you say just now that there was only one lord God, in truth? Now why do you speak of three?" (Cecilia has been describing the Christian concept of the Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
  • "I will tell you," says Cecilia, "before I go. Just as a man has three powers of the mind; memory, will, and intellect; so, in one being may there be three persons."
  • Then Cecilia begins to preach about Jesus' coming and the pains he suffered, and many points of his passion: how God's son was put into the world for a time in order to pay for the sins of mankind, who were bound in sin and care.
  • She tells all these things to Tiburtius.
  • After this, with good intentions, Tiburtius goes with Valerian to meet Pope Urban.
  • Urban thanks God, and with a glad and light heart christens Tiburtius and in that place makes him God's knight in perfect learning.
  • After this, Tiburtius gets such grace that he sees God's angel every day. He receives everything that he asks of God very quickly.

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