The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale Prologue, Lines 1-28 Summary
(Note: In this summary the speaker is the narrator, the Second Nun.)
- The minister and nurse of vices, which men call in English idleness, is the porter at the gate of delights we should avoid and combat by keeping busy.
- We ought to do everything we can, let the devil destroy us through idleness.
- For when the devil, who waits with a thousand ropes to trap us, sees a man in idleness, he can so easily catch him that the idle man will be unaware of it until the devil has him by the collar.
- We ought to work well and hard, and avoid idleness.
- And though men don't dread death, no doubt they can reason that idleness is rotten laziness, and nothing good ever comes of idleness.
- These men see that laziness holds a person on a leash, only allowing sleep, eating, drinking, and the devouring of others' work.
- In order to save us from such idleness, which is the cause of such great confusion, I have worked hard on the translation of the life and passion of you who have been crowned with a garland of rose and lily.
- I mean you, maid and martyr – Saint Cecilia.