The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
Cecile may eek be seyd, in this manere,
'Wantynge of blyndnesse,' for hir grete light
Of sapience, and for hire thewes cleere.
(99 – 101)
The narrator's explication of Cecilia's name establishes the themes that will be prominent in her tale. Here, the narrator introduces Cecilia as wise ("for hir grete light of sapience"), and makes the connection between vision ("wantynge of blyndnesse") and wisdom, a connection that will reappear in the tale itself.
Right so men goostly, in this mayden free,
Seyen of feith the magnanymytee,
And eek the cleernesse hool of sapience,
And sondry werkes, brighte of excellence.
(109 – 112)
Here the narrator compares Cecilia's spiritual faculties to the "sonne and moone and sterres" that people can see in the heavens (108). This comparison again connects wisdom to light, and through light and 'cleernesse,' to vision.
Valerian, corrected as God wolde,
(162 – 163)
In portraying Valerian as "corrected," the narrator positions Cecilia as a teacher figure. Just as a teacher corrects a student's papers, Cecilia corrects her husband. At the same time, it implies that this 'correction' originates with God – it occurs "as God wolde."