The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 1171-1212 Summary
- (The hag continues her response to her husband's complaint:)
- Recall how noble was Tullius Hostillius, who rose from poverty.
- Read Seneca and Boethius, where you will see that the gentleman is he who does gentle deeds.
- Therefore, husband, I conclude that, even though my ancestors were poor, God may still grant me grace to live virtuously.
- I become a gentle woman when I begin to live virtuously, and avoid sin.
- And about the poverty of which you reprove me:
- Jesus chose to live his life in poverty. Everyone knows that Jesus would not choose a wrong way of life.
- Poverty is honest, or so says Seneca and other clerks.
- I regard the person who is content in his poverty as rich, even though he may not even have a shirt.
- The poor person is the one who covets things, because he wants things that he can't get.
- The person who has nothing, but covets nothing, is rich, although you might look down on him.
- True poverty naturally gladdens the heart.
- For example, Juvenal made the point that a poor man can travel without fear of robbers.
- Poverty is a hateful good, something that prompts one to work hard.
- It also teaches wisdom to he that bears poverty with patience.
- All these good things are a part of poverty, although it seems miserable.
- When a man lives in poverty, he often knows himself and God.
- Through poverty, a man can distinguish his friends from his enemies.
- Therefore, you shouldn't reproach me for my poverty.
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