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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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But whoever knows himself to be free from such fault, let him come up and make an offering in the name of God, and I will absolve him by the authority granted me by bull.' [388]

"With this trickery I have won a hundred marks, year by year, since I have been a pardoner. I stand like a cleric in my pulpit, and when the lay people are seated I preach as you have heard and tell a hundred more false stories. Then I take pains to stretch out my neck and bob my head east and west over the people, like a dove perched upon a barn. My hands and tongue move so briskly that it is a joy to see my movement. [399]

"All my preaching is about avarice and such cursed things, to make them generous in giving their pence and especially to me. My aim is all for gain and not at all for the correction of sin. I do not care, when they are buried, even if their souls have gone blackberried!1 [406]

"Surely, many sermons arise from an evil intention, how to please and flatter people, to aim for promotion through hypocrisy, from vain glory and some from hate. For when I dare not otherwise dispute with someone, then I sting him with my bitter tongue as I preach, so that he cannot escape being falsely defamed, if he has trespassed against me or my brethren. For though I do not mention his name, people shall know whom I mean by hints and other circumstances. Thus I pay back people who do unpleasant things to us, and thus I spit out my venom under the guise of holiness, seeming holy and faithful. I say again, in a few words, I preach for no motive but avarice from which my theme is and always was, Radix malorum est cupiditas. Thus can I preach against that same vice which I practice, avarice. But though I may be guilty of it, I can make other people depart from avarice and repent sorely. But that is not my primary purpose; I preach for nothing but greed; and this should suffice for this matter. [434]



1 blackberried Though this phrase is usually glossed as "going blackberry picking," the phrase clearly means more. The Pardoner does not care about the condition of their souls after death, whether they are pure white or black as a blackberry.
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