Chapter 2

Text

And so to the extent that we can know
What you should do, draw upon
Those virtues that will most restore you,
The better to come to what we said before
Of the pious knight.
Although it may be adventurous,
Yet shall I see why that I say this:
A cousin germane I have, i-wis,
She is beautiful in all ways;
But in one aspect in particular
She is quite soft and well tempered;
When it comes to feelings she does not deal in anger;
She thinks of nothing but of right balance;
It is the goddess of Temperance.
I am not the only one virtuous one, she
Has the name of that high mighty grace;
For if so were the weight that she never made,
To you all were not worthy, oh dripping blade.
Therefore I will say that she loves you as I do!
If she will, let her not forgotten be;
For she is right a well learned goddess,
Here I will love and praise much in distress.

Gloss

Othea says that Temperance is her sister germane, and that Hector should love her. The virtues of Temperance and Prudence are truly sisters, because temperance reveals prudence and prudence follows temperance. Therefore it is said that he should love Temperance, and every good knight should so the same, who desires to be praised as good people. As the philosopher Democritus says: Temperance moderates vices and multiplies virtues.

Allegory

The good spirit should have the virtue of temperance, which has the property to limit and set aside superfluities. And Saint Austin says in the book of the Conditions of the Church that the office of temperance is to refrain and appease the conditions of lust, which are contrary to us and cause us to stray from God’s law, and more-over to despite delights of the flesh and worldly temptations. Saint Peter speaks to that purpose in his first Epistle: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul.”1

Footnotes

  1. This comes from St. Peter’s First Epistle, Chapter 2 and appeared in the original manuscript with the following Latin phrase: “Obsecro vos tanquam aduenas et peregrinos absintere vos a carnalibus desiderijs, que miliatant aduersus anima. Prima Petri secundo capitulo.”

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