At the perfect of the tale of Saint Cecilia, a Canon, speak a dilapidated old hack, and his Yeoman, ~ above an even worse hack, ride approximately the pilgrims. The hold welcomes them and asks even if it is either has a story to tell. The Yeoman answers immediately that his grasp knows much around mirth and jollity, and also then he begins to tell the tricks of their trade and all that knows about alchemy. Seeing the the Yeoman plans to tell everything, the Canon slips away in shame.

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The first part the the Yeoman"s tale is autobiographical: He describes that as soon as he had good clothes and a comfortable living, that he and the Canon space alchemists, and also that that is for this reason in debt due to the fact that their attempts at alchemy constantly fail. He climate tries to define their occupation, their failed attempts at alchemy, and also their elusive search for the Philosopher"s Stone. The tale itself comprises the second part of The Canon"s Yeoman"s Tale.

A canon who methods alchemy borrow a note from a priest. In 3 days time, the canon returns the mark and offers to disclose a pair of his discoveries. He sends for some rapid silver and, by tricks, makes the priest think that that turned the quick silver into real silver. Unaware of the trick, the monk is really pleased. 3 times the canon tip the priest, every time "turning" a less an important object (quick silver, chalk, and also then a twig) into silver. The beguiled monk buys the secret from the canon because that 40 pounds, and also the canon promptly disappears. The Yeoman end his tale with a broadside strike on the topic of alchemy and also a conglomeration of all the man terms used by alchemists.

Analysis

Just together The second Nun"s tale closes, two strangers, a church canon and also his maid (or yeoman), gallop up to the pilgrimage and also join it. Prior to long the Yeoman discover — fifty percent by accident — that the Canon is a thieving alchemist. The Canon to escape the company, thereby basically acknowledging his rascality, and the Yeoman renounces the exercise of alchemy. He describes this renunciation come the pilgrims, and to himself as well, in two ways: first, in part I the his tale, by a conversation of the proud of such alchemists together his master, an intelligent man whose sharp, unreasonable self-delusion leads him into cruelly deceiving other men; and also then in part II, which is a parable the implicitly condemns alchemy ~ above the grounds the it makes males prey come exploitation by every sorts of rascals.

Because no the Canon nor the Canon"s Yeoman is presented in The Prologue, most authorities agree the this prologue and tale were composed well ~ The Prologue.

During the middle Ages, people thought that particular base steels lay in the floor for plenty of years and, ultimately, ended up being purer greater metals. They also believed the an alchemist could accelerate this process, transforming a base metal (such together lead) right into a precious steel (such as gold) in moments. Alchemy was taken into consideration a science by which this transmutation occurred. In truth, alchemy to be pure charlatanism with the alchemist gift the ultimate charlatan — a superb pretender to knowledge or skill.

Part ns of the tale is a rogue"s confession (compare it with the prologues that the Pardoner and the mam of Bath). Part II is the story of just how an alchemist dupes a poor, credulous priest. The sin the alchemists, the Yeoman says, is intellectual pride, i m sorry can result in a substitution of factor for faith, i beg your pardon is precisely what happens to the priest in component II. On the basis of relatively little evidence of the alchemist"s honesty, the monk forgets his vows and comes to accept the alchemist"s pretensions.

Glossary

canon a member the a certain spiritual order.

Philosopher"s Stone an imaginary substance sought by alchemists, who thought it come be qualified of transmuting basic metals into precious ones.

Arnold referral to Arnoldus de Villa, a fourteenth-century French physician, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist.

Luna . . . Sol moon and also sun.

chimica senioris zadith tabula here, meeting by Chaucer to Plato but in the initial publication (Theatrum Chemicum, 1695), it was attributed to Solomon.

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ignotum every ignotius Latin, definition "an unknown point (explained by) a much more unknown thing." In various other words, to define something an overwhelming by utilizing something even an ext difficult.