Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of mortal Sins

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Gesta Romanorum Vol. I  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of mortal Sins



Julius relates, that in the month of May a certain man entered a grove, in which stood seven beautiful trees in leaf. The leaves so much attracted him, that he collected more than he had strength to carry. On this, three men came to his assistance, who led away both the man and the load beneath which he laboured. As he went out he fell into a deep pit, and the extreme weight upon his shoulders sank him to the very bottom.—The same author also relates, in his history of animals, that if, after a crow had built her nest, you wished to hinder her from hatching her eggs, place between the bark and the tree a quantity of pounded glass[1]; and as long as it remained in that situation, she would never bring off her young.


My beloved, the grove is the world, wherein are many trees, pleasant indeed to the eye, but putting forth only mortal sins. With these, man loads himself. The three men, who brought assistance, are the devil, the world, and the flesh: the pit is hell.—Again, the crow is the devil; the nest the heart; which he too frequently inhabits. The pounded glass is the remembrance of our latter end: the tree is the soul, and the bark is the human body.

  1. Cineres; ashes of glass.