Picture of Gerald of Wales

Gerald of Wales

places mentioned

Book 2, Ch. 5: Their great exaction

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Their great exaction, and want of moderation

Where they find plenty, and can exercise their power, they levy the most unjust exactions. Immoderate in their love of food and intoxicating drink, they say with the Apostle, "We are instructed both to abound, and to suffer need;" but do not add with him, "becoming all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." As in times of scarcity their abstinence and parsimony are too severe, so, when seated at another man's table, after a long fasting, (like wolves and eagles, who, like them, live by plunder, and are rarely satisfied,) their appetite is immoderate. They are therefore penurious in times of scarcity, and extravagant in times of plenty; but no man, as in England, mortgages his property for the gluttonous gratification of his own appetite. They wish, however, that all people would join with them in their bad habits and expenses; as the commission of crimes reduces to a level all those who are concerned in the perpetration of them.

Gerald of Wales, The Description of Wales (Oxford, Mississippi, 1997)

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