Cum modicum membrum sit lingua, est maximus ignis; non tot per gladium quot periere per hanc. praevalet in lingua qui non est fortis in armis; nullus in hac pugna plus meretrice valet. ex hoc praecipue distant ignavus et audax, quod factis iste praevalet, ille minis. si linguae bellum quam armorum fortius esset, Thersites Troiae maior Achille foret. (Peter Abelard, Monita ad Astralabium 237-244)
Although the tongue may be the smallest member, it is the most incendiary, nor have as many perished by the sword as by this. He prevails in tongue who is not strong in arms; no-one prevails more in this type of battle than a prostitute. By this especially are the coward and the bold man differentiated: this one is strong in deeds, that one in threats. If the warfare of words were more effective than the warfare of arms Thersites would have been greater at Troy than Achilles. (tr.Juanita Feros Ruys)
Nosti quantis turpitudinibus immoderata mea libido corpora nostra addixerat, ut nulla honestatis vel Dei reverentia in ipsis etiam diebus Dominicae passionis, vel quantarumcunque solemnitatum ad huius luti volutabro me revocaret. set et te nolentem et prout poteras reluctantem et dissuadentem, quae natura infirmior eras, saepius minis ac flagellis ad consensum trahebam. tanto enim tibi concupiscentiae ardore copulatus eram, ut miseras illas et obscenessimas voluptates, quas etiam nominare confundimur, tam Deo quam mihi ipsi praeponerem: nec tam aliter consulere posse divina videretur clementia, nisi has mihi voluptates sine spe ulla omnino interdiceret. unde iustissime et clementissime licet cum summa tui avunculi proditione ut in multis crescerem, parte illa corporis sum minutus, in quam libidinis regnum erat, et tota huius concupiscentiae causa consistebat, ut iuste illud plecteretur membrum, quod in nobis commiserat totum, et expiaret patiendo quod deliquerat oblectando, et ab his me spurcitiis, quibus me totum quasi luto immerseram, tam mente quam corpore circumcideret; et tanto sacris etiam altaribus idoniorem efficeret, quanto me nulla hinc amplius carnalium contagio pollutionum revocarent.
(Peter Abelard, Epist. 5, PL 178, 206C-207A)
You know the depths of shame to which my unbridled lust had consigned our bodies, until no reverence for decency or for God even during the days of Our Lord’s Passion, or of the greater sacraments could keep me from wallowing in this mire. Even when you were unwilling, resisted to the utmost of your power and tried to dissuade me, as yours was the weaker nature I often forced you to consent with threats and blows. So intense were the fires of lust which bound me to you that I set those wretched, obscene pleasures, which we blush even to name, above God as above myself; nor would it seem that divine mercy could have taken action except by forbidding me these pleasures altogether, without future hope. And so it was wholly just and merciful, although by means of the supreme treachery of your uncle, for me to be reduced in that part of my body which was the seat of lust and sole reason for those desires, so that I could increase in many ways; in order that this member should justly be punished for all its wrongdoing in us, expiate in suffering the sins committed for its amusement and cut me off from the slough of filth in which I had been wholly immersed in mind as in body. Only thus could I become more fit to approach the holy altars, now that no contagion of carnal impurity would ever again call me from them. (tr. Betty Radice)