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Al-so lene was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat, I undertake;
But lokede holwe, and therto soburly.
Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy,
For he hadde nought geten him yet a benefice,
Ne was not worthy to haven an office.
For him was lever have at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clothed in blak and reed,
Of Aristotil, and of his philosophie,
Than robus riche, or fithul, or sawtrie.
But al-though he were a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litul gold in cofre;
But al that he mighte gete, and his frendes sende
On bookes and his lernyng he it spende,
And busily gan for the soules praye
Of hem that yaf him wherwith to scolaye.
Of ötudie took he moste cure and heede.
Not oo word spak he more than was neede ;
Al that he spak it was of heye prudence,
And short and quyk, and ful of gret sentence.
Sownynge in moral manere was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.

(Canterbury Tales, Prologue, ii. 287-310.)


Wherfore, as I seyde, ywis,
Jupiter considereth wel this;
And also, beausir, other thynges ;
That is, that thou hast no tydynges
Of Loves folke, yf they be glade,
Ne of noght elles that God made;
And noght oonly fro ferre contree,
That ther no tydynge cometh to thee,
Not of thy verray neyghebors,
That duelle almoste at thy dors,
Thou herist neyther that nor this,
For when thy labour doon al ys,
And hast y-made rekenynges,
Instid of reste and newe thynges,
Thou goost home to thy house anoon,
And, also dombe as any stoon,
Thou sittest at another booke,
Tyl fully dasewyd ys thy looke,
And lyvest thus as an heremyte,
Although thyn abstynence ys lyte.

(The House of Fame, ii. 133–159.)


And as for me, though than I konne but lyte,
On bokes for to rede I ne delyte,
And to hein yive I feyth and ful credence,

And in myn herte have hem in reverence
So hertely that there is game noon,
That fro my bokes maketh me to goon,
But yt be seldom on the holy day,
Save, certeynly, whan that the monethe of May
Is comen, and that I here the foules synge,
And that the floures gynnen for to sprynge,
Farewel my boke, and my

devocioun ! (Legende of Goode Women, ii. 29—39.)

JOHN GOWER. [Born 13-P Wrote "Speculum Meditantis,” in French, not extant; “Vox Clamantis,” in Latin, 1381;

“ Confessio Amantis,” in English, 1392. Died, 1408.]


As for to speke of time ago
The cause why it chaungeth so

It needeth nought to specifie,
The thing so open is at eye,
every man it


And netheles by daies olde,
Whan that the bokes weren lever,
Writinge was beloved ever
Of hem, that weren vertuous.
For here in erthe amonges us,
If no man write, howe it stood,
The pris of hem that were good
Shulde, as who saith a great partie,
Be lost, so for to magnifie
The worthy princes that tho were
The bokes shewen here and there
Wherof the worlde ensampled is
And tho that diden than amis
Through tiranny and cruelte,
Right as they stonden in degre
So was the writinge of here werke.
Thus I which am a borel clerke
Purpose for to write a boke
After the worlde, that whilom toke
Long time in olde daies passed.

(Confessio Amantis, Prologue.)


Of every wisdom the parfit
The highe god of his spirit
Yaf to men in erthe here
Upon the forme and the matere
Of that he wolde make hem wise.
And thus cam in the first apprise
Of bokes and of alle good
Through hem, that whilom understood
The lore, which to hem was yive,
Wherof these other, that now live,
Ben every day to lerne new.

(Confessio Amantis, Liber Quartus.)


[Born (about) 1552. Published the “Shepheard's Calender," 1579. Went to Ireland, 1580. Published the first three books of the “Faery Queene,” 1590 ; the second edition, containing the six books, published 1596. Died, 1599.]

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