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O little child, alas! what is thy guilt,
That never wroughtest sin as yet, pardie?
Why will thine hardé father have thee spilt ?1
O mercy, deare Constable ! (quod she,)
As let my little child dwell here with thee;
And if thou dar'st not saven him from blame,
So kiss him one's in his father's name.'

Therewith she looketh backward to the land,
And saide, 'Farewell, husband rutheless!' 2
And up she rose, and walketh down the strand
Toward the ship; her followeth all the press :3
And ever she prayeth her child to hold his peace,
And tak'th her leave, and with a holy intent
She blesseth her, and into the ship she went.

Victailled was the ship, it is no drede, 4
Abundantly for her a full long space;
And other necessaries that should need
She had enow, herieds be Goddes grace:
Fhe wind and weather, Almighty God purchase, 6
And bring her home, I can no better say,
But in the sea she driveth forth her way.


A true good man there was, there of religion,
Pious and poor

the parson of a town.
But rich he was in holy thought and work;
And thereto a right learned man; a clerk
That Christ's pure gospel would sincerely preach,
And his parishioners devoutly teach.
Benign he was, and wondrous diligent,
And in adversity full patient,
As proven oft; to all who lack'd a friend.
Loth for his tithes to ban or to contend,
At every need much rather was he found
Unto his poor parishioners around
Of his own substance and his dues to give:-
Content on little, for himself, to live.

Wide was his cure; the houses far asunder,
Yet never fail'd he, or for rain or thunder,
Whenever sickness or mischance might call
The most remote to visit, great or small,
And, staff in hand, on foot, the storm to brave.

This noble ensample to his flock he gave,
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
The word of life he from the gospel caught;
And well this comment added he thereto,
If that gold rusteth, what should iron do?
And if the priest be foul on whom we trust,
What wonder if the unletter'd layman lust?
And shame it were in him the flock should keep,
To see a sullied shepherd, and clean sheep.

i Destroyed. 4 Doubt.

2 Pitiless.
5 Praised.

3 Crowd.
6 Procure, provide.

For sure a priest the sample ought to give
By his own cleanness how his sheep should live.

He never set his benefice to hire,
Leaving his flock acomber'd in the mire,
And ran to London cogging at St. Paul's,
To seek himself a chauntery for souls,
Or with a brotherhood to be enroll'd;
But dwelt at home, and guarded well his fold,
So that it should not by the wolf miscarry.
He was a shepherd, and no mercenary.

Tho holy in himself, and virtuous,
He still to sinful men was mild and piteous :
Not of reproach imperious or malign;
But in his teaching soothing and benign.
To draw them on to heaven, by reason fair
And good example, was his daily care.
But were there one perverse and obstinate,
Were he of lofty or of low estate,
Him would he sharply with reproof astound.
A better priest is no where to be found.

He waited not on pomp or reverence,
Nor made himself a spiced conscience.
The lore of Christ and his apostles twelve

He taught: but, first, he followed it himselve. The following poem was the last production that emanated from Chaucer's prolific pen. It was written on his death-bed, and may properly close these extracts :

Fly from the press, and dwell with sothfastness;2

Suffice unto thy good though it be small;
For hoard hath hate, and climbing tickleness,

Presst hath envy, and weal is blents o'er all;

Savours no more than thee behoven shall;
Rede7 well thyself, that other folk can'st rede,
And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.8
Pain thee not each croocked to redress

In trust of her that turneth as a ball;
Great rest standeth in little baseness;

Beware also to spurn against a nalle ; 9

Strive not as doth a crockelo with a wall;
Deemethil thyself that deemest other's deed;
And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.
That12 thee is sent receive in buxomness ;13

The wrestling of this world asketh a fall;
Here is no home, here is but wilderness ;

Forth, pilgrim, forth, 0 beast out of thy stall;

Look up on high, and thank thy God of all;
Waiveth thy lust and let thy ghost14 thee lead,
And truth thee shall deliver 't is no drede.

1 Crowd. 2 Truth. 3 Be satisfied with thy wealth.

6 Taste.

7 Counsel. 5 Prosperity has ceased. 9 Nail. 10 Earthen pitcher.

11 Judge.

14 Spirit. 13 Humility, obedience.

4 Striving. 8 Without fear. 12 That (which).

Though Chaucer was eminent chiefly as a poet, yet he deserves a passing notice as a writer in prose also. His longest unversified production is The * Testament of Love,' to which we have already alluded. This is an allegorical and meditative work, and was written chiefly for the purpose of defending his character against certain imputations which had been cast upon it. Two of the Canterbury Tales,' also, are in prose; in one of which, the Tale of Melibeus, is found a passage on Riches, not less remarkable for the great amount of ancient wisdom which it contains, than for the clearness and simplicity of its diction. We have, however, already afforded to Chaucer so much


that we have not room to introduce this interesting passage, but must at once pass briefly to notice Gower, his illustrious contemporary.

The na

Though the genius of Chaucer far transcended that of all preceding writers in England, yet he was not the solitary light of the age. tional mind, and the national language had now arrived at a certain degree of maturity favorable for the production of able writers in both prose and

Besides Wickliffe, Gower and Mandeville also belong to the same period.


John Gower was born of an illustrious family at Stitenham, in Yorkshire, 1320. He was educated at Merton College, Oxford, and at the time at which he was graduated, his eminence as a scholar was extensively known. Being designated by his parents for the legal profession, he removed to London immediately after he left the university, and entered the Middle Temple as a student at law; and though devoted to his profession, yet he did not permit it to engross his entire attention, but gave much of his leisure time to poetry and other literary pursuits. While thus occupied, and soon after he had completed his preparatory legal studies, he formed an acquaintance with Chaucer, who had just then returned from his travels on the continent, and the similarity of their tastes soon created a very close intimacy between them. Poetry, however, with Gower, was a pastime, while to his profession he devoted himself with such untiring industry, that before the close of the reign of Edward the Third, his position as a lawyer had become so commanding that when Richard the Second succeeded to the crown, that unfortunate monarch first selected him as his legal adviser, and Chancellor in Commons, and soon after raised him to the office of Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas.

In this imposing position Gower remained until his royal patron was dethroned by the duke of Lancaster, afterward Henry the Fourth, when he being far advanced in age, and having also recently had the misfortune to lose his eyesight, retired from the busy scenes of life, and took leave at the same time, both of the muses and of the world, in his pathetic poem The Commendation of Peace. In this sweet production he plainly and affectingly indicates a full sense of his consciousness of an approaching death,

which accordingly happened soon after at Southwark, where he then resided, in 1402. His remains were interred in St. John's Chapel, and to his memory a monument of unparalleled magnificence, for that age, was erected, upon which was inscribed a Latin Epitaph, that may be thus rendered to English.

His shield henceforth is useless grown,

To pay death's tribute slain,
His soul with joyous freedom flown,

Where spotless spirits reign. Gower was a man of very extensive literary and legal attainments, and his poems, therefore, were rather the offspring of his learning than of his genius. His spirit was bold and uncompromising, and he accordingly inveighed in clear and energetic language against the debaucheries of the times, the immorality of the clergy, the wickedness of corrupt judges, and the vices of an abandoned court.

His principal poetic work was a poem in three parts, which were respectively entitled, Speculum Meditantis, Vox Clamantis, and Confessio Amantis; the last of which, the Confession of a Lover,' was written in English, and was so pure and elevated in tone and sentiment, that Chaucer, upon reading it, immediately called its author, in spontaneous admiration, the Moral Gower—an encomium, to deserve which in that corrupt age, certainly argues very exalted merit. From this poem we select the following specimen, as it fully indicates the character of the author's poetic genius.


Of Jupiter thus I find y-writ,
How whilom that he would wit,
Upon the plaints which he heard
Among the men, how it fared,
As of the wrong condition
To do justification;
And for that cause down he sent
An angel, that about went,
That he the sooth know may.
So it befel upon a day,
This angel which him should inform
Was clothed in a man's form,
And overtook, I understand,
Two men that wenten over lond;
Through which he thought to aspy
His cause, and go'th in company.
This angel with his words wise
Opposeth them in sundry wise;
Now loud words and now soft,
That made them to disputen oft;
And each his reason had,
And thus with tales he them led,
With good examination,
Till he knew the condition,

What men they were both two;
And saw well at last tho,
That one of them was covetous,
And his fellow was envious.
And thus when he hath knowledging,
Anon he feigned departing,
And said he mote algate wend;
But hearken now what fell at end !
For than he made them understond
That he was there of God's sond,
And said them for the kindship,
He would do them some grace again,
And bade that one of them should sain, ?
What thing is him levest to crave, 3
And he it shall of gift have.
And over that ke forth with all
He saith, that other have shall
The double of that his fellow axeth;
And thus to them his grace he taxeth.
The Covetous was wonder glad;
And to that other man he bade,
And saith, that he first ax should;
For he supposeth that he would
Make his axing of world's good ;
For then he knew well how it stood;
If that himself by double weight
Shall after take, and thus by sleight
Because that he would win,
He bade his fellow first begin.
This Envious, though it be late,
When that he saw he mote, algate,
Make his axing first, he thought,
If he his worship and profit sought
It shall be double to his fere,
That he would chuse in no manner.
But then he showeth what he was
Toward envy, and in this case,
Unto this angel thus he said,
And for his gift thus he prayed,
To make him blind on his one ee,
So that his fellow nothing see.
This word was not so soon spoke,
That his one ee anon was loke:
And his fellow forthwith also
Was blind on both his eyes two.
Tho was that other glad enough:
That one wept, that other lough.
He set his one ee at no cost,
Whereof that other two hath lost.

SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE, the last writer to whom our attention will at present be directed, was born at St. Albans, Hertfordshire, in the begin1 Then. 2 Say.

9 What thing he was most disposed to crave.

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