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had found himself, as an adherent of the Duke of Lancaster, amongst the number of the vanquished. We fled to the Low Countries, and, returning, was cast into prison. Richard II. set him at liberty, and conferred upon him a pension of twenty pounds sterling. But there is no evidence that he was ever re-instated in the lucrative controllership. His prospects brightened with the accession of Henry IV., the son of his brother-in-law, to the throne. Chaucer now removed from his country retirement at Woodstock and Donnington to a house which he leased from the Abbot of Westminster, and which is said to have stood on the site of Henry VII.'s chapel. Here he died, October 25, 1400. His remains “were interred in the repository of our kings, and the place hallowed by his dust has ever since been considered as the resting-place of poets."

As a poet, Chaucer is remarkable for the dewy freshness, the lustihood, and the boundless range of his prolific inspiration. He observed narrowly, and with discrimination;

described vividly, and with so much liveliness and precision that the personages to whom he introduces us become friends for ever; and it is still a problem, which is the more admirable, the genial thoroughness of his humour, or the perfectness of his pathos. The portrait of the Good Parson, one of the Canterbury Pilgrims, still holds its own against the efforts of the after limners of that character, Dryden and Goldsmith. The verses entitled the “Gode Counsaile of Chaucer," may be read with greater interest and appreciation of their spirit of serenity and equanimity, if we may believe a tradition concerning them, that they were “made by Chaucer upon his dethe bedde lying in his grete anguysse."


A good man ther was of religioun,
That was a poure persone of a toun;
But riche he was of holy thought and werk.
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche,
His parishens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversite ful patient:
And swiche he was ypreved often sithes.
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven out of doute,
Unto his poure parishens aboute,
Of his offring, and eke of his substance.
He coude in litel thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder,
In gikenesse and in mischief to visite
The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite,
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his shepe he yaf,
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
Out of the gospel he the wordes caught,
And this figure he added yet thereto,
That if gold ruste, what shuld iren do?
For if a preest be foule, on whom we trust,
No wonder is a lewed man to rust;
And shame it is, if that a preest take kepe,
To see a filthy shepherd, and clene shepe:
Wel ought a preest ensample for to yeve,
By his clenenesse, how his shepe shulde live.

He sette not his benefice to hire,
And lette his shepe acombred in the mire,
And ran unto London, unto Seint Poules,
To seken him a chanterie for soules,
Or with a brotherhede to be withold:
But dwelt at home, and kepte wel his fold,
So that the wolf ne made it not miscarie,
He was a shepherd, and no mercenarie.
And though he holy were, and vertuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous,

Parson, rector. + High and low.

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Ne of his speche dangerous ne digne*
But in his teching discrete and benigne.
To drawen folk to heven, with fairenesse,
By good ensample, was his besinesse:
But if were any persone obstinat,
What so he were of highe, or low estat,
Him wolde he snibben sharply for the nones.t
A better preest I trowe that nowher non is.
He waited after no pompe ne reverence,
Ne maked him no spiced conscience;
But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught, but first he folwed it himselve.

Flie fro the prese, I and dwell with sothfastnesse ;S
Suffise unto thy gode, though it be small ;||
For horde hath hate, and climbyng tikelnesse ;**
Precett hath envie, and wele II is blent oer all;
Savours no more than the behuven shall;
Rede well|||| thy selfe, that other folk canst rede;
And trouthe the shall deliver, 'tis no drede. 19

Paine the not eche croked to redresse,
In*** trust of her that tourneth as a balle:
Grete reste standeth in litel businesse:
Beware also to spurne again a nalle, ttt
Strive not as doth a crocké1** with a walle;
Demeth??$ thy selfe, that demeth others dede;
And trouthe the shall deliver, 'tis no drede.

That the is sent, receve in buxomnesse ;||||||
The wrastlyng of this worlde asketh a fall;
Here is no home, here is but wildernesse :
Forthe, pilgrim, forthe, O best IT out of thy stall !
Loke up on high, and thanke thy God of all;
Weiveth thy luste, and let thy ghoste the lede,
And trouthe the shall deliver, 'tis no drede. ****

* Proud. + Occasion. I Press, multitude crowding in the pursuit of advancenient. $ Sincerity. || Live according to thy means. Hoarding. ** Uncertainty. At Ambition. If Opulence is everywhere open to censure. $$ Indulge thy appetite no more than is necessary. !| Judge. IT Sincerity, out of doubt, shall be thy deliverance. *** In confidence of fortune. tft Nail. 11 Cup, a piece of pottery. $$$ Judge. With submission, with content. TTT Beast. **** Suppress thy carnal passions, aad obey the promptings of thy spirit,



(ABOUT 1460, DIED 1529.) JOHN SKELTON was a younger branch of the Skeltons of Skelton, in Cumberland, and was born in the latter part of the fifteenth century. He was educated at Oxford, although the joint claim of Cambridge seems to be a not unreasonable one. At Oxford, in 1489, he was named poet laureate, and acquired considerable reputation for his varied scholarship. After taking holy orders he was made rector of Diss, in Norfolk; and presently secured a reputation throughout the diocese for a buffoonery which on the stage would have been questionable, and which in the pulpit was indecent and scandalous. In his venomous and unmeasured satires he successively attacked Lilly the schoolmaster, the Dominican Friars, and Cardinal Wolsey. From the vengeance of the outraged prelate, against whom his shafts were probably tipped with too much truth, he was obliged to take refuge in the sanctuary at Westminster. In this retreat he died, June 21, 1529. His epitaph in St. Margaret's Church claims for him the gift of prophecy on the strength of a vague prediction which, when dying, he uttered of the fall of Wolsey. His wit was fanged, his laughter scornful, and his pleasantries full of bitterness. Yet to him is conceded the merit of restoring invention to our poetry. From his fifty productions, the following metrical litany is selected as marking favourably one of his lapses into piety.



O radiant luminary of light interminable,

Celestiall Father, potenciall God of might Of heaven and earth. O Lorde incomperable

Of al perfections the essenciall most perfighte;

O Maker of mankind, that forméd day and night, Whose power imperial comprehendeth every place,

Mine hart; my mind, my thought, my hole delite Is after this lyfe, to see thy glorious face.

Whose magnificence is incomprehensible,

Al arguments of reason which far doth excede, Whose deity doutles is indivisible,

From whom al goodnes and vertue doth procede,

Of thy support al creatures have nede; Assist me, good Lorde, and graunt me of thy grace

To live to thy pleasure in word, thought, and dede, And after this lyfe to se thy glorious face.


O benigne Jesu, my soverain lorde and kynge,

The only Sonne of God by filiacion, The Second Parson without beginning,

Both God and man our faith maketh plain relacion. Mary the mother by way of incarnacionWhose glorious passion our soules doth revive

Again al bodely and ghostly tribulacion, Defend me with thy piteous woundes five.

O pereles prynce paynted to the death,

Rufully rent, thy body wan and blo,
For my redempcion gave up thy vytal breathe.

Was never sorow like to thy deadly wo.

Graunt me, out of this world when I shal go, Thine endless mercy for my preservative

Against the world, the flesh, the devill also, Defend me with thy piteous woundes five.

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