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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."
THE GOOD PERSONE."
A good man ther was of religioun,
He sette not his benefice to hire,
Parson, rector. + High and low.
Ne of his speche dangerous ne digne*
GODE COUNSAILE OF CHAUCER.
Paine the not eche croked to redresse,
That the is sent, receve in buxomnesse ;||||||
* 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.
TO THE FATHER OF HEAVEN.
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.
TO THE SECOND PARSONE.
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,
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.