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There is here no more to say of a poem inspired at once by the triune Furies of Ezekiel, of Juvenal, and of Dante. I can imagine no reason but that already suggested why Shakespeare should in a double sense have taken Chaucer for his model or example in leaving half told a story which he had borrowed from the father and master of our narrative poetry.

"Or whoever cared whether she does or does not?" said Mrs Chaucer Munro, who, with her peculiar bevy, had now made her way up among the front rank.

There is accordingly no PROOF that Chaucer was a married man before 1374, when he is known to have received a pension for his own and his wife's services. But with this negative result we are asked not to be poor-spirited enough to rest content.

Among the Ménagier's longer illustrations is the favourite but intolerably dull moral tale of Melibeu and Prudence, by Albertano of Brescia, translated into French by Renault de Louens, whose version the Ménagier copied, and adapted by Jean de Meung in the Roman de la Rose, from which in turn Chaucer took it to tell to the Canterbury Pilgrims.

As you go down the Borough High Street, for Southwark is of course the old borgo of London, and all the depressing ugliness of modern life, it is not of anything so serene as that great poet of the fourteenth century, the father of English poetry, that you think, but of one who nevertheless, in the characteristic nationalism of his art, in his humanity and love of his fellow-men, was only second to Chaucer, and in his compassion for the poor and lowly only second to St Thomas: I mean Charles Dickens.

It would be absurd to suggest that there are no anticipations of this democratic spirit in English literature from Chaucer down to Burns, but Wordsworth, more than any other English writer, deserves the credit of having emancipated the poor man into being a fit subject for noble poetry.

I loved my Chaucer too well, I hope, not to get some good from the best in him; and my reading of criticism had taught me how and where to look for the best, and to know it when I had found it. Of course I began to copy him.

One famous phrase of Chaucer is often quoted now: "after the schole of Stratford-atte-Bowe," which he used in describing the French spoken by one of the Canterbury Pilgrims in his great poem. We now often use the phrase to describe any accent which is not perfect.

His great "Consolations of Philosophy" was probably the most read book in the early Middle Ages. It was translated into Anglo-Saxon by King Alfred, into old German by Notker Teutonicus, the German monk of St. Gall, and its influence may be traced in Beowulf, in Chaucer, in High German poetry, in Anglo-Norman and Provençal popular poetry, and also in early Italian verse.

The sonnet, having something very artificial in it, just suited this make-believe love. Petrarch, the great Italian poet, from whom you remember Chaucer had learned much, and whom perhaps he had once met, made use of this kind of poem. In his sonnets he told his love of a fair lady, Laura, and made her famous for all time. Of course, when Wyatt came to Italy Petrarch had long been dead.