Hardy he was, and wys to undertake: With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake; He knew wel alle the havenes, as they were, From Gootland to the Cape of Fynystere, And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne. His barge y-cleped was the Maudelayne.
Chaucer's boyhood was spent in London, on Thames Street near the river, where the world's commerce was continually coming and going. There he saw daily the shipman of the Canterbury Tales just home in his good ship Maudelayne, with the fascination of unknown lands in his clothes and conversation. Of his education we know nothing, except that he was a great reader.