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husband, with him the year after their marriage into France, at which time he espoused Isabel the French king's daughter, then very young, and who was puc under the care of the Duchefs of Lancaster.
After the ceremony of this marriage, and the return of the royal family to England, we find a very singular instance of the advantage that Chaucer received from this alliance, for now by letters patents the King granted him an annuity of twenty marks per annum, in lieu of that given him by his grandfather, and which in the time of his distress he had been compelled to dispose of for his fubfiftence. Soon after this he granted him his protection hy other letters patents dated the 4th of May in the 21st year of his reign for two years, fignifying that for that space he had occafion to employ him in his service. Neither was this the last or greatest instance afforded him of royal fa. vour, since we find that by letters patents dated the 13th of Odober in the following year he had a pip of wine annually granted out of the Customs of the port of London, which was to be delivered him by the Chief Butler, and to this office his fon Thomas Chaucer was now raifed.
But if these bencfits cheered and comforted his decayed spirits in the decline of life, he had however the mortification to lose about the same time his noble patron, hisconstant friend and kind brother, the Duke vs Lancaster, by whom lic was frat brought to court,
and through whose favour he never wanted either countenance or support when it was in his power to bestow. This loss very probably afflicted him deeply, as we may gather from his retiring about this time to Dunnington-Caitle, where he spent most of his days during the last two years of his life, indulging his grave thoughts in the folitude of that sweet retreat *.
* Of that fiveet retreat.] It is not very clear at what time our Authox quitted his beloved house at Woodstock in order to go to Dunnington-Castle, where he spent the latt two years of his life, but as this was his final retrcai, and became very remarkable for being so, an account of it cannot be unacceptable to the reader. It was in Mr. Camden's time (wlien in its glory) “ a small but neat cattle, situate upon the brow of a riling hill, " having an agrecable prospect, very light, with windows on “ all sides, faid to be built by Sir Richard Adderbury Knt. who "likewise founded an hospital beneath it called God's House; 6 it was afterwards the feat of Chaucer, then of the De la Poles, “and in our fathers’:nemory the dwelling of Charles Erardon " Duke of Suttolis.” At the beginning of the rebellion in the reign of King Charles I. it was a garrison for the king under the valiant Sir John Boys, wliich commanded the western road and town of Newbury, and was therefore of great advantage to the royal party as a fale retreat, and the cannon playing from it much ältlloyed the parliament forces. This place his Maicity honoured by lying one night in it, but after a rough afautt and as bold a refinance, during which several of the towers were battered down, it was surrendered upon honouirable conditions. This was the ancient ftate and the cocation of the late ruin of that pleasant ftructure. At prerent there is nothing to be seen of it but what raises horrour and concern, a battered gateway with two towers, and some finall part of the shattered walls, being all that remains thereof. The ground about it and the ruins of it are choked with brambles and ol'errun with ivy; but left the place of its fituation thould in 3
In this situation he was when that great revolution happened which placed Henry of Lancaster, the son of his brother-in-law, upon the throne, in which as Chaucer had no hand, (though certainly it could not displease him) so we do not find that he was at all eager in paying his compliments to the new King, much less that he triumphed in the misfortunes of his late kind master and gracious benefactor, as others and particularly Gower, who had been more obliged to that unfortunate prince, and who at that time was both old and blind, moft shamefully did. He did not however flight the advantages offered him by this revolution, but having accidentally lost the two last grants of an annuity, and of the pipe of wine by King Richard, he obtained a confirmation of them in the ift
few years more be forgot I thall as plainly as i can describe it. It lies half a mile to the right of Spinhamland, (the ancient Spina of Antonius) a mile beyond Newbury, on the fame fide. As you go from London you pass over the river Kennet to the village of Dunnington, from which there is a pretty fleep but plealant ascent through a lane to a hill under the Caftle, where ftands a feat formerly belonging to the Countess of Sandwich: from hence arites the Cattiehill very fteep, and not unlike that whereon the Observatory stands at Greenwich, and from this hill there is a very fine prospect of several counties. On the back of the Cattle are level grounds, wocdlands, and enclosures. The Castle itself ftands in a pleasant park, in which there was a famous oak called Chaucer's Oak, under which, as tradition taught, he wrote several poems. Mr. Evelyn gives a particular account of this tree, and says there were three of them planted by Chaucer, the King's oak, the Queen's oak, and Claucer's oak.
year of Henry IV. by an exemplification of his sorîner letters patents. Neither was this the only favour he received from the new king, who cut of regard to the ancient friendship and near alliance between the prince hisfather and our Author granted him, during the if year of his reign, an annuity of forty niarksper annum for the term of his life. It is true indecd that a very great writer, a fincere admirer of our Author, and most deservedly, a poct-laureate himself, informs us that Ch. enjoyed this honour under three kings, Edward III. Richard I!. and Henry IV.; but this is a mistake, for in truth there was no such office in those «lays, or, if we may trust to the authority of the learn, ed Selden, before the reign of Edward IV. li we take this in a more extensive sense, foraneminent poet who celebrated these princes, it may be justly applied to Chaucer in regard to the two first, but we find noc thing in his Works relating to the laft, nor indeed is hisname so much as mentioned in any of our Author's writings.
The small time he lived after the acceffion of this king was chiefly employed in regulating his private affairs, which had suffered hy the publick disorders, for all the publick acts of the deposed King Richard in the 21st year of his reign being declared void, Chucer was forced to quit his retirenient to come up to Town to folicit his causes, and beginning now to bend under the weight of years, this unlucky acceffion
of business, wlrich obliged him to alter his usual way of living, might very possibly haiten his end, the near approach of which he bore with Roman constancy, or rather with Christian patience; for there is still extant a kind of ode that he is said to have composed in his last agonies, which very plainly proves that his senscs were perfedly found, and the faculties of his mind not in the least impaired*. He died October 2gth 1400, in the full poffeffion of that high reputation which his writing, had deferredly acquired, and was buried in lefniniter Abbey, in the great southcross ille. Some writers have affirmed that he was first buried in the cloister, and lay there till fome years after; but this is a mistake, for Caxton in his edition of Chaucer, (which was long before the time of his removal as they place is) says that he was buried in the Abbey-church of Wettminster before the chapel of Si. Bennet. And it is very probable he lay beneath a large tone of grey marble in the pavement, where the monument of Mr. Dryden now stands, which is in the front of that chapel, upon the erecting of which this stone was taken up and fawed in pieces to make good the pavement; at least this feems best to answer the defcription of the place given hy Caxton. As to the alterations that have happened since, and the in
And the faculiies of his mini not in the leat impaired.] This funnet or ode confifts of no more than tl:rce it..zas: it is that entitled God's Corn.nl: of Chicer,