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fcriptions now visible on his tomb, an account will be given in the notes *.
* In the notes.] We are told by Speght and other authors that the following lines food anciently upon Chaucer's tombfone.
Galfridus Chacer, vates et fama poesis
Maternæ hac facra fum tuniuialis humo. This anciently must refer only to the time of Caxton, wlio procured a long epitaph to be written in honour of our Author by Stephanus Surigonius,Poet. Laureate of Milan,which was hung upon a pillar over-againit Chaucer's gravestone, towards the end of which epitaph these two lines occur. But about the year 1555, as a very exact autlior reports, or in 1556, as Wood will kave it, Mr. Nicholas Brigham, a gentleman of Oxford wio exercised his Mute much in poetry, and tcok great decht in Chaucer's Works, and honoured his memory, at his owal change erected a handfonie monument for him not far from the faid chapel, for in the same place he could not then conveniently erect it, by reason of the cancelli which the late Duke of Euck ingham obtained leave to remove to make room for Nir. Dryden's tomb. Upon that monument Mr. Brighiain caused Chau. cer's piciure to be painted from that which was in Occleve's book, together witii the following infcription, which still remains;
Qui fuit Anglorum vates ter maximus olim,
25 Octubris 1400.
Eramnarum rcquies mors.
In Englijo thus.
We may justly affirm of this great man, that in whatever-light he is considered he feens always to merit our esteem as well as to claim our admiration. In his publick character, if we consider the time in which he lived, we must acknowledge that he thewed as great steadintis, and adhered as firmly to his
For his death's date if reader thou should't call,
25th October 1400.
his own expenie, 1556. About the ledge of the tomb we are told the following verses were written that are now worn out; but it is inore » robable that they were inscribed upon a ledge of brats that is taken a. way, for there is not the leatt fign of any letters ope: theftune itself;
Si rogites quis eram, forfan te faina docebit;
It may not be amiss to observe, that this date of his death is preferved by several writers, who also inform us that he was then feventytwo. Some indeed have questioned it, because of a piece entitled Cupid's letter, printed with Chaucer's Works, and dated in 1402; but that was written by Thomas Occleve his scholar, and was intended to do lionour to his works and niemory. The Rev. 1.11. Collier fixes his death in 1410, which was the 19 of Henry VI. and if so Chaucer was but ten years old at the death of King Edward III, which contradicts all the records, and is in every refpect ainoit glaring absurdity, wherea: the other date agrees with ton exacily, and therciore there can be no doubt ofis truth.
1 olim. I.
principles,ascould be expected; and as to his gratitude towards and affection for his patron the great Duke of Lancaster, it stands in no need of apology. His conduæ in the last part of his life was full of prudence and that calm conteropt for an ungrateful world which though it is ealy for a man of parts to conceive, yet to perfiit initisa verydinicult task. In private life he was a fine gentlenian, a learned writer,andanagreeablecompanion. In his youth he was gay, and loved pleasure, for which he might not only plead the usual excuses of his age and constitution, but the custom also of the tines, fince he lived in the most gallant reign from the Conquest. But in his maturer state of life luis manners altered, and his behaviour was modest and grave to a degree of excess, for which he was rallied by his patronefs the Countess of Pembroke, who told him hisabsence crcatcá morc mirch than his conversation, for he was very baflíful and reserved in company, notwithstanding that life and spirit which appears in his writings. If we look upon him as an author, he may be truly flyled the Father of English Poetry, and perhaps the Prince of it, for except the unavoidable defects of language bis Works have still all the beautics that can be wished for or expected in every kind of composition. He was not unacquainted with the ancient rules of pottry, nor was he incapable of writing up to them, as very clearly appears by The Knight's Tale, which, as Mr. Dryden very jusly says, is a fi
nished epick poem; but he did not always judge this exactness necessary, and perhaps he thought his genius set him above those restraints chat ought to limit, because they improve, the works of meaner poets. He was deeply versed in moral ar.d in natural philosophy, andasperhapsno man understoodhuman nature better, so it may be truly said that no writer in any language has either painted it with greater force, exactness, or judgment. His reading was deep and extensive, and his learning both fpecious and solid; for he knew how to expose those parts of it to view that are most apt to attract publick applause, and yet leave a sense concealed that might at once employ and satisfy the most inquisitive understandings. It would draw this article into too great a length should we persist in exhibiting every part of his accomplished character, and therefore we willin the notes give the best account we may of his merit in general as a poet in all the different kinds of writing by which he distinguished himself in that capacity t; and next we will give the reader the clearest
+ By which he distinguished himself in that capacity. ] We may fafely affirm that of Chaucer which can be hardly said of any other general poet ancient or modern, that lie excelled in all thc different kinds of verfe in which he wrote. In his lonniets or love-songs, when he was but a very boy, there is not only fire and judgment, but great elegance of thought and neatness of composure. It is very true that he did not always Hand upon his own ground, but chofe rather to translate from the Italianor French; yet he chofe his authors judiciously and used them freely; so that this, instead of tinking, ferves really
aicction tor his patron
prisciples, 2-cgold beerrected; ani: Lancaster, it lazds in no need of a did in the luit part of his life was fu that calin concept for an ungrat perfiit in icisaverydicaletask. Inom fine gentlenian, a learned writer,an: 1 though it is taly for a man of parts au pinion. In his youth he was gay, for which he might not only zion, of his
and conititution, but
as very bail,fularz.? on how