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tendants of an exalted reputation, and, like the flaves in a Roman triumph, make unwillingly an additioa to that glory they meant to fhacle. Those who have attacked Chaucer have not presumed to question his wit, for of this perhaps no writer of our nation ever fiad more; neither have they disputed his poetical abilities, which certainly set his on a level with the greatest names in antiquity; nor have they dared to throw any aspersion on his learning, the extent of which is not greater than the masterly degree of propriety with which it is every where applied: but the point to which they objeđ is his changing, debasing, or corrupting, our language, by introducing foreign words, as if the worth of all languages did not arise from their being thus enlarged and compounded, or as if Chancer couid have hurt the jargon of his time, which was not either Saxon, Norman,or French, but a mixture of all, by introducing words derived froni thesweetest and smootheitlanguagethen usedthroughout Europe, i mean the Provencal. It is however just to observe that this reflection never made any great impression, and that with the best and most elegant writers in our tongue Chaucer passes not only for a great improver, but for the very father and Founder of it; and it is not a little to his honour that amongst those who are of this opinion we may reckon one of the soundeft of our criticks, and one of the correctest writers in our language. So wide the differer.cc is Leo I'olume 1,
tween the narrow notions of false wits and the fair and candid judgments that are given by the true * !
We cannot close this life better than by giving a fuccinct detail of our Author's family, or, to speak with greater propricty, of his eldest son; for as to his fecond son lewis we have no account in what station he lived, or where hedied: but asto Thomas Chaucer, the office of Chief Butler to the King, granted to him in the last year of Richard II. was afterwards given him for life by letters parents from King Henry IV. and confirmed by Henry VI. In the 2d year of Henry IV. we find him Speaker of the House of Commons, Sheriff of Oxfordshire and of Berkshire, and Constable
* And the fair and candid judgments that are given by the trie.] The firit writer that ventured to fall upon our Author was himself more than half a foreigner, and very far from being correct with respect to sentiment or style. His very charge in the prefent cafe will prove what I have advanced : “The poet, “ Geoffrey Chaucer,” says he, “writing his poesies in Englith, • is of some called the firit illuminator of the Englith tongue. * Of their opinion I am not, though i reverence Chaucer as an “excellent poet for his time. He was indeed a great mingler “ of Englith with French, unto which language (belike for « that he was descended of French cr rather Waloon race) hic “ carried a great affection.” But Dr. Skinner, in a very elegant Latin style, lias attacked our Author with much more spirit and force; Ithallgivehis words in Englith: “The poeichzucersettle “worst example, who by bringing whole thoals of French words “ into our language, which was but too much adulterated be“ fore through the effects of the Norman conqueft, deprived “ it almoft wholly of its native grace and splendour, laying on "paint over its pure complexion, and for a beautiful face fub. istituisd a downright ini.."
of Wallingford-Castle and of Knaresborough-Caile during life. In the 4th year of the same reign the King directed an order to him, as Chief Butler, to deliver one hundred tons of wine to the Duke of Burn gundy. In the 6th year of the same prince he was sent Ambassador into France; and the year following he wene beyond the seas, joined in commission with the King'sbrotherandGeoffrey Chaucer's nephew, Henry Beaufort Bishop of Winchesler. In the 9th year of the same reign, on Tuesday the 25th of October, the Conmons presented him their Speaker, as they did likewise in the Irth year, on Wednesday the 28th of January. In the 12th year of that reign Queen Jane granted to him, for his good service, the manors of Woodstock, Hannebrough, Wotton, and Stantesfield, during life; and in the 13th year, on the 5th of November, he was again presented Speaker, as he was in the 2d of Henry V. on Wednesday the fecond day of parliament; and in the same year he was fent by the King, in joint commission with Hugh Mortimer, to treat of a marriage with Catharine daughter to the Duke of Burgundy. He was likewise Ambassador in the sth and 6th years of the same reign with Walter Hungerford, Steward of the Household, in the same affair; and again in the 6th year of the fame reign he was Ambassador for peace with France; and he pallid through several other publick llations, as appears by records. Heresided chiefly at Eweni in Oxfordshire,
which can.e to him by marriage, and there he died on the 28th of April (434, and was buried in that parish cliurch under a black marbletomb. By his wife Maud, or Matilda; who furvived him two years, he had one daughter named Alice, who was thrice married, first to Sir John Philips Knight; and afterwards to Thomas Montacute Earl uf Salisbury, who dying left her very rich. Herthird husband was the famous William de la Pole, Earl and afterwards Duke of Suffolk, who was first secretly married to the Countess of Hainault, hy wliom he had one daugliter, but procuring a divorce from her he married this alice, by whom he haci one sun, John Duke of Suffolk. Duke William lived chitfiy at Dunsington and Ewelm, at the first of which Stowe says he built an hospital; but he seems to mistake it for that founded by. Adderbury, as befure mentioned, for Dugdale takes no notice of any other, but at Ewelm be founded one called God's Ilouse. He was an instance of the danger of a prince's favour, and the envy that attends it; for influencing the noriuns and the will of his master Henry VI. teo much, and abusing the power he had over that easy prince, lie enraged the Commons to that degree that 1.oching less than his beniffrent could appease them, which being agreed to the Yorkills, fearful of his return, seized him on his pasiage in Dover-road, and cut off his head upon the side of a cock-boat, ani his body was buried at the Charter-House at Hull. The
Duchess survived him several years, and after an hon nourable life died at Ewelm in the year 1475. Their fon John had issue, according to Leland, John Earl of Lincoln, Edmund afterwards Duke of Suffolk, Richard, William, and a fifth fon, who was a scholar in Gonvil-Hall in Cambridge. Edmund de la Pole, the last of that name Duke of Suffolk, for being in treason againit Henry VII. for which he had been once pardoned, forfeited his life to the crown, and was beheaded in the 7th year of that king's reign, wherthy the estates which Chaucer's family was possessed of came to the crown, and particularly the hospital of Ewelm, which was by King James I. bestowed on the Phyfick Professor at Oxford, who is always master thereof in virtue of his office,