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[GEOFFREY CHAUCER, born in London probably about 1328, died at Westminster in 1400. He was the son of a vintner; was page in Prince Lionel's household, served in the army, was taken prisoner in France. He was afterwards valet and squire to Edward III., and went as king's commissioner to Italy in 1372, and later. He was Controller of the Customs in the port of London from 1381 to 1386, was M. P. for Kent in 1386, Clerk of the King's Works at Windsor in 1389, and died poor. Mr. Furnivall divides his poetical history into four periods: (1) up to 1371, including the early poems: viz., the A. B. C., the Compleynte to Pité, the Boke of the Duchesse, and the Compleynte of Mars; (2) from 1372 to 1381, including the Troylus and Criseyde, Anelida, and the Former Age; (3) the best period, from 1381 to 1389, including the Parlement of Foules, the Hous of Fame, the Legende of Goode Women, and the chief of the Canterbury Tales; (4) from 1390 to 1400, including the latest Canterbury Tales, and the Ballades and Poems of Reflection and later of which the last few, like the Steadfastness, show failing power.]
THE MEANS TO ATTAIN HAPPY
[Translated from Martial.]
The fruitful ground, the quiet mind.
Preise hath envie, and weal is blent o'er all.
Savor no more than thee behoven shall, Rede well thy self that other fold can'st rede,
And Truth thee shalt deliver- 'tis no drede."
That thee is sent receive in buxomness: The wrestling of this world, asketh a fall.
Here is no home, here is but wilderness. Forth, pilgrim, forth-on, best out of thy stall,
Look up on high, and thank the God of all! Weivith thy lust, and let thy ghost9 thee lead, 'tis no
And Truth thee shalt deliver -
1 The crowd.
8 Subdue. 9 Spirit.
THE EARL OF SURREY.
[HENRY HOWARD was the eldest son of Thomas Earl of Surrey, by his second wife, the Lady Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. The date and place of his birth are alike unknown. It probably occurred in 1517. He became Earl of Surrey on the acces sion of his father to the dukedom of Norfolk in 1524. The incidents of his early life are buried in obscurity; the incidents of his later life rest on evidence rarely trustworthy and frequently apocryphal. He was beheaded on Tower Hill January 21, 1547, nominally on a charge of high treason, really in consequence of having fallen a victim to a Court intrigue, the particulars of which it is now impossible to unravel. With regard to the chronology of his various poems we have nothing to guide us. Though they were extensively circulated in manuscript during his lifetime, they were not printed till June, 1557, when they made their appearance, together with Wyatt's poems and several fugitive pieces by other authors, in Tottel's Miscellany.]
The equal friend, no grudge, no strife,
The household of continuance.
The mean diet, no delicate fare;
And every thought did shew so lyvely in myne eyes,
That now I sight, and then I smilde, as cause of thoughts did ryse.
I saw the little boy, in thought how oft that he
Did wishe of God, to scape the rod, a tall young man to be,
The young man eake that feles his bones with paines opprest
How he would be a riche old man, to live and lye at rest;
The riche olde man that sees his end draw on so sore,
How he would be a boy againe to live so much the more.
Whereat full oft I smylde, to see how all those three
HOW NO AGE IS CONTENT WITH ITS OWN ESTATE. LAYD in my quiet bed in study as I were, I saw within my troubled head, a heap of thoughts appear,
From boy to man, from man to boy, would chop and change degree. And musing thus, I think, the case is very strange,
That man from wealth, to live in wo, doth ever seke to change.
Thus thoughtfull as I lay, I sawe my withered skyn,
How it doth shew my dented chewes, the flesh was worn so thin, And eke my tootheless chaps, the gates of my right way,
That opes and shuttes, as I do speak, do thus unto me say:
The white and horish heres, the messengers of age,
That shew like lines of true belief, that this life doth assuage,
Biddes thee lay hand, and feele them hanging on thy chin.
The whiche doth write to ages past, the third now coming in;
Hang up therefore the bitte, of thy yong wanton tyme,
And thou that therein beaten art, the happiest life defyne. Whereat I sighed, and sayde, farewell my wonted toye,
Trusse up thy packe, and trudge from me, to every little boy, And tell them thus from me, their time most happy is,
If to theyr time they reason had, to know the truth of this.
SIR THOMAS WYATT.
[THOMAS WYATT, the eldest son of Sir Henry Wyatt, a baronet of ancient family, was born at Allington Castle, in Kent, in 1503. In the Court of Henry VIII. he soon became a conspicuous figure, famous for his wit, his learning, his poetical talents, his linguistic attainments, his skill in athletic exercises, his fascinating manners and his handsome person. From a courtier he developed into a statesman and a diplomatist, and in the duties incident to statesmanship and diplomacy most of his life was passed. He died at Sherborne, while on his road to Falmouth, and was buried there October 11, 1542. His poems were first printed in Tottel's Miscellany in 1557.]
For though thou be deprived from thy desired sight
Who can thee tell, if thy returne before thy more delight;
Or who can tell thy loss if thou mayst My pleasure past, my present pain, when I might well embrace.
Those lively eyes which of my thoughts, were wont the keys to hold. Those thoughts were pleasant sweet whilst I enjoy'd that grace,