« السابقةمتابعة »
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 aa 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 masterandgraciou$benesactor,asothtrs,and particularly Gowef, who had been more obliged to thatunfortunate prince, andwho at that time was both old and blind, most shamefully did. Hedid 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 i ft
few years more be forgot I shall as plainly as I carulefcribe it. It lies half a mile to the right of Spinhamlar.d, (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, siom which there is a pretty sleep but pleasant ascent through a lane to a hill under the Caftle, where stands a feat formerly belonging to the Countess of Sandwich: from hence arises the Caltlenill very ftetp, and not unlike that whereon the Observatory stands at Greenwich, and from this hill there isa very fine prospect of several counties. Ontheback of the Cattle arc level grounds,woodlands, and enclosures. The Castle itself stands in a p!cas,mt park, in which there was a famous oak called Chaucer's Oak, under which, as tradition taught, he wrote several poems. Mr. Evelyn givesa particular account of this tree, and fays there were three ostliem planted by Chaucer, the King's oak, the Queen's oak, and Chaucer'* oak.
year of Hesry IV. by an exemplification of 1iis former letters patents. Neither wasthis the only favour he received from she new king, who out of regard to the ancient friendship and,fl=ar alliance between the prince his fat her and our Author granted him-, during the I ft year of his reign, an annuity of forty marks/»c»anrwm for the term of his life. It is true indeed that 4 very great writer, a Cu.cere admirer of our Author^ and most descrvedlyapoct-laureate himself, informs, us that Ch. eujnyed this honour under three kings, Edward III. Richard II. and Henry IV.; but this is a mistake, for in truth there, was no such oftice in those <lays, or, if we may trust to the authority of thclearn-» ed Selden, before thercign of Edward IV. If we.takts this in a more extensive fense, for aueminent poet who celebrated these princes, it may he justly applied to Chaucer iu regard to the two first, hut we find nothing in his Works relating to the last, nor indeed is hi? name so much as mentioned in any ofour Author's writings.
Tile small time he lived after the accession cf this king was chiefly employed in regulating his private affairs, which had.suffered by the publick disorders, for all the publick acts of the deposed King Richard jn the list year of his reign being declared void, Chaucer was forced to quit his retirement to comeuri to Town to solicit his causes, and beginning now to bend under the weigh: ofyears, this unlucky accefsiprj
6f business, which obliged him to alter his use*] waves living, might very possibly hasten 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 senses were perfectly found, and the faculties of his mind not in the least impaired *. Ht died October 2jth I4ec, in the full possession of that high reputation which his writings had deservedly acquired, and washuriedin Westminster Abbey, in the great southcross ifle. Seme wrirershave affirmed that he was first buried in the cloister, and lay there till some'years after; but this is a mi-stake, for Caxton in hit. edition or' Chaucer, (which was long before the time of his removal as they place it) fays that he was buried in the Abbey-church of Westminster before the chapel of St. (Sennet. And it is very probable he lay beneath a large stone of grey marble in the pavement, where, the monument of Pvlr. Dry den now stands, whrch ur in the front of that chapel, upon the creeling of which: this stone was taken up and sawed in pieces to make pood the pavement; at least this seems best to answer the description of the place given by Caxton. As to the alteration:, that have happened since, and the in
• Amithefacuh'wt of bis mind not in the lexjl impaired. ] This sijnnet or ode consists of no more than three ltr.r.zaj: it is that •nftittod Q^d: Gr.Ms.ifc ofCkanccr,
scriptions now visible on his tomb, an account will btt given in the notes*.
* In the notes.] We are told by Speght and other authors that the following Hues Hood anciently upon Cliaucer's tombftone.
GaWridusChwiccr, vatw et fama poesli
This anciently must refer only to the tine of Caxton, who procured a long epitaph to be written in honour of our Author by Stephanus Surigonius^oct-Laureate of Milan,which was hung upon a pillar over-againii Cliaucer's gravcltone, towards the. end of which epitaph these two lines occur. But about the year I j 75, as a veryo:.ict author reports, or in 1556. as Wood wilt lave it, Mr. Nicholas Btigham, a gentleman of Oxford who exercised his Mufc much in poetry, and took great delight in, Chaucer'sWorks, andhonoured his memory,at his ow 11 thaige erected a handsome monument for him not far from the said chapel, for in the fame place he could not then conveniently erect it, by reason of the canctlli which the late Di,l;e ofBuckingham obtained leave to remove to make room for Mr. Dryden's tomb. Upon that monument Mr. Brigham caused Chaucer's picture to be painted from that which was in 0ccleve*s book, together with the following inscription, which still remains;
Qui suit Analorum vatei ter m-ximus olim.
Ær.imnarum requics mnn.
In Snglijb tfcut.
Of F.nclifli hards who far" the sweetest strains
Old Geoffrey Ciiauccr now this tumb cctUuu: «
'We: may justly affirm of thi3 great man, that in whatever light he is considered he seems always to merit ourerfUem as well as to claim our admiration. In his publiek character, if we consider the time in which he lived, we must acknowledge that he shewed as great steadiness, and adhered as firmly to his
Tor Ills death's date if reader thou (hould'st call,
■anh October 1400.
About'the ledge of the tomb we are told the following verses were written that are now worn out; but it is mare probable that they were inscribed upon a ledge of brats th.it is taken Away, for there is not the least sign of any letters upon the stone itselfi
gi rogites tjuls cram, forsan te fauia docahit;
If" who I wa» yen ssfc Fame (hall declare;
It may not be amift to observe, tliat tliis date of his death U preserved by several writers, whoalfo inform us that hewae t!ien seventy-two. Some indeed have questioned it, because ot a piece entitled Cupid's Letter, printed with Chaucer's Works, and datexl in 1402; but that was written by Thomas Occleve li'w scholar, and was intended to do honour to his Winks and memory. The Rev, Mr. Collier fixes his death in 1440, which waj the 19 of Henry VI. and if so Chaucer was' but ten years o»d at the death of King Idward 111. which comrr.didh* all the records, and is in every respect a molt glaring abstiidiry-t\\ herea* the other date agrees with them exactly, and therefore Uicre c*n-he no doub t of its truth,
J'alum: I, fc