Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 25 October 1400), known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. While he achieved fame during his lifetime as an author, philosopher, alchemist and astronomer, composing a scientific treatise on the astrolabe for his ten year-old son Lewis, Chaucer also maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Among his many works, which include The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde, he is best known today for The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer is a crucial figure in developing the legitimacy of the vernacular, Middle English, at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin.
1. WHAT IS BETTER THAN WISDOM? WOMAN. AND WHAT IS BETTER THAN A GOOD WOMAN? NOTHING.
2. PEOPLE CAN DIE OF MERE IMAGINATION.
3. HOW POTENT IS THE FANCY! PEOPLE ARE SO IMPRESSIONABLE, THEY CAN DIE OF IMAGINATION.
4. THE LIFE SO BRIEF, THE ART SO LONG IN THE LEARNING, THE ATTEMPT SO HARD, THE CONQUEST SO SHARP, THE FEARFUL JOY THAT EVER SLIPS AWAY SO QUICKLY – BY ALL THIS I MEAN LOVE, WHICH SO SORELY ASTOUNDS MY FEELING WITH ITS WONDROUS OPERATION, THAT WHEN I THINK UPON IT I SCARCE KNOW WHETHER I WAKE OR SLEEP.
5. FORBID US SOMETHING AND THAT THING WE DESIRE.
6. AND IF LOVE IS, WHAT THING AND WHICH IS HE? IF LOVE BE GOOD, FROM WHENCE COMETH MY WOO?
7. ONE FLESH THEY ARE; AND ONE FLESH, SO I’D GUESS,
HAS BUT ONE HEART, COME GRIEF OR HAPPINESS.