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This revè sate upon a right good stot',
A Sompnour was ther with us in that place,
narwe 5. As hote he was, and likerous as a sparwe, With scalled browès blake, and pilled berd: Of his visage children were sore aferd. Ther n'as quiksilver, litarge, ne brimston, Boras, ceruse, ne oile of tartre non, Ne oinement that woldè clense or bite, That him might helpen of his whelkèse white, Ne of the knobbès sitting on his chekes. Wel loved he garlike, onions, and lekes, And for to drinke strong win as rede as blood. Than wolde he speke, and crie as he were wood. And whan that he wel dronken had the win, Than wold he speken no word but Latin. A fewè termès coude he, two or three, That he had lerned out of som decree; No wonder is, he herd it all the day. And eke ye knowen wel, how that a jay
1 Horse, beast. 2 Dappled. 3 Cherub's face. 4 Red pimpled face. 5 Narrow, close.
Can clepen watte, as wel as can the pope.
He was a gentil harlot' and a kind ;
In danger hadde he at his owen gise The yongè girlès of the diocise, And knew hir conseil, and was of hir rede. A gerlond hadde he sette upon his hede, As gret as it were for an alèstakes : A bokeler hadde he made him of a cake,
1 The name harlot was anciently given to men as well as women, and without any bad signification. ? Advised.
3 An alehouse sign.
With him ther rode a gentil Pardonere
sompnour bare to him a stiff burdoun”,
But of his craft, fro Berwike unto Ware,
i Vide a former note. Supposed by Stevens to be Runceval Hall, in Oxford. 3 Sang the bass. 4 Yellow. 5 Ounces. 6 Shreds. 7 Brimful. 8 Budget.
9 Covering of a pillow.
Which, as he saidè, was oure ladies veil:
But trewely to tellen attè last,
sang an offertorie 8.
1 Morsel. 2 Sail. 3 Assisted, took. 4 A mixed metal of the colour of brass. 5 Tricks. 7 Best.
8 Part of the mass. 9 Polish.
Little is known of Gower's personal history. “ The proud tradition in the Marquis of Stafford's family,” says Mr. Todd', “ has been, and still is, that he was of Stitenham; and who would not consider the dignity of his genealogy augmented, by enrolling among its worthies the moral Gower?”
His effigies in the church of St. Mary Overies is often inaccurately described, as having a garland of ivy and roses on the head. It is, in fact, a chaplet of roses, such, as Thynne says, was anciently worn by knights; a circumstance which is favourable to the suspicion, that has been suggested, of his having been of the rank of knighthood. If Thynne's assertion, respecting the time of the lawyers first entering the Temple, be correct, it will be difficult to reconcile it with the tradition of Gower's having been a student there in his youth.
By Chaucer's manner of addressing Gower, the latter appears to have been the elder. He was attached to Thomas of Woodstock, as Chaucer was to John of Gaunt. The two poets appear to have been at one time cordial friends, but ultimately to
1 In Illustrations of Gower and Chaucer by the Rev. H, Todd.