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John Lydgate

(c. 1370—1449) poet and prior of Hatfield Regis


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(?1370–1449),

spent nearly all his life in the monastery at Bury. He is one of the most voluminous of all English poets. Of his more readable poems, most were written in the first decade of the 15th cent. in a Chaucerian vein: The Complaint of the Black Knight (originally called A Complaynt of a Loveres Lyfe and modelled on Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess); The Temple of Glas (indebted to The House of Fame); The Floure of Curtesy (a Valentine's Day poem); and the allegorical Reason and Sensuality. As he grew older his poems became longer. His bulkiest works are his Troy Book (1412–20), a 30,000‐line translation of Guido delle Colonne; The Siege of Thebes (1420–2), translated from a French prose redaction of the Roman de Thebes; The Pilgrimage of Man (1426–30), translated from Deguileville; and The Fall of Princes (1431–8), a translation of a French version of Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium. He was almost invariably coupled for praise with Chaucer and Gower up to the 17th cent.

Subjects: Literature


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