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tion has been lost, it is impossible to determine. Forty years later a continuation was written by Jean de Meung, who added 18,000 lines, without, however, catching either the spirit or the idea of his predecessor. The part written by Lorris is noted for its picturesqueness, its brilliancy of description, and its faithful character-painting-nothing more. The part added by Meung is satirical and aggressive, attacking earnestly and with boldness the social manners of the time and sparing neither church nor State. This allegory is interesting to us from the fact that to it Chaucer owed much of his earlier inspiration; and its nomenclature probably suggested to Spenser the characters of his Faerie Queene. “This poem,” says Warton, “is esteemed by the French the most valuable piece of their old poetry. It is far beyond the rude efforts of all their preceding romances; and they have nothing equal to it before the reign of Francis I., who died in the year 1547.

Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose is a translation of the famous French allegory. It consists of nearly 8000 lines, including the whole of the part written by Lorris and about one-fifth of Meung's addition. In this poem we are transported to the Garden of Love, in which Pleasure is the presiding genius. The only entrance to the garden is through a small gate, which is opened by Leisure only to such as are deserving of admittance; hence, Poverty, Idleness, Villainy, Greed, Hate, Felony, Avarice, Sorrow, Old Age, Pope Holy, and Hypocrisy are excluded, and only such characters as Beauty, Pleasure, Jollity, Wealth, Liberality, Courtesy, Youth, and Love are allowed entrance. The Rose, which gives name to the poem, is the emblem of loveliness. The lover meets with many adventures, being alternately aided and retarded in his undertakings by the personages who surround him. He learns at the fountain of Narcissus to avoid the fate of those who regard Love lightly; then Love himself pierces him with his arrows, and tells him how he may gain the object of his desire, and Good Reception cheers him forwards and ena

bles him, by eluding Authority, to arrange an interview. But at this point Jealousy steps in between him and the Rose, Good Reception is thrown into prison, and the lover is left sighing at the foot of the tower.

The opening of the Romaunt is somewhat similar to the first lines of the Canterbury Tales :

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In tyme of love and jolité
That al thing gynneth waxen gay,
For ther is neither busk nor hay
In May, that it n'ill shrouded bene
And it with newe leves wrene.
Then doth the nightingale her might
To maken noyse and singen blithe.
Than is blisfull many a sithe
The chelaundre and the papyngay.
Harde is his heart that loveth nought
In May, when all this love is wrought,
When he may on these braunches here
The smalle birdes singen clere
Hir blisfull swete song piteous.*

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Chaucer's first original allegory—perhaps, indeed, his first work—was The Court of Love, “an imitation of the Romaunt of the Rose, showing that all are subject to love, what impediments soever to the contrary; containing also those twentie statutes which are to be observed in the Court of Love." The author is represented as “Philogenet, of Cambridge, clerke," who at the age of eighteen is possessed with a desire to seek the Court of Love. He describes his journey thither:

So than I went by strange and fer countrees,
Enquiring aye what coast had to it drew
The Court of Love; and thiderward as bees,
At last I see the people gan pursue;
And methought some wight was there that knew

* Romaunt of the Rose, 52–56, and 79 seq.

Where that court was holden ferre or nie,
And after them full fast I gan to hie.*

Soon he came in sight of the castle wherein the court was held:

Yet saw I never none so large and hie;
For unto heaven it stretcheth, I suppose,
Within and out depeinted wonderly,
With many a thousand daisies rede as rose,

And white also, this saw I verely.t There Venus was worshiped, but Admetus and Alcestis were King and Queen of Love,

To whom obeied the ladies good ninetene,
With many a thousand other bright of face.

The daisy, he says, was sacred to the queen. With its heart of gold and its white crown of innocence and its modest grace, it is the type of the true and pure wife. Why Admetus and Alcestis are represented as king and queen, the student who is acquainted with Greek mythology will have no difficulty in understanding. Admetus, one of the Argonauts, loved Alcestis, the fair daughter of Pelias, and besought her father for her hand in marriage. To this old Pelias agreed on condition that he should come to claim his bride in a chariot drawn by lions and wild boars. The condition was gladly accepted and fulfilled by Admetus; but he had forgotten to sacrifice to Diana, and hence he found in the bridal-chamber not the lovely Alcestis, but a bundle of writhing snakes. Apollo appeased the angry goddess and secured for Admetus exemption from death on condition that some one who was dear to him should die for him. Alcestis willingly consented to suffer for him ; but Hercules afterwards restored her to life and to Admetus. This myth is but one of the spontaneous allegories of the Greeks, and typifies true marriage and conjugal devotion. But to return to the Court of Love. Philogenet, upon his arrival at the castle, is conducted to the temple where he sees Venus and Cupid, and where he swears allegiance to the queen and obedience to the twenty statutes of love. Then, following the poetical custom of the Troubadours, he is presented to Lady Rosiall, with whom he has become enamored in a dream. The poem closes with the celebration of the Festival of Love on Mayday, wherein the birds are represented as chanting in honor of the god of love a parody of the Catholic matin service for Trinity Sunday.

* Court of Love, 56–63.

| Ibid., 98–102.

To matens went the lusty nightingale.
And “ Domine labia," gan he cry and gale,
“My lippes open lord of love I cry,
And let my mouth thy praising now bewry.”
The eagle sang, “Venite, bodies all,
And let us joy to love that is our health."
Then sayd the faucon, our own hertes wealth,
Domine Dominus noster I wote,
Ye be the god that done us brenne thus hote.”
Coeli enarrant,” said the popingay,
“Your might is told in heaven and firmament.”
And then came in the goldfinch freshe and gay,
And said this psalme with hertily glad intent,
Domini est terra,” this laten intent,
The god of love hath yerth in governaunce:
And then the wren gan skippen and to daunce.
Jube Domino O lord of love, I pray
Commaund me well this lesson for to rede."
The turtil dove said, “Welcom, welcom May,
Gladsom and light to lovers that ben trew.”
And than “ Tu autem,” sang he all apart.
Te deum amoris,” sang the throstel-cocke;
Tubal himself, the first musician,
With key of armony coude not onlocke,
So swete tewne as that the throstel can:

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“ The lorde of love we praysen,” (quod he), than
And so done al the foules greate and lite,
“Honor we May, in fals lovers dispite."
Dominus regnavit,said the pecocke there.
Out sterte the owle with “ Benedicite."
" Laudate," sang the larke with voice ful shril,
And eke the kight “O admirabile."
"Amen," said al, and so said eke the pie.
And forth the cockow gan procede anon,
With "Benedictus" thanking God in hast,
That in this May would visite them echon,
And gladden them al while the feast shal last,
And therewithal a laughter out he brast,
“I thanke it God that I should end the song,
And all the service which hath ben so long.'


The Cuckow and the Nightingale is a short allegory in which “Chaucer dreameth that hee heareth the cuckow and the nightingale contend for excellencie in singing." The idea may have been suggested by the older poem of The Owl and the Nightingale, a piece of transition poetry belonging to the twelfth century. The cuckoo and the nightingale dispute about the blessings of love, the former declaring it to be full of misery, the latter asserting that it is full of pleasure. The nightingale sings so loudly that the poet can bear to hear the cuckoo no more.

Me thought then that I stert out anon,
And to the broke I ran and gate a ston,
And at the Cuckow hertely I cast;
And he for drede flie awey ful fast,

And glad was I when that he was gon.t
The nightingale thanks him, and says:

Every day this May or thou dine,
Go looke upon the fresh daisie,

* Court of Love, 1353 seq.
The Cuckow and the Nightingale, 216–220.

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