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have quarrelled. Gower tells us himself that he was blind in his old age. From his will, it appears that he was living in 1408. His bequests to several churches and hospitals, and his legacy to his wife of 1001., of all his valuable goods, and of the rents arising from his manors of Southwell in the county of Nottingham, and of Multon in the county of Suffolk, undeniably prove that he was rich.
One of his three great works, the Speculum Medi. tantis, a poem in French, is erroneously described by Mr. Godwin and others as treating of conjugal fidelity. In an account of its contents, in a MS. in Trinity College Cambridge, we are told that its principal subject is the repentance of a sinner. The Vox Clamantis, in Latin, relates to the insurrection of the commons, in the reign of Richard II. The Confessio Amantis, in English, is a dialogue between a lover and his confessor, who is a priest of Venus, and who explains, by apposite stories and philosophical illustrations, all the evil affections of the heart, which impede, or counteract the progress and success of the tender passion.
His writings exhibit all the crude erudition and science of his age; a knowledge sufficient to have been the fuel of genius, if Gower had possessed its fire.
THE COFFERS OR CASKETS, &c.
IN THE FIFTH BOOK OF
THE CONFESSIO AMANTIS.
In a Cronique thus I rede:
These oldè men upon this thing,
As he which was of high prudence:
fro that other knowe:
So that erliche? upon a day
A bord up set and fairè spred: 1 Them. 2 Like. 3 Saw. 4 Jewels, or precious stones.
5 Rubbish. 6 Mingled. 7 Early.
And than he let the cofres fette 1
There shall no man his hap despise :
list or bothè two; And witеth well that one of tho Is with tresor so full begon, That if ye happè therupon Ye shall be richè men for ever: Now cheses, and take which you is lever, But be well ware ere that ye take, For of that one I undertake Ther is no maner good therein, Wherof ye mighten profit winne. Now goth * together of one assent, And taketh your avisement;
For, but I you this day avance,
Tho4 toke this knyght a yerd 5 on honde,
The king, which wolde his honor save,
Hath granted hem her owne chois, 1 At last. Their. 3 Lose. 4 Then, 5 A rod. 6 Every one. 7 Sayeth to the king. 8 As their reward.