John Gower

Rating: 4.67
Rating: 4.67

John Gower Poems

Torpor, ebes sensus, scola parua labor minimusque
Causant quo minimus ipse minora canam:
Qua tamen Engisti lingua canit Insula Bruti

Naturatus amor nature legibus orbem
Subdit, et vnanimes concitat esse feras:

Appolinus his lev{.e} tok,
To God and al the lond betok
With al the poeple long and brod,
That he no lenger there abod.

Est gula, que nostrum maculavit prima parentem
Ex vetito pomo, quo dolet omnis homo

Ira suis paribus est par furiis Acherontis,
Quo furor ad tempus nil pietatis habet.

Dicunt accidiam fore nutricem viciorum,
Torpet et in cunctis tarda que lenta bonis:

Inuidie culpa magis est attrita dolore,
Nam sua mens nullo tempore leta manet:

John Gower Biography

John Gower was an English poet, a contemporary of William Langland and a personal friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. He is remembered primarily for three major works, the Mirroir de l'Omme, Vox Clamantis, and Confessio Amantis, three long poems written in French, Latin, and English respectively, which are united by common moral and political themes. Life Few details are known of Gower's early life. He was probably born into a prominent Yorkshire family which held properties in Kent, Yorkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. It is thought that he practiced law in or around London. While in London, he became closely associated with the nobility of his day. He was apparently personally acquainted with Richard II: in the prologue of the first edition of the Confessio Amantis, he tells how the king, chancing to meet him on the Thames (probably circa 1385), invited him aboard the royal barge, and that their conversation then resulted in a commission for the work that would become the Confessio Amantis. Later in life his allegiance switched to the future Henry IV, to whom later editions of the Confessio Amantis were dedicated. Much of this is based on circumstantial rather than documentary evidence, and the history of revisions of the Confessio Amantis, including the different dedications, is yet to be fully understood. Gower's friendship with Chaucer is also well documented. When Chaucer was sent as a diplomat to Italy in 1378, Gower was one of the men to whom he gave power of attorney over his affairs in England. The two poets also paid one another compliments in their verse: Chaucer dedicated his Troilus and Criseyde in part to "moral Gower", and Gower reciprocated by placing a speech in praise of Chaucer in the mouth of Venus at the end of the Confessio Amantis. At some point during the early 1370s, he took up residence in rooms provided by the Priory of St Mary Overie (now Southwark Cathedral). In 1398, while living here, he married, probably for the second time: his wife, Agnes Groundolf, was to survive him. In his last years, and possibly as early as 1400, he became blind. After his death in 1408, Gower was interred in an ostentatious tomb in the Priory church (now Southwark Cathedral), which remains today. Works Gower's verse is by turns religious, political, historical, and moral—though he has been narrowly defined as "moral Gower" ever since Chaucer graced him with the epithet. His primary mode is allegory, although he shies away from sustained abstractions in favour of the plain style of the raconteur. His earliest works were probably ballades in Anglo-Norman French, some of which may have later been included in his work the Cinkante Ballades. The first work which has survived is in the same language, however: it is the Speculum Meditantis, also known by the French title Mirour de l'Omme, a poem of just under 30,000 lines, containing a dense exposition of religion and morality. Gower's second major work, the Vox Clamantis, was written in Latin: it takes as its subject the state of England, and incorporates commentary on the Peasants' Revolt that occurred during the composition of the poem. Gower takes the side of the aristocracy, and appears to have admired the techniques Richard II used to suppress the revolt. His third work is the Confessio Amantis, a 30,000-line poem in octosyllabic English couplets, which makes use of the structure of a Christian confession (presented allegorically as a confession of sins against Love) as a narrative frame within which a multitude of individual tales are told. Like his previous works, the theme is very much morality, even where the stories themselves have a tendency to describe rather immoral behaviour. One scholar asserts that Confessio Amantis "almost exclusively" made Gower's "poetic reputation." In later years Gower wrote a number of minor works in all three languages: the Cinkante Ballades, a series of French ballades on romantic subjects, and several poems addressed to the new Henry IV—in return for which he was granted a pension, in the form of an annual allowance of wine. Gower's poetry has had a mixed critical reception. In the 15th century, he was generally regarded alongside Chaucer as the father of English poetry. Over the years, however, his reputation declined, largely on account of a perceived didacticism and dullness. During the 20th century he has received more recognition, notably by C. S. Lewis in The Allegory of Love (1936). However, he has not obtained the same following or critical acceptance as other major poets of the period.)

The Best Poem Of John Gower

Concerning The Philosophers Stone. ( Alchemical Verse .)


And also with great diligence,
Thei fonde thilke Experience:
Which cleped is Alconomie,
Whereof the Silver multiplie;
Thei made, and eke the Gold also.
And for to telle howe itt is so:
Of bodies seven in Speciall,
With fowre Spirites joynt withall;
Stant the substance of this matere,
The bodies which I speke of here,
Of the Plannets ben begonne,
The Gold is titled to the Sonne:
The Moone of Silver hath hi part,
And Iron that stonde uppon Mart:
The Leed after Saturne groweth,
And Jupiter the Brasse bestoweth;
The Copper sette is to Venus:
And to his part Mercurius
Hath the Quicksilver, as it falleth,
The which after the Boke it calleth,
Is first of thilke foure named
Of Spirits, which be proclymed,
And the Spirite which is seconde,
In Sal Armoniake is founde:
The third Spirite Sulphur is,
The fourth Sewende after this,
Arcennium by name is hotte
With blowyng, and with fires hote:
In these things which I say,
Thei worchen by divers waye.
For as the Philosopher tolde,
Of Gold and Sylver thei ben holde,
Two Principall extremitees,
To which all other by degrees,
Of the mettals ben accordant,
And so through kinde resemblant:
That what man couth awaie take,
The rust, of which they waxen blake,
And And the favour of the hardnes;
Thei shulden take the likeness;
Of Gold or Silver parfectly,
Bot for to worche it sykerly;
Between the Corps and the Spirite,
Er that the Metall be parfite,
In seven forms itt is sette
Of all, and if one be lette,
The remnant may not avayle,
But otherwise it maie nought fayle;
For thei by whome this Arte was founde,
To every poynt a certayne bounde,
Ordeinen that a man may finde,
This Craft is wrought by wey of kinde;
So that there is no fallace in;
But what man that this werke begyn;
He mote awaite at every tyde,
So that nothynge be left asyde.
Fyrst of Distillacion,
Forth with the Cogelacion,
Solucion, Disscencion,
And kepe in his entencion,
The poynt of Sublimacion,
And forthwith Calcinacion,
Of very Approbacion,
So that there be Fixacion,
With temperate hetes of fyer,
Tyll he the perfite Elixer,
Of thilke Philosophers Stone,
Maie gette, of which that many one
Of Philosophers, whilome write,
Of thilke Stone with other two,
Which as the Clerkes maden tho;
So as the Bokes itt recorden,
The kinde of hem I shall recorden.
These old Philosophers wise,
By wey of kynde in sondry wise;
Thre Stones made through Clergie,
The fyrst I shall specifie,
Was cleped Vegetabilis;
Of which the proper vertue is,
To mans heale to serve,
As for to keepe, and to preserve,
The body fro sickness all,
Till death of kinde upon hym fall.
The second Stone I the behote,
Is Lapis Animalis hote:
The whose vertue, is proper and couth,
For Eare and Eye, Nose and Mouth;
Whereof a man may here, and see,
And smell and tast, in his degree,
And for to feele and for to goe,
Itt helpeth a man of both two:
The witts five he undersongeth
To keepe, as it to hym belongeth.
The third Stone in speciall
by name is cleped Minerall,
Which the Mettalls of every myne,
Attempreth, till that thei ben fyne;
And pureth hem by such a wey,
That all the vice goth awey,
Of Rust, of Stynke, and of Hardnes:
And when they ben of such clennes,
This minerall so as I fynde,
Transformeth all the fyrst kynde,
And maketh hem able to conceive,
Through his vertue and receive
Both in substance and in figure,
Of Gold and Silver the nature.
For thei two ben the extremitees,
To which after the propertees,
Hath every mettall his desire,
With helpe and comforte of the fyre.
Forth with this Stone as it is said,
Which to the Sonne and Moone is laide:
For to the Red, and to the White,
This Stone hath power to profite;
It maketh Multiplicacion
Of Gold and the fixacion,
It causeth and of this babite,
He doth the werke to be parfite:
Of thilke Elixer which me call
Alconomy, as is befalle
To hem, that whilome were wise;
But now it stant all otherwise:
Thei speken fast of thilke Stone,
But how to make it now wote none.
After the sooth Experience,
And nathles greate diligence,
Thei setten up thilke dede,
And spillen more then thei spede;
For alwey thei fynde a lette,
Which bringeth in povertee and Dette;
To hem that rich were to fore,
The Losse is had the Lucre is lore:
To gette a pound thei spendeth five,
I not how such a Craft shall thrive:
In the manner as it is used,
It were better be refused,
Then for to worchen upon wene,
In thinge which stant not ast thei wene:
But not for thy who that it knew,
The Science of himselfe is trew:
Uppon the forme as it was founded,
Whereof the names yett be grounded;
Of hem, that first it founden out:
And thus the fame goth all about,
To such as soughten besines,
Of vertue and worthines,
Of whom if I the names call,
Hermes was one the first of all,
To whom this Art is most applied,
Geber thereof was magnified,
And Ortolane and Morien,
Among the which is Avicen.
Which founde and wrote and greate partie,
The practicke of Alconomie,
Whose bokes plainlie as thei stonde,
Uppon this Craft few understonde.
But yet to put hem in assay,
There be full manie now a day,
That knowen litle that thei mene,
It is not one to wite and wene,
In forme of words thei it trete;
But yet thei failen of beyet.
For of to much, or of to lite,
There is algate found a wite:
So that thei follow not the line,
Of the perfect Medicine,
Which grounded is upon nature;
But thei that written the Scripture;
Of Greke, Arabe, and Caldee,
Thei were of such Auctoritee,
That thei firste founden out the wey,
Of all that thou hast herd me sey,
Whereof the Cronicke of her Lore,
Shall stonde in price for evermore.

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