Geoffrey Chaucer

c. 1343

English Poet, considered greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, first poet buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey

Author Quotes

Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is change withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho that hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so, and spedde as wel in love as men now do; eek for to winne love in sondry ages, in sondry londes, sondry ben usages.

Yet do not miss the moral, my good men. For Saint Paul says that all that’s written well is written down some useful truth to tell. Then take the wheat and let the chaff lie still.

Yet in our ashen cold is fire yreken.

Your duty is, as ferre as I can gesse.

Your eyen two will slay me suddenly, I may the beauty of them not sustain, so woundeth it throughout my herte kene.

And if love is, what thing and which is he? If love be good, from whennes cometh my woo?

But every thyng which schyneth as the gold, nis nat gold, as that I have herd it told.

For him was lever han at his beddes hed a twenty bokes, clothed in black or red, of Aristotle, and his philosophie, than robes riche, or fidel, or sautrie. But all be that he was a philosophre, yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre.

Ful wys is he that can himselven knowe!

Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve.

Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Expierience treacherous. Judgement difficult.

Now, Sire, quod she, for aught that may bityde, I moste haue of the peres that I see, or I moote dye, so soore longeth me to eten of the smalle peres grene.

So was hire joly whistle wel ywette.

The jelous swan, agens hire deth that syngith.

This flour of wifly patience.

Who so shall telle a tale after a man, he moste reherse, as neighe as ever he can, everich word, if it be in his charge, all speke he never so rudely and so large; or elles he moste tellen his tale untrewe, or feinen thinges, or finden word.

And of his port as meke as is a mayde.

But for to assaye, he seyde, it nought ne greveth; for he that nought nassayeth, nought nacheveth. But to attempt it," he said, "should not grieve: for he that attempts nothing will nothing achieve. [i.e., Nothing ventured, nothing gained.]

For I am shave as neigh as any frere. But yit I praye unto youre curteisye: beeth hevy again, or elles moot I die.

Full wise is he that can himself know.

How potent is the fancy! People are so impressionable, they can die of imagination.

Loke who that is most vertuous alway, prive and apert, and most entendeth ay to do the gentil dedes that he can, and take him for the gretest gentilman.

Nowher so besy a man as he ther n' as, and yet he semed besier than he was.

Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse To make hls English swete up-on his tonge.

The latter end of joy is woe.

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c. 1343
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English Poet, considered greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, first poet buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey