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NHAUCER Pag. 1 Overbury

113 18 Marsten

120 20v Shakespear

123 23 Sylvester

143 25 Daniel

145 27. Harrington

149 30 Decker

32 v Beaumont and FletchSurry Earl

154 $3* Lodge 55 Davies

167 63 Goff

170 66 Greville L. Brooke 173 69 Day

178 76 Raleigh

180 85 Donne

87- Drayton J. Heywood

91 Corbet 106 Fairfax

223 Lilly 110





202 212 225

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T has been observed that men of emi. nence in all ages, and distinguished for the fame excellence, have gene. rally had something in their lives fimilar to each other. The place of

Homer's nativity, has not been more Pon Sir variously conjectured, or his parents more differently assigned than our author's. ' Leland, who lived nearest to Chaucer's time of all those who have wrote his life, was commissioned by king Henry VIII, to search all the libraries, and religious houses in England, when those archives were preserved, before their deftruction was produced by the reformation, or Polydore Virgil had consumed such curious pieces 'as would have contradicted his framed and fabulous history. He for some reaforis VOL. I. NO 1.6 B



believed Oxford or Berkshire to have given birth to this great man, but has not informed us what thofe reasons were that induced him to believe fo, and at present there appears no other, but that the fears of

his family were in those countries. Pitts positively ..afferts, without producing any authority to support

it, that Woodftock was the place ; which opinion Mr. Camden seems to hint at, where he mentions that town; but it may be suspected that Pitts had no other ground for the affertion, than Chaucer's mentioning Woodstock park in his works, and having a house there. But after all these different pretenfions, he himself, in the Testament of Love, seems to point out the place of his nativity to be the city of London, and tho' Mr. Camden mentions the claim of Woodstock, he does not give much credit to it; for speaking of Spencer (who was uncontrovertedly born in London) he calls him fellow citizen to Chaucer.

The descent of Chaucer is as uncertain, and unfixed by the critics, as the place of his birth. Mr. Speight is of opinion, that one Richard Chaucer was his father, and that one Elizabeth Chaucer, a nun of St. Helen's, in the fecond year of Richard II. might have been his filter, or of his kindred. But this conjecture, says Urry, * seems very improbable; for this Richard was a vintner, living at the corner of Kirton-lane, and at his death left his house, tavern, and stock to the church of St. Mary Aldermary, which in all probability he would not have done if he had had any sons to possess his fortune ; nor is it very likely he could enjoy the family estates mentioned by Leland in Oxfordshire, and at the fame time follow such an occupation. Pitts affests, that his father was a knight ; but tho' there is no authority to support this affertion, yet it is rea

* Lise of Chaucer prefixed to Ogle's edition of that author polern zed.


sonable to suppose that he was something superior to a common employ. We find one John Chaucer attending upon Edward III. and Queen Philippa, in their expedition to Flanders and Cologn, who had the King's protection to go over, fea in the twelfth year of his reign. It is highly probable that this gentleman was father to our Geoffry, and the fupposition is strengthened by, Chaucer's first application, after leaving the university and inns of law, being to the Court; nor is it unlikely that the service of the father should recommend the fon.

It is universally agreed, that he was born in the fecond year of the reign of King Edward III. A. D. 1328. His firtt studies were in the university of Cambridge, and when about eighteen years of age he wrote his Court of Love, but of what college he was is uncertain, there being no account of him in the records of the University. From Cambridge he was removed to Oxford in order to compleat his ftudies, and after a confiderable stay there, and a ftrict application to the public lectures of the univerfity, he became (fàys Leland) “ a ready logician, a “ smooth rhetorician, a pleasant poet, a great phi“ lofopher, an ingenious mathematician, and a holy “ divine. That he was a great master in astronomy, “ is plain by his discourses of the Astrolabe. That “ he was versed in hermetic philosophy (which pre“ vailed much at that time,) appears by his Tale of “ the Chanons Yeoman : His knowledge in divi“ nity is evident from his Parson's Tale, and his “ philofophy from the Testament of Love.' Thus qualified to make a figure in the world, he left his learned retirement, and travelled into France, Holland, and other countries, where he spent some of his younger days. Upon his return he entered himself in the Inner Temple, where he studied the municipal laws of the land. But he had not long prosecuted that dry ftudy, till his superior abilities were taken notice of by some persons of distinction, by

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