- Gower, John
- (?1325-1408)The facts of this medieval poet's life are derived mainly from his poetry. He is thought to have owned land in Kent and in Yorkshire. He was blind from around 1400. He lived the latter part of his life as a layman in the priory of St. Mary Overie, Southwark, London, where he died, apparently. Some of Gower's stories are mirrored in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. His two main French works are Cinkante Balades, written before 1374, and Speculum Meditantis, circa 1376-1368, in which he speaks of vices and virtues. His major Latin poem, Vox clamantis, in seven books, deals with the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, kingship, the state of England, and the need for spiritual and political reform. His two main English works are In Praise of Peace, in which he pleads urgently King Henry IV to avoid the horrors of war, and Confessio amantis, published in the 1390s, a collection in eight books of exemplary tales of love. Some of his other poems: "An Address to the King," "Concerning the Philosophers Stone," "This World Fares as a Fantasy."Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). English Verse, 1300-1500: Longman Annotated Anthologies of English Verse. Vol. I. John Burrow, ed. Longman, 1977. Morality Plays, Interludes, and the Emergence of Mature Drama (http://www.beyondbooks.com/leu11/2h.asp). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Faber Book of English History in Verse. Kenneth Baker, ed. Faber and Faber, 1988. The John Gower Page (http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/sechard/gower.htm). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.
British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. William Stewart. 2015.