Geoffrey Chaucer: Father of English Poetry
Geoffrey Chaucer, the real founder of English poetry, was born in 1340 in London city. He spent his boyhood in this city. That cause, he had a close relation with the civilization of the city. His father was a merchant of vintage. He had also a small manor in Ipswich.
From his childhood Chaucer was so much shiny and talented. He could speak both English and French. Of his education we know nothing mostly except that he studied in Saint Paul School of London and he was a great reader. In his early life he held several positions as a diplomat, a courtier, a civil servant and a collector of scrap metal.
In 1357, at the age 17, he was made a henchman of the princess of Duke of Clarence. This was the beginning of his connection with the royal dynasty. In the consequence, he had passed next forty years in the dynasty under three kings of state. At the age 19, he joined in the regiment. Under the king Edward III he went to battle against France. In the battle he was captured by the French. King Edward released him with the ransom of 240 pound. After few days, he became a royal household.
John of Gaunt was the patron of Chaucer who was the famous duke of Lancaster at that time. In 1367 under his patronage Chaucer married a maid of honour who was the sister of the wife of John of Gaunt. Probably her name was Philippa Roet. From Chaucer's numerous early poems and some references many critics think that their wedlock was not very happy. His wife died in 1387.
Between 1370 and 1378, Chaucer travelled various countries of Europe namely Italy, France and Flanders on his diplomatic missions. By the connection of these countries specially Italy, he was introduced with the literature and he conveyed the first ray of renaissance in England. In 1382 he was made comptroller of customs at the port of London. In 1386 he was elected Member of Parliament from Kent. In his last life he felt in serious economic crisis when John of Gaunt lost his position.
In the field of literature Chaucer made a huge position. The works of Chaucer are divided into three periods. The first poem of his first period is the Romount of the Rose a translation from the French Roman De la Rose. It was one of the most romantic poems in the middle age. Perhaps the best poem of this period is 'Death of Blanche the Duchess' which is written after the death of Blanche the wife of John. The chief works of his second period of Italian period which lasted from 1372 to 1385 are Troilus and Cryside, The Story of Grieselde , Parliament of Fowls , Legend of Goode Wimmen and House of Fame. House of Fame is one of Chaucer's unfinished poems.
Canterbury Tales the masterpiece of Chaucer which is considered one of the most famous and popular works in all literature, was written in his third period. Perhaps Chaucer had finished this poem containing seventeen thousand lines in 1388. In this he has given to us a picture of contemporary English life. In the work life Chaucer came in contact with people of various professions. In Canterbury Tales he drew and described total thirty-two pilgrims who made a pilgrimage to Canterbury from South work.
Now widely considered as 'The father of English poetry' Chaucer brought in English literature a new form after Anglo-Norman period. He presented pentameter instead of complex structure of French ballad form and created heroic verse. His poetry is exceedingly musical and he used in his poetry dialect of London. Because of his extraordinary contributions in English literature, he can deserve usually the claim of the Father of English Poetry.
The shiny star and great man, Geoffrey Chaucer was died on 25th October in 1400. He was the first poet who was buried in Poet's corner of Westminster Abbey in London with the national honour.
The writer is a student of English department, Chittagong University