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Biography of Geoffrey Chaucer


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Chaucer (tshaw'-ser), Geoffrey. An English poet commonly spoken of as the "Father of English Poetry." Born about 1340 of parents who appear to have been citizens of London, and who gave him a good education. In his youth Chaucer served under Edward III in the invasion of France, and was made prisoner by the enemy at the end of 1359, or early in 1360. He afterwards enjoyed court favor, and was employed on several embassies, visiting France and Italy in the course of his foreign missions. In the latter part of the reign of Richard II, Chaucer appears to have been involved in the disgrace thrown on the family of the Duke of Lancaster, his patron, and suffered from poverty; but on the accession of Henry IV he was again taken into royal favor. The writings of Chaucer, in verse and prose, are extensive, and the "Canterbury Tales" is one of the noblest monuments of English poetry. Died October 15, 1400.