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That now is hay some-tyme was grase

John Lydgate 1370 (Suffolk) – 1451



Who clymbeth hyest gothe ofte base,
Ensample in medowes thow mayst se
That nowe is heye some tyme was grase.

Lenvoye.
Go forth anon, thou short dite,
Bydde folke not trust this worlde at all,
Bydde theme remembre on e cite
Which is a-bove celestiall;
Of precious stones bylt is the wall,
Who clymbeth theder gothe nevar base,
Out of that place may be no fall,
Ther is no heye but all fresh grase.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Lydgate

John Lydgate of Bury was a monk and poet, born in Lidgate, Suffolk, England. The sheer bulk of Lydgate's poetic output is prodigious, amounting, at a conservative count, to about 145,000 lines. He explored and established every major Chaucerian genre, except such as were manifestly unsuited to his profession, like the fabliau. In the Troy Book, an amplified translation of the Trojan history of the thirteenth-century Latin writer Guido delle Colonne, commissioned by Prince Henry, he moved deliberately beyond Chaucer's Knight's Tale and his Troilus, to provide a full-scale epic. The Siege of Thebes is a shorter excursion in the same field of chivalric epic. The Monk's Tale, a brief catalog of the vicissitudes of Fortune, gives a hint of what is to come in Lydgate's massive Fall of Princes, which is also derived, though not directly, from Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium. The Man of Law's Tale, with its rhetorical elaboration of apostrophe, invocation, and digression in what is essentially a saint's legend, is the model for Lydgate's legends of St. Edmund and St. more…

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