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Monday, August 23, 2021

Short notes on John Lydgate and his poems

Short notes on John Lydgate,Siege of Thebes,The Troy Book,John Lydgate of Bury

Short notes on John Lydgate and his poems

Of Chaucer's immediate followers and imitators, Lydgate is considered the most remarkable literary figure. He is even given a rank very near to his great master. But actually, his literary achievements are nothing exceptional. His literary works have never the recognition of Chaucer's.

Lydgate is taken as the most prolific author of the fifteenth century, rather than the whole of the Middle English period. His composition is found to include about 1,45,000 lines. Lydgate's longest poems are Siege of Thebes and The Troy Book, both of which are taken from notable French romances. His other works include Fall of Princes or Tragedies of John Bochas, adapted from Boccaccio's De casibus Illustrium Virorum. The Temple of Glass and The Assembly of Gods are written in an allegorical vein. Lydgate is also the author of another voluminous work — The Pilgrimage of the Life of Man -- which is a sort of translation from the French works of Guillaume De Guileville. This is also a sort of allegory and may be taken as a forerunner of Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. Of course, Lydgate has nothing of Bunyan's moral conviction, character painting, and vigorous description. The best and most poetical among Lydgate's enormous works is, perhaps, The Life of Our Lady, containing several lives of the saints. This appears to bear the Cynewulfian tradition to versify the lives of saints.

Lydgate has some shorter verses, not at all of a high order, but well indicative of his poetical genius. Of the two of his bestiaries - The Churl and the Bird and The Horse, the Sheep and the Goose - may be mentioned as quite lively works. These two works are somewhat fables, written on the model of Aesop. Chaucer's influence is noted here, though Lydgate never attained the Chaucerian height.

Lydgate's literary works are, no doubt, bulky, but least Chaucerian in any aspect. His imitation has no genuine manifestation. Of course, he enjoyed popularity in his own days for a twofold reasons. First, he carried on the tradition of storytelling in verse, so much popular in the age. Second, he provided the common readers with numerous stories of varied interests in a simple and straightforward manner.

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