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Virgil: Publius Virgilius Maro

For thou shalt, by thyn owene experience,
Konne in a chayer rede of this sentence
Bet than Virgile, while he was on lyve.

(Friar's Tale, III.1517-19)

Publius Virgilius Maro (70 B.C.-19 B.C.), the greatest of the Latin poets, deeply affected Chaucer's work, though he is mentioned but once in the Canterbury Tales (in the Friar's Tale, as quoted above). There the reference is to Aeneas' descent into the Underworld; the story of Dido and Aeneas (as told in the House of Fame and the Legend of Good Women) was more to Chaucer's taste (and to that of the whole Middle Ages, during which this was regarded as one of the great love stories). Virgil's Aeneid (in the great English verse translation by John Dryden) is available on the Web at the Internet Classics Archive.

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Last modified: May 5, 2006 Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (ldb@wjh.harvard.edu)