John Lydgate Poems

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John Lydgate
John Lydgate of Bury (c. 1370 c. 1451) was a monk and poet, born in Lidgate, Suffolk, England. He was admitted to the Benedictine monastery of Bury St. Edmunds at fifteen and became a monk there a year later. Having literary ambitions (he was an admirer of Geoffrey Chaucer and a friend to his son, Thomas) he sought and obtained patronage for his literary work at the courts of Henry IV of England, Henry V of England and Henry VI of England. His patrons included, amongst many others, the mayor and aldermen of London, the chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral, Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Henry V and VI, however his main supporter from 1422 was Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. In 1423 he was made prior of Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex but soon resigned the office to concentrate on his travels and writing. He was a prolific writer of poems, allegories, fables and romances, yet his most famous works were his longer and more moralistic Troy Book, Siege of Thebes and the Fall of Princes. The Troy Book was a translation of the Latin prose narrative by Guido delle Colonne, Historia destructionis Troiae. Lydgate was also believed to have written London Lickpenny, a well-known satirical work; however, his authorship of this piece has been heavily discredited. In his later years he lived and probably died at the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds.

paradise lost (excerpt)
 
 
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
S... [read poem]
l'allegro
 
 
Hence, loathed Melancholy
Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian Cave for... [read poem]
the testament of john lydgate
 
 
Beholde, o man! lyft up thyn eye and see
What mortall peyne I suffre for thi trespace.... [read poem]
sonnet xxiii: methought i saw my late espoused saint
 
 
Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis from the grave,
Whom J... [read poem]
on shakespear
 
 
What needs my Shakespear for his honour'd Bones,
The labour of an age in piled Stones,
Or ... [read poem]
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