Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the greatest poets in England. He is known to be the father of English poetry. This does not mean that there was no poet or poetry in England before him. There were other poets also in his time. But their poetry is little read and enjoyed. But the poetry of Chaucer is famous all over the world. According to John Dryden –“Chaucer is the father of English poetry. “Because he is the first English poet to writs in a style of language which is readily recognizable today. He wrote many famous poems that are now spread all over the world.
The poetic career of Chaucer was divided into three periods. These three periods are the French, Italian, and English.
The First Period(1358-72):
In his first period, he was influenced by French literature. His poems are modeled upon the French originals. Some important poems of this period are–
- *The Boke of Blanche the Duchesse,
- *The Romance of the Rose,
- *Compleynt into City,
- *The ABC,
- *Queen Anelida,
- *Complete of Mars.
“The Romaunt of the Rose” is one of the most notable of them. It is a lengthy allegorical poem based on Roman de la Rose (a love poem).”The Boke of the Duchesse” is his first important poem written about 1369. It is sort of elegy on the Duchess who was the wife of John of Gaunt died in the same year. The poem is also allegorical.
The Second Period (1379-1385):
In his second period, he was influenced by Italian literature. Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Dante, these 3 poets influenced him deeply. The Italian period of Chaucer’s poetic career suggests his profound and serious study of the Italian masters
His main poems of this period are —
*The House of Fame,
*The Legend of Good Women.
*The Knight’s Tale,
*Anelida and Arcite,
*Troillus and Criseyde.
“Troilus and Criseyde” is the finest complete work of the poet. It is over eight thousand lines in length. It is written in stanzas of Rime Royal.”The Knight’s Tale” and “Troilus and Criseyde” both of them deal with the romance of love and adventure with the spirit of heroism and the sense of devotion.
The third period (1385-1390):
In his third period, he was influenced by English literature. It was his most important period because his masterpiece ” The Canterbury Tales “, one of the greatest poems in all literature was written. Some of the important poems of this period are–
*The Canterbury Tales,
*Complaint to His Empty Purse,
*Truth or Good Counsel.
Among them “The Canterbury Tales” is the crowning achievement. It is the merit of his complete wisdom. It is an original work. He has planned to write this poem probably in 1387 and finished it in 1388. It is a sort of picture gallery.
To sum up, we can say that each period of Chaucer’s poetic career is significant. It helps us greatly to understand his complete poetical works. This period gave us a great number of his works.