August 09, 2013


Poet, contemporary and imitator of Chaucer whose work has little literary merit but much value as social history.

His poem La Mâle règle (1406, The Male Regimen) presents a vivid picture of the delights of a bachelor´s evening amusements in the taverns and cook shops of Westminster.

His earliest dated poem, a translation of Christine de Pisan´s L´Épistre au dieu d´amours appeared in 1402 as The Letter of Cupid. A light-hearted contrast to the serious moralizing of the conclusion to Chaucer´s Troilus and Criseyde, it is attached to some manuscripts of that poem.

In 1411 he produced The Regement of Princes or De regimine principum culled from a 13th-century work of the same name for Henry prince of Wales. A tedious homily it contains a touching accolade to Chaucer whose portrait Hoccleve had painted on the manuscript to insure that his appearance would not be forgotten.

In his later years he turned from the ballads addressed to his many patrons to serious religious verse and to recording the ills of the day in a literal-minded manner that presents a clear picture of the time.

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