by: John Gower (Author) , R. F. Yeager (Editor , Translator)
JOHN GOWER, THE MINOR LATIN WORKS: NOTESABBREVIATIONS: CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; CB: Gower, Cinkante Ballades; Cronica: Gower, Cronica Tripertita; CT: Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; CVP: Gower, Carmen super multiplici viciorum pestilencia; IPP: Gower, In Praise of Peace; Mac: Macaulay edition; MO: Gower, Mirour de l'Omme; TC: Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; Thynne: William Thynne, printer, The Works of Geffray Chaucer (1532) [prints IPP from Tr]; Traitié: Gower, Traitié pour essampler les amantz marietz; VC: Gower, Vox Clamantis.
All biblical citations are to the Vulgate text, and, unless otherwise noted, all biblical translations are from the Douai-Rheims. For a list of manuscript abbreviations, please see Manuscripts in the Introduction.
5. QUIA UNUSQUISQUE: NOTESThe marginal Latin glosses, identified by a capital L in the left margin next to the text, are transcribed and translated in the notes and can be accessed by clicking on the L at the corresponding line.
Quia unusquisque: Essentially a colophon summarizing Gower's three major poems, assumed to be Gower's own composition and written after 1399 since it mentions Richard's fall; but at that time Henry was not simply earl of Derby. (For the best reconciliation of its disparate history, see Nicholson, "Dedications.") There is some variation in placement and wording amongst the manuscripts, many being corrupt (e.g., a probable dropped line): see below, and Macaulay 3.550. Macaulay (4.418) pointed out that the description of VC seems "to include the Cronica Tripertita as a sequel." Pearsall ("Gower's Latin," pp. 24-25) noted the selective description of CA by way of warning against using Quia as an authorial summary. In five manuscripts containing the Confesssio Amantis, the colophon precedes Eneidos bucolis (see Appendix 1).
The text here is from S. Other versions survive in C, H, G, and F.
8 Speculum Meditantis. Macaulay 3.550: "'Speculum hominis' in all copies of the first recension. 'Speculum meditantis' over an erasure in the Glasgow MS of the Vox Clamantis."
5. Quia unusquisque
Quia unusquisque, prout a Deo accepit, aliis impartiri tenetur, Iohannes Gower
super hiis que Deus sibi sensualiter donavit villicacionis sue racionem secundum
aliquid alleviare cupiens, tres precipue libros per ipsum, dum vixit, doctrine causa
compositos ad aliorum noticiam in lucem seriose produxit.
Primus liber, Gallico sermone editus, in decem dividitur partes, et tractans de
viciis et virtutibus, necnon et de variis huius seculi gradibus, viam qua peccator
transgressus ad sui creatoris agnicionem redire debet, recto tramite docere conatur.
Titulusque libelli istius Speculum Meditantis nuncupatus est.
Secundus enim liber, sermone Latino metrice compositus, tractat de variis
infortuniis tempore regis Ricardi secundi in Anglia contingentibus: unde non solum
regni proceres et communes tormenta passi sunt, set et ipse crudelissimus rex, suis
ex demeritis ab alto corruens, in foveam quam fecit finaliter proiectus est.
Nomenque voluminis huius Vox Clamantis intitulatur.
Tercius vero liber, qui ob reverenciam strenuissimi domini, sui domini Henrici
de Lancastria, tunc Derbeie Comitis, Anglico sermone conficitur, secundum Dan-
ielis propheciam super huius mundi regnorum mutacione a tempore regis Nabu-
godonosor usque nunc tempora distinguit. Tractat eciam, secundum Aristotilem,
super hiis quibus rex Alexander, tam in sui regimen quam aliter eius, disciplina
edoctus fuit. Principalis tamen huius operis materia super amorem et infatuatas
amantum passiones fundamentum habet: nomenque sibi appropriatum Confessio
Amantis specialiter sortitus est.
5. Because Each One
Because each one is obliged to impart to others what he has received from God,
John Gower, desiring to relieve to some extent the accounting of his stewardship
over the things that God has given him in the flesh, with set purpose brought forth
into light three books especially composed by him during his lifetime for the
purpose of bringing instruction to the attention of others.
The first book, written in the French tongue, is divided into ten parts. It deals
with vices and virtues and the various conditions of the world, and sets out to point
the way in the direct route by which the trespassing sinner should return to his
proper acknowledgement of the Creator. And the book is entitled with the name
of The Mirror of Meditation.
The second book, composed in Latin verse, deals with the various misfortunes
that occurred in England during the reign of King Richard II, when not only were
tribulations suffered by the magnates and commons of the realm, but also the cruel
king himself, falling from on high because of his own misdeeds, was finally cast into
the ditch that he had dug. And the volume is entitled with the name of The Voice of
Now the third book, written in English in honor of his valiant lord, Lord Henry
of Lancaster, at the time Earl of Derby, sets out the ages according to the prophecy
of Daniel concerning the changes of the kingdoms of the world from the time of
King Nabuchodonosor until the present. It also deals with matters that King
Alexander was instructed upon according to Aristotle, by Aristotle's own teaching,
concerning his own regime and otherwise. But the principal matter of this book
rests upon love and the infatuated emotions of lovers, and it has received as its
appropriate name The Lover's Confession.
Go To Ecce patet tensus