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RICHARD ROLLE, called also Richard de Hampole, was an eremite of the order of St. Augustine. He devoted his life to study and seclusion in a retreat in the neighbourhood of the pleasantly situated Priory of Hampole, three or four miles from Doncaster. Here he produced an English version of the Psalms, as well as Commentaries, and Translations of other parts of the Sacred Writings. He attacked the vices of the clergy, and threatened the sins of the nation generally with future war, pestilence, and famine. "He was," says the Britannia Sancta, "illustrious for sanctity and learning; and a heavenly unction runs through all his writings." He was much honoured in his lifetime; and after death, he
enjoyed canonization, if not formally from the church, at least from the gratitude and reverence of the people. His principal pieces of English rhyme are a Paraphrase of part of the Book of Job, of the Lord's Prayer, of the Seven Penitential Psalms, and the Pricke of Conscience. From the last of these, which is ordinarily a somewhat tedious and dull performance, are presented two specimens, where, favoured by the grouping capabilities of the subjects, he is exceptionally happy and picturesque.
THE DAY OF JUGGEMENT.
Men call that day
The day of grete delyveraunce,
The day of playnyng and of accusyng,
OFF THE BLYSSE THAT ES IN HEVENE.
Ther es ever lyf withoute eny deth,
And ther es al manere welthe that men may welde,§
Remission, † Cease. Old age. § Wield, manage.
And ther es ever reste withoute eny travayle,
* Pleasure. † Deck or fit up our dwelling.
Onehood, unity. § Bowing.
THE early circumstances of the life of Chaucer, whom Denham calls the "morning star" of our literature, and who is more popularly recognized as the "father of English poetry," are veiled in obscurity. An inscription on his tombstone, to the effect that he died in 1400 at the age of seventy-two, identifies 1328 as the year of his birth; which event, it is pretty certain from a passage in his "Testament of Love," took place in London. Conjecture and dispute have failed to establish conclusively either the nobility or the humbleness of his origin. It is probable, however, that his father was a gentleman. In an early poem, written at eighteen, he speaks of himself as "Philogenet of Cambridge, clerk;" and from this it is inferred that he studied at that University. On the other hand, Anthony à Wood, in his account of Thomas Richard, incidentally but undoubtingly mentions Chaucer as "our famous poet of Oxford;" and in another place records a tradition, that "when Wickliff was guardian or warden of Canterbury College, he had to his pupil the famous poet called Jeffry Chaucer, who, following the steps of his master, reflected much upon the corruptions of the clergy." Some of his biographers have, therefore, courageously affirmed that Chaucer, having received the rudiments of his education at Cambridge, migrated to Oxford, where he completed his studies at Merton Col