A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Lydgate, John

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Lydgate, John (1370?-1451?). -- Poet, b. in Suffolk, was ordained a priest in 1397. After studying at Oxf., Paris, and Padua, he taught literature in his monastery at Bury St. Edmunds. He appears to have been a bright, clear-minded, earnest man, with a love of the beautiful, and a faculty of pleasant, flowing verse. He wrote copiously and with tiresome prolixity whatever was required of him, moral tales, legends of the saints, and histories, and his total output is enormous, reaching 130,000 lines. His chief works are Troy Book (1412-20), written at the request of Henry V. when Prince of Wales, The Falls of Princes (1430-38), and The Story of Thebes (c. 1420). These books were first printed in 1513, 1494, and c. 1500 respectively. L. also wrote many miscellaneous poems. He was for a time Court poet, and was patronised by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester; but the greater part of his life was spent in the monastery at Bury St. Edmunds. He was an avowed admirer of Chaucer, though he largely follows the French romancists previous to him.