Chaucer: A List of His Works

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Source: The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). Vol. 1.


The following list is arranged, conjecturally, in chronological order. It will be understood that much of the arrangement and some of the dates are due to guesswork; on a few points scholars are agreed. See further in pp. 20-91 below, &c. Of the Poems marked (a), there seem to have been two editions, (a) being the earlier. The letters and numbers appended at the end denote the metres, according to the following scheme.

A = octosyllabic metre; B = ballad metre, in Sir Thopas; C = 4-line stanza, in the Proverbes; P = Prose.

The following sixteen metres are original (i. e. in English); viz. 1 = 8-line stanza, ababbcbc; 1 b = the same, thrice, with refrain. 2 = 7-line stanza, ababbcc; 2 b = the same, thrice, with refrain; 2 c = 7-line stanza, ababbab. 3 = terza rima. 4 = 10-line stanza, aabaabcddc. 5 = 9-line stanza, aabaabbab; 5 b = the same, with internal rimes. 6 = virelai of 16 lines. 7 = 9-line stanza, aabaabbcc. 8 = roundel. 9 = heroic couplet. 10 = 6-line stanza, ababcb, repeated six times. 11 = 10-line stanza, aabaabbaab. 12 = 5-line stanza, aabba.

*∗* C. T. = Canterbury Tales; L. G. W. = Legend of Good Women; M. P. = Minor Poems.

1I see no reason for placing this after 1372; surely ll. 36-56 (from Dante) are a later insertion. Observe ‘us wrecches’ in G. 32, and ‘Me wrecche’ in G. 58. These parallel lines must (I think) have once been in closer proximity.
Origenes upon the Maudeleyne (See L. G. W., A 418; lost.)
Book of the Leoun (C. T., I. 1087; lost).
(a) Ceys and Alcion (C. T., B. 57; Bk. Duch. 62-214).—A.
Romaunt of the Rose, ll. 1-1705; rest lost.—A.
A. B. C.; in M. P. I.—1.
1369. Book of the Duchesse; M. P. III.—A.
(a) Lyf of Seynt Cecyle (L. G. W., B 426; C. T., G. 1-553).—21.
(a) Monkes Tale (parts of); except B. 3565-3652.—1.
ab. 1372-3. (a) Clerkes Tale; except E. 995-1008, and the Envoy.—2.
(a) Palamon and Arcite (scraps preserved).—2.
Compleint to his Lady; M. P. VI.—2. 3. 4.
An Amorous Compleint, made at Windsor; M. P. XXII.—2.
Compleint unto Pitè; M. P. II.—2.
Anelida and Arcite (10 stt. from Palamon); M. P. VII.—2. 5. 6. 5 b.
(a) The Tale of Melibeus.—P.
(a) The Persones Tale.—P.
(a) Of the Wreched Engendring of Mankinde (L. G. W., A. 414; cf. C. T., B. 99-121, &c.)—2.
(a) Man of Lawes Tale; amplified in C. T.—2.
1377-81. Translation of Boethius.—P.
1379? Compleint of Mars; M. P. IV.—2. 7.
1379-83. Troilus and Criseyde (3 stt. from Palamon).—2.
Wordes to Adam (concerning Boece and Troilus); M. P. VIII.—2.
The Former Age (from Boece); M. P. IX.—1.
Fortune (hints from Boece); M. P. X.—1 b. 2 c.
1382. Parlement of Foules (16 stt. from Palamon); M. P. V.—2. 8.
1383-4. House of Fame.—A.
1385-6. Legend of Good Women.—9.
1386. Canterbury Tales begun.
1387-8. Central period of the Canterbury Tales.
1389, &c. The Tales continued.—B. 1. 2. 9. 10. P.
1391. Treatise on the Astrolabe.—P.
1393? Compleint of Venus; M. P. XVIII.—1 b. 11.
1393. Lenvoy to Scogan; M. P. XVI.—2.
1396. Lenvoy to Bukton; M. P. XVII.—1.
1399. Envoy to Compleint to his Purse; M. P. XIX.—12.

The following occasional triple roundel and balades may have been composed between 1380 and 1396:—

Merciless Beautè; M. P. XI.—8. Balade to Rosamounde; M. P. XII.—1 b. Against Women Unconstaunt; M. P. XXI.—2 b. (a) Compleint to his Purse; M. P. XIX.—2 b. Lak of Stedfastnesse; M. P. XV.—2 b. Gentilesse; M. P. XIV.—2 b. Truth; M. P. XIII.—2 b. Proverbes of Chaucer; M. P. XX.—C.