TITLE:"Englyssh Gaufride" and British Chaucer? Chaucerian Allusions to the Condition of Wales in the House of Fame
SOURCE:The Chaucer Review 44 no1 1-24 2009

    The conquest of Wales was one of the most ambitious and demanding projects undertaken by the medieval English crown, consuming great resources of military firepower, planning, and money -- even if the cost was more than recompensed by the economic exploitation of the conquered land and people.(FN1) The Welsh campaign proved a lengthy and testing engagement, attracting the attention of first Saxon and then Norman kings, and it could be argued that parts of Wales were under continuous military occupation, from the cross-border campaign by Harold Godwinson against Gruffudd ap Llywelyn in 1063 to the last skirmishes of the Glyn Dwr uprising around 1415.(FN2) It must be considered surprising, then, that references to Wales, the Welsh people, and the wars in Wales are so infrequent in medieval English literature. Even in the chronicle histories it is hard to avoid the feeling that the chroniclers resent having to make (occasional) space for Welsh affairs. Otherwise, except for that brief moment in the twelfth century that produced Walter Map's De Nugis Curialium(FN3) and Giraldus Cambrensis's Descriptio Kambriae,(FN4) the entire corpus of references to Wales in medieval English literature (in Latin, Anglo-Norman, and English) provides a scant harvest.
    This reluctance to mention Wales is so widespread and so thorough that it cannot be explained as merely the result of an absence of curiosity, and its ubiquity across forms, registers, and language traditions suggests a refusal to address the military situation in Wales and its inevitable social consequences. It would seem that English medieval textual culture is inextricably implicated in the development of a colonial culture through its enactment of a (probably semi-conscious) erasure of the problems raised by the existence of Wales and the presence of English troops there.(FN5) The result of the Edwardian annexation of Wales was to establish a system of governance in which the Welsh people were declared to be subject to English rule but were denied such protections as were enjoyed by the crown's English subjects under Common Law. Edward I's Statute of Wales (or Statute of Rhuddlan) of 1284 embedded a juristic inequality of status -- memorably described by Edmund Burke as "the ill-husbandry of injustice"(FN6) -- which was not to be addressed until the mid-sixteenth century, in the reign of Henry VIII. Though we should not expect medieval English writers to question this institutionalized injustice, or to feel able to question it, their apparent lack of interest in it remains disturbing. In particular, it provides a serious challenge to the modern reader of Chaucer, in whose writings modern critics have succeeded in detecting (some) evidence of unease with chivalric and patriarchal values. That Gower and Langland seem to avert their eyes from the situation in Wales may not surprise us,(FN7) but Chaucer's apparent avoidance of this longstanding contestation might suggest a substantial malfunction of his moral compass. The life-records show that, as early as 1378, Chaucer involved himself in Welsh affairs, acting as mainprise for estates in Pembrokeshire (including Pembroke and Cilgerran castles) held by William Beauchamp during the minority of the heir of the Earl of Pembroke.(FN8) It is not known why Chaucer -- described as de Londonia in the writ -- was called upon to fulfil this role, and no doubt it is a coincidence that in 1403 his sons Lewis and Thomas are recorded in the retinue roll of the men at arms at Carmarthen castle,(FN9) but it seems risky to suggest that Chaucer's apparent reluctance to mention Welsh life was merely the result of a lack of familiarity with conditions there.
    Many critics have been struck by the way the opening of the Canterbury Tales seems to draw together all of England in a manner that (implicitly) excludes the other nations of the British Isles:

And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende.

    (I 15-16)(FN10)
    Two recent considerations of the Canterbury Tales have used Chaucer's failure in that text to represent what Jeffrey J. Cohen dubs "other groups extant on Chaucer's island"(FN11) as the starting point for a sustained questioning of Chaucer's motives, and therefore of his integrity as a witness of his own times. John M. Bowers finds evidence in the Canterbury Tales project of "Chaucer's newly aggressive Englishness,"(FN12) in which Chaucer is actively, and presumably consciously, involved in the promotion of "a patriarchal community in which pater and patria become inseparable." For Cohen, it is the absence of non-English figures in the poem that leaves him uneasy:

Chaucer lived in a kingdom bounded by and expanding in to lands possessed by peoples with distinctive histories and substantial internal heterogeneity. Oddly, although his works range geographically from Africa to Italy to the Mongol empire, from heaven (the ascent to the spheres that closes Troilus and Criseyde) all the way to hell (the hapless summoner's destination at the end of the Friar's Tale) nearby Wales, Scotland, and Ireland are almost entirely absent.(FN13)

    In his reading, this absence becomes a means by which Chaucer becomes (presumably willingly) active in the English colonial project.
    These are charges that threaten to disturb our view of Chaucer as a man of delicate moral sensibilities. Admittedly, such misgivings demand to be set in an appropriate historical context. Patrick J. Geary reminds us of the difficulty of reading medieval texts free from the distortion of focus overlaid by the influence of later (but still potent) models of nationalism:

This is not to deny that people living in the early Middle Ages had a sense of nation or collective identity. But the past two centuries of intellectual activity and political confrontation have so utterly changed the ways we think about social and political groups that we cannot pretend to provide an "objective" view of early medieval social categories, unencumbered by this recent past.(FN14)

    Faced with the similarly disturbing phenomenon of Chaucer's deriving some humor from a reference to the slaughter of Flemings in London, Derek Pearsall dismisses such "unease" with bracing skepticism:

There seems, though, little point in continuing to complain about this passage, or in blaming Chaucer, or in attempting further to salvage Chaucer for modern liberal sentiment. He lived when he did, shared the mentality of his age, flattered the prejudices of the class that sponsored him, even if at times with a deodorising dash of ironic self-reflexivity.(FN15)

    Nonetheless, it is noticeable that in his uproarious debunking of Chaucer's susceptibility "to modern attempts to appropriate him for a variety of ideologies of 'Englishness,'"(FN16) the term Pearsall sets in opposition to the illusion of "Chaucer as a poet of Englishness" is "Chaucer's European project."(FN17) In defining Chaucer in European terms, Pearsall obscures the more elusive question of Chaucer's relationship to other fourteenth-century constructions of "Britishness."
    Although the opening of the Canterbury Tales does seem to evince an unwillingness to consider the problematic nature of "British" identity as it had been constructed by conquest and annexation, a very different conclusion can be drawn from the House of Fame, a poem that incorporates a cluster of references to the relationship of the discourse of Britishness with the "other" native traditions that had been (perhaps) sometimes incorporated in the Arthurian narrative tradition, but had otherwise been almost invariably obscured in English medieval literature.(FN18) The presence of these references in the House of Fame must be considered surprising, though the poem has some claims to be considered Chaucer's most original and most self- conscious work. Recent analyses have offered a number of readings of the poem interpreting it as a meditation on the relationship of the poet to his text and to his sources (in this case, Dante in particular) and to the relationship of religion to the creation of literature.(FN19) The references to Wales in the text do not seem to be directly implicated in these preeminent concerns of the poem, but provide an oblique commentary on the theme of cultural survival that Chaucer considers through the monstrous, unjust, and unpredictable figure of Fama.
    The first and most surprising of the references to Wales is a playful aside that has been previously overlooked. Chaucer begins the poem with an invocation to Morpheus, god of sleep, drawing on material from Book XI of Ovid's Metamorphoses, as he had previously done in the Book of the Duchess:

But at my gynnynge, trusteth wel,
I wol make invocacion,
With special devocion,
Unto the god of slep anoon,
That duelleth in a cave of stoon
Upon a strem that cometh fro Lete,
That is a flood of helle unswete,
Besyde a folk men clepeth Cymerie

    (HF, 66-73)
    In all three surviving manuscripts of the poem,(FN20) scribes annotated the text by inscribing some lines from Ovid's original:

Est prope Cimmerios longo spelunca recessu,
tamen exit ab imorivus aquae Lethes

    (IX.592, 602-3)

Near the land of the Cimmerians there is a deep recess.... But from the bottom of the caves there flows the stream of Lethe.(FN21)

    Despite the scribes having Ovid's original text to hand, in all three manuscripts and the two important early printed editions, Ovid's "Cimmerios" is represented by versions of the unexpected spelling "Cymerie" -- a significantly altered variant. In all five witnesses the second m of the Latin name is removed, while only in Cambridge, Magdalene College MS Pepys 2006 is Ovid's first i not changed to y.(FN22) In his parallel-text edition for the Chaucer society, Frederick J. Furnivall noted Cymerie in the Fairfax manuscript, cymerye for Caxton's edition of 1485, Cymery for Thynne's edition of 1532, and Cymerye for the Bodley manuscript,(FN23) while for MS Pepys 2006 Furnivall read Cimerye.(FN24) It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the striking alteration of spelling was chosen to allow Chaucer to make a pun on the Welsh word Cymry -- which, in the fourteenth century served both as a collective name for the Welsh people (being the plural of Cymro, 'a Welshman') and as the name of the country itself.(FN25) Indeed, the pun is set up with characteristically Chaucerian deftness. In omitting the expected definite article in English, Chaucer ensures its absence in Welsh also, thereby avoiding a frontal mutation (i Gymry, 'the Welsh') which would have undermined the visual similarity on which the pun depends. Furthermore, it must have worked as a visual, rather than an aural, pun since the first y in Cymry represents the back vowel phoneme [^] rather than the front vowel [|]. It seems likely that the scribes included the lines from Ovid as a means of reassuring their readers as to the primary source of the word.
    There is an aptness in this elegant feint of wordplay appearing in the opening lines of the House of Fame, a poem that is explicitly concerned with the relationship and survival of languages and their associated literary traditions. Interpreting this glancing reference, though, raises real difficulties. The tone of the invocation is playful -- few authors of great sentence would invoke the aid of the god of sleep to inspire them -- but for the joke to have been noticed and enjoyed, we must assume that Chaucer's initial audience included some readers with at least a rudimentary familiarity with the Welsh language, and probably some interests in Anglo-Welsh relations. This assumption need raise few difficulties since we know that prominent amongst what Paul Strohm, following Donald Howard, called Chaucer's "circles" of friendship in the 1380s(FN26) was Sir John Clanvowe, of en described as one of the "Lollard Knights" and now generally accepted as the author of the "Chaucerian" poem The Cuckoo and the Nightingale.(FN27) Clanvowe was a landowner with substantial holdings in Archenf eld, an area of Herefordshire that had formerly been part of the Brythonic/Welsh kingdom of Ergyng, and in which there was a significant population of Welsh speakers, certainly as late as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Clanvowe family was of Welsh origin, and the first part of the family name is clearly an Anglicization of the Welsh word Llan (which characteristically marks out a settlement around a parish church). One of the parishes in Archenfield bears the name Vowchurch. But Clanvowe's involvement in Welsh affairs went far beyond his role as a landowner in the borders. The interest of G. L. Kittredge and others in this "friend of Chaucer" led to considerable research into Clanvowe's career as a trusted representative of the king in Wales, which was rewarded with the grant of rights and titles in Wales. In 1381 he was granted the King's Lordship of Haverford, and in 1382 he was granted the custody of the forest of Snowdon. Whatever his duties in Wales involved, it was clear that the king was more than satisfied, since in 1385 he granted him the town, castle, and Lordship of Haverford, which he held until his death in 1391.
    If it is not difficult to prove that Chaucer's London circle would have included people capable of appreciating the bilingual joke,(FN28) understanding Chaucer's intention in placing it in the text remains more challenging. It could just be seen as a glancing compliment to Clanvowe's service in Wales, for example. But the identification of the Welsh with the Cimmerians and the reference to Lethe inevitably raise the possibility of more complex intentions. One of the OED's subsidiary definitions of Cimmerian offers the comment 'one of a people fabled by the ancients to live in perpetual darkness.' This is a meaning that would probably have been familiar to the scribes who added lines from Ovid to manuscripts of Chaucer's poem and, though Chaucer does not state the tradition directly, his audience could have been expected to infer it into the text. Chaucer's playful mocking of the Welsh as if a people living in perpetual darkness shares the ambiguity of his humor at the expense of the slaughtered Flemings. It could be seen as Chaucer taking the opportunity to indulge in some rough, jostling humor -- or, alternatively, to make fun of a tradition of imputing "barbarity" to the Welsh, which had long flourished in the works of Bede, William of Malmesbury, John of Salisbury, and others.(FN29) The wildness of the locale of Morpheus's cave recalls recurrent descriptions by the English chroniclers of the wildness of the landscape of Wales, imagery that served both to reflect and explain the (perceived) wild-ness of its people. But the conjunction of Wales with imagery of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, seems to add a hint of reproof to the description. Maybe the reference was a personal allusion. Ward notes that in 1381 Clanvowe was granted "a commission to survey the condition of Wales and its people" -- a service for which he was perhaps rewarded with the castle and town of Haverford. It is not known whether Clanvowe prepared such a survey but, if he did, it seems certain that his findings were ignored. Yet Chaucer's suggestion of the proximity of Lethe to Wales has a certain appropriateness. After the huge striving of the Edwardian conquest, for most of the fourteenth century Wales was forgotten, it could be argued, by the English crown-treated as a problem that had been solved. The commission to Clanvowe to survey Wales suggests that a realization of the failings of this policy of amnesia had begun to be apparent to some in the royal employ.
    If the king (or his advisers) were becoming more aware that the condition of Wales in the 1380s required serious thought, then perhaps it is not surprising that Chaucer's poetry at this time should reflect an interest, however liminal, in the literature of the other nations of Britain. Nonetheless, in considering Chaucer's literary sources, James Simpson has raised the question of Chaucer's debt, if any, to other British traditions, and his conclusion admits of no qualification:

Chaucer's cultural interests may have been pan-European, but his literary affiliations were not: his geographical gaze is turned decisively south, to France and Italy especially. He does not mention Ireland or Scotland at all as separate entities, and Wales only once; his writing manifests no engagement with the literary traditions of those countries.(FN30)

    But Simpson's certainty overstates the case: plausible, if scarcely conclusive, cases have been made for a number of narrative elements in his work being influenced by "the literary traditions of those countries," from the wicker structure of the House of Rumor(FN31) to the sources of several Canterbury Tales, including the Wife of Bath's Tale and the Franklin's Tale. More curiously, Simpson overlooks the explicit reference to the Brythonic literary tradition in the House of Fame, in which the bard Glascurion is set alongside the great classical exemplars of his art-Orpheus, Chiron, and Arion:

Ther herde I pleyen on an harpe,
That sowned bothe wel and sharpe,
Orpheus ful craft ely,
And on hys syde, faste by,
Sat the harper Orion,
And Eacides Chiron,
And other harpers many oon,
And the Bret Glascurion.

    The reference raises many complex problems of interpretation (some of which will be addressed later in this article). First, there is some ambiguity attached to the prefix "Bret," by which Chaucer might be identifying the harper as British/Brythonic, Welsh, or Breton. The OED defines the word as a 'Britton,' while the MED, listing bret as a variant of brit or brut, quotes this example from the House of Fame in support of its definition: 'A Celt, specifically a Welshman, Breton.' (FN32) There is certainly precedent for "Bret" being used to describes Bretons in Middle English literature, but since the origin of the name was to stress the Brythonization (or re-Brythonization) of Armorica, it would be unreasonable to question a primary meaning of "Brythonic" or "British." Whatever Chaucer's intent, in allowing the native harpist a place, however limited and perhaps partly ironic in nature, amongst the roll call of literary eminence, it is clear that, at least in this moment of his career, Chaucer felt it essential that his writing manifest some engagement with other British traditions -- even if that engagement is perplexing in its details.
    It might seem that representing native traditions with a "harper" sets the value of that tradition at a lower valuation than the textually transmitted classical tradition. But, quite apart from rendering the different priorities of the English and Welsh traditions,(FN33) Chaucer is careful to dismiss such assumptions, by flanking Glascurion with the iconic figures of the poet-musicians Orpheus and Arion. The story of Orpheus, the ultimate embodiment of the power of art over the physical world, had been figured by Virgil, Ovid, and Boethius, amongst many others, while it is probably more than a coincidence that Chaucer also invokes the presence of the less familiar figure of Arion, again narrated by Ovid, but also cast into a prominent role in the Prologue to Gower's Confessio Amantis:

Bot wolde god that now were on,
An other such as Arion,
Which hadde an harpe of such temprure,
And therto of so good mesure
He song, that he the bestes wilde
Made of his note tame and milde,
And every man upon this ground
Which Arion that time herde,
Als wel the lord as the schepherde,
He broghte hem alle in good accord.

    (Prol.1553-58, 1562-65)(FN34)
    In such company, it would seem that Glascurion is to be regarded as a figure of real artistic weight, which makes it the more frustrating that Chaucer appears to have used the image to create a representative composite of bardic tradition rather than an evocation of a specific voice. One might, perhaps, see the reference in the House of Fame as the working out of a complex Chaucerian joke. In a poem that deals with the ability of art to preserve name and reputation, it must be considered ironic that a poetic tradition that was particularly concerned with the role of poetry as a preserver of reputation -- through the writing of praise poetry and elegy -- should be represented by a poet whose name, far less his compositions, has not survived. But the determined preservation in the Welsh tradition of the names of a host of medieval poets of less loft y repute than Glascurion (in Chaucer's testimony)(FN35) makes it clear that Chaucer's depiction of Glascurion refers to either a poet who did not exist or a poet whose identity has been obscured. The absence of any reference to Glascurion in every scholarly history of Welsh literature(FN36) makes the first option seem likely, whereas the two strongest objections to this theory present only flimsy resistance. Since the eighteenth century, Glascurion has been identified with the poet Geraint Fardd-Glas, on the authority of the noted antiquarian Iolo Morganwg, but despite his deep and committed knowledge of earlier traditions, Iolo's predilection for "inventing" earlier documents makes him, in the absence of supporting evidence, a wholly unreliable authority.(FN37)
    More convincingly, a version of the name survives in ballad tradition, for example as the harper "Glasgerion" in a ballad preserved in the Percy Folio.(FN38) But the great length of time between the writing of the House of Fame and the transcription of the ballad in the Percy Folio makes it hard to argue that the ballad represents proof of an autonomous tradition, not influenced by, or derived from, Chaucer's depiction in The House of Fame and Gavin Douglas's similar linking of Orpheus and "Glaskeryane" in the Palice of Honour: "Or Orpheus harpe of trace with sound diuyne/Glaskeryane maid na noyes compeir."(FN39) Fowler takes a generally skeptical view of the probability of lengthy survival and development in oral tradition, arguing that "a given ballad took the particular shape it has about the time that it was written down, unless there is specific evidence to the contrary."(FN40)
    Richard Firth Green has recently suggested the possibility that "Chaucer may have known, not merely the story of a harper... but in fact the self same story that has come down to us" in Percy's Glasgerion ballad, and the Scottish ballad "Glen Kindy."(FN41) But he acknowledges, also, that popular ballads could derive from more extended works. If "the case of King Horn, Sir Orfeo, Thomas of Erceldoune, and The Wedding of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnell was later to give rise to a popular ballad,"(FN42) then it seems no more unlikely that Glasgerion and Glen Kindy represent developments of a tradition initiated in the House of Fame and mediated through Gavin Douglas.
    The second possibility, that Glascurion represents a specific figure whose identity has been masked by Chaucer, can claim some support in Chaucer's practice elsewhere, most notably in his (presumed) suppression of the name of Boccaccio and his surprising acknowledgment of the fictional "Lollius."(FN43) In the case of a Welsh harper, political tact might have counseled caution -- maybe the fact that such celebrated bards as Taliesin and Aneirin wrote about the battles between the British and the English might cause Chaucer to have obscured their name under an alias. But the presumed identification of Glascurion with Orpheus (and Arion and Chiron), that is, with poets whose art can exert its power over the natural world, would seem to distinguish Glascurion from the non-miraculous precedent of his Welsh predecessors. This association might seem to offer some support for Andrew Breeze's suggested identification of Glascurion with the magician Gwydion, whose exploits are recorded in the Mabinogion. Nonetheless, the identification is an uneasy one, partly because of Gwydion's fictional existence. Whereas the same objection could be raised about Orpheus and Arion, Chaucer would have had a familiarity with their stories through the texts of Virgil, Ovid, Boethius, and others. It is very hard to imagine through which texts Chaucer could have been made acquainted with the career of Gwydion,(FN44) the most celebrated episode of which involved his circumventing a curse on his nephew (that no mortal woman would marry him) by creating for him (but without her consent) a wife Blodeuedd from the flowers of the meadow. It is hard to believe that, if Chaucer had known of the stories of Gwydion, that he could have resisted throughout his career some reference to this poignant imagining of the inevitably tragic consequences of the misapplication of sovereynetee in marriage.
    If Glascurion does represent an evocation of a particular Welsh or Brythonic bard, then the key to his identity must lie in the name, but it seems that either Chaucer's scribe(s) or his Welsh-speaking friends may have led him astray. The adjective glas, 'blue' (or 'green' since the color terms were not distinguished),(FN45) presents no problems, though it would be usual for it to postmodify rather than precede. Breeze notes the lack of any analogues of this premodification, though he argues that pre-modification with the adjective gwyn/gwen, 'white,' is commonplace(FN46) -- nonetheless the word placement would have seemed odd to a Welsh speaker. The second term, curion, raises greater difficulties, not least since it is a word that the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru does not list,(FN47) so any interpretation must involve speculation as well as the presumption of scribal error.
    There are three plausible theories, each of which might shed some new light on Chaucer's depiction of the relationship of Wales and the discourse of Britishness in this period. The first possibility is that what was intended was the verb curio, 'to pine.' If glas rhetorically represents the native greenery of Wales, then Bret Glascurion might represent a specific Welsh-speaking poet living in "British" exile (perhaps in London), but experiencing the characteristic Welsh emotion of hiraeth -- a pining for his native land. This term might refer to a member of Chaucer's circle (though it is hard to imagine whom) or it might (though this seems less likely) represent the uncomfortable situation of Wales itself lamenting its enforced annexation into British structures. Indeed the initial syllable cur in Welsh does not generally suggest anything propitious -- alongside curio as a candidate for translinguistic shredding is the verb curaf/curo, 'to beat, strike, batter, thrash, oft en figurative worry, trouble.' If Glascurion's name was meant to depict a poet beaten blue, it would have signified a remarkably (and implausibly) outspoken criticism of the treatment of Wales.
    The second possibility would read curion as a "faulty" plural form,(FN48) perhaps for carreg ('stone'), carn ('cairn or mound'), craig ('rock'), or, least plausibly, caer ('fortified settlement'). Any of these readings would presuppose a substantial, if by no means unprecedented, misrepresentation of the Welsh sources. On the other hand, of the three possibilities, this theory provides the most plausible candidate for the bard described. If curion was meant as a plural for carreg or craig, then it seems likely that the bard is being described as the poet of the blue stones, which might well be a reference to Geoffrey of Monmouth's account of Merlin's transport of the massive stones of the Giants' Ring from Ireland to Stonehenge to commemorate the heroes slaughtered by Hengist's treachery in the "Night of the Long Knives."(FN49) Certainly, Merlin is the figure in Brythonic tradition whose combination of poetic and magical art might set him alongside Orpheus and Arion, with their miraculous control over the natural world through their singing. The description of Glascurion as "Bret" might then be read as acknowledging the ambiguity in the Galfridian tradition between the two Merlin traditions -- the Welsh Merlin of Caerfyrddin and the North British/Scottish Merlin.
    The third possibility would require a critical shift in the relative evaluation of the manuscript witnesses. Whereas Fairfax offers glascurion and Pepys, in what appears to be a rather hellenized form, Glaskyrion, which is closely paralleled in Caxton (Glaskyryon) and Thynne (Glaskyrione),(FN50) Bodley offers the rather different Glasturyon. Bodley also precedes the bard's name with the description bret, which (together with Pepys' bretur) would seem to be the source for Caxton's bryton and Thynne's Briton -- whereas Fairfax offers gret, a very different proposition. It is interesting that editors have accepted the Bodley bret but not Glasturyon, which offers a different range of semantic possibility. Tirion can function in Welsh either as an adjective ('gentle, mild, courteous') or as a noun ('territory, plain'), and the Geiriadur offers the noun tirion as a synonym for tir-glas ('grassland'). If the reference is to a specific poet, it presumably incorporates the wordplay (in Welsh) on whether he is being described by his origins in his "glas" lands -- perhaps understood as an analogue of "blue remembered hills"(FN51) -- or is being described, perhaps ironically, as tirion ('tender, gracious').
    There can be little doubt that the reference to Glascurion would have been puzzling to Chaucer's original audience. Unlike the pun on Cimmerios/Cymry which is submerged into the poem's texture and does not require notice, this signal of Chaucer's overt engagement with "insular" literary traditions bumps the reader into wakefulness, and maybe that is its primary purpose -- to introduce Chaucer's third and most substantial allusion to "British literary traditions."
    This third image occurs unexpectedly in the Vestibule of Fame, where great writers set on pillars bear up the weight of their subjects. Such is the weight of the subject of Troy that it demands the effort of an eminent squadron of squabbling writers:

And by him stood, withouten les,
Ful wonder hy on a piler
Of yren, he, the gret Omer;
And with him Dares and Tytus
Before, and eke he Lollius,
And Guydo eke de Columpnis,
And Englyssh Gaufride eke, ywis;
And ech of these, as have I joye,
Was besy for to bere up Troye.

    The inclusion of "Englyssh Gaufride" alongside Homer, Dares, Dictys, and Guido delle Colonne, though it appears to anoint the native tradition as the appropriate inheritor to the classical tradition, is as qualified and perplexing as that to "Glascurion": it proves to be a characteristically elusive appearance in which Chaucer's meaning and intentions are deliberately obscured. There is, first, a certain ambiguity as to whether Geoffrey of Monmouth is being referred to, though Helen Cooper notes that "Englyssh Gaufride" has been "universally glossed by editors as Geoffrey ('Galfridus') of Monmouth."(FN52) There would be a certain fitness in Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote of the Trojans' arrival in Britain, claiming a place in this company. Nor should the attacks on his veracity, for example by William of Newburgh,(FN53) be regarded as a disqualification, when even Homer's reliability has been impugned:

Betwex hem was a litil envye.
Oon seyde that Omer made lyes
Feynynge in hys poetries,
And was to Grekes favorable;
Therfor held he hyt but fable.

    This identification, though, in Cooper's estimation, is "not in fact necessarily so simple." It is Chaucer's decision to preface Gaufride's name with the disconcerting adjective "Englyssh" that focuses her unwillingness to accept the identification -- understandably so since it is far from clear in what sense Geoffrey of Monmouth might be considered "Englyssh." His great work, the Historia regum Britannie, was written in Latin, a fact that Chaucer implicitly acknowledges by referring to him using the Latin form of his name -- Galfridus -- whereas the poetic persona is designated Geffrey elsewhere in the poem: "Geffrey, thou wost ryght wel this" (729).
    Both in Chaucer's time and in the researches of later scholars, there are ample grounds for doubting whether Geoffrey of Monmouth was "Englyssh" by race, and whether he spoke the "Englyssh" language.(FN54) Cooper notes that "the only meaning for the word [English] used elsewhere by Chaucer, is for the language rather than the nationality,"(FN55) and this observation leads her to propose the poet himself as a more likely candidate for this description. It would certainly have been a good joke for Chaucer's audience to identify "Englyssh Gaufride" with their contemporary, since Chaucer himself, in writing Troilus and Criseyde, had added his poetic shoulder to the task of bearing up the fame of Troy.
    But the identification of "Englyssh Gaufride" with Chaucer himself is not without difficulties either. One longstanding objection -- that the form of the House of Fame in octosyllabic couplets proves it to be an early work that predates Troilus and Criseyde -- has been strongly challenged, both by Cooper (who notes the poem's familiarity with the works of Dante and Boethius) and by A. J. Minnis (who suggests that the poem "just might have been composed after Troilus and Criseyde").(FN56) More problematic is Chaucer's depiction of how the creation of written texts appears to remove their authors from temporal chronology, preserving them (like Virgil, Homer, and Dares) as if simultaneously and physically alive, weighed down for all eternity by their task of supporting their subjects:

Thoo saugh I on a piler by,
Of yren wroght ful sternely,
The grete poete daun Lucan,
And on hys shuldres bar up than,
As high as that y myghte see,
The fame of Julius and Pompe.

    If "Englyssh Gaufride" represents Chaucer, then the poet has represented himself, through the poetic persona "Geffrey," observing himself as "Gaufride," perched on a pillar shoring up the burden of Troy -- a disconcertingly postmodern figuration even in a poem as risk-taking and surprising as is the House of Fame.
    In many ways, the phrase "Englyssh Gaufride" provides a characteristic example of a favorite Chaucerian stratagem of figuration in which the image evokes a primary meaning that is (to some degree) destabilized, for the observant reader, by the possible presence of a secondary meaning that comments ironically on the first. Whereas, in his punning on Cimmerios/Cymry Chaucer allowed an expected and wholly unobjectionable primary meaning to camouflage the possibility of a potentially more politically challenging secondary meaning, in the case of "Englyssh Gaufride," the ideological boldness of the primary meaning is cushioned by the playful self-referentiality of the possible secondary meaning. To call either Geoffrey of Monmouth or his Historia "Englyssh" seems at first absurd, causing J. S. P. Tatlock to exclaim, "I hate to think of his feeling at being called English."(FN58) Cooper suggests that, if the depiction of Geoffrey of Monmouth were intended, Chaucer could have, without upsetting the scansion, inserted the name "British Gaufride,"(FN59) and she draws attention to Rees Davies's interpretation of the importance of Geoffrey's decision to name the Historia as a record of the kings of Britain rather than the kings of England.(FN60) Nonetheless, in the light of Davies's analysis, it may seem surprising that many recent critics have emphasized the role played by Geoffrey's Historia in the justification of the invasion of Wales. Michael Faletra even equates Geoffrey with his apparent ideological opponent, William of Malmesbury:

They both legitimate Norman colonization of Wales by creating and perpetuating textual myths of the innate defeatedness -- and the inevitable defeatability -- of the British people.(FN61)

    But there is a world of difference between the overt and functional ideology of William of Malmesbury's practice as an historian and the more complex and contradictory ideological intent ions of Geoffrey's Historia -- indeed, determining the intentions that shaped Geoffrey's text has always proved to be a most complex task.(FN62) From the first, Geoffrey's respect for the past greatness of British deeds seemed threatening to some English readers, causing William of Newburgh to jeer that Geoffrey wrote to please the Welsh. Yet intrinsic to the design of the Historia was Geoffrey's restatement, within a historically coherent framework, of the discourse of Britishness -- that is, that the physical continuity of Britain inevitably shaped a political continuity into which Wales (and, more problematically, Scotland and Ireland) had been, and would again, be bound.
    It was that sense of the justice and inevitability of the incorporation of Wales into a British political framework that later writers, whether justly or in error, drew from Geoffrey. The appropriation of past British glory as a support and ornament of present English dignity can be seen as an completed transaction in the texts of Geoffrey's successors, and particularly so in the work of Lagamon and the texts derived from his work, in the profusion of the Brut tradition (so much of which, unlike Geoffrey's, was written in English):

And AEnglisce kinges walden þas londes,
And Bruttes hit loseden, þis lond and þas leoden,
Þat naeuere seoooen maere kinges neoren here.
And English kings gained sovereignty over these lands, and the
Britons lost it, lost this land and the sovereignty of this nation,
so that never since that time have they been kings here.(FN63)

    Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia provided the crucial grappling hook that made possible the textual boarding and appropriation of insular traditions by the historians, lawyers, and mythographers of the Angevin ascendancy -- witnessed from Edward I's adducing of Galfridian "evidence" to justify his claims in Wales, to the fortunate "rediscovery" of the corpses of Arthur and Guinevere at the securely English site of Glastonbury at the end of the reign of Henry II. It is the proven fitness of Galfridian narrative to justify colonial adventures, allied to the centrality of the discourse of Britishness in the Historia regum Britannie that causes Chaucer to label Geoffrey of Monmouth with the provocative adjective "Englyssh," for, whatever his intentions in writing the Historia, the consequence of his creation was to arm the English crown with a powerful weapon in the textual war of claim and counterclaim, in justification of its actions in Wales and Ireland. That may have been as far from Geoffrey's intentions as the glorification of Caesar and Pompey was from Lucan's plan, but the designation of Geoffrey of Monmouth as "Englyssh Gaufride" provides another powerful reminder of one of the defining ideas of the House of Fame: the extent to which authors become vulnerable to the subsequent readings and misreadings of their audience, no matter how perverse or ideologically blinded those readings might be. Just as in the Vestibule of Fame it no longer matters whether Homer really "was to Grekes favourable" when, on the testimony of Dares, he is generally believed to be so, the mobilization of Geoffrey's Historia as a weapon in a colonial war, regardless of his intentions, lends a certain post hoc justice to his designation as "Englyssh Gaufride" -- implicitly contrasted with "Bret Glascurion," whose work (or the tradition he represents) had not proved so malleable to English motives.
    In the unsettling world of Fame, where the author's ability to control future interpretations of his work is shown to be as illusory as his ability to escape responsibility for the texts he has created, Geoffrey of Monmouth provides an ideal image of the unpredictable and uncomfortable relationship of author and text. The unresolved ideological contestations present in the text mean that, in the fourteenth century as in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, readers have drawn wholly opposite and irreconcilable understandings of the purpose of the Historia -- to an extent without parallel in English medieval literature (except, perhaps, in the work of Chaucer himself). Sometimes both possibilities are present in the text, and sometimes they represent the difference between the text's ostensible purpose and the reading subsequent audiences impose on the text. At the time of composition, and now, Chaucer's description of "Englyssh Gaufride" must be considered mischievous since its purpose, in part, is to focus attention on the imperfect synthesis within the text of Geoffrey's constructions of Britishness and Englishness. The potential separability of these two discourses of identity continues to cause difficulty in understanding both the Historia itself and the medieval readings of it. Looking at the vogue for post-Galfridian Trojan references in Ricardian literature, Sylvia Federico diagnoses them as related expressions of a developing English hermeneutic:

Sometimes specifically invoking Virgil, Geoffrey, and Guido, though just as of en disguising their sources, Geoffrey Chaucer, the Gawain-poet, John Gower, and John Lydgate use the Trojan myth to construct versions of their monarchs and also of themselves as specifically English inheritors of the translatio imperii et studii.(FN64)

    It would be surprising if the intentions of writers as different in temperament and cultural placement as Chaucer and the Gawain-poet should coincide so easily, far less with those of Lydgate, who wrote in a very different political climate -- after the deposition of Richard II, the Glyn Dwr challenge to the inevitability of British political union, and the resumption of war with France. For Federico, the Trojan myth functions as a vicarious expression of English ascendancy, centered on London as the New Troy: "Richard moved ever further away from London and from the model of Troy."(FN65)
    But the model of "Troy Novant" was not the only possible reading of Geoffrey's vision of Britishness. As a youth, Richard II had faced down an armed uprising in the streets of London, and it may be that the scars of that early encounter caused the distrustful and volatile dissatisfaction between king and capital that played such a major role in his loss of the throne. The instability of his hold on London, and on the loyalty and affection of Londoners, seems to have encouraged Richard to pay more heed to other potential centers of support and authority -- to the extent that Nigel Saul concludes that "Richard, to a greater extent than most of his line, had a sense of exercising a 'kingship of the British Isles.'"(FN66) It is not clear how far Richard had developed the idea of drawing support from other parts of the kingdom to support him against the hostility of London, but Walsingham's claim that he sought to create a base in Ireland suggests that at least the fear of his bypassing the dominance of London played a role in his removal. The substantial baronial wealth of Wales and the Marches, and the availability of large "militia" forces maintained to suppress the threat of Welsh unrest, must have played some part in "Richard's attachment to the midlands and the Welsh marches"(FN67) -- and it was there, at Denbigh Castle, that his reign was brought to an end.
    Richard's sense of himself as a king of all Britain certainly reflects a post-Galfridian interpretation of history, an interpretation clearly evidenced by his campaigns in Ireland, and against the Scots in 1385, that is, about the time the House of Fame was probably composed. At the start of the fourteenth century, the efforts of Edward I had seemed to bring the unification of Britain predicted by Merlin close to fruition, and Richard may have been tempted by the idea of recapturing some of the ground (and glory) lost since then:

But the stamp of the king of England's ultimate authority now lay over his lands throughout the British Isles.... The tide of English power over the British Isles appeared to reach its height in 1305.(FN68)

    Without wishing to suggest that Chaucer's House of Fame acts as a means of projecting royal policy, it seems probable that Chaucer's mention of "Englyssh Gaufride" at this stage of his career reflects the influence of Richard's engagement with ideas of a "kingship of the British Isles" -- ideas that were not to be fulfilled, and that had been decisively overturned by the time Chaucer was writing the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. But Chaucer's allusions to the idea are playful, indirect, and probably skeptical. In establishing a polarity in the text between "Englyssh Gaufride" and "Bret Glascurion," Chaucer is able to remind the reader that every political action, like every "tydynge" in the House of Rumor, will continue to have consequences that may be unsought and unforeseen.
    In a poem that demonstrates so clearly and so painfully the impossibility of an author maintaining any control over the interpretation of his text, it is fitting that Chaucer should (perhaps unconsciously) have devised perhaps the most memorable and perceptive image of the processes of cultural colonization in medieval Wales. A recurring concern of the poem is the contention between languages and cultures, in which some will be preserved and others lost. The loss of traditions and languages is depicted by Chaucer as the loss of "fame," imagined in the scratched names -- some clearly readable and others eroded beyond repair -- on the ice that supports the House of Fame:

Tho sawgh I al the half ygrave
With famous folkes names fele,
That had iben in mochel wele,
And her fames wide yblowe,
But wel unnethes koude I knowe
Any lettres for to rede
Hir names by; for, out of drede,
They were almost of howed so
That of the lettres oon or two
Was molte away of every name,
So unfamous was woxe hir fame.
But men seyn, "What may ever laste?"

    But Chaucer gives a highly personal twist to this imagery of the vanity of human intentions, as he notes that the unreadable names have not been destroyed by tempests but by the heat of the sun:

Thoo gan I in myn herte caste
That they were molte awey with hete,
And not awey with stormes bete.
For on that other syde I say
Of this hil that northward lay,
How hit was writen ful of names
Of folkes that hadden grete fames
Of olde tyme, and yet they were
As fressh as men had writen hem here
The selve day ryght, or that houre
That I upon hem gan to poure.
But wel I wiste what yt made;
Hyt was conserved with the shade
Of a castel that stood on high-
Al this writynge that I sigh-
And stood eke on so cold a place
That hete myghte hit not deface.

    There is a clear and bitter irony in Chaucer's insight that some reputations -- of warriors, and of authors -- would be "conserved with the shade/Of a castel that stood on high" while the fame of others "that had iben in mochel wele,/And her fames wide yblowe" was "molte away" -- like that of the mysterious Glascurion. It is an example of that rarest of Chaucerian occurrences, an undisguised political comment, which combines a general insight with an (implied) reference to a specific phenomenon of Chaucer's own time. The general observation -- that the survival of textual culture is dependent on military success -- inverts and reinforces Chaucer's insistence (in the imagery of the auctors on pillars) on the mutual dependence of writers and the powerful, who furnish their material and conserve their reputations. Whereas Lucan is inextricably implicated in the fama of Caesar and Pompey, it is the security provided by Caesar and Pompey's "castels" that has prevented the melting away of his work. For this dependence, there is a price to be paid, by the auctors perpetually bound to bear up their burden of fame, and by those others who must live with the consequences of this combined military and cultural assault. We do not know if Chaucer, in the course of his duties, visited Wales and observed the establishment of pockets of English culture protected by the castle walls -- of Pembroke, Cilgerran, Carmarthen, and other encastel-lated plantations across Wales -- but in the imagery of the House of Fame he renders with discreet but undeceived insight the extreme coldness endured by those living in the cultural shadow of the conquerors' castle walls.
    University of Cambridge Cambridge, U.K. (

1. The cost of Edward I's campaigns in Wales, and his policy of encastellation to maintain control, is discussed by Michael Prestwich, English Politics in the Thirteenth Century (Basingstoke, 1990), 111, and Edward I (London, 1988).
2. The progress of Glyn D^wr's campaign and its inconclusive ending are described by John Davies, The History of Wales (London, 1993), and R. R. Davies, Owain Glyn D^wr: trwy ras Duw, Tywysog Cymru (Talybont Ceredigion, 2002).
3. Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium (Courtiers' Trifles), ed. M. R. James, 2nd edn. rev. C. N. L. Brooke and R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1983).
4. Giraldus Cambrensis, Descriptio Kambriae, ed. James F. Dimock, in J. S. Brewer, J. F. Dimock, and G. F. Warner, eds., Giraldi Cambrensis: Opera, 8 vols. (London, 1861-91), 6:155-227.
5. This topic is raised in Simon Meecham-Jones, "Where Was Wales? The Erasure of Wales in Medieval English Culture," in Ruth Kennedy and Simon Meecham-Jones, eds., Authority and Subjugation in Writing of Medieval Wales (New York, 2008), 27-55.
6. Edmund Burke, Speech on Conciliation with America, ed. Hammond Lamont (Boston, 1903), 45.
7. It seems inconceivable that Langland could be unaware of the violence and discontent of lands that could be clearly seen from the Malvern Hills. The case of Gower is more uncertain. There was a suggestion, considered but never proven, that Gower himself might have been of Welsh origin, but there are no hints in his work of any awareness of, or interest in, possible links with Wales.
8. Martin M. Crow and Clair C. Olson, eds., Chaucer Life-Records, ed. (Oxford, 1966), 279-81.
9. Crow and Olson, Chaucer Life-Records, 544-45.
10. All quotations from Chaucer's works are from The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd edn. (Boston, 1987).
11. Jeffrey J. Cohen "Postcolonialism," in Steve Ellis, ed., Chaucer: An Oxford Guide (Oxford, 2005), 448-62, at 452.
12. John M. Bowers, "Chaucer after Smithfield," in Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed., The Postcolonial Middle Ages (Basingstoke, 2000), 53-66, at 55.
13. Cohen, "Postcolonialism," 452-53.
14. Patrick J. Geary, The Myth of Nations (Princeton, 2002), 15.
15. Derek Pearsall, "Chaucer and Englishness," in Kathryn Lynch, ed., Chaucer's Cultural Geography (New York, 2002), 281-301, at 287.
16. Pearsall, "Chaucer and Englishness," 287.
17. Pearsall, "Chaucer and Englishness," 291.
18. The relationship of Welsh sources and materials to the European Arthurian tradition is considered in Rachel Bromwich, A. O. H. Jarman, and Brynley F. Roberts, eds., The Arthur of the Welsh (Cardif, 1991).
19. E.g., Sheila Delany, Chaucer's House of Fame: The Poetics of Skeptical Fideism (Gainesville, Fla., 1994); Piero Boitani, Chaucer and the Imaginary World of Fame (Woodbridge, 1984); and Helen Cooper, "The Four Last Things in Dante and Chaucer: Ugolino in the House of Rumour," New Medieval Literatures 3 (1999): 39-66.
20. The manuscripts are Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 16, fols. 154v-183v, Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 638, fols 141v-193v, and Cambridge, Magdalene College Library MS Pepys 2006, pp. 91-114.
21. Ovid in Six Volumes, IV. Metamorphoses II, ed. and trans. Frank Justus Miller (Cambridge, Mass., 1916; repr. 1976), 162-63.
22. In MS Pepys 2006, three minim strokes appear to represent im, since elsewhere in the manuscript, the scribe has more flamboyantly tailed y figures. The scribal hands are identified and brief y described in A. S. G. Edwards, intro., MS Pepys 2006: A Facsimile Edition (Woodbridge, 1995), xxv-vi.
23. Frederick J. Furnivall, A Parallel Text Edition of Chaucer's Minor Poems (London, 1878), 182-83.
24. Frederick J. Furnivall, Odd Texts of Chaucer's Minor Poems (London, 1878), 182.
25. The familiar modern spelling of Cymru as a distinct word to represent 'Wales' is first recorded in the sixteenth century. The terms used by the Welsh to describe themselves are analyzed by Huw Pryce, "British or Welsh? National Identity in Twelfth-Century Wales," English Historical Review 116 (2001): 775-801.
26. Paul Strohm, Social Chaucer (Cambridge, Mass., 1989), 41.
27. In the 1920s C. E. Ward considered the claims of three Clanvowes to the authorship of the poem, but V. J. Scattergood, Lee Patterson, and others have decisively settled on the first of Ward's three candidates as the author. See C. E. Ward, "The Authorship of 'The Cuckoo and the Nightingale,'" Modern Language Notes 44 (1929): 217-26; V. J. Scattergood, The Works of Sir John Clanvowe (Cambridge, U.K., 1975); and Lee Patterson, "Court Politics and the Invention of Literature: The Case of Sir John Clanvowe," in David Aers, ed., Culture and History 1350-1600 (Hemel Hempstead, 1992), 7-41. Clanvowe's career is recounted by Derek Brewer (Chaucer and His World [London, 1978], 169-73), while John M. Bowers offers a vivid interpretation of Clanvowe's life and its possible influence on Chaucer's KnT ("Three Readings of The Knight's Tale: Sir John Clanvowe, Geoffrey Chaucer, and James I of Scotland," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 34 [2004]: 279-307).
28. For example, G. L. Kittredge, "A Friend of Chaucer's," PMLA 16 (1901): 450-52, offered another candidate who might have informed Chaucer about Welsh traditions (in this case Glascurion). He traced Chaucer's association with Lewis Johan, a Londoner who, in the reign of Henry I V, successfully applied to be exempted from the prohibitions on the children of Welsh fathers and mothers owning property in England.
29. The development of the trope of Welsh barbarism, and the crucial role of William of Malmesbury in broadcasting the idea, is discussed by John Gillingham, The English in the Twelfth Century (Woodbridge, 2000).
30. James Simpson, "Chaucer as a European Writer," in Seth Lerer, ed., The Yale Companion to Chaucer (New Haven, 2006), 55-86, at 60.
31. Suggested by F. N. Robinson, ed., The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd edn. (Boston, 1957; repr. 1974), 787.
32. Bede's complex manipulation of forms of the word is considered by Alexander Murray, "Bede and the Unchosen Race," in Huw Pryce and John Watts, eds., Power and Identity in the Middle Ages: Essays in Memory of Rees Davies (Oxford, 2007), 52-67.
33. See Sally Harper, "'Songes of the Doeinges of their Auncestors': Aspects of Welsh and English Musical Traditions," in Kennedy and Meecham-Jones, eds., Authority and Subjugation, 231-50.
34. All citations from Confessio Amantis are from G. C. Macaulay, ed., The Works of John Gower: The English Works, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1901), 1:33-34. R. F. Yeager argues for the centrality of the imagery of Arion in any account of Gower's intentions and achievements in Confessio Amantis (John Gower's Poetic: The Search For a New Arion [Cambridge, U.K., 1990], 237-44, 278-79).
35. The "Welsh Tradition" here includes poets such as Taliesin and Aneirin, who might more accurately be described as Brythonic poets, and who are believed to have written in the Brythonic kingdoms of Northern England and Scotland rather than in Wales, but whose work has been preserved in Welsh manuscripts.
36. There is no mention of Glascurion in Thomas Parry's definitive A History of Welsh Literature, trans. H. Idris Bell (Oxford, 1955), or in more recent works of reference, such as Meic Stephens, ed., The New Companion to the Literature of Wales (Cardiff, 1998).
37. See, for example, Andrew Breeze, "The Bret Glascurion and Chaucer's House of Fame," Review of English Studies, n.s. 45 (1994): 63-69.
38. Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 5 vols. (Boston, 1882-98), 2:57.
39. Gavin Douglas, The Palice of Honour, in Priscilla Bawcutt, ed., The Shorter Poems of Gavin Douglas (Edinburgh, 2003), 524-25.
40. David C. Fowler, The Literary History of the Popular Ballad (Oxford, 1985), 5. A contrasted view is offered by Richard Firth Green, "The Ballad and the Middle Ages," in Helen Cooper and Sally Mapstone, eds., The Long Fifteenth Century (Oxford, 1997), 163-84.
41. Richard Firth Green, "Did Chaucer Know the Ballad of Glen Kindy?," Neophilologus 92 (2008): 351-58, at 356.
42. Green, "Did Chaucer Know the Ballad of Glen Kindy?," 357.
43. The question of whether Chaucer misunderstood Lollius to be the author of works by Boccaccio or chose the name to disguise that of his Italian source was raised by G. L. Kittredge ("Chaucer's Lollius," Harvard Studies in Comparative Philology 28 [1917]: 47-133), and has been considered more recently by Barry Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde. Oxford Guides to Chaucer (Oxford, 2002), 37-50, and by Bella Millett, "Chaucer, Lollius, and the Medieval Theory of Authorship," Studies in the Age of Chaucer 1 (1984), 93-103.
44. Gwydion appears in the fourth book of the Mabinogi and also in the older poem "Cad Goddeu" [the Battle of the Trees], which survives in the Book of Taliesin (Aberwystwyth, National Library of Wales MS Peniarth 2). It seems almost inconceivable that Chaucer could have had access to either of these sources.
45. Traditional Welsh and Irish naming of colors is discussed by Heidi A. Lazar Meyn, "The Colour System of the Modern Celtic Languages: Effects of Language Contact," in P. Sture Ureland and George Broderick, eds., Language Contact in the British Isles (Tübingen, 1991), 227-42.
46. Breeze, "The Bret Glascurion," 68.
47. All translations of Welsh terms make use of definitions from Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru [The University of Wales Dictionary of Welsh] (Cardiff, 1968-87).
48. The suffixion does form a plural on certain nouns in Welsh, though not, unfortunately any of these, which form the following plurals: carn: ceirn, cernydd, carnau; craig: creigiau, creigydd; carreg: cerrig; caer: caerau, caeroedd, ceyrydd.
49. Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, trans. Lewis Thorpe (Harmondsworth, 1966), 196-98.
50. Furnivall, Parallel Text Edition of Chaucer's Minor Poems, 214; Furnivall, Odd Texts of Chaucer's Minor Poems, 214.
51. A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad (London, 1898).
52. Cooper, "The Four Last Things," 58.
53. William of Newburgh, Historia rerum Anglicarum, The History of English Affairs, Book 1, ed. and trans. P. G. Walsh and M. J. Kennedy (Warminster, 1988), 28-37.
54. T. D. Crawford, "On the Linguistic Competence of Geoff rey of Monmouth," Medium AEvum 51 (1982): 152-62.
55. Cooper, "The Four Last Things," 58.
56. A. J. Minnis, Oxford Guides to Chaucer. The Shorter Poems (Oxford, 1995), 170-71. The problems of dating Chaucer's poems, and in particular HF, have been reconsidered by Kathryn L. Lynch, "Dating Chaucer," Chaucer Review 42 (2007): 1-22.
57. This imagery is considered at more length in S. Meecham-Jones, "The Invisible Siege: The Depiction of Warfare in the Poetry of Chaucer," in Corinne Saunders, Françoise le Saux, and Neil Thomas, eds., Writing War: Medieval Literary Responses (Woodbridge, 2004), 147-67.
58. John S. P. Tatlock, "The Date of the Troilus and Minor Chauceriana," Modern Language Notes 50 (1935): 277-96, at 286.
59. Cooper, "The Four Last Things," 58.
60. R. R. Davies, "The Peoples of Britain 1100-1400, II: Names, Boundaries and Regnal Solidarities," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 5 (1995): 1-20.
61. Michael Faletra, "Narrating the Matter of Britain: Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Norman Colonization of Wales," Chaucer Review 35 (2000): 60-85.
62. To mention just a few of the many interpretations of Geoffrey's practice: John Gillingham, The English in the Twelfth Century (Woodbridge, 2000); Michelle R. Warren, History on the Edge: Excalibur and the Borders of Britain 1100-1300 (Minneapolis, 2000), xi; Julia C. Crick, The Reception of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britannie: The Evidence of Manuscripts and Textual History (Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge University, 1989); and Julia C. Crick, The Historia Regum Britannie: IV. Dissemination and Reception in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, U.K., 1991).
63. Layamon, Brut or Hystoria Brutonum, ed. and trans. W. R. J. Barron and S. C. Weinberg (Harlow, 1995), 824-25 (lines 16091-92).
64. Sylvia Federico, New Troy: Fantasies of Empire in the Late Middle Ages (Minneapolis, 2003), xix.
65. Federico, New Troy, 93.
66. Nigel Saul, Richard II (New Haven, 1997), 81.
67. Saul, Richard II, 81.
68. R. R. Davies, Domination and Conquest: The Experience of Ireland, Scotland and Wales 1100-1300 (Cambridge, U.K., 1990), 127.