English writer Geoffrey Chaucer.

Geoffrey Chaucer

(c. 1342 - 1400)

The son of a middle-class wine merchant whose surname derived from the French word for “maker of footwear,” Geoffrey Chaucer enters the historical record in 1357 as a member of the household of the countess of Ulster. He later served in Edward III’s army in France, paid a fine for beating a Franciscan friar in the streets of London, and traveled to Spain in the first of many diplomatic missions in 1366. He is the author of The Canterbury Tales.

All Writing

Drunkenness is the very sepulcher / Of man’s wit and his discretion.

—Geoffrey Chaucer, c. 1390


In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Four o’ the clock it was, to make a guess; / Eleven foot long, or little more or less, / My shadow was, as at that time and place, / Measuring feet by taking in this case / My height as six.”

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