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DIMEV 5277
IMEV 3348
NIMEV 3348
The first stock father of gentilesse
Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘Gentilesse’ — three stanzas rhyme royal
Note: Inserted also in Scogan’s ‘Moral Balade’, for which see 3645; in one manuscript with two-couplet epilogue; unattributed editions, Anderson (1793), 1.579; Clarke (1835), 2.306.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): ‘Gentilesse’
Subjects: gentleman, qualities of
Versification: — seven-line — ababbcc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 59 (SC 6943), f. 27
First Lines:
þe first fader and foundour of gentylesse
What man þat claymeþe gentyle for to be
Moste felowe hees traas and alle hees wittes dresse
Vertue to suwe and vyces for to flee…
Last Lines:
…þat maþe his heyre him þat wol him qweme
Al were he mytre crowne or dyademe
Note: The poem is inserted between stanzas 13 and 14 of Scogan’s ‘Moral Balade’ (3645).
Attributed Author: Geffrey Chaucier made þeos thre balades nexst þat folowen (f. 27)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A One-Text Print of the Minor Poems. 2 pts. London: Trübner, 1871, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Chambers, Edmund Kerchever, and Frank Sidgwick. Early English Lyrics…. London: Buller, 1907, 1911 et seq: 174.
Forni, Kathleen, ed. The Chaucerian Apocrypha: A Selection. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 2005.
2.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Gg.4.27 (Part 1b), f. 1v
First Lines:
The first stoke father of gentilnes
What man desireth gentill for to be…
Last Lines:
…that made them gentlemen I called bee
And bidd vs followe them in such degree
Note: Late (seventeenth-century) copy from Speght (1598); adds a fourth stanza, unique.
Facsimiles:
Parkes, Malcolm B., and Richard Beadle. “Introduction.” Poetical Works. Geoffrey Chaucer. A Facsimile of Cambridge University Library MS Gg.4.27. 3 vols Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1979 (vol. 1); 1980 (vols. 2-3).
3.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.20 (600), pp. 358-359
First Lines:
Þe first fader fynder of gentylesse
What man desyreþe gentyl for to be
Mote filowe heos traces and alle heos wittes dresse
Vertue to suwe and vyces for to flee…
Last Lines:
…Þat makeþe heos heyres hem þat wel him qweeme
Al weyre þey mytre corone or dyadeeme
Attributed Title: Balade by Chaucier (p. 358 and RT)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.14.51 (921), f. iv
First Lines:
The first stake fadre of gentylnes
Wh[ ]lk kleymyht gentyl for to be…
Last Lines:
…And [ ] R[ ]f savely dar y deme
[ ]yhter croune or deyodeme
Note: One stanza only; part of text lost due to damp.
Attributed Title: Balade (f. iv)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
5.Source: London, British Library Cotton Cleopatra D.VII, f. 188v
First Lines:
The firste stock fader of gentilnesse
What man desireth gentil for to be…
Last Lines:
…That maketh his heires hem that hym queme
All were he myter Coroune or dyademe
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Robinson, F. N., ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933; 2nd ed. 1957: 632; 1957; 536.
Luria, Maxwell Sidney, and Richard L. Hoffman, eds. Middle English Lyrics. New York: Norton, 1974: 166-7.
Pace, George B., and Alfred David, eds. The Minor Poems of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Variorum Edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer vol. 5, part 1. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982: 73-6.
Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987: 654.
6.Source: London, British Library Harley 2251, f. 48v
First Lines:
The first stok was fader of gentilnes
And who that claymeth gentil for to be…
Last Lines:
…That makith his Eyre suche as can hym qweume
Whether he were myter crowne or dyademe
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
7.Source: London, British Library Harley 7333, f. 147vb1
First Lines:
ÞE ffirste fadir & fynder of gentilnesse
what man desireith gentil for to be…
Last Lines:
…Whech maþe his herres hem þat doone him queme
Al were he mytre corone or dyademe
Note: The ‘e’ is written over a ‘y’ in the final word, ‘dyademe’. This item precedes Truth (1326) on f. 147vb).
Attributed Title: Moral balade of Chaucier (f. 147vb, rubric)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
8.Source: London, British Library Harley 7578, f. 17r1
First Lines:
The first strooke fader of gentelnesse
What man desireth gentel for to bee…
Last Lines:
…That maketh his eyres hem that him queme
Alle were he myter corowne or diademe
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
9.Source: London, British Library Addit. 22139, f. 138ra1
First Lines:
The firste stok fader of gentilnesse
What mani that coueyteth gentil for to be…
Last Lines:
…That maketh his eires hem that can him queme
All were he mitre corone or diademe
Note: Follows immediately after 6044, and immediately before 4990.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
10.Source: Coventry, Coventry Archives Acc. 325/1, f. 76va-76vb
First Lines:
The first stokke fadir of gentilnesse
What man þat coueitith gentil to be…
Last Lines:
…That makith his Ewis hem þat can hym queme
All were he myter croos or diademe
Attributed Title: Balade (f. 76va)
11.Source: Nottingham, Nottingham University Library Mellish Lm 1 [olim Mellish; olim Hadsock Priory nr Worksop], f. 20ra
First Lines:
The firste stokke fader of gentylnesse
What man that cleymeth gentyll for to be
Muste felowe hys tras and hys wyttes dresse
Vertu to love and vices for to fflee…
Last Lines:
…Al were he mytur crowne or dyademe
Who that hath troweth pyte fredam & hardynes
He ys a man enherytode in gentylnes
Of these fowere vertues who þat laketh thre
Cald gentylman he oweth not for to be
Note: Added by hand of the fifteenth century, adding four-line stanza, two couplets.
Editions:
Davis, Norman. “Chaucer’s Gentilesse: A Forgotten Manuscript with some Proverbs.” Review of English Studies 20 (1969): 43-50: 46-7.



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 5091. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Temple of Bras, or Assembly or Parliament of Fowls, Caxton, 1477?
Editions:
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 1.392-3.
2.Source: Geoffrey Chaucer, Workes, Thynne, 1532 , f. 380va-380vb
First Lines:
The first stocke father of gentylnesse
What man that claymeth gentyl for to be…
Last Lines:
…That maketh his heires hem þat can him queme
Al weare he mytre crowne or dyademe
Note: Follows immediately after prologue of Scogan (3645; ‘My noble sonnes and eke…’) without heading or break, and followed immediately by epilogue (‘Lo here this noble poete of Bretayne…’ — 3150) without break or heading.
3.Source: STC 5075. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The workes of Geffrey Chaucer, newlie printed, with diuers addicions, whiche were neuer in print before: with the siege and destruccion of the worthy citee of Thebes, compiled by Ihon Lidgate, Monke of Berie. As in the table more plainly doeth appere, [Imprinted at London: By Ihon Kyngston, for Ihon Wight, dwellyng in Poules Churchyarde], 1561