Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University


What is it?

It's certainly occasional: a Valentine's Day poem. Valentine's Day was observed as a court holiday and did not filter down until later.

Why the bird persona? (One hopes Chaucer did not have to recite in a duck suit....)

Why is the complaint unintegrated?
Evidence of prior composition and tacked on?
Evidence that it is specific to this situation?

Recommended Reading:

Williams, George. A New View of Chaucer. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1965. Chapter II: Chaucer and John of Gaunt, and his chapter on the "Complaint of Mars" (56-65).

Chaucer Index