John Gower (1330? - 1399?) was an English poet, and a contemporary of William Langland and Geoffrey Chaucer, commanded by Richard II to write poetry in what is now referred to as Middle English. Gower did so, after already composing or translating a number of lines in both the Latin and French languages.

Gower was largely a religious court poet, his poems formed for recitation. Whether in Latin, French, or English, the poems are generally highly allegorical. Gower describes; he doesn't innovate - save for the first major use of English in poetry.

His most famous poem is The Lover's Confession, dignified in Latin as Confessio Amantis. For this poem, Gower was heavily influenced by Jean de Meun's Romance of the Rose.

Gower was born of a prominent and well-off family; his was a rich lifestyle from birth. There is some evidence for a strong friendship between Gower and Chaucer; for a time, they swapped dedications of new poems.

Major Works