Gower Bibliography

'Scripture Veteris Capiunt Exempla Futuri': John Gower's Transformation of a Fable of Avianus

Yeager, R.F. "'Scripture Veteris Capiunt Exempla Futuri': John Gower's Transformation of a Fable of Avianus." In Retelling Tales: Essays in Honor of Russell Peck. Ed. Hahn, Thomas and Lupack, Alan. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1997, pp. 341-54.


Yeager examines Gower’s tale of “The Travellers and the Angel? (CA 2.291-372) in comparison to its source in Avianus (Fables 22). In order to depict the nature of Envy, Gower chooses a tale whose central metaphor is blindness. He brings it within a sphere of Christian reference by attributing to Jove many of the attributes of the Christian God and replacing Apollo with an angel. He also emphasizes the choices that each man makes: each man is depicted as a sinner rather than merely as an embodiment of a sin. The choice of the greedy man, to defer his request, better reveals his nature than in Avianus, where he asks for nothing. The angel’s offer of a gift for the “kindeschipe? of their hospitality resonates ironically: where the word implies fellowship and likeness, it also draws attention to the men’s difference from the angel and to the way in which they act irrationally, according to “kinde.? In his conclusion, finally, Genius draws an application not just to Amans but to the broader world which “empeireth? because of sins like those that the two men illustrate, asserting again the relation between individual virtue and common profit that was identified as the major theme of the poem by the man who is honored by the festschrift in which Yeager’s essay appears. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 18.2]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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