Gower Bibliography

Old Gower's Voyage to Byzantium

Davies, Neville. "Old Gower's Voyage to Byzantium." In KM 80: A Birthday Album for Kenneth Muir, Tuesday, 5 May, 1987. Ed. UNSPECIFIED. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1987, pp. 34-35.


In a manuscript note on a late draft of "Sailing to Byzantium," Yeats wrote that he "had just finished a poem in which a poet of the Middle Ages besought the saints 'in the holy fire' to send their ecstasy" (Davies, p. 34). Davies deduces that the poet Yeats had in mind was John Gower, not exactly as he is best known to readers of JGN, but the figure that Shakespeare created as the choric "presenter" of Pericles. Davies advances similarities in situation between Yeats' narrator and Shakespeare's poet -- both are old men, transmitting an ancient tradition to a younger audience -- and cites verbal parallels that suggest even more strongly that Yeats recalled the prologue to Shakespeare's play at some point during the composition of his poem. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 10.1]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Influence and Later Allusion

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