John Gower

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Vox Clamantis

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Vox Clamantis is one of the major definitive works of the English poet John Gower. It consists of roughly 10,000 lines, is written in elegiac verse, and is a grim reflection of Gower's personal feelings towards the Peasant Uprising of 1381.

Contents [hide]

• 1 Historical Fact• 2 Themes• 3 Relevance in Canon

Historical Fact

Medieval England was a combustible environment in the 14th century. Aside from the general ugliness of the time and the constant change, the hierarchy of the feudalism system was hard on certain castes of people more than others. The surfs, or peasants, were situated at the lowest rung of society. Their unfortunate position was cause for rabid mistreatment by those who governed them. An increasing hostility was borne on behalf of the peasants at several developments that abused them further. Chief among their concerns were: 1. weariness that their freedom would be revoked by the lords of the manors that they worked on 2. employment without wage by the church 3. an additional tax of 5 pounds that rendered their destitution nearly unbearable.

As a result, the peasants rioted and stormed the Tower of London in a bloody siege. After intermittent bouts of violence and demands, the mandates were repealed and the disgruntled peasants concluded their campaign with several, but not all of, their demands met.


Gower used the event as the subject for “Vox Clamantis”. Instead of acknowledging that the uprising arose out of anger on behalf of the peasants in reaction to injustice, he channels it through his own perspective. He views the incident as a sinister sign for the future, and imagines a land rife with chaos and lawlessness. He fears that barbaric brutes will seize control of the leadership, while educated men such as himself and those that govern law will live in servitude, powerless against the forces of the ignorant.

Relevance in Canon

Many of Gower’s principal worries and concerns are encapsulated in “Vox Clamantis”. In all of his work there can be found a profound respect for education, and a stress on the need for law and order. In “Vox Clamantis”, Gower emphasizes his ideas and proclaims his fear that neither will exist in the future. He believes that if simple peasants can bind together and overthrow the all-mighty government, they can eventually achieve domination, and the laws that regulate civility will no longer be relevant. In a land where concepts like law and justice are obsolete, education will have no bearing, thus rendering Gower’s own personal sense of purpose void.

Sources: Evaluations

There are quite a few unclear areas in this article. For example, what is meant by the "general ugliness of the times"? Also typos, like I think you meant "serfs" not "surfs"; and perhaps "rampant" not "rabid"? I think you need to focus more on John Glower, since that is what your article's main focus is supposed to do and not concentrate so much on the revolt. Mention Glower's life history, and the effects of his book. Grade: B-

I also agree there were too many spelling mistakes, and in addition, it was a very short article. I also believe there needed to be more focus on John Glower, in addition to this information. Otherwise, the information relating to the times was very accurate. B

Break this up! Add links to other facets of his story to help the ebb and the flow of the entry. It is always easier to navigate one's research if the proper heading is there. Great information though! GRADE B

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