The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Kinneavy, Gerald B. "The Poet in The Palice of Honour." 3 (1969): 280-303.
Gavin Douglas's The Palice of Honour shows a poet seeking honor through his poetry, though he recognizes that wisdom, chastity, and virtue could also gain him honor. The conventional opening actually serves to direct attention to the poet's powers of creation. The change from May garden to wasteland, representations of the avenues of wisdom and charity which the poet sees, and the complaint against the inconstancy of Venus all underscore the poet's desire for honor while depicting the ways in which he is incapable of achieving it. The poet recognizes his need to be saved from Venus (whom he has insulted) and from the wasteland in which he finds himself. Calliope, the muse of poetry, comes to rescue him, but to be released from Venus' court, the poet must write, thereby focusing attention primarily on the creative poetic faculty. A nymph takes the poet on a journey, showing him the materials (beautiful sights) out of which he can make poetry. The only resting place is the fountain of poetry. From here, the poet can begin seeking the Palice, but his poetry demonstrates that he still has much to learn. At the end, the poem asserts that the poet ought to live a virtuous life, and the poet demonstrates an understanding of his art and its purpose, thus eventually gaining the Palice of Honor.