Early English Portraiture
In this Western Mail article from 1930, the author begins by providing a somewhat negative review of Thomas Hoccleve’s poem, “The Regiment of Princes”. Asserting that the poem “looks better than it reads”, the author describes it as a “long and tedious poem on virtues and vices in imitation of an older writing”. The author goes on to suggest that Hoccleve has “an historical, rather than a literary value”, because he drew in the margin of the book what was thought to be the most accurate portrait of his near contemporary, Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340-1400), and revered him in the text. The author concludes that although not a great poet, Hoccleve was probably an “earnest, forthright man”, because he knew his limitations.
Thomas Hoccleve (c.1367-1426) was an English poet and clerk of the Privy Seal. “The Regiment of Princes” was written in 1410-11 and was addressed to Prince Henry, the future King Henry V. It describes the virtues of a good ruler, and survives in 43 manuscript copies. For the text of Hoccleve’s “The Regiment of Princes”, see http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/hoccfrm.htm.