This column from the Colonial Literary Journal in 1844 provides a biography of medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Quoting from an unnamed source, the article names Chaucer alongside Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton as one of the ‘Four Great English Poets’, and credits him with helping to form the English language. In its praise of Chaucer’s poetry, the article likens him to a range of Renaissance painters: “Chaucer excels in pathos, in humour, in satire, character, and description. –His graphic faculty, and healthy sense of the material, strongly ally him to the painter; and perhaps a better idea could not be given of his universality than by saying, that he was at once the Italian and the Flemish painter of his time, and exhibited the pure expression of Raphael, the devotional intensity of Domenechino. The colour and corporeal fire of Titian, the manners of Hogarth, and the homely domesticities of Ostade and Teniers!”
Although the article lists 1328 as the year of Chaucer’s birth, most scholars date it almost two decades later, c.1340. See for example, Douglas Gray, ‘Chaucer, Geoffrey (c.1340–1400)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/5191, accessed 24 Feb 2011.