Five Fascinating Facts about John Lydgate

A generally unknown poet who could put many of us to shame with his massive output. Perhaps overshadowed by that other medieval literary master, Geoffrey Chaucer.

Interesting Literature

A short biography of a medieval poet

1. John Lydgate wrote one of the first true epic poems in the English language. Lydgate’s Troy Book runs to a whopping 30,000 lines, making it one of the longest poems in the English literature (as well as one of the earliest Lydgate was born in around 1370 and died in about 1451). To put that in perspective, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, itself not exactly a short work, is just over 17,000 lines. In other words, Lydgate’s Troy Book is big. (Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene is 35,000 lines long, and so beats Lydgate’s poem. And The Faerie Queene is a gargantuan epic.)

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