A closeup of Gower's effgy. His tomb lies in Southwark
Gower most likely commissioned his own
tomb. He chose to represent himself with his head resting on three
books, which bear the titles of his major works: "Vox Clamantis"
(written in Latin), "Speculum Meditantis" (or "Mirour de l'Omme,"
written in French), and "Confessio Amantis" (written in English).
A view of the entire tomb as it looks today.
Rosamund Allen describes the tomb in
this fasion: "It is a lasting memorial to a man who wrote in the three
literary languages of late fourteenth-century England. Significantly,
it bears inscriptions in the two languages which represent the higher
linguistic registers: a Latin verse epitaph composed by Gower himself,
three personifications bearing scrolls with Anglo-Norman prayers, and
an inscriptions in Latin presenting Gower as both gentleman and,
unusually, poet....[T]he tomb presents a double paradox. Gower's
constant theme--'all things pass'---and his concluding moral in
'Confessio Amantis' are challenged, even negated in his tomb, which
attests the eternally pristine quality of poetic fame in the face of
worldly dissolution" ("Gower and Southwark," pg. 147).
Another closeup of the tomb effigy.
Again, Rosamund Allen: "Gower's bones
have indeed been lost since the early nineteenth century or before, but
his effigy, attired like a courtier-lover, like Amans in fact, was
restored and repainted in 1958 in an approximation to its original
form. In a much-changed and secularized locality, Gower's effigy,
wearing a chaplet of roses, still gazes at a rose-strewn vault more
emblematic of eternal youth than of the mysteries of heaven" (pg. 147).