George Ashby, A Prisoner's Reflections

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A Prisoner’s Reflections

(henceforth:

Reflections

) is a Boethian poem written in 1463 by former signet scribe George Ashby while he was incarcerated in the Fleet prison. Starting with a lament on his present unfortunate circumstances, Ashby reflects on his happier days in the past, only to proceed with a poetical lesson to help both himself and his readers reconcile themselves with their worldly fate. Only one copy of the poem is known to exist today, in Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.3.19, a collection of fifteenth-century vernacular short lyrics as well as excerpts from larger poems such as John Lydgate’s

Fall of Princes

.

The poem’s author, George Ashby (c. 1385-1475), was scribe of the king’s signet seal for much of his professional career, from 1437 to 1461. He left royal

1125 words

Citation: Douma, Aline. "A Prisoner's Reflections". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 November 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=39165, accessed 17 April 2024.]

39165 A Prisoner's Reflections 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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