The Confessio Amantis was published in 1390 and was afterwards twice revised by Gower replacing the address to Richard II by a praise of Henry IV.

The poem is over 33,000 lines long and divided into a Prologue and eight Books. The Prologue offers a personal complaint on the state of the world and times and the announcement that Gower will write about love.

Book I starts with the framework of a lover's confession to Genius, the priest of Venus. The lover complains about having served the God of Love too long without reward. Venus advises him to confess to her priest. Throughout Book I-VII, Genius asks his questions with regard to love. He follows the pattern of the Seven Deadly Sins and gives instructions by telling exemplary tales mostly taken from classical literature and medieval romance. All in all, 141 stories are told, some of which are paralleled in the works of Chaucer.

Book VIII deals with the laws of marriage. Having understood the ethics of love the lover is shriven of his sins. He is told that he is too old for love. The God of Love, who has accompanied his mother Venus, even takes away his arrows and disappears, and the Lover understands. He is pondering for a while about what he has heard and finally tells us:

Homeward a softe pas y wente (CA 2,967)

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John Gower: Confessio Amantis