The French influences on this Prologue, its connexion with the Flower and the Leaf controversy, and the priority of what had previously been reckoned as the second or "B" form of the Prologue over the "A," were demonstrated in papers by Prof.
Of this there was a new edition in 1542 for John Reynes and William Bonham, and an undated reprint a few years later for Bonham, Kele, Petit and, Toye, each of whom put his name on part of the edition.
In September of the following year John of Gaunt's wife, the duchess Blanche, died at the age of twenty-nine, and Chaucer wrote in her honour , a poem of 1334 lines in octosyllabic couplets, the first of his undoubtedly genuine works which can be connected with a definite date.
He was back probably some time before Michaelmas, and seems to have remained in England till the 1st of December 1372, when he started, with an advance of 100 marks in his pocket, for Italy, as one of the three commissioners to treat with the Genoese as to an English port where they might have special facilities for trade.
The accounts which he delivered on his return on the 23rd of May 1373 show that he had also visited Florence on the king's business, and he probably went also to Padua and there made the acquaintance of Petrarch.
In the second quarter of 1374 Chaucer lived in a whirl of prosperity.
The pilgrims whom he imagines to have assembled at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, where Harry Bailey was host, are said to have numbered "wel nyne and twenty in a company," and the Prologue gives full-length sketches of a Knight, a Squire (his son), and their Yeoman; of a Prioress, Monk, Friar, Oxford Clerk, and Parson, with two disreputable hangers-on of the church, a Summoner and Pardoner; of a Serjeant-at-Law and a Doctor of Physic, and of a Franklin, or country gentleman, Merchant, Shipman, Miller, Cook, Manciple, Reeve, Ploughman (the Parson's brother) and the ever-famous Wife of Bath.
On the 1st of March 1360 the King  contributed £16 to his ransom, and by a year or two later Chaucer must have entered the royal service, since on the 10th of June 1367 Edward granted him a pension of twenty marks for his past and future services.
A pension of ten marks had been granted by the king the previous September to a Philippa Chaucer for services to the queen as one of her "domicellae" or "damoiselles," and it seems probable that at this date Chaucer was already married and this Philippa his wife, a conclusion which used to be resisted on the ground of allusions in his early poems to a hopeless love-affair, now reckoned part of his poetical outfit.
Philippa is usually said to have been one of two daughters of a Sir Payne Roet, the other being Katherine, who after the death of her first husband, Sir Hugh de Swynford, in 1372, became governess to 's children, and subsequently his mistress and (in 1396) his wife.
On the 8th of June he was appointed Comptroller of the Custom and Subsidy of Wools, Hides and Woodfells and also of the Petty Customs of Wine in the Port of London.
A month before this appointment, and probably in anticipation of it, he took (May 10, 1374) a lease for life from the city of London of the dwelling-house above the gate of Aldgate, and here he lived for the next twelve years.
In January 1378 he seems to have been in France in connexion with a proposed marriage between Richard and the daughter of the French king; and on the 28th of May of the same year he was sent with Sir Edward de Berkeley to the lord of Milan and Sir John Hawkwood to treat for help in the king's wars, returning on the 19th of September.
This was his last diplomatic journey, and the close of a period of his life generally considered to have been so unprolific of poetry that little beyond the Clerk's "Tale of Grisilde," one or two other of the stories afterwards included in the , and a few short poems, are attributed to it, though the poet's actual absences from England during the eight years amount to little more than eighteen months.
He was paid £22 as a reward for his later missions in Edward III's reign, and was allowed an annual gratuity of 10 marks in addition to his pay of £10 as comptroller of the customs of wool. In April 1382 a new comptrollership, that of the petty customs in the Port of London, was given him, and shortly after he was allowed to exercise it by deputy, a similar licence being given him in February 1385, at the instance of the , as regards the comptrollership of wool.
In October 1385 Chaucer was made a justice of the peace for Kent.