Chaucer’s part in raising the status of English so that it could compete as a literary language with French was a vital one, and his position at court was the only vantage-point from which influence could have been exerted. The history of Chaucer’s career as a member of the royal household, as an ambassadorial secretary and as a civil servant is well-documented. For Chaucer’s real sources of nourishment, for his audience, his circle, have to look beneath the surface glitter of the royal court, to the multitude of household knights and officials, foreign office diplomats and civil servants who constitute ‘the court’ in its wider sense, that is, the national administration. In choosing the English language, Chaucer chose a medium of much more limited range, especially of conceptual reference, than French or, of course, than Latin.