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Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation With Modifications To Obsolete Language By Monica Stevens   By: (1478?-1535)

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DIALOGUE OF COMFORT AGAINST TRIBULATION

by St. Thomas More

with modifications to obsolete language by Monica Stevens

PUBLISHED 1951 BY SHEED AND WARD, LTD. 110/111 FLEET STREET, LONDON, E.C.4 AND SHEED AND WARD, INC. 830 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, 3

NOTE

This edition of the Dialogue of Comfort has been transcribed from the 1557 version as it appears in Everyman's Library. The Everyman edition is heartily recommended to readers who would like to taste the dialogue in its original form.

The first plan was to change only the spelling. It soon became evident that the punctuation would have to be changed to follow present usage. The longest sentences were then broken up into two or three, and certain others were rearranged into a word order more like that of today. Nothing was omitted, however, and nothing was added except relative pronouns, parts of "to be," and other such neutral connectives. Finally, obsolete words were changed to more familiar equivalents except when they were entirely clear and too good to lose. Thus "wot" became "know" but "gigglot" and "galp up the ghost" were retained. Words that have come to have a quite different meaning for us, such as "fond" and "lust" were replaced by less ambiguous ones wherever possible, by ones that More himself used elsewhere.

The text has not been cut or expanded, re interpreted or edited. Any transcription seems to involve some interpretation, conscious or otherwise, but an effort has been made to keep it to a minimum. Passages that seemed to make no sense have therefore been left unaltered. If other readers find solutions for them their suggestions will be welcomed.

This is not in any sense a scholarly piece of work. That would require a very different method, as well as a far more thorough knowledge of sixteenth century English. It would be a most commendable undertaking, but it might result in an edition for the learned. This one is for everyone who has the two essentials, faith and intelligence, presupposed by Anthony in Chapter II.

MONICA STEVENS

Middlebury, Vermont. Feast of St. Benedict, 1950.

BOOK ONE

VINCENT: Who would have thought, O my good uncle, a few years past, that those in this country who would visit their friends lying in disease and sickness would come, as I do now, to seek and fetch comfort of them? Or who would have thought that in giving comfort to them they would use the way that I may well use to you? For albeit that the priests and friars be wont to call upon sick men to remember death, yet we worldly friends, for fear of discomforting them, have ever had a way here in Hungary of lifting up their hearts and putting them in good hope of life.

But now, my good uncle, the world is here waxed such, and so great perils appear here to fall at hand, that methinketh the greatest comfort a man can have is when he can see that he shall soon be gone. And we who are likely long to live here in wretchedness have need of some comforting counsel against tribulation to be given us by such as you, good uncle. For you have so long lived virtuously, and are so learned in the law of God that very few are better in this country. And you have had yourself good experience and assay of such things as we do now fear, as one who hath been taken prisoner in Turkey two times in your days, and is now likely to depart hence ere long.

But that may be your great comfort, good uncle, since you depart to God. But us of your kindred shall you leave here, a company of sorry comfortless orphans. For to all of us your good help, comfort, and counsel hath long been a great stay not as an uncle to some, and to others as one further of kin, but as though to us all you had been a natural father.

ANTHONY: Mine own good cousin, I cannot much deny but what there is indeed, not only here in Hungary but also in almost all places in Christendom, such a customary manner of unchristian comforting... Continue reading book >>




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