E-Book/E-Text Announcements: October 2006 Archives

A Beautiful Prayer


For whatever reason, I was attracted to this Middle English version of The Cloud of Unknowing and found therein a really beautiful prayer for all those who seek to live the will of God.

Goostly freende in God, I preie thee and I beseche thee that thou wilt have a besi [earnest] beholding to the cours and the maner of thi cleeping [calling]. And thank God hertely, so that thou maist thorow [through] help of His grace stonde stifly agens alle the sotil assailinges of thi bodily and goostly enemyes, and winne to the coroun [crown] of liif that evermore lasteth.

I don't know why I find it so moving, except to think--in the communion of the Saints, I am blessed by the prayer of a person who so long ago wrote these words and who lives now in this world through them even as he pleads before the throne of God for all those who read them. One of the great mysteries revealed by God and constantly spoken of by the Church stands open to me here in a way that it does not when I read some other things. Odd--but perhaps it is the touch of that which is almost foreign, but still remains within the grasp of those who wish to understand it. The language is not my language and yet, it is close enough to know and alien enough to suggest another time, another world, another way of being.

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More Middle English


Just a sampling from the relatively easy to read Stanzaic Life of Katherine:

Incipit vita sancte Katerine virginis.

He that made bothe sunne and mone
In hevene and erthe for to schyne,
Brynge us to Hevene with Hym to wone
And schylde us from helle pyne!
Lystnys and I schal yow telle
The lyf of an holy virgyne
That trewely Jhesu lovede wel -
Here name was callyd Katerine.

I undyrstonde, it betydde soo:
In Grece ther was an emperour;
He was kyng of landes moo,
Of casteles grete and many a tour.
The ryche men of that land
They servyd hym with mekyl honour.
Maxenceus was his name hotand,
A man he was ful sterne and stour.

The actual text which can be reached through the site referenced below has glosses on the difficult words to get you started.

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For Me Later, and for You Now


Of it pleases you:

The Celtic Literature Collective--sounds a bit pre-Berlin Wall, but looks like there is some good material. Part of the The Academy for Ancient Texts--I won't vouch for the translations as I haven't spent any time with them, but I offer the resource--the Welsh Text list looks quite fine.

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And this. . .


The War of the Wenuses--Charles Graves and E.V. Lucas.

Is it satire? Is it parody. I can't rightly say; however, when you start like this:

No one would have believed in the first years of the twentieth century
that men and modistes on this planet were being watched by intelligences
greater than woman's and yet as ambitious as her own. With infinite
complacency maids and matrons went to and fro over London, serene in the
assurance of their empire over man. It is possible that the mysticetus
does the same. Not one of them gave a thought to Wenus as a source of
danger, or thought of it only to dismiss the idea of active rivalry upon
it as impossible or improbable. Yet across the gulf of space astral
women, with eyes that are to the eyes of English women as diamonds are
to boot-buttons, astral women, with hearts vast and warm and
sympathetic, were regarding Butterick's with envy, Peter Robinson's with
jealousy, and Whiteley's with insatiable yearning, and slowly and surely
maturing their plans for a grand inter-stellar campaign.

and go on to do this:

Then came the night of the first star. It was seen early in the morning
rushing over Winchester; leaving a gentle frou-frou behind it. Trelawny,
of the Wells' Observatory, the greatest authority on Meteoric
Crinolines, watched it anxiously. Winymann, the publisher, who sprang to
fame by the publication of _The War of the Worlds_, saw it from his
office window, and at once telegraphed to me: "Materials for new book in
the air." That was the first hint I received of the wonderful wisit.

It is, at least, amusing. Meteoric crinolines--who'd'a thunk it?

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Some Antique Travel Books


The On-Line Books page has a number of interesting travel books by Lucas and Hutton.

E.V. Lucas

A Wanderer in. . . .

Ravenna: A Study
Florence and Northern Tuscany with Genoa
and it's American Counterpart.

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Mary E. Wilkins Freeman was known, until recently for most of us by a handful of ghost stories reprinted in anthologies--most particularly "Shadows on the Wall" and "The Wind in the Rose-Bush."

While this site might not be "The Complete Works," there certainly is a large collection of the novels and short stories of this neglected writer. Go and sample--start with the stories mentioned.

It is interesting to me that she is collected with Sarah Orne Jewett, another writer of short stories whose talent has too long been neglected or ignored. I suppose Edith Wharton and Willa Cather overshadowed these writers. But if they are writers of the second rank, it goes to show how far the second rank has fallen in our own time. Would that my own meager talents were the equal of these.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the E-Book/E-Text Announcements category from October 2006.

E-Book/E-Text Announcements: September 2006 is the previous archive.

E-Book/E-Text Announcements: November 2006 is the next archive.

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