Saint Thomas More
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.
Feast of St. Benedict, 1950.