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    #1

    Middle English: gentilnese vowchethe

    Dear Teachers,

    I read about this Middle English text from Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis by John Shirley:

    "And thus nowe here endethe this moste pitevous Oronicle of th'oribill dethe of the Kyiige of Scottes, translated oute of latyne into owre moders englisshe tonge by youre symple subget Johan Shirley, in his laste age, after his symple vnderstondynge, whiche he recommendethe to your supportacione and correccion, as that youre gentilnese vowchethe safe for his excuse &c"

    I can pretty much decipher most part of it except for "gentilnese vowchethe safe for his excuse". Can anybody tell me what "gentilnese vowchethe safe for his excuse" means in modern English?

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Middle English: gentilnese vowchethe

    I'm looking forward to seeing what an English scholar says. I speak American and have never studied Middle English. But I'll take a guess.

    - Vowchethe certainly means vouch.

    - Gentilnese might mean respected position or respectability: Because He is a gentleman, we can trust him. (Ha!)

    - Excuse
    might once have meant story. The modern English expressions What's your excuse? and What's your story? Are sometimes used to mean the same thing.

    Now let's hear from someone who knows something!

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    #3

    Re: Middle English: gentilnese vowchethe

    I think it's "gentleness." A gentleman, I suppose, possesses a gentleness.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Middle English: gentilnese vowchethe

    I would understand it as "kindness" from the French "gentillesse". So, the whole thing means (more or less) that he hopes your kindness will allow you to excuse any mistakes he has made (in his translation).

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    #5

    Re: Middle English: gentilnese vowchethe

    I agree with Bhaisahab- the person is asking us to have the courtesy/decency/kindness to excuse anything wrong.

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