Episode One Hundred and Eleven - Second Letter Translation
The second letter of Episode One Hundred and Eleven of Monstrous Agonies was written in an approximation of Middle English (though adapted for a modern audience) and included some words and phrases that might be unfamiliar to listeners. Below is a translation of the text into modern English, laid out side by side with the original text as read in the episode. Click the button for PDF version.
I was woken lateward of a slep I verraily supposed was my endly fine. I hedde dyed nat, as I had hoped, abedde, all apeace in grace and merci, but in a flusshing and a fray, quelled by sudden violence in my prime.
I yet recall the fight that did me. The gnasten teeth, the neves, the blous, the scorchen touch of blade upon my ribs. Then… nought. Not pece. Not even stillness. Nought at alle.
Until it com that things were other-what. I ken not how. I wakened, full much as sudden as I had seien aslepe. I cannot descrien what it was, to gan from nought, not mirk nor throsing but nought at alle, and then to waken to flare and flame. To unbe, and then a-sudden, be.
Would that I could explic this alteration. I ken not the causer nor the cause. Though I had no knouing of the cause of my fore-life neither. Perhaps it be not for the common man to thinken on suche thinges.
This world is micel unlike the world I have forleven. Mor quick, mor clamorous, mor overgorged with folk. The food, the clothes, even the weder is micclie mislikened. Yet al these thinges, I could take in stride. I never was a dullard, and it will take more than a Chillie Heatewave Dorito to yet unman me.
Save only that I cannot sprecen well. I speke and it is ununderstondabel. Wordes, her and yonder, find their way through the confucion, and I have ilerned cromes and floks enough that, with gestures and micel toleraunce, I can make myself comprehensibil.
Happili, I had ilerned to rede in my forelife, and the letters are not so unlike. I sound them out tentifully, and the meaning comes in drops and glenes. But it is overslou for conversation. I cannot sprecen with ani-bodi. I cannot maken of ani-bodi a frend.
And it is not only the wordes. I cannot not apprehend the social graces of this worlde. I was considered most manerlie in my time, and dalyid with the gentilest of folk. But my havour is all out of time. I am now straunge at best, doun-right cherlous at the worst.
I have afounde some few compacient folk who will sit with pacience and redle on my speche. And per-hap this is unthankful. But not a one of these folk has made attendement to leornen my ways. My speche. That burden, heuy and chargeous as it is, they leave alle to me.
I have never shied from labour. I am here, and I am trying. I am full fast oboutward that I shall nat be alone. I will lernen these manners and these wordes. But is some litel like attendement not owed to me?
I have this letter awryten not for your discrecion and wisdom only, but your grete age. You, I trust, will me understond. And your speche is slou and clere, I can more readily folow you.
So, I ask your counsel. Are there folk in this new place who will mete me where I am, itwix two worldes, and strecche oute their handes to reache me?
I was woken recently from a sleep I truly thought was my final ending. I had died not, as I had hoped, in bed, peacefully in grace and mercy, but in a commotion and an attack, killed by sudden violence in my prime.
I still remember the fight that killed me. The gnashing teeth, the fists, the blows, the flaying touch of blade upon my ribs. Then… nothing. Not peace. Not even nothing. Nothing at all.
Until it came about that things were different. I don’t know how. I woke, quite as suddenly as I’d fallen asleep. I cannot describe what it was, to go from nothing, not darkness or formless chaos but nothing at all, and then to wake to lights and flames. To not be, and then suddenly, be.
If only I could explain this change. I don’t know who caused it to happen or why. Though I didn’t know the reason for my previous life either. Perhaps it’s not right for the common man to think on such things.
The world is very different to the world I left behind. Quicker, louder, more full of people. The food, the clothes, even the weather is very much different. Yet all these things, I could take in my stride. I was never a dullard, and it will take more than a Chilli Heatwave Dorito to frighten me.
Except that I can’t speak well. I speak and it isn’t understandable. Words, here and there, find their way through the confusion, and I have learned enough crumbs and scraps that, with gestures and lots of patience, I can make myself comprehensible.
Fortunately, I had learned to read in my previous life, and the letters are not so different. I sound them out tentatively, and the meaning comes in dribs and drabs. But it is too slow for conversation. I cannot speak with anybody. I can’t make friends with anybody.
And it is not only the words. I cannot understand the social graces of this world. I was considered very polite in my time, and spent time with the politest people in society. But my behaviour is all out of time. I am now strange at best, downright rude at worst.
I have found a few kind people who will sit with patience and think hard about what I’m saying. And perhaps this is ungrateful. But not one of these people has tried to learn my ways. My speech. That burden, heavy and oppressive as it is, they leave all to me.
I’ve never been work-shy. I am here, and I am trying. I am absolutely determined that I shall not be alone. I will learn these manners and these words. But aren’t I owed the same effort/attention?
I have written this letter not only for your discretion and wisdome, but because of your great age. You, I trust, will understand me. And your speech is slow and clear, I can follow you more easily.
So, I ask your counsel. Are there folk in this new place who will meet me where I am, between two worlds, and stretch out their hands to reach me?