14 March 2015

Sir Thomas Malory asks our prayers

Le Morte D'Arthur, by John Mullaster Carrick
The author of the great literary classic Le Morte D'Arthur (The Death of Arthur), Sir Thomas Malory, died on this day in the year 1471. William Caxton first published Sir Thomas' work in 1485.

Very little is known with certainty about this man who made such a significant contribution to the Matter of Britain other than the fact that he was held as a "knight prisoner" in France, during which time he wrote his work in twenty-one books in his cell.

At the conclusion of his work, Sir Thomas leaves us with these words:
Here is the end of King Arthur, and of his noble knights of the Round Table, that when they were whole together there was ever an hundred and forty. And here is the end of the death of Arthur. I pray you all, gentlemen and gentlewomen that readeth this book of Arthur and his knights, from the beginning to the ending, pray for me while I am alive, that God send me good deliverance, and when I am dead, I pray you all pray for my soul. For this book was ended the ninth year of the reign of King Edward the fourth, by Sir Thomas Maleore, knight, as Jesu[s] help[ed] him for his great might, as he is the servant of Jesu[s] both day and night.
His words are a fitting remember for us to pray for those who have gone before us, even those whose books we frequently read.

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