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Richard Rolle of Hampole

Rolle of Hampole, Richard (rōl) [key], c.1300–c.1349, English religious writer, a Yorkshire hermit. He wrote mainly in Latin, but his English works are important for the history of the language. Some of Rolle's Latin works were translated after his death into English, thus becoming disseminated and influential as popular manuals of spiritual life. The most important of these were De emendatio vitae (tr. The Mending of Life ) and Incendium amoris (tr. into Middle English, The Fire of Love, 1896; same, with modern spelling, 1913; new tr., 1935; the 1896 and 1913 editions include The Mending of Life ). The Form of Perfect Living was composed in English. Besides some English lyrics there is a translation of the Psalms (ed. by H. R. Bramley, 1884) that circulated throughout England. Rolle is often regarded as typical of English mystics (see mysticism); his writings are characterized by tender, burning love of God and of Jesus and Mary, with constant allusions to sweetness and music; there is much lyrical analogy with human affection. The Pricke of Conscience, a long, devout poem in Northern Middle English, was formerly ascribed to him, but some modern scholars consider his authorship doubtful.

See R. H. Benson, A Book of the Love of Jesus (several editions); F. M. M. Comper, The Life of Richard Rolle with His English Lyrics (1928, repr. 1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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