So, I'm reading The Four Sons of Aymon
. This is an exquisite exercise in anachronism as I am using my 21st century iPad to read, in pdf form (20th century), a 19th century reprint of a 15th century English translation of a 13th century version of a 12th century French romance.
The language is mostly fairly easy to puzzle out, though noticeably pre-Shakespearean. Every once in a while, I find a truly unfamiliar word, and try to use google to decipher a meaning, with mixed results. Sometimes, I get the happy result of realizing that is an ancestor of a word I do know, but in an odd, early form. Other times, I am sad because I can't seem to get any answer at all, there being few or no other usages that I can find in google. Given the number of possible stages at which typographic error can have come in, I tend to suspect that some of these aren't "real" words at all.
But there's one word that shows up often enough, consistently enough, that it clearly is "correct", and I really want to know more about it, so I'm asking the internet. The word is "Damp", and it clearly isn't meaning anything to do with moisture in any simple sense. It's always used as an honorable form of address when speaking to someone, as in "Damp Rowlande," or even "Damp emperoure". In fact, it's very similar to the current formal usage of "Dame", but seems to only be addressed to *men*.
One other detail of interest is orthographic in nature: the "p" has a *macron* over it! I have frequently seen this symbol used to indicate the presence of an elided "m" or "n" in the following character, but I have *never* seen it above a "p" (only vowels, or the rare "m" or "n" that should be doubled).
Anyone out there know any more about this curious word?