American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The last of the seven canonical hours recited or sung just before retiring.
- n. The time of day appointed for this service.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Eccl.) The last division of the Roman Catholic breviary; the seventh and last of the canonical hours of the Western church; the last prayer of the day, to be said after sunset.
- n. last of the seven canonical hours just before retiring
- Middle English, alteration (probably influenced by matines, matins) of compli, from Old French complie, from Medieval Latin (hōra) complēta, final (hour), from Latin complētus, past participle of complēre, to complete; see complete. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I have done the Office every day since Ash Wednesday -- on good days going through the morning rite, the service for midday, evening prayer, and a compline before bed; on days when I performed the tasks of a single dad sometimes only saying part of the Office.”
“To keep a medieval focus: I often sing with a compline group at Columbia, on Sunday nights.”
“Such behavior was common, for almost all of the nuns of Adelhausen are said to have wept in the choir and the dormitory after compline, loudly enough to be heard at quite a distance. 132 Anna Turner was not among them.”
“When the Weiler choir nuns sang the antiphon Salve regina one night at the end of compline, a nun saw the Virgin Mary enter the choir with the Christ Child on her arm. 74 At Adelhausen, the Virgin Mary was also seen in the choir during the singing of Salve regina. 75 And at Töss when the choir nuns sang the antiphon, Mezzi Sidwibrin would shout, "Sing, sing, God's Mother is here!”
“But the emphasis in the passage is on what transpired after compline.”
“When they were at their devotions, it was then throughout the cloister silent and serious, as if it were silent Friday, and always after compline the crying was so great in the choir, and also in the dormitory when they were before their beds, that one could hear it from afar.”
“In her introduction to the Töss text, the author describes the silence observed by the early sisters of her house: "They were also so soft and quiet with words and with work that during the day it was as quiet in the cloister as if it were after compline.”
“The quiet time after compline receives a similar treatment.”
“However, many of the antiphonals belonging to male Dominican houses were broken up into two volumes for winter and summer usage. 106 Occasionally, houses had diurnals, manuscripts containing antiphonal materials for the daytime offices but excluding compline and matins.”
“The material for compline and matins were recorded in nocturnals, none of which survive from the houses.”
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