One of the fun things about using a prayer book written in 16th century English is that occasionally a phrase just pops out at me (and frequently sends me looking up archaic meanings of its words). The most recent one was Psalm 103, verse 5: Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things : making thee young and lusty as an eagle.
"Lusty as an eagle"? Just how much lust can something that was on the endangered species list until 2007 actually have? Obviously eagles are capable of reproduction, but when I hear the word "lust" the eagle is not the first thing that comes to mind.
When I looked the word up, however, I discovered that while lust has sexual connotations, the adjective that matches it would be lustful, rather than lusty. Lusty, like the old meaning of virtue, is closer to strong than to their modern meanings. I remember noticing when I was taking Latin in college that it was much easier to translate Latin into 16th century English than modern English. Word meanings have slipped quite a bit over the past four hundred years.
These days the pace of change has accelerated so much that Diane Duane has just produced a new edition of So You Want to Be a Wizard, even though the book is less than 30 years old (the New Millennium Edition is available at http://ebooksdirect.dianeduane.com). Now the heroine has an MP3 player, and when her sister drops a stack of textbooks she was carrying, there's a Kindle on the top of the pile. I have ambivalent feelings about this. It's certainly interesting to see what Diane changed, but do we really want to deprive young readers of the knowledge that there was a world before people routinely carried electronics with them everywhere they went? I admit that I do most of my reading on Kindle so that I can adjust the type size to something I can see, and I've heard of people putting their Kindles in water-tight plastic bags so they can read in the bathtub. I'm certainly not saying that technology is bad, but I feel we're losing our sense of history here.