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I am studying some nōgaku. In particular, the play 卒都婆小町, which I find has some interesting, beautiful lines.

At the start of the play, a priest says:

これは[高野山]{こうやさん}より[出]{い}でたる[僧]{そう}にて[候]{そうろう}。[我]{われ}このたび都にのぼらばやと思ひ[候]{そうろう}。

which Waley translates as:

I am a priest of the Koyasan. I am minded to go up to the Capital to visit the shrines and sanctuaries there.

But what is [候]{そうろう} doing? Its meaning does not seem clear at all.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's a sentence ending that makes the sentence formal or polite. These sentences are called 候文. It does not have contentful meaning. It became pretty much archaic.

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