The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #28939   Message #364230
Posted By: Haruo
27-Dec-00 - 07:04 PM
Thread Name: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
An ancillary issue pertinent to the same archaic and/or dialectal forms of English where "thee" questions arise is the use of the possessives "mine/thine" where the indefinite article would be "an". Back when "thou/thee" was standard English singular (neutral or informal) pronominal usage, it was also customary to use the forms "mine" and "thine" before a vowel (and presumably before at least some unstressed aitches and semivowels). An example that any American English speaker knows by heart is the incipit of Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord"; another example would be the customary text of the SCHUMANN offertory, "We give thee but thine own, whate'er the gift may be."

I made very deliberate use of this as well as of the thou/you singular/plural distinction, in the sixth stanza of Innocents' carol, In Bethlem Town (remember, 28 December is Innocents!):
God said to Joseph and his wife,
"To Egypt go to save your life.
Thine ancient namesake, as a slave,
To Egypt came, your folk to save.
Too-loo-ree-lask, too-loo-ree-lun,

A sim'lar task awaits your son."
Here "your" always refers to both Joseph and Mary, while "thine" (not "thy", because of the following vowel) refers to Joseph alone (Mary had no ancient namesake who went to Egypt as a slave; Joseph had).

LadyBird66, I took the final "disowning" as the daughter disowning her father, as she felt he deserved, not as "freeing" him (though the one implies the other). I understood her, not him, to be the one who was disencumbered. And I hope that is the therapeutic result of the poetic treatment. (Sorcha probably can tell us for sure.)