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Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy

Sorcha 24 Dec 00 - 11:12 PM
wysiwyg 24 Dec 00 - 11:26 PM
Bill in Alabama 24 Dec 00 - 11:50 PM
Bill in Alabama 24 Dec 00 - 11:57 PM
Wavestar 25 Dec 00 - 12:06 AM
Sorcha 25 Dec 00 - 12:09 AM
Bill in Alabama 25 Dec 00 - 12:12 AM
Sorcha 25 Dec 00 - 12:18 AM
Bill in Alabama 25 Dec 00 - 12:54 AM
GUEST,Murray on Saltspring 25 Dec 00 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,NightWing (out) 25 Dec 00 - 04:00 AM
Haruo 25 Dec 00 - 04:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Dec 00 - 08:06 AM
Wavestar 25 Dec 00 - 09:07 AM
Snuffy 25 Dec 00 - 09:47 AM
CamiSu 25 Dec 00 - 05:28 PM
Snuffy 25 Dec 00 - 06:59 PM
InOBU 25 Dec 00 - 07:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Dec 00 - 07:40 PM
Amos 25 Dec 00 - 10:31 PM
Joe Offer 26 Dec 00 - 01:33 AM
CamiSu 26 Dec 00 - 01:45 AM
Snuffy 26 Dec 00 - 03:02 PM
Bud Savoie 26 Dec 00 - 06:57 PM
Sorcha 26 Dec 00 - 07:03 PM
Brendy 26 Dec 00 - 10:14 PM
Brendy 26 Dec 00 - 10:20 PM
Sorcha 26 Dec 00 - 10:37 PM
Bill in Alabama 26 Dec 00 - 10:42 PM
catspaw49 26 Dec 00 - 10:58 PM
Haruo 26 Dec 00 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,d.b.t. Barnsley,South Yorkshire. 27 Dec 00 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,ladybird66 27 Dec 00 - 04:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Dec 00 - 05:03 PM
Haruo 27 Dec 00 - 07:04 PM
Sorcha 27 Dec 00 - 07:53 PM
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Subject: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 11:12 PM

Hey guys,Not music, and I forgot to put that in the title, but Kate has written this poem and asked me to correct---and I forget.....Oh, I do have her permission to do this. She wants singular/familiar.....

May thee now rest in peace,
Knowing the thou hast taken love from my heart.
Thee shalt not live in pain
For thou hast died.
Thou hast left all loved ones,
Now, thee hast been disowned.

(hey, I don't like the last line, but it is not my poem..)


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 11:26 PM

Simple, I'll ask Hardiman.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 11:50 PM

Here y'go Ms. Sorcha:

May thou now rest in peace,
Knowing thou hast taken love from my heart.
Thou shalt not live in pain
For thou hast died.
Thou hast left all loved ones,
Now, thou hast been disowned.

'Thou' is nominative case, 2nd person pronoun form, used familiarly in the 17th century for the pronoun used as the subject of the verb;

'Thee' is accusative case for the same pronoun form, used when the pronoun is the object of the verb; that usage does not appear here;

'Thy' is genitive case, same person form, commonly known as 'possessive' case; that usage does not appear here.

Fine poem.

Merry Christmas

Bill Foster


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 11:57 PM

Ms. Sorcha:

The second line originally read 'Knowing the thou . . .', and I took out the word the. If the line was intended to read 'Knowing that thou has taken. . .', then thou is the correct form.;

If, on the other hand, the line means 'My having known you has taken . . . .', then the correct form is thee. I hope this is clear.

BF


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Wavestar
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 12:06 AM

On a personal note, my family uses the Quaker traditon of the familiar ratehr than the formal 'you' when referring to each other. It's a lovely tradtion which gives a feeling of closeness, intimacy, and unmistakable bond between family members. However, we don't use the nominative 'thou' at all, replacing it instead with the accusative 'thee', as (and I'm not sure when this change would have come about) 'thou' is regarded as archaic. People ask me about it all the time, but I've yet to find a really good answer.

-Jessica


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 12:09 AM

Thanks friends!! I'll print it for her......I thought it was a good poem to, except the last line needs to be just a tad diff.....but like I said, it is not my poem. Reminds me a LOT of Houseman, and she has never read any of him.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 12:12 AM

Good evenin' Ms. Jessica--

I have read about that change in usage somewhere, I think, but I can recall neither the explanation nor where I read it. When I get back to the university after the break and when things calm down from registration, I'll try to remember to check on that. Don't hesitate to email me to remind me. I'm listed in the Mudcat Resources in the Quick Links box.

Bill Foster [Bill in Alabama]


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 12:18 AM

The line in question was supposed to be
Knowing that thou......

Once upon a time I knew all this......so, what is the plural of "thee", such as, if you are adressing all of your immediate family, instead of just one of them?


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 12:54 AM

I'll have to check; I think it was 'You', but I'm not certain. The only instance I can remember off hand is from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I, and I don't want to say for certain until I have checked some other sources.

BF


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 03:39 AM

Shakespeare makes very careful use of thou/thee and you, for instance when the speaker changes from familiar (more intimate) to formal, etc. Compare Hamlet, I.ii, where the king addresses his stepson as "you", and Gertrude uses ""thy" etc; Hamlet gets annoyed with his mother and winds up saying "I shall in all my best obey *you* Madam".


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: GUEST,NightWing (out)
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 04:00 AM

Sorcha,

I don't think English ever had a second person plural informal. Spanish does:

  Singular Plural
First Person (I/we) yo nosotros
Second Person (you/y'all) Informal vosotros
Second Person Formal Usted Ustedes
Third Person ([s]he/they) el
ella
ellos
ellas

Admittedly, while the second person singular informal is used quite a bit -- in particular, en famille (to mix languages *G*) -- the second person plural informal is almost never used today. It's my understanding that it's only taught in schools so kids can understand writing of three or four generations ago.

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Haruo
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 04:22 AM

For second person plural informal, I propose "thee-all" (the "ee" can be elided depending on prevailing local custom, yielding "th'all").

Except for Jessica's comment on Quaker usage, most of this thread seems to focus on "standard" English usage of the Elizabethan era, as exemplified by the works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, but the texts here on the mudcat are in a wide variety of dialectal variants, rarely the London (or New York) proofreader standard. And the fact is that here and there throughout the "English-speaking world" there are or have been dialects that have used most all conceivable configurations of the ø/thou/thee/ye/you/ø pronoun set (plus various additions like y(ou)'all and youse. But as a linguist type I must urge that "nominative" and "accusative" be defined by function, not form. Thus "Thee are way off-base" (vs. "standard" "Thou art...") doesn't involve using "accusative 'thee'" as a subject, but rather using "nominative 'thee'".

Liland
Pedant and more


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 08:06 AM

Happy Christmas to yez all!


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Wavestar
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 09:07 AM

Liland, just one problem there. It is thee IS as thee is by definition singular.

As Jessica's mum I have been using plain talk 25 years longer than she has but don't know much more about when the nominative/subjective went out of use. However the plural IS you ( so my kids always know if I am talking to one or more of them) When I was in school I got much grief for our family's use of "archaic language". Jessica's friends all think it is wonderful, and often try to use it--at least around here!

I HAVE been chided about the fact that since we tend to use plain talk only among family and close friends, that it is now the opposite of the way the Quakers originally meant it, being now exclusive instead of inclusive. I also know that I caught merry hell from my Dad when I used it with my boyfriend in HS.

Merry Christmas All!

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Snuffy
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 09:47 AM

Thou correponds with I, he, she, we they and thee goes with me, him ,her, us, them.

As far as I know English has never had a separate formal Second person as such (unlike German and the Scandinavian languages), but you seems to have replaced thee thou and ye.

"I" is also by definition singular, but it's not "I is". "Thee is" is about as grammatical as "you is" or "he am". But then in many parts of England people say "I be, he be, she be, we be, you be and they be". Rules am meant to be broke.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: CamiSu
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 05:28 PM

Sorry Snuffy. As I said, in current usage thou is archaic, and thee has taken the place of it. As it is singular, 'thee is' is correct. You would not say 'he are' and we don't say 'thee are'. Language is a living thing, and this change took place before my great grandparents' time. You may say it as you wish, but expect a few smiles from those of us who use this language every day. (And it does NOT fall in the same place as the highly incorrect and uneducated 'me and him')

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Snuffy
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 06:59 PM

I dare say thou art right in the states, but over here I was brought up using the traditional forms, and would no more dream of saying 'thee is' than 'him is'.

Merry Christmas, anyway!

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: InOBU
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 07:03 PM

Hi Jessica: I grew up in the 15th street Meeting, in NYC, where the oldest members, like Anna Curtis, still used plain speach, especially when making a point. As thee may remember from thy youth, our Friends did not often employ the old Shaksperian formula, there was a sort of Friend's plain speach that was slightly ... well more plain, I supose.
Merry Cristmass to thee and thyne -
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 07:40 PM

Of course, other dialects than just that of the Quakers have retained the familiar forms; here in Yorkshire they are still widely used, though not consistently; it's common to mix familiar and polite forms within a sentence.  Around Sheffield, "thou" has become "tha" ["tha knows" = "thou knowest"] and "thy", "thi" ["thi'sen" = "thyself"].  "Thee" remains the same, generally, though in some constructions it gets shortened almost to "thi".

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Amos
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 10:31 PM

The "plain speech" of the Friends has usedf 'thee' in nominative places for centuries. But it is a local variation, not the fundamental form, which is thou in the nominative and thee in the dative and accusative.

I would be tempted to use "thee" in the first line (May thee now rest...) rather than "thou" because it is a dative construction, in that the wish is being given the recipient. And it sounds better to my hear. Cf. "God rest ye merry, gentlemen".

A


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 01:33 AM

Hi, Snuffy - it's my understanding that in the singular, "you" was the formal counterpart of the informal "thou" and "thee."

We can also confuse things a bit more by adding that "ye" was the plural of "thou"; and it was also used nominatively for the second person singular, and objectively in the second person singular or plural.

Latin is so much easier....
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: CamiSu
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 01:45 AM

Thanks Amos, that was how I felt about the first line as well, but the trouble was was that Sorcha was asking for a poem written in an older style than I talk and I was going with the sense of what I have heard my whole life.

And so Snuffy, does thee use the familiar all the time? I have heard tha' for thou, and it is tha'rt there? Here we are more than a bit of a curiosity, but for me to use the formal with a family member would be a slap. (When I was growing up with a mother that did not value the plain talk as I did, I discovered that when I was angry with her beyond all reason, I could call her 'you', which was the WORST thing I could think of to call her--it implying, in my mind, complete rejection--and she wouldn't even notice!)

InOBU, my grandparents were members of the Manhassett Meeting, and are buried there. My father was married (the second time) there, and I sang for his wedding. I wished to be married there, but as my ever-procrastinating dad had never put me on the birth rolls, and I was a practising Christian Scientist, the committee on clearness (my cousin) felt that he could not clear that. So I got married at home, have raised 3 plain-talking children and celebrate our 26th anniversary next week. Not much help to Kate, but we're doing our part to keep the language diverse! (BTW Jessica is STILL in her youth, and all the old Quaker ladies I knew were relatives, so all I ever heard from them was thee and thy!)

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 03:02 PM

CamiSu,

Where I grew up (Cheshire/Derbyshire border), thou and thee were in common usage, and I both heard and used them frequently, but as both parents were teachers, it was definitely frowned upon at home. I moved away 35 years ago and very rarely meet anyone who uses them now. As Malcolm says for Sheffield (only 40 miles away), thou was usually pronounced 'tha', and thy was 'thi' as was unstressed thee.

Joe, you're right about 'you' being used as a formal singular, but my point was that English has never had a separate form to denote formal address only, unlike German, Spanish, and the Scandinavian languages. Du is singular (informal), Ihr is plural (informal), and Sie is singular or plural (formal). I seem to remember that at one time German also used Er as a formal singular!

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 06:57 PM

I believe that first line should read "Mayest thou...." Remember St. Luke 2:29: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word" (KJV) or "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace." (DRV)


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 07:03 PM

Snuff, that is interesting, and I think it would make the poem better. Thanks, all for an interesting discussion. What she is actually doing is writing down her grief, for her "psychic father" who killed himself 4 days after her 16th birthday. Some of you knew this, some didn't, but the stuff coming out of her (via pen) is .......well, uh, catarthic and damn good poetry. Wish she would let me post more of it, but not just yet. Maybe someday. I was a little surprised that she let ME read it all.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Brendy
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 10:14 PM

Don't "Thee, Thou" me.
"Thee Thou" them as "Thous" thee.

;)

B.
Happy Holidays, folks!


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Brendy
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 10:20 PM

Thee for yourthelf...Click

B.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 10:37 PM

Cool site, Brendy! Thanks! I still think what she wanted was the archaic, Medieval forms but all of the above is helpful.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 10:42 PM

Brendy--

That is, indeed, an informative site: Thanks.

Bill in Alabama


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 10:58 PM

As a total outsider to all of this and to be truthful, one who never before cared before, this is one of the most informative of threads! Excellent link there too Brendy!

Bert is fond of saying, "Everything I ever needed to know I learned on Mudcat," and threads like this make me believe he really does have a point!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Haruo
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 11:45 PM

CamiSu and Snuffy (and of course all the rest of you) thanks for carrying on while I was busy doing the usual Christmas [avoiding the computer due to virus scares] and Boxing Day [working long hours to pay for Christmas] routines!

CamiSu, thanks for correcting my "thee are"; Quaker plain speech is not part of my experience, and while I had a hunch "art" would be wrong, I was wrong to guess "are" would be right. Thee is the expert.

Snuffy wrote, "English has never had a separate form to denote formal address only"; I would think being from the far side of the lake he would recall that we once had "milord" and "milady", which in pronominal use were strictly formal singular, I think. (And lest you object that those are not pronouns, consider Spanish, where the standard formal second-person pronoun in "Usted", which is a similar abbreviation of "Vuestra Merced" [your grace].)

And of course "me and him" as in "Me and him went to the store" is "incorrect and uneducated" only if the "and" is pronounced in full; in proper use, it's "me'n'im".

Liland


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: GUEST,d.b.t. Barnsley,South Yorkshire.
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 12:10 PM

Whilst probably having nothing to do with the original request,I would like to add that the following words are in everyday usuage in my own home and "commonly"in the South Yorkshire region; thee = you,[ intimate,friendly]. thi or thy = your. tha or thar = you. thine = yours.

"Hey thee is this thy hat, if it is thine then thar should have thi name in it. Good Luck.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: GUEST,ladybird66
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 04:12 PM

I think the first line in the subjunctive mood, not the dative case of the indicative mood. May thou rest... is a hope (subj.), not a statement (indic.) or even a prediction(indic. or conditional). I don't know if this changes the wording any further. (I remember a textbook accurately describing the subjunctive in English as "moribund," but the language of her rhyme is supposed to be archaic.)

If I were writing something like that, instead of "been disowned" (meaning "had one's birthright taken away") I would say something like "been released," or "been disencumbered," or "been freed." Or "abdicated" or "cast off [or "passed on"] thy load."


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 05:03 PM

Of course there are still languages where you use a different form according to whether you are speaking to a man or to a woman, or to a "superior" or an "inferior". I think it's as well that it's all been whittled down in Standard English. It's a puzzle enough in French, I gather, at times, knowing when it should be tu or vous.

I can envisage the same kind of thing happening to the third person pronoun too - in fact it's already happening.

The singular third perspon is gender specific, and the plural isn't, so you find people saying they quite often when strictly speaking it should be he or she. The move from thou to you was a way of sidestepping class differentials, the move to they is a way of sidestepping gender differentials. Same process really. It's a very clever language we share.


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 07:04 PM

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.)

Liland


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Subject: RE: Help: With 'Thee/Thou/Thy
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 07:53 PM

Yes, Liland, that was her intent, although I do like ladybird's "cast off" line better. Means nearly the same thing, and scans better. (he was her "psychic" father, not her biodad)


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