💫 Summary
This video discusses the archaic second-person singular form in English, including "thou", "thee", "thy", "thine", and "thyself", which are often found in poetry and older writings. It provides examples of how these forms are used in quotations by Shakespeare and others, and also mentions their usage in modern films and regional dialects in the UK.
✨ Highlights📊 Transcript
This section is about the archaic second-person singular form in English, including the words "thou", "thee", "thy", "thine", and "thyself".
These words tend to appear in poetry.
The modern equivalents are "you", "you", "your", "your" or "yours", and "yourself".
The usage of these words depends on whether it's the subject, object, possessive, or reflexive in the sentence.
The video explains the meaning and usage of the archaic second-person singular pronouns "thou", "thee", "thy", "thine" in old-fashioned English.
"Thy" is used as a possessive pronoun, meaning "your" or "belonging to you".
"Thine" is an alternative form of "thy" and is used before words starting with a vowel.
"Thyself" is a reflexive pronoun, meaning "yourself".
These pronouns were commonly used in older forms of English, such as in Shakespeare's plays and older writings.
The video provides examples of how the words "thou," "thee," "thy," and "thine" are used in quotations, including examples from Shakespeare.
"Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful" is a quotation from Shakespeare, and the verb "art" is used with "thou" instead of "you."
"I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again" is another Shakespeare quotation where "thee" is used instead of "you."
The phrase "thy eternal summer" is used to show possession, meaning "your eternal summer."
This section discusses different examples of the use of "thine" and "thy" in English literature.
The first example is from a poem, where the speaker talks about seeing each other reflected in each other's eyes.
The second example is a quote from Plato, emphasizing the importance of doing one's own work and knowing oneself.
The third example is from Shakespeare's play "Hamlet," where Hamlet is accused of offending his father.
The speaker is discussing the use of archaic English pronouns and their meanings.
"Hail to thee, blithe spirit" means "Hello, happy spirit".
"Bird, thou never wert" means "Bird, you never were".
"Thou pourest thy full heart" means "You pour your full heart".
The use of "thou" and its variations in English poetry is determined by the rhythm and meter of the line.
The poet can choose between "thou knowest" and "thou know'st" depending on the desired syllable count.
The verb "to go" can be conjugated as "they'll goest".
The verb "to make" can be conjugated as "thou makest" or "thou mak'st" for one syllable.
The irregular verb "to be" is conjugated as "thou art" or "thou beest".
The past tense of "to be" can be "thou wast" or "thou wert".
The use of "thou," "thee," "thy," and "thine" in modern English and in films like Star Wars.
"Thy bidding, my master" is a line spoken by Darth Vader in Star Wars, meaning "What do you want me to do?"
In some regional dialects in the UK, such as Lancashire and Yorkshire, "thee" and "thou" are still used.
People may say "Sit thee down" instead of "Sit yourself down" in these dialects.
Some people in the north of the UK say "Thou knows" instead of "You know."
00:00"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more
00:05lovely and more temperate."
00:11So, you may have heard that before somewhere; it may sound
00:16rather familiar. So, you may know that it's by Shakespeare,
00:22the English poet and playwright. So, today, we have a lesson on
00:31some slightly old-fashioned English language, but I've had a
00:35few requests to cover this topic, so I'm responding to
00:41those requests. And this is for native English speakers, as well
00:47as for people who are learning English, people who usually
00:53watch my channel to learn English or improve their
00:56English. But I think native speakers of English will also
01:00find this useful if you're interested in, for example,
01:06poetry and older styles of English language and literature.
01:13So... So, today's lesson, then, is about what I call the archaic
01:22second-person singular form, which is: "thee", "thou", "thy",
01:32and "thine", and "thyself" is another form of it. So, these
01:39words tend to appear in poetry. Okay. So, I'm just going to show
01:47you some text here.
01:52Okay, so here we have the words, we've got: "thou", "thee",
01:57"thy", "thine", and "thyself. And you can see that the modern
02:05equivalent is just: "you", "you", "your", "your" or
02:10"yours", and "yourself". So, it depends whether it's the subject
02:17of the sentence, or the object, or the possessive, or the
02:22reflexive. So, I'll explain that as we go along.
02:26So, with "thou", like in the quotation I began with: "Thou
02:32art more lovely and more temperate", it means: "You are
02:38more lovely." So, "you", "thou" - they are the subject of that
02:43statement. "You are", "thou art". Okay.
02:50So, also to say that these words, oh, a few 100 years ago,
02:56at the time of Shakespeare and before a bit before Shakespeare
03:00as well, and after Shakespeare, writers and speakers, also
03:06people were using these words in conversation, too. It was just
03:12the usual form. I'll explain a bit more about that on... In the
03:19next section. So, that's "thou" is the subject. Thou art more
03:25lovely. You are more lovely."
03:28And then when it's the object, it changes to "thee", so: "Shall
03:32I compare thee to a summer's day?" means: "Shall I compare
03:37you to a summer's day?" So, that's the object. Okay.
03:45And then "thy" is the possessive; so that means your,
03:50what belongs to you. Okay. You could say: "Thy... Thy face, thy
03:58beautiful face", something like that. "Your face, your beautiful
04:03face", that kind of thing. Okay.
04:07And then "thine" is an alternative. It depends
04:12sometimes. If the next word begins with a vowel: "Thine
04:16eyes", for example, you wouldn't say: "Thy eyes". "Thy eyes", it
04:22sounds a bit ugly because there's a break between "thy
04:26eyes". So: "Thine eyes", it sort of flows better. "Thine eyes are
04:32shining" or whatever; meaning: "Your eyes". So, that's the
04:38possessive; belonging to you.
04:42And then the reflexive: "thyself" meaning "yourself".
04:48You could say... If you look in a mirror, you see yourself, so
04:54in this older form, you might say: "Thou seest thyself in the
05:00mirror", something like that. "You see yourself in the
05:04mirror." Okay. So, that's the general overview of these words.
05:11So, if we just carry on, just to explain a little bit more about
05:18them. So, these are all the second-person singular, archaic
05:24form; the old-fashioned style of English from around the time of
05:31Shakespeare, as I said. And it's often found in poetry and also
05:37in Shakespeare's plays, and older writings in general; old
05:43editions of the Bible, for example. And it's the old sort
05:49of informal, familiar form.
05:53Whereas when in the past when people said: "You" that was sort
05:57of more formal and respectful, which is still the case in a lot
06:02of other languages all over the world, but I'm just using here
06:07examples from French and German. In French, "tu" is the familiar
06:15form of "you". And "du" in German is the familiar form of
06:22So, this familiar form, although it's not used in English
06:27anymore, or only in poetry or for particular purposes, it's
06:33still used in a lot of other languages; French and German,
06:37for example. And it's to do with how well you know somebody. If
06:44you want to be... You know. If it's a friend or a family
06:48member, you might use "tu" or "du". If it's somebody you want
06:53to show more respect and you don't know them so well, you're
06:57being more formal, you would use a different form in that
07:04language. So, there we are.
07:09So, just to move on from there. Here we are with some quotations
07:16so that you can see how these words are used in particular
07:23quotations. So, here we have: "Thou art as wise as thou art
07:30beautiful." This is from Shakespeare. If you want to find
07:34out where exactly it's from, rather than me telling you, I
07:40think you might find it quite a nice bit of research you can do.
07:47If you just Google this quotation, I'm sure you will
07:51find where it comes from. And it might be quite fun to do that
07:57for you, rather than me just tell you where it comes from.
08:00You know it's from Shakespeare, but where? Is it from a play? Is
08:05it from a poem? Well, I think Google will help you to find
08:10out. So: "Thou art".
08:12You can see also the verb. We... In modern English, we would say:
08:17"You are as wise as you are beautiful", but the verb also
08:25usually changes that goes with "thou" and I'll explain a little
08:31bit more about that later on in the video. Okay.
08:39And then here's another Shakespeare quotation: "I pray
08:43thee, gentle mortal, sing again." So: "I pray you, or I
08:49beg you, I ask you: Please sing again. Because I like your
08:55singing, so please; I pray you. I pray thee, sing again. That
09:01sounded nice, so please sing again." So... Okay.
09:07And then this: This sounds very similar to what I was quoting at
09:12the beginning; I wonder if it comes from the same poem,
09:16perhaps. Summer is mentioned again. "Shall I compare thee to
09:22a summers day?" So, this line says: "But thy, eternal summer,
09:29shall not fade." So, this is the possessive now, but: "Your
09:34eternal summer shall not fade." Okay? So: "Thy eternal summer."
09:40I just wonder why it's not: "Thine eternal summer", because
09:44it doesn't fit the rule I've mentioned earlier, but then
09:48Shakespeare did what he felt like, so it sounds okay to me.
09:56"Thy eternal summer."
10:00Okay. And then we have another poet here, John Donne. And in
10:05something he wrote, which again, you can find if you Google it:
10:10"My face in thine eye; thine in mine appears." So, this does
10:18follow that rule. He's saying: "Thine eye", not "Thy eye". "Thy
10:24eye" sounds a bit odd. So, what he's saying is: "These two
10:30people who are looking at each other, they can see their own
10:35reflection in the other person's eye, like in a mirror." So, he
10:40says: "My face in thine eye, and your... Your... My face in your
10:47eye, and your face in my eye. We can see each other in...
10:54Reflected in each other's eyes, like in a mirror." That's what
10:58he's saying, in that poem. "My face in thine eye; thine in mine
11:04appears." Okay.
11:09Then we have a Greek philosopher, Plato. So, this is
11:16obviously a quote, a translation into English. So: "Do thine own
11:23work and know thyself." So: "Do your own work and know
11:31yourself." So, I suppose that means just: "Do. Do your own
11:37thing, and understand yourself through what you do. It's part
11:42of your identity." So, again, we've got that rule: "thine own
11:49work", not "thy own work". Whoever translated it chose to
11:54use that form: "thine own". Okay?
11:58Then we have some Shakespeare again: "Hamlet". Well, that
12:02gives you a big clue as where it comes from, if you've heard of a
12:08play called Hamlet. So: "Hamlet, thou hast thy father much
12:15offended. Hamlet, you have your father much offended." Meaning:
12:23"Hamlet, you have offended your father very much." The word
12:31order is a bit strange, because it's poetic. But "thou hast" you
12:39can see again. "Hast" - the verb ending changes. It's not "have",
12:46"you have", "thou hast". So, as I say, we'll... I'll explain
12:52that later on. Okay, so Hamlet has offended his father. Or
12:59rather, I think, not his real father, but his stepfather or
13:04his uncle. He's both, really, for various complicated reasons,
13:14which I won't go into.
13:17So, here's our quotation that we started with: "Shall I compare
13:21thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate."
13:28So, "thee" and "you are", "thou art." We've got the different
13:34verb ending again.
13:35Okay, and then we have Shelley who was quite a bit later than
13:41Shakespeare, sort of early 19th century, but then poets did tend
13:49to keep using "thee" and "thou" a lot more because it kind of
13:54goes with the poetic style. So, in poetry, you might find it a
14:00lot, you know, coming more up to date in time, because it's a
14:05poetic tradition in a way. So, let's see what we have here.
14:10Now, this is Shelley writing or speaking to a bird, a skylark.
14:18So, it's a bird high up in the sky, singing, making an amazing
14:26sound, and he's writing a poem to the bird. So, he says: "Hail
14:34to thee, blithe spirit." So: "Hail to you." Or, you know:
14:41"Hello." He's saying: "Hello, hello. Hello, you up there. Hail
14:47to thee, blithe spirit". "Blithe" means "happy". Happy
14:52spirit, because the bird is flying around, singing, sounding
14:57very happy.
14:58"Bird, thou never wert. Bird, you never were." So, here we've
15:08got the past tense of the ver "to be", which is usually "wa
15:12" or "were". But here, with "th u", it changes again. "Thou wer
15:12"Bird thou never wert, That from Heaven, or near it, Pourest thy
15:19" or "Thou never wert". So, the e's another verb ending that cha
15:25full heart." So, he's saying "This bird is pouring its hear
15:25ges. Okay? So, he's saying: "Yo were never really a bird." He
15:31hinks this bird is so spe ial; it's very different fro
15:36 other birds.
15:36 out." So: "Pourest thy ful heart - you pour your ful
15:58 heart." So, you can see, again "to pour" is to pour ou
16:04 something from your heart or t pour... In a literal sense, "t
16:09 pour a liquid" like pouring cup of tea from a tea pot, tha
16:14 sort of thing, or pouring wate from a jug. So: "pour" an
16:21 "pourest". "Thou pourest th heart, thy full heart in profus
16:30 strains of unpremeditated art. So, meaning the sounds, th
16:38 strains, the music from th bird. "Unpremeditated" meanin
16:45 sort of unplanned; it's jus spontaneous. The bird is jus
16:50 singing spontaneously an pouring out its heart in a ver
16:55 happy mood, apparently. Okay, s we have several examples, we'v
17:02 got "thee", and "thou", an "thy". So, that's a good exampl
17:09 using three of the forms
17:13Okay, so now just to explain a little bit about the verb
17:18endings, and I've just given a few different verbs here to show
17:23how the form works. So, the verb "to know": "I know, you know, he
17:31knows, she knows". For "thou", it's "thou knowest" or "thou
17:37know'st". Offered you get this apostrophe to show there's a
17:44missing letter: "know'st". And, in poetry, that's quite
17:48important because the rhythm of the poetry matters; the number
17:54of syllables in a line. And sometimes the poet just wants
17:59one syllable, rather than two, so they can choose between "thou
18:04knowest" and "thou know'st". So, two syllables with "knowest" and
18:12one syllable with "know'st". And that choice is often made
18:16because of the rhythm or the meter of the line to make sure
18:24it's not one beat too much or one beat too few. Okay.
18:32So, then the verb "to go": "They'll goest". So, often, it's
18:37an "s-t", that goes on the end of the verb. So, then: "to
18:43make": "thou makest". Or "thou mak'st" if you just want one
18:49syllable, "mak'st", like that. And then the verb "to be": "thou
18:55art" because it's an irregular verb. "I am, you are, he is, she
19:01is," but "thou art". So... Or it could be: "Thou beest, thou
19:09beest". It's not... It's not meaning: "You're a beast." It's
19:14not the same spelling, anyway. "Thou beest, thou beest, beest".
19:22And then the past tense, also: "I was, you were, he was, she
19:27was, thou wast" in the past. Or another alternative: "Thou
19:35wert", which is closer to "were". "You were, thou wert".
19:41And "thou wast" is closer to "I was, I was, thou wast". So, it's
19:51closer to that. Okay?
19:54And then "to have": "thou hast". "Thou"... And then the past:
19:58"Thou hadst". A bit difficult to pronounce. So, "had". "I had in
20:06the past. You had, we had, they had, thou hadst", so the "s-t"
20:14does come up a lot. Okay.
20:18"To do": "I do, you do. He does. She does. Thou dost" or "Thou
20:27doest. Doest". And then in the past: "I did, you did, he did."
20:33It's all "did", but: "Thou didst, didst". Okay.
20:40And then "can": "Thou canst". "Could": "Thou couldst". "May":
20:49"Thou mayest" or "Thou mayst" if you want just one syllable
20:54instead of two. "Should": "Thou shouldst". "Would": "Thou
21:00wouldst". "Shall": "Thou shalt". Okay. And "will": "Thou wilt".
21:10And "must": "Thou must". And there, there's no change at all.
21:16No change to the verb. Okay? There's always one exception at
21:21least. Right. So, I hope that's all clear.
21:27And then we have a bit of information about how this form
21:33is still used even in a very modern way. In films, for
21:38example. So, in Star Wars in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader
21:45says: "What is thy bidding, my master?" So: "What is your
21:51bidding?" Meaning: "What do you want me to do? What are my
21:56orders for today?" That sort of thing. "What is thy bidding, my
22:02master? What? What must I do? What do you want me to do?"
22:07Okay? So, if you're a Star Wars fan, that's probably a very
22:11familiar line.
22:15And then also in some regional dialects in the UK, Lancashire,
22:19and Yorkshire, up in the north, and also in the west, more
22:25further south. But in the west these are used still. So, some
22:32people might say: "Sit thee down", meaning: "Sit yourself
22:37down. Sit..." Or: "Sit you down." I've heard people say:
22:41"Sit you down, sit you down, sit thee down. I'll get thee a cup
22:48of tea", something like that. "Sit thee down."
22:52And then people also say: "Thou knows, thou knows", which is...
22:59Means: "You know", or "Thou knowest" as we had earlier with
23:05the verb ending: "Thou knowest". Some people, mostly in the
23:09north, I think: "Thou knows, thou knows". Or they might
23:13pronounce it: "Thou knows, thou knows" because they have some
23:17different vowel sounds.
23:19So, I hope that's been a useful explanation, whether you're a
23:25native English speaker, who's perhaps never quite been sure of
23:30homw these words work. Sometimes you get people using them, but
23:36they use the wrong form or they don't put the right ending on
23:39the verb because they're not really clear on how it works
23:44grammatically. So, I hope this helps to see, if you're... If
23:48you're actually writing poetry yourself, you might want to use
23:52it in the correct way. Okay.
23:57So, that's... That's the... That's the lesson. And there is
24:04a quiz. If you'd like to do the quiz just to test your knowledge
24:11on this, do go to for the quiz. And you might also
24:18like to look out for my several videos I've already made on
24:25poetry, sometimes looking at a particular poem, and analyzing
24:32it. So, do look out for my other poetry videos. And so that's it,
24:39really. So, I will see thee again soon I hope and take care.
24:46And all the best with the quiz. Bye for now, then. Bye.
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FAQs about This YouTube Video

1. Why are the archaic second-person singular forms in English important?

The archaic second-person singular forms in English, including "thou", "thee", "thy", "thine", and "thyself", are important because they provide insight into the evolution of the English language and its usage in older writings and poetry. Understanding these forms can enhance comprehension of literature and historical texts.

2. How were the archaic second-person singular forms used in Shakespeare's quotations?

Shakespeare frequently used the archaic second-person singular forms such as "thou", "thee", "thy", and "thyself" in his quotations to establish the tone and context of the dialogue. These forms were integral to the language of his time and are still widely recognized in his works.

3. What modern films feature the usage of archaic second-person singular forms in English?

Several modern films, particularly those set in historical or fantasy contexts, feature characters using the archaic second-person singular forms in their dialogue. Examples include period dramas, fantasy epics, and adaptations of classic literature.

4. Are the archaic second-person singular forms still used in regional dialects in the UK?

Yes, the archaic second-person singular forms are still used in some regional dialects in the UK, particularly in areas where older forms of English have been preserved. These dialects maintain aspects of archaic language that have largely faded from standard English.

5. How can the archaic second-person singular forms contribute to poetic expression?

The archaic second-person singular forms, such as "thou", "thee", "thy", and "thine", contribute to poetic expression by invoking a sense of elegance, tradition, and nostalgia. Poets often utilize these forms to evoke specific emotions and create a timeless quality in their work.

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