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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Words Ending in eth/th
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0593  Wednesday, 30 March 2005

From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 11:12:01 +0100
Subject: 16.0583 Words Ending in eth/th
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0583 Words Ending in eth/th

Bill Arnold wrote:

 >Obviously, from a literary point of view, it can be seen why the
 >"-eth" endings might have been retained in the KJV and why scholars
 >might be correct in their assessment that Shakespeare had influence
 >with his king in the final rendering with this Shakespearean Age
 >Bible.

If you are going to peddle this sort of nonsense, you at least have some
obligation to consider previous translations.  Here's an
original-spelling (1535) rendering of Coverdale's translation of the
same psalm:

The LORDE is my shepherde, I can wante nothinge.
He fedeth me in a grene pasture, ad ledeth me to a fresh water.
He quickeneth my soule, & bringeth me forth in the waye of rightuousnes for
his names sake.
Though I shulde walke now in the valley of the shadowe of death, yet I feare
no euell, for thou art with me: thy staffe & thy shepehoke coforte me.
Thou preparest a table before me agaynst mine enemies: thou anoyntest my
heade with oyle, & fyllest my cuppe full.
Oh let thy louynge kyndnes & mercy folowe me all the dayes off my life, that
I maye dwell in the house off the LORDE for euer.

This was adapted for the Book of Common Prayer.  By 1583 (under the
influence of the Geneva Bible and the Bishop's Bible) it had become:

The Lord is my shepheard: therefore can I lacke nothing.
He shall feede me in a greene pasture: and leade me forth beside the waters
of comfort.
He shall conuert my soule: and bring me foorth in the pathes of righteousnes
for his names sake.
Yea though I walke thorowe the valley of the shadowe of death, I will feare
no euil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staffe comfort me.
Thou shalt prepare a table before mee against them that trouble mee: thou
hast anointed my heade with oyle, my cup shalbe full.
But thy louing kindnesse and mercie shall folowe me all the dayes of my
life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for euer.

The KJV rendering is more influenced by the Geneva Bible version, which
retained the -eth endings.  Here's a 1587 version:

A Psalme of Dauid. The Lorde is my shephearde, I shall not want.
He maketh me to rest in greene pasture, and leadeth me by the still waters.
He restoreth my soule, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse for his
Names sake.
Yea, though I should walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I
will feare no euill: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staffe, they
comfort me.
Thou doest prepare a table before me in the sight of mine aduersaries: thou
doest anoynt mine head with oyle, and my cuppe runneth ouer.
Doubtlesse kindnesse and mercie shall followe me all the dayes of my life,
and I shall remaine a long season in the house of the Lord.

John Briggs

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