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Kids Recite: Psalm 23 - The Lord is My Sheperd

Learn some poetry and some Old English with us. The text these kids recite is from the authorised version of the Bible, King James Version (KJV), written in 1611, so the language is archaic sometimes and it will help us see some old English things.

This poem (Psalm 23) is originally a praise song written by King David (year 1000 B.C.), second king of Israel and ancestor of Jesus, and it is one of the most beautiful psalms in the Bible and one of the best pieces of poetry from the ancient world.

You can also watch a child reciting the whole part in one go: Cute Kid Recites Psalm 23.

Old English can still be seen in some religious texts and songs, in old literature and in many poems, old and new, so it is good to know at least the basics of it.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

for ever
for ever
for ever
for ever
for ever

ha ha ha

SHEPHERD= A person who takes care of sheep and takes them out to eat grass in the countryside.

SHALL= (old fashioned or emphatic) Will.

WANT= Need something. If you have no want, you don't need anything (because you have everything you need)

MAKETH= /mkɪθ/ Makes.
In old English, the third person singular ended in -TH (not in -S). The modern -S ending comes from the northern dialects, which used the -S under the influence of their Viking conquerors.

PASTURES= A land with lots of grass.

LEADETH= /li:dɪθ/ Leads. (see explanations at MAKETH)

STILL= Quiet, not moving. Here, "still waters" actually mean "calm waters", not dangerous.

RESTORETH= restores (see explanations at MAKETH). To restore something is to repair it and bring it back to its original perfect state, but it also means "to relax, to bring rest".

RIGHTEOUSNESS= Goodness, the quality of being right, correct.

FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE= Because of His Name, through the power of His Name = Through His power. In the Bible, "the Name of God" is another way of saying simply "God".

YEA= Yes.
Modern English only uses "Yes" and "No" to answer questions, and "yea" (or usually "yeah") is simply a colloquial variation of "yes". But in Early English (up to Shakespeare's times) there were four forms, two used when the question was affirmative (yea, Nay) and two when the question was negative (Yes, No):
- Do you like it? - Yea /jeə/ / Nay /neɪ/
- Don't you like it? - Yes / No

EVIL= Things that are morally wrong, bad. The opposite of Good or Goodness.

THOU ART= (Old English) /ðaʊ ɑ:*t/ You are (singular form).

THY= /ðaɪ/ (Old English) Your (singular form)

ROD= A walking stick used by shepherds to walk and lead the sheep. (see picture)

STAFF= Same as "rod".

THOU PREPAREST= (Old English) You prepare.
In old English, for the second person singular we used THOU and for the second person plural we used YE or YOU. Now we use YOU for both. The verbs used to take a -EST /ɪst/ ending for the second person singular (THOU).

MINE= (Old English) My.
In old English we used MY before a consontant and MINE before a vowel:
- This is my wife
- This is mine aunt

Though today we use MY as the adjective form and MINE as the pronoun
- This is my car. This car is mine.
For the second person singular we also had the same thing, THY before a consonant and THYNE before a vowel:
- This is thy wife and that is thine aunt

ANOINTEST= Anoint (with the -est ending of the old second person singular form). To anoint is to apply oil, ointment, or a similar substance to. An ointment is some kind of cream or fluid made to cure, perfume or bless. The ointment they are talking about here is a special kind of olive oil (plus a little of other substances) used in ancient Israel to pour on somebody's head and declare he is the one chosen by God for a special mission (usually to lead His people as a king, a prophet or some other kind of religious leader).

MY CUP RUNNETH OVER= My cup overflows, that is, you give me much more than I need, I have your blessings in aboundance.

DWELL= (old fashioned or literary) Live.


These are thee original AngloSaxon forms of the second person pronoun:

---- singular ----

Subject- Thou /ðaʊ/ (=you) e.g. thou art my foe = you are my enemy.
Object- Thee /ði:/ (=you) e.g. Ic love thee, thou lovest me = I love you, you love me.
Possessive adj/pron- Thy /ðaɪ/(before consonant) / Thine /ðaɪn/ (before vowel)  (= your) e.g. Thy name is Peter = your name is Peter / I love thine eyes = I love your eyes.

---- plural ----

Subject- Ye /ji:/ (=you) e.g. Ye come for to help me = you come to help me.
Object- You /ju:/ (=you) e.g. She loveth you = She loves you guys.
Possessive- Youre /jʊər/ (=your) e.g. Hit is youre hus = It's your house.

 

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