Thou dost jest, dostn't thou? - Macleans.ca

Thou dost jest, dostn’t thou?

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The government tells us in the Speech from the Throne that it’s open to changing the line in the O Canada that goes “True patriot love in all thy sons command” back to the original “True patriot love thou dost in us command.”

Apparently, the thou-dost line was used from 1908 to 1914. There’s a fascinating history of the anthem here, which shows how often we’ve tinkered with the English lyrics. So I guess traditionalists among us can’t object to another change on grounds that this is sacrosanct poetry.

Still, I don’t like the notion of this reversion. It’s one thing to sing the word “thy,” the archaism of which we barely notice because we’re so used to it. But “thou dost,” I’m afraid, sounds like in belongs in Ye Olde Anthem. Worse, there’s an unpleasing siblilance in “dost in us.” It’s hissy.

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