Monday, October 24, 2011

Word Watch ~ "Holpen"

"Holpen" is the archaic past participle of "help." It has Germanic, rather than Latin, roots. I first came across it when teaching "Masters in This Hall," a Christmas carol by Marin Marais and William Morris (yes, the famous one), to a group of elementary students sixteen years ago. The chorus says,

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell, sing we clear!
Holpen are all folk on earth, Born is God's son so dear:
Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell, sing we loud!
God to-day hath poor folk raised
And cast a-down the proud.

Then last week I came across it again in the good ol' King James Version of the Bible. Psalm 86:17 to be exact:

Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

You can listen to "Masters in This Hall" on Youtube. It's rollicking fun!

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