Belike thou' It ... (thou'lt)


Hello, dear forum,

I am reading a story by Lyon Sprague de Camp and have encountered these two expressions which puzzle me.
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And the second one comes from the passge where mother after having learnt that her son is going to part for a faraway country says: "You young people are always full of idealistic notions. Belike thou' It fall into heretical delusions, for I fear that the Easterlings have not the true religion."

Thank you for your help.
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  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Belike thou'lt fall into heretical delusions ...
    Notice the change of letter from an upper case I to a lower case l, indicating a contraction of thou wilt to thou'lt.
    This is equivalent to a modern-day contraction of you will to you'll.
    Belike ... in all likelihood, probably; not unlikely, perhaps, possibly. OED
    And we end up with:
    In all likelihood you will fall into heretical delusions, ...


    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Odd little archaisms of this kind seem to be quite popular with writers of fantasy fiction; though here, it doesn't entirely accord with the preceding sentence:

    1. You young people are always full of idealistic notions



    Senior Member
    English (British)
    "Thou" is the archaic second person singular, so the "you" (plural) refers to young people in general, and the "thou wilt" presumably to a person familiar to the speaker - and it does sound a lot like swords-and-sorcery piffle.
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