Thirty Days Hath September
Thread poster: Amel Abdullah

Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
Apr 25, 2016

I was wondering why "hath" (third person singular) is used in the first line of the following poem:

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except for February alone,
Which hath but twenty-eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each leap year.

Apparently, the original was in Latin and then translated to English more than 400 years ago. Is there something about the Latin structure that would cause the tran
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I was wondering why "hath" (third person singular) is used in the first line of the following poem:

Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except for February alone,
Which hath but twenty-eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each leap year.

Apparently, the original was in Latin and then translated to English more than 400 years ago. Is there something about the Latin structure that would cause the translator to use the singular form of the verb, or is there another explanation?
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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Singular Apr 25, 2016

Since emphasis seems to be place on a single month, despite naming all of them, hath is correct. Imagine it written like this:

Thirty days hath September,
Thirty days hath April,
Thirty days hath June,
Thirty days hath November.

Perhaps 400 years ago each month was taken as an entity, thus even though they are all listed, "hath" refers to each single month alone.

Perhaps our colleagues have other ideas that can even be backed-up.

[E
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Since emphasis seems to be place on a single month, despite naming all of them, hath is correct. Imagine it written like this:

Thirty days hath September,
Thirty days hath April,
Thirty days hath June,
Thirty days hath November.

Perhaps 400 years ago each month was taken as an entity, thus even though they are all listed, "hath" refers to each single month alone.

Perhaps our colleagues have other ideas that can even be backed-up.

[Edited at 2016-04-25 13:55 GMT]
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Ailsa Campbell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:42
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
the singular 'hath' Apr 25, 2016

But if this very obsolete form - 'hath' instead of 'has' - is used, then logically it also needs to be used for February 'which hath 28 days clear'.

I think the reason that the initial verb is singular is probably due to the metre. When read aloud the first 'line' is very clearly:

'Thirty days hath September,'
and the other three months follow, as in parenthesis, in line 2.

and possibly 'hath' has been retained here because otherwise you get a disple
... See more
But if this very obsolete form - 'hath' instead of 'has' - is used, then logically it also needs to be used for February 'which hath 28 days clear'.

I think the reason that the initial verb is singular is probably due to the metre. When read aloud the first 'line' is very clearly:

'Thirty days hath September,'
and the other three months follow, as in parenthesis, in line 2.

and possibly 'hath' has been retained here because otherwise you get a displeasing assonance in 'has September'.

So, it's poetry.

Best I can suggest!
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Danik 2014
Brazil
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Similarity with German Apr 26, 2016

Some old English words subsist in a similar form in modern German:
Old English
hath

German
hat

Old English
thou

German
du

And so on


 


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Thirty Days Hath September

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