I'm a big fan of Shakespeare's works, but I wonder, how the verb in EME is conjugated. I found some info on this, but they were rather dubious and appeared to contradict themselves. So I hope someone oriented would answer my question:
1. Which suffix is attached to verbs with "thou"? -est, -st, -'st -t?
2. Which suffix is attached to verbs with "he, she, it"? -eth, -th, -'th, -s?
3. How is it all going with past simple? Are the suffixes attached also here?
I know that's rather academic question, but I hope someone would be able to help me. :)
I can help with the first two questions.
One of the difficulties in reading the older thou and ye is that the verb forms are also different. To further complicate matters, thou has a couple of different forms. The third-person (he, she, and it) construction also has a different verb conjugation sometimes. Fortunately, ye works the same as you, so ye need not learn any other verb forms.
The most common verbs are to be and to have, so you see these constructions frequently: thou art and thou hast. On rare occasions, Shakespeare omitted thou, leaving just the verb. For example, in Measure for Measure, Lucio asks, "Art going to prison, Pompey?" (3.2.58).
To conjugate a verb with thou, add t, st, or est, depending on the verb - for example, thou shalt, thou canst, thou dost, and thou knowest. Thou wilt doesn't refer to drooping plants; it's the informal way of saying you will. To say you wilt in the heat, use thou wiltest in the heat.
Shakespeare mixed the old and new styles for he, she, or it. Sometimes, he wrote he ist or he hath, and other times, he wrote he is or he has. For other verbs, the conjugation usually requires that eth be added to the end of the verb, as in she knoweth or he wanteth. Shakespeare was at ease with both forms and freely used one or the other. In The Merchant of Venice, for example, Portia uses both forms in her speech to fit the meter of the verse:
The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes,
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown. (4.1.182-87)
Early Modern English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Scroll down to Verbs)