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The chorus of the song "The Heart of the Raven" by the German band MONO INC. goes like this:

But here in the raven's heart
Your heart is beating on
I ween that you are better where you are
You're here in the raven's heart
No matter where you've gone
I'm sure that you are there among the stars

The line "I ween that you are better where you are" struck me as odd. First off, I wasn't familiar with the word "ween" so I looked it up. Merriam-Webster defines it as an archaic word meaning "think":

Definition of ween
transitive verb
archaic
: to hold as an opinion : SUPPOSE, BELIEVE

But... what does that mean here in context? Why use such an archaic and unknown word here, instead of a word found in more people's lexicons? How does this affect the song?

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  • Ween is cognate to the German verb wähnen, meaning to suppose, expect, believe, imagine. It may not seem quite so obscure and unknown to native German speakers.
    – Peter Shor
    Mar 2 at 23:21
  • The only time I ever heard the word is in Gilbert & Sullivan: "That junior partnership I ween ... " youtube.com/watch?v=iZ-gfalEWI0
    – Pete
    Mar 3 at 16:06

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