I came beneath a pint tree bough
When I was searching for my cough.
I could not reach the pine cones, though,
The branch was high and I was lough.
"Ah, me," I cried, with rueful laugh,
"Would that I were a tall giraugh."
Just then a wind came hurtling through,
The branches cracked, so fierce it blough.
This blast, so shrill it made me cough,
And on it went with angry sough;
I put my treasure in my mough
And started home across the slough
Forgetting what I'd come to dough.
Bossy was standing by here trough;
Did I mistake or did she scough?
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
And cork and work and card and ward
And font front and word and sword
Well done! And now if you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead; it's said like bed and not like bead -
For goodness sake don't call it deed.
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Or dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose -
Just look them up - and goose and choose.
There's so much more that one can add
Oh, come on, it's not so bad
So here we go with to and fro
And now we know of how and snow.
How about this crazy pair -
Hear and wear (and here and where)
This could go on with bear and sear
Let's save those for another year.
Here is yet another batch
Touch and couch - watch and catch
Again must never rhyme with rain
Lien with pier nor weir with seine.
I shall have to be quite firm
About rhyming storm (or form) with worm
Elite with mite and come with home
Some with dome; bomb with comb.
Hone is not pronounced like done
Nor cone like gone nor phone like none
Then there's our old friend been
Which looks like seen but said like win.
And do and go; then thwart and cart.
Come, come! I've hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I'd mastered it when I was five!
Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!
CANDIDATE FOR A PULLET SURPRISE I have a spelling checker, It came with my PC. It plane lee marks four my revue Miss steaks aye can knot sea. Eye ran this poem threw it, Your sure reel glad two no. Its vary polished in it's weigh. My checker tolled me sew. A checker is a bless sing, It freeze yew lodes of thyme. It helps me right awl stiles two reed, And aides me when eye rime. Each frays come posed up on my screen Eye trussed too bee a joule. The checker pours o'er every word To cheque sum spelling rule. Bee fore a veiling checker's Hour spelling mite decline, And if we're lacks oar have a laps, We wood bee maid too wine. Butt now bee cause my spelling Is checked with such grate flare, Their are know fault's with in my cite, Of nun eye am a wear. Now spelling does knot phase me, It does knot bring a tier. My pay purrs awl due glad den With wrapped word's fare as hear. To rite with care is quite a feet Of witch won should bee proud, And wee mussed dew the best wee can, Sew flaw's are knot aloud. Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays Such soft wear four pea seas, And why eye brake in two averse Buy righting want too pleas.Published in the Journal of Irreprodicble Results, January/February 1994, page 13.