Alfred Tennyson – Morte d’Arthur

Spoken Verse: Morte d’Arthur


So all day long the noise of battle roll’d

Among the mountains by the winter sea;

Until King Arthur’s table, man by man,

Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord,

King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,

The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,

Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,

And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,

A broken chancel with a broken cross,

That stood on a dark strait of barren land.

On one side lay the ocean, and on one

Lay a great water, and the moon was full. (more…)

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Gerard Nolst Trenité – The Chaos

The Chaos is a poem which demonstrates the irregularity of English spelling and pronunciation. It was written by Gerard Nolst Trenité in 1922 and it first appeared in an appendix to the author’s textbook ‘Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen.’

 

Dearest creature in creation

Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

 

I will keep you, Susy, busy,

Make your head with heat grow dizzy;

Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;

Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

 

Pray, console your loving poet,

Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, hear and heard,

Dies and diet, lord and word.

 

Sword and sward, retain and Britain

(Mind the latter how it’s written).

Made has not the sound of bade,

Say-said, pay-paid, laid but plaid.

 

Now I surely will not plague you

With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,

Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

 

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via

Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;

Woven, oven, how and low,

Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

 

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:

Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,

Missiles, similes, reviles.

 

Wholly, holly, signal, signing,

Same, examining, but mining,

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,

Solar, mica, war and far.

 

From “desire”: desirable-admirable from “admire”,

Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,

Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,

Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,

 

One, anemone, Balmoral,

Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.

Gertrude, German, wind and wind,

Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,

 

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,

Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth

Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

 

Have you ever yet endeavoured

To pronounce revered and severed,

Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,

Peter, petrol and patrol?

 

Billet does not end like ballet;

Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.

Blood and flood are not like food,

Nor is mould like should and would.

 

Banquet is not nearly parquet,

Which exactly rhymes with khaki.

Discount, viscount, load and broad,

Toward, to forward, to reward,

 

Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?

Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.

Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,

Friend and fiend, alive and live.

 

Is your r correct in higher?

Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.

Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,

Buoyant, minute, but minute.

 

Say abscission with precision,

Now: position and transition;

Would it tally with my rhyme

If I mentioned paradigm?

 

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,

But cease, crease, grease and greasy?

Cornice, nice, valise, revise,

Rabies, but lullabies.

 

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,

Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,

You’ll envelop lists, I hope,

In a linen envelope.

 

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!

Affidavit, David, davit.

To abjure, to perjure. Sheik

Does not sound like Czech but ache.

 

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,

Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.

We say hallowed, but allowed,

People, leopard, towed but vowed.

 

Mark the difference, moreover,

Between mover, plover, Dover.

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,

Chalice, but police and lice,

 

Camel, constable, unstable,

Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, penal, and canal,

Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

 

Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit

Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,

But it is not hard to tell

Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

 

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,

Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,

Senator, spectator, mayor,

 

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour

Has the a of drachm and hammer.

Pussy, hussy and possess,

Desert, but desert, address.

 

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants

Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.

Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,

Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

 

“Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker”,

Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor”,

Making, it is sad but true,

In bravado, much ado.

 

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,

Neither does devour with clangour.

Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,

Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

 

Arsenic, specific, scenic,

Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.

Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,

Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

 

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,

Make the latter rhyme with eagle.

Mind! Meandering but mean,

Valentine and magazine.

 

And I bet you, dear, a penny,

You say mani-(fold) like many,

Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,

Tier (one who ties), but tier.

 

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring

Rhyme with herring or with stirring?

Prison, bison, treasure trove,

Treason, hover, cover, cove,

 

Perseverance, severance. Ribald

Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.

Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,

Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

 

Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,

And distinguish buffet, buffet;

Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,

Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

 

Say in sounds correct and sterling

Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.

Evil, devil, mezzotint,

Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

 

Now you need not pay attention

To such sounds as I don’t mention,

Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,

Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

 

Nor are proper names included,

Though I often heard, as you did,

Funny rhymes to unicorn,

Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

 

No, my maiden, coy and comely,

I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.

No. Yet Froude compared with proud

Is no better than McLeod.

 

But mind trivial and vial,

Tripod, menial, denial,

Troll and trolley, realm and ream,

Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

 

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely

May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,

But you’re not supposed to say

Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

 

Had this invalid invalid

Worthless documents? How pallid,

How uncouth he, couchant, looked,

When for Portsmouth I had booked!

 

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,

Paramour, enamoured, flighty,

Episodes, antipodes,

Acquiesce, and obsequies.

 

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,

Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,

Rather say in accents pure:

Nature, stature and mature.

 

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,

Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,

Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,

Wan, sedan and artisan.

 

The th will surely trouble you

More than r, ch or w.

Say then these phonetic gems:

Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

 

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,

There are more but I forget ’em-

Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,

Lighten your anxiety.

 

The archaic word albeit

Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;

With and forthwith, one has voice,

One has not, you make your choice.

 

Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;

Then say: singer, ginger, linger.

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,

Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

 

Hero, heron, query, very,

Parry, tarry fury, bury,

Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,

Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.

 

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,

Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners

Holm you know, but noes, canoes,

Puisne, truism, use, to use?

 

Though the difference seems little,

We say actual, but victual,

Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,

Put, nut, granite, and unite.

 

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,

Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,

Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

 

Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,

Science, conscience, scientific;

Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,

Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

 

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,

Next omit, which differs from it

Bona fide, alibi

Gyrate, dowry and awry.

 

Sea, idea, guinea, area,

Psalm, Maria, but malaria.

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,

Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

 

Compare alien with Italian,

Dandelion with battalion,

Rally with ally; yea, ye,

Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

 

Say aver, but ever, fever,

Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.

Never guess-it is not safe,

We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.

 

Starry, granary, canary,

Crevice, but device, and eyrie,

Face, but preface, then grimace,

Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

 

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,

Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;

Ear, but earn; and ere and tear

Do not rhyme with here but heir.

 

Mind the o of off and often

Which may be pronounced as orphan,

With the sound of saw and sauce;

Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

 

Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?

Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.

Respite, spite, consent, resent.

Liable, but Parliament.

 

Seven is right, but so is even,

Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,

Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.

 

A of valour, vapid vapour,

S of news (compare newspaper),

G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,

I of antichrist and grist,

 

Differ like diverse and divers,

Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.

Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,

Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

 

Pronunciation-think of Psyche!-

Is a paling, stout and spiky.

Won’t it make you lose your wits

Writing groats and saying “grits”?

 

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel

Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington, and Isle of Wight,

Housewife, verdict and indict.

 

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,

Saying lather, bather, father?

Finally, which rhymes with enough,

Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??

 

Hiccough has the sound of sup…

My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

 

Cushions and Pillows

A cushion for the sofa,

A pillow for the bed,

A cushion for your back,

And a pillow for your head.

Parts of Speech – A Poem

Every name is called a NOUN,

As field and fountainstreet and town;

In place of noun the PRONOUN stands,

As he and she can clap their hands;

The ADJECTIVE describes a thing,

As magic wand and bridal ring;

The VERB means action, something done –

To readto writeto jumpto run;

How things are done, the ADVERBS tell,

As quicklyslowlybadlywell;

The PREPOSITION shows relation,

As in the street, or at the station;

CONJUNCTIONS join in many ways,

Sentences, words or phrase and phrase;

The INJECTION cries out, ‘Hark!

I need an exclamation mark!’

Through poetry, we learn how each

Of these make up THE PARTS OF SPEECH.