The Chaos
by Charivarius, a.k.a.
G. J. Nolst Trenité (1922?)

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,
So shall I!! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies, diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain,
(Mind the letter, 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 break, steak, but bleak and streak,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via:
Pipe, snipe, recipe and chair,

Cloven, oven; how and low,
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe,

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, reviles;

Wholly, holly, signal, signing;
Thames, examining, combining;

Scholar, vicar and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far,

From "desire": desirable
-- admirable from "admire,"
Lumber, plumber, bier but brier:

Chatham, brougham; renown but known,
Knowledge done, but gone and tone,

One, anemone; Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;

Gertrude, German, wind and mind;
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather,

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook,
brooch, ninth and plinth,

Billet does not sound 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 is said to rhyme with "darky."

Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
Toward, to forward, to reward,

And your pronunciation’s O.K.
When you say correctly croquet;

Rounded, wounded; grieve and sleeve;
Friend and fiend; alive and live;

Liberty, library; heave and heaven;
Rachel, ache, moustache; eleven.

We say hallowed but allowed,
People, leopard; towed but vowed,

Mark the difference moreover,
Between mover, plover and Dover;

Leeches, breeches; wise, precise;
Chalice, but police and lice.

Camel, constable, unstable;
Principle, disciple; label,

Petal, penal and canal;
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.

Suit, suite, run circuit, conduit,
Rhyme with "Shirk it" and "beyond it."

But it is not hard to tell,
Why it’s pall mall, Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular; gaol, iron;
Timber, climber, bullion, lion;

Worm and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
Senator, spectator, mayor.

Ivy, privy; famous, clamour
And enamour rhyme with "hammer."

Pussy, hussy and possess.
Desert but dessert and address,

Golf, wolf; countenance; lieutenants
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb;
Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.

Soul but foul and gaunt, 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, and gauge;
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post,
and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, job, blossom, bosom, oath

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual but victual,

Seat sweat, chaste and caste:
Leigh, eight and height,
Put, nut, granite but unite,

Refer does not rhyme with "dealer."
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull; Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate and sedate,

Scenic, Arabic, pacific;
Science, conscience, scientific;

Tour, but our, succour, four,
Gas and alas and Arkansas!

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,

Youth, south, southern,
cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine,

Compare alien with Italian
Dandelion with battalion,

Sally with ally; yea, ye
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.

Never guess -- it is not safe;
We say calves, valves, half but Ralph!

Heron; granary, canary,
Crevice, and device and eyrie;

Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic; ass, glass, bass,

Large, but target, gin, give, verging.
Ought, out, joust and scour, but scouring

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, clerk, and jerk;
Asp, 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,
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, plough,
cough, hough, or tough?

Hiccough has the sound of "cup"...
My advice is -- give it up!

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