Dearest Creature in creation

Dearest creature in creation
studying English pronunciation
I will teach you in my verse
sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse
It 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 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 to speak
say gush, bush and break and bleak
previous, precious, fuchsia, via
pipe, snipe, recipe and choir
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, plinth
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 will almost rhyme with ‘khaki’
discount, viscount, load and broad
toward, to forward, to reward
ricocheted and croqueting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK!
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve
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, 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, glamour
and enamour rhyme with hammer
pussy, hussy, and possess
desert but desert, 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
then say 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, Cath

My oppugnant, keen oppugners
bowing – bowing banjo-tuners
in their yachts or their 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
scenic, Arabic, Pacific
science, conscience, scientific
tour, but our and succour, four
gad, 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, receiver
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 grimace
phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging
ought, out, joust and scour, but 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, clerk and jerk
asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work
pronunciation think of psyche!
It’s a paling, stout and spikey
won’t it make you lose your wits
writing groats and saying groats?
Its 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!

(This poem was written by a Dutch teacher of English, to train his students in pronunciation. Even native English speakers may have difficulty correctly pronouncing it).