Friday, March 9, 2012

Ye olde rhymes

While reading Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors for Winston Smith's little reading group, I came across these:
There's nothing situate under heaven's eye
But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky:
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls,
Are their males' subjects and at their controls:
Men, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lords of the wide world and wild watery seas,
Indued with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more preeminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and their lords:
Then let your will attend on their accords.
Patience unmoved! no marvel though she pause;
They can be meek that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
As much or more would we ourselves complain:
So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,
With urging helpless patience wouldst relieve me,
But, if thou live to see like right bereft,
This fool-begg'd patience in thee will be left.
The bolded words used to rhyme at one time. I have seen other examples of old dead rhymes from olden tymes in faithful reproductions of old children's books. Interesting to see how language changes over the years.

Bill Bryson, I believe it was, said that the English used to have father rhyme with our word lather. He gave several more similar examples, all of which led me to figure that my English ancestors in colonial times spoke very much like the pirates in the movies. How thoughtless of them not to record their voices.

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