Sunday

Oct. 20, 2002

Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners

by Anonymous

The Benefits and Abuse of Alcohol

by Richard Cumberland

SUNDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2002
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Poem: "Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners," by an anonymous poet and "The Benefits and Abuse of Alcohol," by Richard Cumberland.

Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners

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?
Well done! And now you wish perhaps
To learn of these familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it's said like bed, not 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,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there's does and rose and lose-
Just look them up: and goose and choose,

And cork and front and word and ward
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go and thwart and cart-
Come, come, I've hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man Alive,
I'd mastered it when I was five!


The Benefits and Abuse of Alcohol

Three cups of wine a prudent man may take;
The first of these for constitution's sake;
The second to the girl he loves the best;
The third and last to lull him to his rest,
Then home to bed! but if a forth he pours,
That is the cup of folly, and not ours;
Loud noisy talking on the fifth attends;
The sixth breeds feuds and falling-out of friends;
Seven beget blows and faces stain'd with gore;
Eight, and the watch-patrole breaks ope the door;
Mad with the ninth, another cup goes round,
And the swill'd sot drops senseless to the ground.



It's the birthday of poet Robert Pinsky, born in Long Branch, New Jersey (1940). He's published six collections of poems, serves as the poetry editor of the online magazine Slate, and is the country's first triple-term Poet Laureate. A collection of poems from the project, Americans' Favorite Poems (1999), has gone through eight printings. In 1995 Pinsky published a translation of the Inferno which duplicated Dante's rhyme scheme.

It's the birthday of newspaper columnist Art Buchwald, born in Mount Vernon, New York (1925).

It's the birthday of John Dewey, born in Burlington, Vermont (1859). He wrote Democracy and Education (1916), and he founded the New School for Social Research.

It's the birthday of [Jean-Nicolas-] Arthur Rimbaud, born in Charleville, France (1854). He was a prize student, but at sixteen he started running away, and he finally made it all the way to Paris, where he drank and fought and delighted in perversity. He alienated the entire literary world of Paris. He was nineteen when he published A Season in Hell (1873), which made his reputation.


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