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Researcher's avatar

How was the word 'poetry' pronounced in England in 1572-1637?

Asked by Researcher (7points) June 28th, 2008

Ben Jonson, in his poem, “On My First Son,” made these words rhyme: ’...Here doth lie/Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.

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3 Answers

lefteh's avatar

I had a professor from Ohio State who specialized in old English literature come and read an English poem to us from exactly that time period, in the pronounciation of that time period. 1602, in fact. And he pronounced poetry as “poe-it-try”, with a bit of garnish on the r. So yes, “lie” and “poetry” would rhyme perfectly.

chaosrob's avatar

Kipling also rhymed “hand or eye” and “fearful symmetry,” so it’s either a common liberty poets take, or they used to pronounce it differently.

Seesul's avatar

I 2nd lefteh. I also had a nun in HS who read to us in O.E. You described the “r” sound very cleverly lefteh.

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