HE WAY WE PRONOUNCE English in 2019 does not always correspond to how English was pronounced in former centuries. In the days of Shakespeare, the word FLIES rhymed with ENEMIES. Certain types of poetry also tolerate what’s called an “eye rhyme”—when two words look the same but are pronounced differently: Sean+Bean; Cough+Bough; Food+Good; Death+Wreath; Love+Move; and so forth.
Whenever possible—and it was not always possible—the Brébeuf Hymnal avoided rhymes such as this one, found in the Cantate Omnes Hymnal (produced in 1952 by the Church Musicians’ Guild of Buffalo):
For the record, “call” and “festival” (verse 2) no longer rhyme; although they probably did in the 17th century, when Sir Walter Kirkham Blount wrote this translation for a Roman Catholic Missal. It was not always possible for the Brébeuf Hymnal to avoid such rhymes. Indeed, if you examine its 932 pages, you’ll notice several. However, we tried to avoid any that were especially prominent.
The following example by Father Faber is considered by some to be an eye rhyme, because they claim these two words no longer rhymed in the 19th century:
Most ancient of all mysteries,
Before Thy throne we lie;
Have mercy now, most merciful,
Most holy Trinity.
(Because of this hymn, a young child once asked his mother why it was okay to tell lies when we are before the Throne of God…)
Are you bothered by eye rhymes? Let us know in the combox on the CCW Facebook page.
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You can download the entire (marvelous!) Roman Catholic Holy Week book—“The Office of the Holy Week According to the Missall and Roman Breviary”—by Sir Walter Kirkham Blount, published in 1670AD:
* PDF Download • Holy Week Book (1670AD)
—The Office of the Holy Week According to the Missall and Roman Breviary.