February 15, 2004


Happy St. Valentineís Day Massacre Day! Iím a day late in Australia, but what the hell. Mark Steyn identifies a crucial problem for us mono-linguists:

English has just four and a half rhymes for "love", approximately three-quarters of which offer highly limited possibilities: "above", "dove", "glove", "shove" and (the half-rhyme) "of". The last is the reason why, in English songs, "love" is a thing you spend a lot of time "dreaming uv". "Shove" is of limited application, except in ballads for spousal abusers. "Glove" is annoyingly singular. In Irving Berlin's "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", the giddy romancer finds himself, as many Canadian canoodlers do on this day, in sub-zero temperatures but enflamed by his passion:

Off with my overcoat
Off with my glove
I need no overcoat
I'm burning with love

- and you find yourself thinking: why's the guy only wearing one glove?

Steynís right; the love rhyme is tough. The only way around it is to invent new words:

On lifeís romantic highway
I drive my SUV of love
For the purposes of rhyming,
I pronounce it "suv"

Yeah, well ... you do better.*

*Note: better submissions will be deleted.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 15, 2004 03:42 AM

I wish I was an Arkansas Governor
I'd drop my trou' and then start lovin' her

Posted by: iowahawk at February 15, 2004 at 04:08 AM

Dove is the only poetic word to rhyme with love. It alone appears in the Poetic Annex to Basic English

Here are the poetic words: angel, arrow, beast, blind, bow, breast, bride, brow, bud, calm, child, cross, crown, curse, dawn, delight, dew, dove, dream, eagle, eternal, evening, evil, fair, faith, fate, feast, flock, flow, fountain, fox, gentle, glad, glory, God, grace, grape, grief, guest, hawk, heaven, hell, hill, holy, honey, honor, image, ivory, joy, lamb, lark, life, lion, lord, meadow, melody, mercy, noble, passion, perfume, pity, pool, praise, prayer, pride, priest, purple, rapture, raven, robe, rock, rose, rush, search, shining, shower, sorrow, soul, spear, spirit, storm, stream, strength, sword, thief, tower, travel, valley, veil, vine, violet, virgin, virtue, vision, wandering, wealth, weariness, weeping, wisdom, wolf, wonder.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at February 15, 2004 at 04:54 AM

I will take off my glove,
and the other one too.
So I can express my love,
with both my hands on you.


Posted by: RC at February 15, 2004 at 05:21 AM

I'm married to the widow Heinz,
Her affections I will shove,
It's JFK 2.1,
The messenger of love.

See, I knew I could use shove.

Posted by: JohnO at February 15, 2004 at 05:36 AM

If the glove don't fit
You must acquit
But if you can squeeze on that glove
I'm guilty of love

Nothing like a little OJ-related poetry to set the mood.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 15, 2004 at 05:53 AM

Two more love-rhymers: "guv" (continue on the Arkansas governor theme if you must); "wuv" (sickening variant of "love"). Ick; not much to work with.

Posted by: m at February 15, 2004 at 06:18 AM

Why not pull a Sondheim, and rhyme "love" with fractions of words?

To win your love
I'd live in a hov...

I've got more love
Than you ever could shov...

Oh-- now I see why not.

Posted by: Just Some Guy at February 15, 2004 at 06:45 AM

Leaving aside "above" as insufficiently challenging . . .

The Bible tells us not to cov
et thy neighbor's wife or oxen.
But it's OK to love
up a small but audible coxswain.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at February 15, 2004 at 07:16 AM

Off with my overcoat
Off with my glove
I need no overcoat
I'm burning with love

Hold it there lover
you've got to take cover,
You have to remember
A glove for your member!

Posted by: Peggy Sue at February 15, 2004 at 09:25 AM

Forget love! Jacob Bronowski pointed out that like is much more significant -- and English is the only language which reflects that. As Bronowski put it: "[A]t the basis of human thought lies the judgement of what is like and what is unlike. In picking out what we shall call alike, we make the basic judgement, that here is something which is important to us. We do this when we say that men are like women, or that the earth is like the planets, or that the air is like wine. Aldous Huxley in his novel Barren Leaves speculates at length about the word 'love' in different European languages; but I, coming to England as a boy, was struck more by the existence in English alone of the verb 'to like.'" (The Common Sense of Science)

(Oh, and don't miss Impearls' Valentine's Day posting called "In praise of the C-word," featuring Geoffrey Chaucer's Wife of Bath!)

Posted by: Michael Edward McNeil at February 15, 2004 at 11:19 AM

Shove seems to be a very useful rhyme, actually - if you don't mind love ballads of the more explicit kind:

The ins and outs,
The push and shove,
The come and go
Of love.

Posted by: TimT at February 15, 2004 at 12:01 PM

Off with my overcoat
Off with my glove
I need no partner
It's one handed love

That's why there's only one glove!

Posted by: rinardman at February 15, 2004 at 12:41 PM

I've found that my true love,
Is like a little turtle dove,
Please don't misconstrue my words
And think I'm pervy about birds,
I like girlies- have no fear,
When they've got one like a mouse's ear.

Posted by: Habib at February 15, 2004 at 01:10 PM

no glove,
no love.

Shamelessly stolen from Highlander 2. "Glove," of course, has an alternitave meaning.

Posted by: Aaron at February 15, 2004 at 02:53 PM

What about love/above? The love/shove rhyme reminds me of the timeless romantic classic "Reflections in A Flat" by Half Man Half Biscuit

Oh darling sugar honey
When it was nice and sunny
And when I had some money
We would go and see Echo & the Bunny-

Since I was eight I've loved you
Through garden gates I've shoved you
Then there's the time I slashed you
And you had to go to hospital...

Now you are gone forever
Shot by your Uncle Trevor
My story seems so tragic
Ali Bongo's good at contortionism
(He's much better than David Nixon ever was!)

Slowly I pick my life up
Now I go and pick the wife up
She works in Marks and Spencers
La la la lech Walesas
When Cupid through his last dart
You girl were still in my heart
I love you more than ever
Even though I married Trevor.........

Posted by: CB at February 15, 2004 at 11:05 PM