From the Travelers Recond April 1889

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 21 21:45:09 UTC 2010

The poets give no encouragement to people who pronounce vase as though
it were written " vaze" or "vauz." Thus Pope [as good authority as any
dictionary] : —
" There heroes' wits are kept in ponderous vases, And beaux' in
snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases."
Byron [anxiously accurate in rhyming pronunciations, and an authority of
the' first rank in such questions] supports Pope in these lines: —
" A pure, transparent, pale, yet radiant face,
Like to a lighted alabaster vase."

Moore, who was a very dainty gentleman, and associated much with the
arbiters of fashion, has the following : —
" Grave me a cup with brilliant grace,
Deep as the rich and holy vase—"

Keats adds the weight of his authority: —
" Fair, dewy roses brush against our faces, And flowering laurels spring
from diamond vases."
Notwithstanding these and many other examples in the poets, fashionable
people in England universally give the word a broad pronunciation, not
quite "vauz" and not quite "vaze," but something between. Which shall we
obey, Parnassus or Belgravia? Parnassus, of course.— [Youth's Companion.
[Our only recollection of a literary authority for "vavvze" is Sotheby,
a mediocre but fashionable contemporary of Byron, who rhymes it with
"gauze," showing that this pronunciation was used by a minority of good
society at that time. Its growth in favor since then seems due to its
patent absurdity and anomalousness, which is reason enough always. — Ed.

The American Dialect Society -

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