We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes;
The one fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese;
You may find a lone mouse or a whole nest of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice;
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But a bow, if repeated, is never called bine;
And the plural of vow is vows, never vine.
If I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
If the singular’s this and the plural is these,
Should be plural of kiss ever be keese?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose;
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren;
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
So the English, I think, you all will agree,
Is the greatest language you ever did see.
— Miscellaneous Notes and Queries, August 1897