Riddles and Puns
From Shakespeare's punny intro to Julius Caesar
MARULLUS. But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
SECOND COMMONER. A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.
MARULLUS. What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what trade?
SECOND COMMONER. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me; yet,if you be out, sir, I can mend you.
MARULLUS. What mean'st thou by that? Mend me, thou saucy fellow!
SECOND COMMONER. Why, sir, cobble you.
FLAVIUS. Thou art a cobbler, art thou?
SECOND COMMONER. Truly, Sir, all that I live by is with the awl; I meddle with no tradesman's matters, nor women's matters, but with awl.
I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork.
I should be pun-ished!
My punctuation is horrible; I was always late to school. My grammar was not very good,either, she liked my sister more. But I loved reading the 'Figures of Speech' chapter in my grammar book when I was twelve. And the best 36-26-36 of speech that I enjoyed was the pun! That chapter had old gems like "Life depends on the liver," and "an ambassador lies abroad for the sake of his country."
Then, when I was fourteen, we had Julius Caesar and found, to our delight, that Great Shakes himself had profusely used the pun. Profused them!
See if you can make sense or nonsense from these puns from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:
1. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. (That's a wounded chap speaking.)
2. In bed asleep, while they do dream things true. Dreamers lie, and lie. (That's Romeo himself.)
When English Miss told us about how there was a doubt about the ID of the old bard of Avon, we suggested that he might be really a trembling guard with a shaky javelin! She was serious, and looked down upun us. But the good lady did not pun-ish us puny pupils. She wore dark glasses because her pupils were usually bright!
That year, my interest in puns made me a short term star, more like a shooting one, yes. English Miss was incharge of the Grand Annual School Quiz, and yes, we called it the Gas-Q or even gasket. She was a creative lady and decided to not just ask us general knowledge questions, but also colonel ones. Sorry, I got carried away by my punning. One of these days, my wife says I'll be carried away in a strait jacket.
Back to the Gas-Q. She included riddles in the quiz, and lo and behold, due to my new found interest in double entendre, I scored double than what I would have scored with GK questions!
She asked, "What dog tells time?" and I answered, "A watch dog, Miss."; to "Why did the garden fence?" I replied, "Because it saw the window box," and I had a great time becoming, for a short period, star of my house. I failed to answer many GK ones, and passed them, hee, hee! But still I won, because of the puns. These punny riddles are called conundrums, for your general knowledge.
Then we had those knock-knock jokes:
Arthur any more biscuits?
And my favourite joke on the joke:
There was a Shakespearian Entymologist who peered through his magnifying glass and said, "Ah. Antennae and Coleoptera!"
I became a die hard punologist and collected puns of all shapes and sizes. I became a fan of Groucho Marx, who said things like "Jack the Ripper, who cut quite a figure in his day," in an official letter to Warner Bros!
I sometimes zoom back and look at the other figures of speech, but that's another hub, another day. I am a punster for this hub, but could be an oxymoron for you, gentle reader. Later. I hub a cobe in my nobe now.