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55. The worst of all Puns.

93

At Nuremburg a wolf’s tooth was shown to travellers (such, says Keysier, as in some places is given to children instead of a coral when they cut their teeth) on which an Abbé is represented lying dead in a meadow, with three lilies growing out of his posteriors. This is not only the worst pun that ever was carved upon a wolf’s tooth, but the worst that ever was or will be made. The Abbé is designed to express the Latin word Habe. He is lying dead in a meadow,..mort en pré; this is for mortem præ; and the three lilies in his posteriors are to be read oculis, ..au cu lis. Thus, according to the annexed explanation, the whole pun, rebus, or hieroglyphic, is Habe mortem pra oculis.

Charles VIIth of France, when Dauphin, bore upon his standard a device which was in a similar taste, though not so 94rich a specimen of it. He was in love with a virtuous damsel, the daughter of Messire Guillaume Cassinel; she was usually called La Cassinelle after her father’s name, and the Prince expressed his affection for her by bearing on his standard, in gold, un K, un cigne et une L.

Juvenal Des Ursins.