60. Small Wit.


“Many there are (says an old writer) that will lose their friend rather than their jest, or their quibble, pun, punnet or pundigrion, fifteen of which will not make up one single jest.” Is there any commentator who can explain the punnet and pundigrion, or must they be enumerated in the next work which shall be written De rebus deperditis? The recovery of this lost species of the small currency of wit, would be of signal advantage to our modern dramatists.

What was the clench, another favourite figure of wit in old times; but which was 104going out of fashion in the days of the pundigrion?

‘Clenches and quibbles are now out of date,’

is a line of Flecknoe’s.

—Children find, if they endeavour it,
Your learning, chronicle; clinches your wit

Sir William Davenant.

The quip seems to be another lost species, and we now hear of no quirks but those of pettyfogging lawyers.


Icon for the Public Domain licence

This work (Omniana by Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge) is free of known copyright restrictions.

Share This Book