Pearson’s Magazine (UK), September 1906
The Very First.
I like to think that once on a time
In the far-off days of yore,
When no one said at the end of a tale
That he’d heard the thing before;
In the days when man had a simple mind
And Humour had scarce begun,
Somebody took his life in his hands
And shot off the Primal Pun—
The very first, and perhaps the worst,
The original Primal Pun.
Those were the days when the humorist
Was a practical sort of man;
He didn’t rely on verbal points,
But worked on a different plan.
A sudden smack from behind with a club
Was what he considered fun,
Till one fine morning a genius came
And worked off the Primal Pun.
How it must have gone in these dim, dead days!
What a stir it must have made!
How they must have roared till they strained their ribs
And their friends applied first aid!
Jests there have been by the score since then,
But that was the earliest one,
When that light-hearted caveman gave a wink
And uttered the Primal Pun.
I often wonder when lights are low
And my final pipe I smoke,
What was it—that pioneer of mirth,
That earliest verbal joke.
But ever in vain do I rack my brain;
There is none to tell me, none,
What were the words of the first buffoon
Who shot out the Primal Pun.
Yet often again, when I’m dining out,
And o’er my coffee I sit,
And my host is painfully trying to air
A rudimentary wit,
As he slowly works through his laboured jest
With a dulness that seems to stun,
I say to myself, “It is! It is!
This must be that Primal Pun!
The very first, and certainly worst,
The original Primal Pun!”
P. G. W.