7 thoughts on “Pun

  1. “It’s not the cough that carries you off
    but the coffin they carry you off in”

    appears in an advertisement for a cough syrup in the Aberdeen Journal (A Scottish Newspaper) dated November 19th, 1926. The advertisement itself indicates that the saying was in general usage prior to this (“The old tag is familiar to everyone,” it states)

    Don’t worry you are not the only one to make a claim to it. It’s attributed here https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7095853.Robert_Leland_Taylor as a Robert Leland Taylor quote. They say he was born in December 1924. For it to be commonly known in the UK by 1926 and for him to be the originator, I think he would have to have come up with it in a past life

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  2. I read the last two lines as claiming it, but I can see that you could use that appearance as part of the poem. For me though, that would be implied more if you put the last two lines before the laughter, then I would read the poem as a ‘character’ writing the pun on coughing and coffin and congratulating herself on being so clever to think of it, then, the laughter would be you as the writer either laughing along with her if I imagine the character as a small girl, maybe a daughter, or at their impudence of they were older. That said I was never any good at literature or poetry at school, though I dabble in verse sometimes now.

    I don’t know the origins of the punny poem either, though I have seen it suggested that it was created by George Formby, snr, who was an English comedian and singer who played in music halls (similar to Vaudeville if you are American) across the country. Apparently he had bronchial problems and worked the saying into his act (with other similar jokes) if he coughed. He was born in 1875 so the phrase could easily have become well known by the time of the advertisement I mentioned. He died in 1921, but his son (of the same name) followed in his footsteps becoming famous for his songs and his ukulele playing.

    Keep up the poetry. I shall bookmark you and hopefully pop by again soon.

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