Saturday, August 9, 2008


Yesterday, while paging through my old copy of The Reader’s Encylopedia, I noticed the following entry on Hurlothrumbo. It’s now part of You Don’t Say.

Hurlothrumbo. A burlesque opera, which in 1729-1730 had an extraordinary run at the Haymarket theater. So great was its popularity that a club called “The Hurlothrumbo Society” was formed. The author was Samuel Johnson (1691-1773), a half-mad dancing master, who put this motto on the title-page when the burlesque was printed:

     Ye sons of fire, read my Hurlothrumbo,
     Turn it betwixt your finger and your thumbo,
     And being quite undone, be quite struck dumbo.

For notes on the life and burial place of Samuel “Maggoty” Johnson, go here. (Includes several photos.)

The Burns Glossary: the first lines beginning with the letters C, D, and E added to the Index of First Lines.

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