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Laughing at the King
Edited by Fenella Copplestone
10% off all versions
Categories: 18th Century, British, Humour
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (220 pages)
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What modern Courtier, pray, hath got the face
To say to Majesty, 'O King!
At such a time, in such a place,
You did a very foolish thing'?
from 'An Apologetic Postscript to Ode upon Ode'
Peter Pindar (1738-1819), the pen name of John Wolcot, dared to ridicule the foibles, corruptions and misdemeanours of King George III and those in power in his kingdom. His satire was merciless, but Wolcot survived accusations of treason, protected by his wit and readership. His admirers included Lord Nelson and the Prince Regent himself; to Robert Burns he was 'a delightful fellow and a first favourite of mine'. Fascinating for what they reveal of the world of Hanoverian England, Peter Pindar's audacious poems still shock the modern reader into laughter at the unchanging characteristics of the arrogant and powerful.
Fenella Copplestone's introduction and notes illuminate social and literary contexts of Pindar's writing.
Cover image: Treason!!! (1798) by Richard Newton.Cover design StephenRaw.com.
A Note on the Text
Suggestions for Further Reading
THE LOUSIAD: AN HEROI-COMIC POEM. 1785–1795
from Canto the First. September 1785
(Canto II. 1787)
from Canto the Third. April 1791
(Canto IV. December 1792)
from Canto the Fifth. November 1795
TALES OF THE KING
from An Apologetic Postscript to Ode upon Ode. 1787
The Apple Dumplings and a King
from Instructions to a Celebrated Laureat
Birth-day Ode (Alias Mr Whitbread’s Brewhouse).
from Peter’s Pension. 1788
The Royal Sheep
The King and Parson Young
from The Royal Tour and Weymouth Amusements. 1795
The Royal Tour
'The Papers I see are full of anecdotes of the late King: how he nodded to a Coal Heaver and laugh'd with a Quaker and liked boil'd Leg of Mutton. Old Peter Pindar is just dead: what will the old King and he have to say to each other? Perhaps the King may confess that Peter was in the right, and Peter maintain himself to have been in the wrong'.
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