The Objects

18th Apr 1815

Source: Bodleian Library, with permission.

Peter Pindar’s Poem ‘Bonaparte in Paris!’

Contributed by: Oskar Cox Jensen

C.F. Lawler, Bonaparte in Paris! Or, The Flight of the Bourbons! A Poem, by Peter Pindar, esq. (London, 1815)

‘Peter Pindar’ was the pseudonym of several of London’s satirical poets, in this case C.F. Lawler, especially prolific in 1814-15 and known for his tirades against the Prince Regent.

Fresh from lampooning the Congress of Vienna in The German Sausages, Lawler responded to the news of Napoleon’s return with a gleeful attack on both Louis XVIII – derided as the Corsican’s ‘warming-pan’, simply keeping the throne toasty – and on the British tourists also forced to flee Paris (for an extract, see ‘Further Information’.

Lawler turns the hyperbole of xenophobic English attacks on Napoleon against that same society, glorying in the cowardly retreat of London’s elite in the face of the ‘bugabo’.

Lawler’s printer is John Fairburn, who also published the broadside ‘The Bungling Tinkers!’, which shared this wry, cynical sentiment. In this poem, Lawler does not merely react to the news as mediated by the London press; he caricatures the sale of those very papers.

Several lively verses send up the confusion and excitement that met the news of Napoleon’s escape, when the Courier was sold by post-boys for up to half-a-crown, five times the official price of sixpence, so eager were Londoners to know the ‘truth’ of events in France.

Geolocation

For the full text, see
C. F. Lawler, Bonaparte in Paris! Or, The Flight of the Bourbons! A Poem, by Peter Pindar, esq. (London, 1815), held at the Bodleian Library, 280 e.3456.

Extract:
‘Away they scamper, high and low,

Like children from a bugabo;

Run, Johnny, run, should Boney meet you,
The cruel monster’ll kill and eat you!

“Boney is coming! Oh! the devil!
Whoever dreamt of such an evil.
They say – I shall expire with fright, -
He will be here to-morrow night.’


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