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England's Populist Pindars

H. J. Jackson (notes)


During the Regency of 1811-1820 English readers were regularly and abundantly supplied with racy narrative poems that digested and satirized the news of the day, poems with such titles as The Royal Brood, The Cork Rump, A Peep at the Pavilion, The Disappointed Duke, and The German Sausages. Many of them appeared under some variant of the pseudonym `Peter Pindar'. The verbal equivalent of a Gillray caricature, and an interesting social phenomenon in themselves, they have been almost completely forgotten. The British Library, however, holds an annotated set of about 150 of these `Pindaric Poems' (C.131.d.2-14). This preliminary study suggests that these volumes could tell us a good deal about the publishers, audiences, and collectors of the time.

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