A buz in a box, or, The poet in a pet

description below

“A corner of the stage at Drury Lane slants diagonally from left to right, showing part of the orchestra and pit (right) with part of two stage-boxes on the extreme right. The stage manager, Raymond, stands addressing the clamorous audience, while on the left a young man with ass’s ears sits on a donkey which flourishes its heels so that they strike the lowered stage-curtain. The donkey brays “Ih ho Ih ho Ih ho,” its hind-quarter is branded ‘My Pegasus Buz’. Its rider recites: “Nor ever here your smiles would be represt, “Knew you the rival flames that fires our breast, “Flame, Fire and Flame!–sad–woe Neddy! Ladies and Gentlemen, My Papa’s Pegasus is so full of fire and spirit that very few are capable of mounting him. for my self I never spoke but once & that was– Unce logos but if you will give me leave to get on with my Papas Monologue I am positive you will pronounce it the prettiest piece of poetry produced for the purpose.” Raymond says: “Ladies and Gentlemen, it was never the intention of the Proprietors to introduce Assess [sic] on these boards but as you seem entertained with their braying if it [is] your wish, we will procure some trainers from the other House as we are really ignorant in the management of thes [sic] Animals.” Greeted by derisive cheers from the audience, Dr. Busby, also with ass’s ears, leans from the upper stage-box, saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen, only hear My Son speak my Monologue written by myself the only one fit to be heard the committee are as ignorant of good Poetry a[s] I am of true criticism. I am a great writer reviews my sons works very clever indeed–writes my own life–well worth reading–my Life of Lucius Otrigger will astonish you now pray hear my Son speak my Monologue!–.” A man behind him shouts: “Bravo! Go on! Go, on,” and one in the crowded lower box applauds: “Bravo Apollo go on Go . . .” In the foreground a man in the pit shouts pointing to the ass: “Why don’t you come down and get up behind don’t you see he wants ballast.” Six others address the son: “When you have done there–set those Epigrams to Music young Apollo!”; “Off Off Off Off”; “he will be off presently if Neddy kicks so!”; “Go on Go on”; “Speak out you should have brought your Voice with you”; “hear him hear him.” The orchestra is empty of performers, but the music scores are headed ‘The Judgement of Midas’ [O’Keefe’s play]. Three large papers lie on the stage inscribed respectively: [1] ‘A Lord [Byron] and a Doctor once started for Fame Which for the best Poet should pass The Lord was cried up on account of his name The Doctor cried down for an Ass–‘ [2] ‘Doctor Buz he assures us on Drury new Stage No Horses or Elephants, there should engage But pray Doctor Buz, how comes it to pass, That you your own self should produce there an Ass’ [3] ‘Old Buz against Quadrupeds, war did wage, And swore on Drury’s board’s such Mum’ry ne’er should pass But forcing his own Pegasus on Drurys stage The Critic Audience christen’d Buz an Ass.’ Behind Raymond is the lower part of the verd-antique pillar which flanked the curtain, and on the right the large ornate lamp, of quasi-Egyptian design in which three hawk-headed monsters support an inverted tripod, the base of a ring of lamp-jets.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Printmaker: Williams, Charles, active 1797-1830, printmaker.
  • Title: A buz in a box, or, The poet in a pet [graphic] : with a chip of the block, mounted on Papa’s Pegasus.
  • Publication: [London] : Pubd. Octr. 21, 1812, by S.W. Fores, 50 Piccadilly, [21 October 1812]

Catalog Record


Acquired July 2023

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