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Hurlothrumbo is an 18th-century English nonsense play written by the dancing-master Samuel Johnson of Cheshire, and published in 1729. The spectacle incorporates both musical and spoken elements.

Writing in 1855, Frederick Lawrence says of the play:[1]

The extraordinary drama of Hurlothrumbo, above alluded to, was then (mirabiledictu!) the talk and admiration of the town. A more curious or a more insane production has seldom issued from human pen.

— The Life of Henry Fielding, p. 21.

The author himself performed as a principal in the play, with singing, dancing, playing fiddle, and walking on stilts. The novelist and playwright Henry Fielding mentions the play in his novel Tom Jones:

Thus the famous author of Hurlothrumbo told a learned bishop, that the reason his lordship could not taste the excellence of his piece was, that he did not read it with a fiddle in his hand; which instrument he himself had always had in his own, when he composed it.


  1. ^ Lawrence, Frederick. 1855 The life of Henry Fielding (A. Hall, Virtue & Co.)

External links[edit]

  • Johnson, The Merry-Thought ; the introduction includes a discussion of Hurlothrumbo.