Mr Punch and the Hangman
The hangman says to Punch, ‘Put your head in the noose’ ‘How?‘ ‘I’ll show you,’ says the hangman. Through the noose he put his head ‘The rope’s not right. It’s loose,’ he said ‘I’ll pull it tight,’ says Punch, and hangs the hangman dead. Lesley Scoble. September 2022
Mr Punch and the Hangman is written as a quadrille. A quadrille is a poem of only 44 words (not including the title). This week’s Dverse Pub prompt was to write a quadrille using the word ‘punch’.
In the wise words of the old puppet (in a high squeaky voice, of course),
“That’s the way to do it!”Mr Punch
My thanks to the host Whimsygizmo for without whom and the punch prompt, this poem may not have seen the light of day. Therefore, if you don’t like the poem, perhaps the host is to blame? 😁
The historic Punch and Judy were my first choice of subject (although the delicious punch drink was also a contender). However, Mr Punch won the toss. He is from my happy childhood days on the beach at the seaside watching Mr Punch hitting Judy over the head with a stick and the Crocodile eating Baby (and they talk about too much violence on TV today!).
Now, where did I put that glass of punch?
A little bit of history
Under Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate (1653-1659) all theatres were closed. After Cromwell died and with the monarchy restored, theatres reopened. A travelling puppet theatre from Italy introduced Punch to an entertainment starved nation recovering from the English Civil War (1642-1651).
Among a large cast of other characters, such as Judy, the Baby, the Constable, the Crocodile, Ghost, Toby the Dog and more, there was the infamous hangman Jack Ketch.
Samuel Pepys the Diarist may have seen one of the first Punch and Judy Puppet Shows performed at Covent Garden in 1662. A small brass plaque is placed at Covent Garden commemorating this moment in history.
“…my wife and I to the puppet play in Covent Garden, which I saw the other day, and indeed it is very pleasant. Here among the fiddlers I first saw a dulcimer played on with sticks knocking of the strings, and is very pretty. So by water home, and supped with Sir William Penn very merry (I wonder if it was punch they drank?!), and so to bed.”