Hone's View of the Regent's Bomb
Transcription of header material:
HONE'S VIEW OF THE | REGENT'S BOMB, NOW UNCOVERED, | FOR THE GRATIFICATION OF THE PUBLIC | In St. James's Park, Majestically Mounted | On a Monstrous Nondescript, Supposed to Represent Legitimate Sovereignty.
To the Admirers and Supporters of Louis XVIII. the Hottentot Venus, and other strange productions, and to LORD CASTLEREAGH, this View of the FUNDAMENTAL FEATURES of the PRINCE REGENT's BOMB, is particularly DEDICATED.
The work is a half-sheet broadside. At the top is a colored engraving of the cannon; its stumpy barrel angles toward the upper left corner, resting on the back of a kind of geryon figure, the whole on a stumpy rectangular pedestal. Beneath this is the title of the sheet as transcribed above. At the bottom are three columns of text, the first two containing a fairly straight prose description of the "bomb" and its history--i.e. booty from the 1812 seige of Cadiz. Then,
"It having, for some time past, been customary for the Prince Regent to indulge curiosity, by some spectacle on the Anniversaries of his birth, on Monday, August 12th, 1816, preparations were duly made, and His Royal Highness was graciously pleased to cause his Bomb to be uncovered, in which state it will henceforth remain for public inspection."
The comedy of Hone's writing in such passages hinges on the double meaning of "bomb." The "bomb" is, of course, the commemorative cannon, but it also sounds like "bum" and in this sense is a winking allusion to the Prince Regent's ample posterior. After this introductory material, the last column contains a burlesque poem, ostensibly by one "Bombastes." The full text of the poem, occupying the third column of text, is as follows:
ON THE REGENT'S BOMB
Being uncovered, in St. James's Park, on Monday, the 12th of August, 1816, His Royal Highness's Birth-Day.
Oh! all ye Muses, hither come—
And celebrate the Regent's bomb!
Illustrious Bomb! Immortal capture!
Thou fill'st my every sense with rapture!
Oh, such a Bomb! so full of fire—
Apollo—hither bring thy lyre—
And all ye powers of music come,
And aid me sing this mighty Bomb!
And first, with reverence this I note—
This Bomb was once a Sans culotte—
And next, by changes immaterial,
Became, at length, a Bomb Imperial!
And first exploded—pardon ladies!—
With loud report, at siege of Cadiz—
At which this Bomb—so huge and hearty,
Belonged to little Buonaparté;
But now, by strange metamorphosis,
(A kind of Bomb metempsychosis)
Has—though it odd may seem—become
Our gracious R——t's royal Bomb;
Who, after due consideration,
Resolved, to gratify the Nation—
Nor let his natal day pass over
Without some feat—to then uncover,
And there display—to strike us dumb—
His vast—unfathomable Bomb!
Oh, what a Bomb! Oh, Heaven defend us!
The thought of Bombs is quite tremendous!
What crowds will come from every shore
To gaze on its amazing bore!
What swarms of Statesmen, warm and loyal,
To worship Bomb so truly royal!
And first approach three 'secret hags,'
Then him the R——t calls 'Old Bags;'
Methinks I see V———t come,
And humbly kiss the royal Bomb!
While T——y W———y, (loyal soul)
Will take its measure with a Pole;
And C———h will low beseech
To kiss a corner of the breech;
And next will come of G——y R—e,
And in the touch-hole shove his nose!
For roundness, smoothness, breech, and bore,
Such Bomb was never seen before!
Then, Britain! be not this forgotten,
That, when we all are dead and rotten,
And every other trace is gone
Of all thy matchless glory won,
This mighty Bomb shall grace thy fame
And boast thy glorious Regent's name!
In every age such pilgrims may go
As far t'outrival fam'd St. Jago!
And, centuries hence, the folks shall come,
And contemplate--the Regent's Bomb!
August 12, 1816.