Baron Donderdronkdickdorff and Miss Quoltz: after their wedding, they quarrel and are surprised by a servant. Etching, 1810, attributed to I. Cruikshank and/or G. Cruikshank.
- Cruikshank, Isaac, 1756?-1811?
- 20 March 1810
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The characters and the episode occur not in the plot of the play 'The Free Knights, or the Edict of Charlemagne' by Frederic Reynolds but in a comic song sung by one of the characters of the play, Christopher, in Act III, scene III. In the song, Baron Donderdronkdickdorff, who has a long name but is very short, marries Miss Quoltz, who has a short name but is very tall. They quarrel, and she sticks her husband on the mantelpiece. He is embarrassed when the servant comes in and sees him there, singing "Not a word when the guests come to sup. I have only been giving my wife a set down, And she giving me a set-up." The Oxford English Dictionary (consulted in 2020) records no use of the noun "set-down", though as a verb it has been used in the sense "To lower (a person's pride, etc.); to take down, snub.", nor any use of the noun "set-up" before 1841, though as a verb it has been used in the sense "To place in a high or lofty position; to raise to an elevated situation"
Originally published as heading to printed verses described as "Sung by Mr. Fawcett, with unbounded applause, in the popular drama, called 'The Free Knights, or the Edict of Charlemagne'". The 'operatic drama' by F. Reynolds was first played 8 Feb. 1810, Fawcett being Christopher. The play was set in Westphalia in the fourteenth century. See the British Museum catalogue of ... satires, loc. cit.