98 pages


| 1827 | Paris, France
Genre (as defined by the author)
Polichinelle, Scaramouche, L'Enfant, Le Docteur, Le Domestique, Le Vieil Aveugle, Le Commissaire, Le Gendarme, Le Bourreau, Le Diable, Turc, Hector, Madame Polichinelle, Charlotte
Number of acts

This play is presented as the transcription of the traditional Polichinelle that was performed by many nineteenth-century puppeteers on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The text is in fact the translation of the Tragical Comedy, or Comical Tragedy, of Punch and Judy, published between 1827 and 1828 by John Payne Collier. Although the names of the characters have been translated into French, an inscription written in English can be found on the cover —two lines taken from A Sonnet to Punch (and presented as A Sonnet to Polichinelle) and which Collier attributed to Lord Byron in the introduction to his edition - which will later prove to be false. The book also features George Cruikshank’s engravings (spelt Cruishanck in this version) which could be found in Collier’s original work.

Plot summary

The protagonist gets rid of anyone bothering him

Punch gets his nose bitten by Toby, the dog. Its master, Scaramouche, accuses him of of having abused his dog, and they fight with sticks until his head splits from his body under Punch’s blows. In the following scene, Punch asks Judy for their infant in order to take care of him. However, irritated by his cries, he hits him against the frame of the puppet booth, and throws him in the middle of the audience. In the feud that follows, Punch hits Judy to death using a stick. He then has an affair with Pretty Polly. In the second act, Punch is thrown to the ground by his horse, Hector, and ends up beating to death the Doctor who came to help him. He makes a lot of noise, ringing a bell, and fights with the neighbour who came to ask him to stop. In the third act, Punch fights with a blind man. When policemen and Jack Ketch, a hangman, come to stop him, Punch hits them but is finally imprisoned. Punch must be hung, but he manages to have Jack Ketch hung instead. At the end, the Devil intervenes and fights with Punch, but Punch emerges triumphant.

Related works
The Tragical Comedy, or Comical Tragedy, of Punch and Judy, Giovanni Piccini, John Payne Collier1827
Composition date

First performance


Publications and translations


Polichinelle, drame en trois actes, publié par Olivier et Tanneguy de Penhoët. Paris: Bureaux de l'histoire pittoresque d'Angleterre, 1836.