A ridiculous burlesque, which in 1730 had an extraordinary run at the Haymarket theatre. So great was its popularity that a club called “The Hurlo-Thrumbo Society” was formed. The author was Samuel Johnson, a half-mad dancing master, who put this motto on the title-page when the burlesque was printed:
Ye sons of fire, read my Hurlo-Thrumbo, Turn it betwixt your finger and your thumbo, And being quite undone, be quite struck dumbo.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894