Outlaws and Highwaymen

Song: ‘I keep my horse, I keep my whore’
stage song from The Widow, by Thomas Middleton ( with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson?). Text as edited by A. H. Bullen in The Works of Thomas Middleton, 8 vols., (London, John C. Nimmo, 1885), V, III i 22–37

acted c. 1615-1617; printed 1652

I keep my horse, I keep my whore,
I take no rents, yet am not poor;
I traverse all the land about,
And yet was born to never a foot;
With partridge plump, with woodcock fine,
I do at midnight often dine;
And if my whore be not in case,1 
My hostess’ daughter has her place:
The maids sit up and watch their turns;
If I stay long, the tapster mourns;
The cookmaid has no mind to sin,
Though tempted by the chamberlin:
But when I knock, O how they bustle!
The ostler yawns, the geldings justle;
If maid but sleep, O how they curse her!
And all this comes of, Deliver your purse, sir!

Thomas Middleton?


Notes and page design © Gillian Spraggs 2001, 2007
Text added to site on 20 September 2001 | Page last modified on 28 August 2007

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