Outlaws and Highwaymen

Passage from An Arrant Thief, by John Taylor the Water Poet
All the Workes of John Taylor the Water Poet (London, 1630; facsimile reprint Scolar Press, Menston, Yorkshire, 1973), sig. Ll4r


Thieues were at all times euer to be had,
Examples by the good Thiefe and the bad.1 
And England still hath bin a fruitfull Land
Of valiant Thieues, that durst bid true men stand.
One Bellin Dun, a famous Thiefe suruiu’d,2 
From whom the towne of Dunstable’s deriv’d;
And Robin Hood with little John agreed
To rob the rich men, and the poore to feede.
The Priests had here such small meanes for their liuing,
That many of them were enforc’d to Thieuing.
Once the fift Henry could rob ex’lent well,
When he was Prince of Wales, as Stories tell.
Then Fryer Tucke, a tall stout Thiefe indeed,
Could better rob and steale, then preach or read.
Sir Gosselin Deinuill, with 200. more,3 
In Fryers weedes, rob’d and were hang’d therefore.
Thus I in Stories, and by proofe doe finde,
That stealing’s very old, time out of minde,
E’r I was borne, it through the world was spred,
And will be when I from the world am dead.

John Taylor the Water Poet

Textual Note

Original has ‘cowne’ for ‘towne’.


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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