The Black Procession

The Black Procession
From The Triumph of Wit, by J. SHIRLEY:—“The twenty craftsmen, described by the notorious thief-taker Jonathan Wild”.

Good people, give ear, whilst a story I tell,
Of twenty black tradesmen who were brought up in hell,
On purpose poor people to rob of their due;
There’s none shall be nooz’d if you find but one true. 1 hung
The first was a coiner, that stampt in a mould;
The second a voucher to put off his gold, 2 passer of base coin
Toure you well; hark you well, see 3 Look! be on your guard
  Where they are rubb’d, 4 taken
Up to the nubbing cheat where they are nubb’d. 5 gallows: hung


The third was a padder, that fell to decay, 6 Tramp or foot-pad.
Who used for to plunder upon the highway;
The fourth was a mill-ken to crack up a door, 7 housebreaker
He’d venture to rob both the rich and the poor,
The fifth was a glazier who when he creeps in, 8 window thief
To pinch all the lurry he thinks it no sin. 9 valuables
      Toure you well, etc.


The sixth is a file-cly that not one cully spares,10 pickpocket; man or silly fop
The seventh a budge to track softly upstairs; 11 sneaking-thief
The eighth is a bulk, that can bulk any hick, 12 accomplice who jostles whilst another robs: countryman
If the master be nabbed, then the bulk he is sick,
The ninth is an angler, to lift up a grate 13 thief who hooks goods from shop-windows
If he sees but the lurry his hooks he will bait.
    Toure you well, etc.


The tenth is a shop-lift that carries a Bob,
When he ranges the city, the shops for to rob.
The eleventh a bubber, much used of late;
Who goes to the ale house, and steals all their plate,
The twelfth is a beau-trap, if a cull he does meet
He nips all his cole, and turns him into the street.
      Toure you well, etc.


The thirteenth a famble, false rings for to sell, 17 Notes
When a mob, he has bit his cole he will tell;
The fourteenth a gamester, if he sees the cull sweet 18 an easy dupe
He presently drops down a cog in the street; 19 a lure
The fifteenth a prancer, whose courage is small, 20 horse-thief
If they catch him horse-coursing, he’s nooz’d once for all. 21 hung
    Toure you well, etc.


The sixteenth a sheep-napper, whose trade is so deep, 22 sheep-stealer
If he’s caught in the corn, he’s marked for a sheep 23 as a duffer
The seventeenth a dunaker, that stoutly makes vows, 24 cattle-lifter
To go in the country and steal all the cows;
The eighteenth a kid-napper, who spirits young men,
Tho’ he tips them a pike, they oft nap him again.
    Toure you well, etc.


The nineteenth’s a prigger of cacklers who harms, 25 poultry-thief
The poor country higlers, and plunders the farms; 26 bumpkins
He steals all their poultry, and thinks it no sin,
When into the hen-roost, in the night, he gets in;
The twentieth’s a thief-catcher, so we him call,
Who if he be nabb’d will be made pay for all.
   Toure you well, etc.

[in Bacchus and Venus (1737) an additional stanza is given:—]


There’s many more craftsmen whom here I could name, 27 members of the Canting Crew
Who use such-like trades, abandon’d of shame;
To the number of more than three-score on the whole,
Who endanger their body, and hazard their soul;
And yet; though good workmen, are seldom made free,
Till they ride in a cart, and be noozed on a tree.
Toure you well, hark you well, see where they are rubb’d,
Up to the nubbing cheat, where they are nubb’d.


See Note as to J. Shirley on page 209.

Taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes [1536―1896], collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

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. . .
Bing Out, Bien Morts
The Song Of The Beggar
The Maunder’s Initiation
The High Pad’s Boast
The Merry Beggars
A Mort’s Drinking Song
A Beggar I’ll Be
A Budg And Snudg Song
The Maunder’s Praise Of His Strowling Mort
The Rum-Mort’s Praise Of Her Faithless Maunder
The Black Procession
Frisky Moll’s Song
The Canter’s Serenade
Retoure My Dear Dell
The Vain Dreamer
When My Dimber Dell I Courted
The Oath Of The Canting Crew
Come All You Buffers Gay
The Potato Man
A Slang Pastoral
Ye Scamps, Ye Pads, Ye Divers
. . .