01. Jack Chance

        Specimens of Songs and fragments of
songs from memory. Songs sung about the Streets.

No 1.                              1

      Jack Chance 

On Newgate Steps Jack Chance was found
And wed up near St Giles’s Pound,1
My story’s true, deny it, who can,
By saucy, leering, Billingsgate Nan.
Her bosom heav’d with artful joy
When first she beheld the lovely boy,
Thus home the prize she straight did bring,
And they all allow’d he was just the thing.
                      just the thing, just the thing. and they
                               all allow'd he was just the thing.

At twelve years old as we are told,
The youth was sturdy, stout and bold,
He'd learn’d to curse, to swear, and fight,
And every thing but read and write;
His daddle xreen clean he’d slip between,2
In A crowd he'd xnapxor a clout unseen3
And what he got he home would bring
And they all allowed he was just the thing.

But when he grew to mans estate,
His mind did run upon something great
To pad the hoof he seemd to tramp4
So he hired a prad and he went on the scamp.5
To strut in the park it was all his pride
With a flaming whore stuck by his side
At Clubs he all flash songs would sing
At they all allowed he was just the thing.

He stood the patter but that’s no matter.6
He gammon’d the twelves from and he workd on the water7
Till A pardon he got from his gracious kinh king
Then And swaggering Jack he was just thing.





With Blue Cokeade Cockeade proclaim’d for war
With bludgeon stout or Iron bari
To head a mob he never would fail
At gutting a Mass House or Burning a Gaol8
But a victim he fell to his country’s laws
And died at last in religious cause
No Popery made the blade to swing
And when tuck’d up he was, just the thing.9
                                 just the thing, just the thing
           and when tuck’d up he was just the thing.

This song was made after the execution of the Rioters in 1780. and was sung about the streets with great applause.10

Place's Notes:

i. Gangs of Ruffians with Iron bars in their hands went from house to house demanding money, and no one ventured to refuse giving.

Editor's Notes:

1. St Giles's Pund = A cattle pound in St Giles's Circus, which housed animals being brought from the north. It lay at the intersection of Tottenham Court Rd., Oxford Street and High Street of St. Giles's. (See also Sandman Joe)

2. Daddle = hand

3. Nap a clout = steal a handkerchief

4. Pad the hoof = walk on foot 

5. Prad = horse; on the scamp: highway robbery

6. Stood the patter = was tried

7. Gammon'd the twelve = deceived the jury (into giving a verdict of not guilty)

8. Mass House = Catholic Church

10. Coleman transcribes the date as 1720, but the reference is more likely to the 1780 Gordon riots.

Download This Song


This song alternatively appears under the title "Just the Thing" or "Just the Thing, or, A True Protestant Martyr." It appears in the chapbook of The Farmer's Son, or, The Unfortunate Lovers, printed in Scotland in 1803, and is very similar to Place's version—and can fill in the gaps left by Place. This version can be accessed via the National Library of Scotland here: https://digital.nls.uk/104184243 (or, access a PDF version here).

Note that another ballad also appears under the title "Just the Thing," and is a dialogue between "Tommy" and "Fanny" (Roud Number V4839). There are several versions of this ballad listed in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the Bodleian Libraries. 


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