10. With my popps in my pocket

                           No. 10
Another on some Highwayman.

With my popp's1 in my pocket and a cutlass in my hand
So I rode up to the diligent Diligence2 and bid the
Bug—rs stand.
                                      To me. Ta rol ra, &c &c &c –

As we rode or'e Finchley common,3 the swells4were standing there,
Here comes, a bloody scamping blade5 only do look there.
He’s flash to the cross roads and never makes a stand.
From Finchley up to London bearing loaded pops in hand.


Editor's Notes:

1. Popp's: pistols

2. Diligence: a large, four-wheeled stagecoach

3. Finchley Common: a large piece of common land that was notorious for highway men. Edmund Burke was a victim of highway robbery there in 1774. Jack Sheppard was arrested there, dressed a butcher. It was eventually enclosed in (i.e. turned from common land into individual property parcels, by an Act passed in 1811).

4. Swells: rich, stylish, people

5. scamping blade: Highwayman. Scamp is highway robbery; blade is a person who is "sharp" or stylish, with overtones of licentiousness.

Stand: a hold up

Download This Song


This ballad is also included in Mr Haywood's Account. A version of this ballad is recorded in The Confessions, &c. of Thomas Mount who was executed at Little-Rest, in the state of Rhode-Island, on Friday the 27th day of May, 1791, for burglary. ed William Smith (New Haven, 1791). Mount operated in London, and these confessions were printed accompanied by a dictionary of Flash Vocabulary, an oath sworn by new recruits to the "Flash Company" and several flash songs.

A Highwayman's Flash Song.

COME all ye roving scamping blades,
That scamping take delight,
That go out on the bonny throw
Upon a darky night;
With pops into your pocket,
And lashes in your hand,
We'll ride up to the Dilligence,
And boldly bid her stand.

By stopping of the Diligence,
Put Jervis in a fright,
Who said I'll have your body hung
Before to-morrow night.
I said ye gallows rogue
Haul in your bridle reins,
Or else a leaden bullet
Shall pierce your bloody brains.

Then to the inside passengers
Straightway we did repair,
To do them of their lowr,
It was our only care.
We dunn'd them of their lowr,
And thought it all our own.
We bid them a good darky,
They roll'd the road to town.