The Game Of High Toby

The Game Of High Toby


Now Oliver puts his black night-cap on, 1 the moon
  And every star its glim is hiding, 2 light
And forth to the heath is the scampsman gone, 3 highwayman
  His matchless cherry-black prancer riding; 4 black horse
Merrily over the Common, he flies,
  Fast and free as the rush of rocket,
His crape-covered vizard drawn over his eyes,
  His tol by his side and his pops in his pocket. 5 sword; pistols


    Then who can name
    So merry a game,
As the game of all games—high-toby? 6 high-way robbery


The traveller hears him, away! away!
  Over the wide, wide heath he scurries;
He heeds not the thunderbolt summons to stay,
  But ever the faster and faster he hurries,

But what daisy-cutter can match that black tit? 7 fleet horse; horse
  He is caught—he must ‘stand and deliver’;
Then out with the dummy, and off with the bit, 8 pocketbook
  Oh! the game of high-toby for ever!


    Then who can name
    So merry a game
As the game of all games—high-toby?


Believe me, there is not a game, my brave boys,
  To compare with the game of high-toby;
No rapture can equal the tobyman’s joys, 9 highwayman
  To blue devils, blue plumbs give the go-by; 10 bullets
And what if, at length, boys, he come to the crap! 11 gallows
  Even rack punch has some bitter in it,
For the mare-with-three-legs, boys, I care not a rap, 12 gallows
  ’Twill be over in less than a minute!


    Then hip, hurrah!
    Fling care away!
Hurrah for the game of high-toby!


See note to “Nix my Doll, Pals, etc.,” ante.

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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. . .
Sonnets For The Fancy: After The Manner Of Petrarch
The True Bottom’d Boxer
Bobby And His Mary
Flashey Joe
My Mugging Maid
Poor Luddy
The Pickpocket’s Chaunt
On the Prigging Lay
The Lag’s Lament
Nix My Doll, Pals, Fake Away
The Game Of High Toby
The Double Cross
The Thieves’ Chaunt
The House Breaker’s Song
The Faking Boy To The Crap Is Gone
The Nutty Blowen
The Faker’s New Toast
My Mother
The High-Pad’s Frolic
The Dashy, Splashy.... Little Stringer
The Bould Yeoman
. . .