Highwayman Outwitted, The [Laws L2]
DESCRIPTION: A highwayman stops a merchant's daughter. When she dismounts, her horse runs home with her money. He abuses her and strips her, then has her hold his horse as he bundles up his gains. She jumps on the horse and rides home, still naked but with his money
EARLIEST DATE: before 1820 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 c.18(142))
KEYWORDS: outlaw escape clothes
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf) Britain(England(Lond,South))
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Laws L2, "The Highwayman Outwitted"
Logan-APedlarsPack, pp. 133-136, "The Maid of Rygate" (1 text)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 448, "Highwayman" (1 text)
Hamer-GreenGroves, pp. 16-17, "The Merchant's Daughter and the Highwayman" (1 text, 1 tune)
OShaughnessy-MoreFolkSongsFromLincolnshire 12, "The Rich Farmer's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 21, "The Highway Robber" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 226-228, "The Rich Merchant's Daughter" (1 text, 2 tunes)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 89, "The Highwayman Outwitted" (1 text, 1 tune)
Purslow-TheConstantLovers, pp. 40-41, "The Highwayman Outwitted" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 682, HIOUTWIT
ST LL02 (Full)
Mike Kent, "The Rich Merchant's Daughter" (on PeacockCDROM)
Wiggy Smith, "There Was a Rich Farmer at Sheffield" (on Voice11)
Bodleian, 2806 c.18(142), "The Highwayman Outwitted by the Farmer's Daughter," J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Harding B 11(92), Firth c.17(17), "The Lincolnshire Farmer's Daughter"
cf. "The Crafty Farmer" [Child 283; Laws L1]
NOTES [130 words]: It's just possible that this has a real-life origin, though I doubt it: David Brandon, in Stand and Deliver! A History of Highway Robbery, pp. 29-31, reports that one Isaac Atkinson held up a young woman, who -- apparently thinking he wanted something harder to recover than her money -- threw a bag of coins in the ditch. Atkinson, instead of either pursuing his seduction or doing anything to control the girl, simply jumped off his horse to pick up the coins.
The girl then flew away on her horse, and by chance his horse followed. She was able to report where she had left him, and he was taken and hanged.
Brandon, however, cites no sources; I almost wonder if his tale wasn't based on this song, or perhaps on something like "The Crafty Farmer" and/or "Lovely Joan." - RBW
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