From: "Jeffrey Side" <[log in to unmask]>
There has been a new development in the Johnson/Goldsmith debate.
Just to re-emphasise that there's nothing new under the sun ...
Round about 1567, give or take a year or two, two works were published
describing the (then) hierarchy of rogues and vagabonds -- John Awdeley's
_Fraternity of Vagabonds_ and Thomas Harman's _A Caveat for Common
Cursitors_. (One or the other of these two authors might have been involved
in an act of appropriation -- Harman in the second edition of the _Caveat_
snootily corrects Awdeley's definition of Jarkman, refusing to include
Jarkmen (or forgers of seals) in his list on the principle that they were
identical to Whipjacks. So it goes.)
When the coney-catching-pamphlet wars were heating up in the 1610s,
accusations of plagarism abounded (usually accompanied by flagrant acts of
appropriation on the part of the accuser -- Samuel Rowlandson was especially
adept at this) but Thomas Dekker cheerfully went on his merry way,
establishing virtually single-handed the tradition of cant poetry in
Among other things Dekker did (or was accused of doing by both his
contemporaries and later scholars) in _Lanthorne and Moonlight_ (1608 and
subsequent editions) was to "plagiarize" Thomas Harman. What he actually
did (among various other things, including a weird joke that ends up
immortalizing Roberdsmen as part of the "old" hierarchy of rogues, Dekker's
joke gradually transforming over the course of years and still present in
the latest edition of Partridge's _Dictionary of Slang_) was to add three
types of rogue from Awdeley to Harman's list, and produce a so-to-speak
This, in turn, is taken up by Richard Head in _The English Rogue_ in 1665 --
without acknowledgement, naturally, but Head is drawing directly on Dekker.
So Head is a plagiarist of a plagiarist, nah? Except that it's significant
what he leaves out -- no Upright Men in the 1660s, boyo! -- and his
"plagiarized" version of Dekker's appropriation of the glossary of cant
found in Harman's _Caveat_ has a good few terms which aren't recorded before
and were part of current (1660s) cant, not just the old (1560s) stuff.
And that's even before we get to his involvement in "The Budge and Snudge
Just a thot.