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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Scarborough Castle. Engraving



Imprinted at London, in Fleete-strete, by Tho. Powell.
Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.

Oh, valiant invaders! gallantly gay;
     Who, with your compeers, conquering the route,
Castles or tow'rs, all standing in your way;
     Ye take, controlling all estates most stout,
     Yet had it now been good to look about,
Scarborough castle to have let alone;
And take Scarborough warning everyone.

By Scarborough castle, not Scarborough
     I only mean—but further, understand,
Each haven, each hold, or other harborough
     That our good King and Queen do hold in hand:
     As due obedience bindeth us in band
Their Scarborough castles to let alone;
And take Scarborough warnings everyone.

The scalers of which castles evermore,
     In books of old, and in our eyes of new,
Have always lost themselves, and theirs therefore;
     All this ye did forget in time to view,
     Which might have wrought both you and yours t'eschew,
Letting Scarborough castle now alone;
Taking Scarborough warning everyone.

This Scarborough castle simply standing,
     Yet could that castle slyly you beguile;
Ye thought ye took the castle at your landing,
     The castle taking you in the self while:
     Each stone within the castle wall did smile
That Scarborough castle ye let not alone;
And took Scarborough warning everyone.

Your putting now in ure your devilish dream,
     Hath made you see (and like enough to feel)
A few false traitors cannot win a ream;
     Good subjects be, and will be, true as steel
     To stand with you, the end they like no deal.
Scarborough castles they can let alone;
And take Scarborough warnings everyone.

They know God's law—to 'bey their King and Queen;
     Not take from them, but keep for them their own;
And give to them, when such traitors are seen,
     As ye are now, to bring all overthrow.
     They work your overthrow, by God's power grown.
God saith—let Scarborough castle alone;
Take Scarborough warning everyone.

Too late for you, and in time for the rest
     Of your most traitorous sect (if any be);
You are all spectacles at full witnessed,
     As other were to you—treason to flee,
     Which in you past, yet may the rest of ye
The said Scarborough castles let alone;
And take Scarborough warnings everyone.

This term, Scarborough warning grew, (some say),
     By hasty hanging, for rank robbery there.
Who that was met but suspect in that way,
     Straight was he trussed up, whatever he wear.
     Whereupon, thieves thinking good to forbear,
Scarborough robbing they let that alone;
And took Scarborough warning everyone.

If robbing in that way, bred hanging so,
     By theft to take way, town, castle, and so,
What Scarborough hanging craveth this, lo!
     Were yourselves herein judges capital,
     I think your judgments on these words must fall,
Scarborough robbing, who lett'th not alone,
Scarborough hanging deserve everyone.

We would to God that you, and all of you
     Had been considered, as well as ye knew
The end of all traitory, as you see it now,
     Long to have lived, loving subjects true.
     Alas ! your loss we not rejoice, but rue
That Scarborough castle ye let not alone;
And took Scarborough warning everyone.

To crafts that ever thrive, wise men ever cleave;
     To crafts that seeld when thrive, wise men seeld when flee;
The crafts that never thrive a fool can learn to leave.
     This thriftless crafty craft then clear leave we,
     One God, one king, one queen, serve frank and free,
Their Scarborough castle let it alone;
Take we Scarborough warning everyone.

One sovereign lord and sovereign lady both,
     Laud we our Lord, for their prosperity;
Beseeching Him for it, as it now go'th,
     Continued so, in perpetuity;
We letting their Scarborough castles alone;
Taking Scarborough warnings everyone.


Quod. J. Heywood.

[AJ Note:]
*In 1557, Scarborough Castle was briefly taken over by the men of Thomas Stafford, who entered disguised as peasants. The castle was retaken 3 days later.

Farmer, John S., ed. The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood.
London: Early English Drama Society, 1906. 311-314.

Back to Works of John Heywood

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This page created by Anniina Jokinen on November 19, 2010. Last updated December 16, 2018.


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