The He-Strumpets:
A Satyr on the Sodomite-Club

John Dunton
1707 — 1710


John Dunton was a popular religious and political satirist who shot his arrows in all directions, as in his characteristically titled Dunton's Whipping-Post; Or, A Satyr upon Every Body (London, 1706). His satire on The He-Strumpets was first published in 1707 as part of a series of pamphlets called The Athenian, which were collected together in book form in 1710, from which the following is quoted. It was prompted by raids on a molly house in 1707, which also inspired the broadside ballad The Women-Hater's Lamentation (for more details, see my introduction to that ballad). Three or four men killed themselves in prison before the trial. Dunton refers by name to Jones, who hanged himself, and Germain, who cut his throat. The satire is of course homophobic literature, and we should be careful about how useful it is for understanding the homosexual subculture of the early eighteenth century. For one thing, Dunton can conceive of homosexuals only in the context of vice and prostitution, but the reality seems to be that these men (Dunton says there were 43) were members of a prototypical gay club and that no money exchanged hands. Though the homophobic epithet for homosexual men is often "He- whores," it is virtually impossible to find genuine evidence of male prostitution during the early eighteenth century. Dunton himself seems to remark upon lesbian relations that have nothing to do with prostitution.

Rictor Norton

Having giv'n all the Whores a TOUCH*,
The CRACKS [whores] will rave and think it much,
If the New Sodomitish Crew
Han't a brisk Firking Bout or two,
Such MEN, such Brutes, I shou'd them call,
Whose TAILS are Sodomitical,
Shou'd ev'n POETS to bewail:
Shou'd wake the flowing Thoughts and Pen
But since these First Rates en't astride,
I'll try how my dull Muse will ride.

(*In a Satyre I lately publish'd, entitl'd The Rump; or a Touch at the Ladies Tail.)[Tail is slang for the female pudenda.]

It is indeed the foulest Road
That ever POET's COURSER trod:
But PEGASUS be not afraid
That you shou'd Founder, Trip, or Jade:
(No Pound, or Club, can stop you long,
Unnatural Sights will make you run.)
Nor think because the Day does wast,
My MUSE will spur you on too fast;
For Sodomy's so vile a Crime,
'Tis LASH enough to name the Sin.

Lewd CRACKS repent, for 'tis the News,
Your Tails have burnt so many Beaus,
That now He-Whores are come in Use.
Yes Jilts! 'tis prov'd, and must be said,
Your Tails are grown so lewd and bad,
That now Mens Tails have all the Trade.
Yet CRACKS are Saints compar'd with them,
Who leave the Whores to pick up Men.
All CRACKS are found so full of Ails,
A New Society prevails,
Call'd S[o]d[om]ites; Men worse than Goats,
Who dress themselves in Petticoats,
To Whore as O[s]born did with O[a]tes.

[Contemporary satires accused Titus Oates (famous for stirring up trouble by claiming that the Roman Catholics were plotting to usurp the English throne) of being a sodomite.]

Modesty scarce can give a Name
To such a Catamitish Flame;
This Lust as far as Sodom came.
In Sodom Men were so unclean,
That when the Angels dress'd like Men,
They'd ask to fornicate with them.
Then Sodomy is the Abuse
Of either Sex, against the Use
Of Nature, — that shou'd Babe produce.
When Men with Men — act what's unchast,
Then Children (Nature's End) are lost,
And the main End of Woman's crost.
When Tails thus Whore, and are uncivil,
They get no Children! — but the Devil:
And yet such Tails are found of late
Who thus do Whore and Fornicate
With one another — Girls they hate.

The Men who thus their Lust confine,
Do doat upon He-Concubine,
Do Ply (that's Whore) near the Exchange.
Here Men turn CRACKS — 'tis wond'rous strange!
Yet very true — for these exclude
All Women from their Interlude,
Yet act what's carnal, vile, and rude.
The very Change can scarce escape
This loathsome, nasty Sodom Rape.
But what's your Number Brutes? Be free:
'Tis said your Gang is Forty Three,
That Whore (as 'twere) in Sodomy.
He-Whore! The Word's a Paradox;
But there's a Club hard by the Stocks*,
Where Men give unto Men the Pox.

(*Stocks-Market) [The Exchange is the Royal Exchange; Pox is venereal disease. In the lines below, Stew refers to public baths.]

Such Whoring — (for I'll call it so)
Is against God and Nature too,
And makes Man's Tail a sort of Stew,
Such rob the Women of their Rights,
(Their Tails cou'd keep the Peace a' Nights)
But for — this Club of Sodomites.
These doat on Men, and some on Boys,
And quite abandon Female Joys,
To act a Vice so full of Shame,
That Brutes wou'd fly, and blush to name:
For even Goats are grown so poor,
That He with He does never Whore.
There's Mr. Puss does caterwaul
With none but Sow-Cats on the Wall,
For Boar-Cats — he does hate 'em all.
The Town-Bull he does never prove
His Mettle in the He-Alcove,
The modest Cow has all his Love.
The very Horse so much does smother
His wanton Tail from Rampant Brother,
That one Horse never rides another.
And Sparrow, tho' a whoring Tit,
Did ne'er He-L[eche]ry commit,
Tho's Tail's a most Salacious Bit.

Thus, that the World might multiply,
And Tails might keep their Chastity,
God did ordain a Marriage-Bed,
That Male with Female still shou'd Wed.
And for the Goat, Puss, Horse, and Sparrow,
And every Creature stock'd with Marrow,
They do He-L[eche]ry detest;
'Tis only Man that is the Beast.
'Tis only Men with Men will lie,
And burn their Tails with Sodomy;
The highest Flight in L[eche]ry.

Sukey, (for so 'tis said you greet
The Men you pick up in the Street)
En't you a MONSTER thus to quench,
And make Mens Tails a sort of Wench?
In short, (and worse cannot be said)
You are He-Strumpets in the Bed.
O fie! remember Sodom's MISS,
Unnat'ral Tails was all their Vice:
Your Flame is worse, that thus rebel,
O J[o]nes! O Sodomitish Wretch!
Shou'd you be damn'd you cou'd not grutch;
You make your very Country blush.
He-Lust! it looks so vile in Print,
There's none will stand a Trial in't.
They J[o]nes no sooner did accuse,
And Two i'th' Compter full as loose,
But they strait fly to Hempen Noose.
Jermain* — a Clerk that liv'd i'th' East,
Ber—den a He-Whoring Beast,
And forty S[o]d[o]mites at least,
No sooner did their Lewdness flame,
But cut their very Throats for Shame.

(*Jermain, late Clerk of St. Dunstan's in the East, who being charg'd with S[o]d[o]my, cut his Throat with a Razor.)

Thus of all Tails Mens are the worst,
Not but the Females vie in Lust;
For Womens Tails so wanton grow,
They breed unnat'ral Vices too.
They change the nat'ral Use and Feature
Into a Crime which ruins Nature:
Yea, Sodomy they will permit
(A Vice they never can commit)
Tho' kissing each other's something like't.
There's B[ugge]ry, a Beastly Sin,
Is not a Vice too lewd for them:
For 'tis not forty Years ago,
A CRACK was hang'd for Whoring so;
Her Sparks were but a Dog or two.
Sure Female Tails desire to try
Who shall exceed in L[eche]ry!
'Tis said that B— (tho' near a Jayl)
Did Court a Monkey to her Tail;
And S— first truck'd her Maidenhead,
Then lov'd and kiss'd her Husband dead.
Nay, so unnatural is this Creature,
She'd almost gender with a Satyr.
But tho' her Lewdness we deplore,
There's none can match the Common Whore.

The Brimstone Crack I here arraign,
Who's perfect Beast, and perfect Mange:
A Night-Walker — we do her call,
But in the DAY she'll backwards fall;
She is a Prostitute to all.
Cats Tails we safely may caress,
That strut it in a Paper Dress;
But for the Tails that ply for Hire,
They are perfet Brimstone mix'd with Fire.
The Common Whore's — an Hospital!
She must be Pox'd that lies with all,
She is not squeamish in Amour,
She'll lie with Man, with Dog, with Boar:
Who gives her most is valu'd best;
If it be either Man or Beast.
But yet she's cheap in L[eche]ry;
For Two Pence wet and Two Pence dry
Will make the stoutest CRACK comply,
That does in Street or Brothel ply.
She whores for Money, and wou'd thrive,
But is the poorest Slave alive.
The Night-Walker scarce earns her Breath;
Her Trade's a sort of POCKEY DEATH.
Then Sirs, who can enough deplore
That very Beast — A Common Whore?
Who knows her Arts of drawing in,
And Tails made Broker to the Sin?
Then to the Hospital bequeath her,
'Tis there we found her, there we leave her.

But tho' she breeds unnat'ral Vice,
There's as much BEAST in Keeping Miss:
For these transgress as much as those
Who jilt their Lovers, Pox the Beaus.
The Stal—n Ladies here I mean,
Whose Goatish Tails are so unclean,
They buy their Hell, do purchase Lust,
And are of Prostitutes the worst.
They'll swear, perhaps, that they are Pure,
That none but needy Strumpets Whore;
That such do scarce of CRACK partake,
Who only Whore for Whoring sake.
If they do Whore, 'tis with a Friend,
They take no Money, (rather lend)
Turn Tail to Tail and there's an End.
An End! No, Goats, take this from me,
There is no End of L[eche]ry.
A Whorish Thought, a Lustful Eye,
And all unnat'ral Venery,
Is down-right Heart Adultery*. (Mat. 5. 28)
And thus all Strumpets are the same,
They differ but in Face and Name;
So early lewd, it may be said
That they scarce had a Maiden-head.
Some may be common, and some kept,
And some may hire what they affect,
But are unnatural alike.

Nay, ev'n modest Whores we find
Are to unnat'ral Vice enclin'd:
They'll blush for Guilt, smile to do ill;
But kiss for nothing but to kill.
Modest when just on Whoring bent;
They tempt when they seem innocent:
Their Coyness is a perfect Slight;
They use to strengthen Appetite.
And thus unnat'ral and accurst,
They do legitimte their Lust.
Then Naked Breasts we shou'd deplore;
When they heave up so high before,
They speak thus — Here Sir is a Whore.
For why shou'd CRACKS thus tempt the Men
With naked Breasts and charming skin,
But they they know we love the Sin?
Fam'd C—ly, Cv—k— and L—son goo,
Have lately found (what L—s knew)
Below* there's nothing chast or true:
For LUST you see does Rampant prove,
And then is Christned into LOVE.
So that tho' BEASTS we are in Shame,
We must be LOVERS all in Name.

(*Below — that's below the Girdle.)

Thus Tails have been unnatural,
In Men, in Wives, in Cracks, in all:
But still (as I observ'd before)
The Sodomite does highest soar;
For Men with very Men will Whore.
With Men! they'll Whore with Incubus;
If He's they care not what's the Curse:
Their Tails so hot, they can't be worse.
Nor Man nor Turkey can escape:
Scarce JACK* himself avoid a Rape:
All must go Padlock'd, if the Rogue
Should bring this He-Vice into Vogue.
If Men invent new L[eche]ry,
Suspect thy Stable's Chastity:
Or, which is yet a lewder Flight,
Believe thy self a Sodomite.

(*The Author of this Satyr.)

Thus Tail of Man (add Woman's to't)
When Sodom's Vice has burnt it out,
It is no Tail, but perfect Brute.
Brute! O no! It tempts to Evil;
It is not Brute, but perfect Devil.
Source: John Dunton, "The He-Strumpets. A Satyr on the Sodomite-Club," "The Fourth Edition, alter'd and much enlarg'd," in Athenianism, 2 vols. London, 1710. Vol. 2, pp. 93-9.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The He-Strumpets, 1707-10", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 1 Dec. 1999, updated 15 June 2008 <>.

Return to Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England