It was the universal opinion of all that he was certainly born to be hanged.
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
HANG young Tom? There were those in Fielding's novel who smugly foresaw that amorous vagabond dangling from the highest scaffold at Tyburn gallows. Ah, but how soft women would have wept, and what praises bold men would have sung of his deeds.
No one has ever seriously suggested that a 20th century counterpart of Tom, Quarterback Joe Willie Namath, should suffer such a fate. But he has always been the same kind of rococo rascal...