Take him, Topham. Catch him if you can; lay hold of him, tipstaff. Topham was the Black Rod of the House of Commons in the reign of Charles II., very active in apprehending “suspects” during the supposed conspiracy revealed by Titus Oates. “Take him, Topham,” became a proverbial saying of the time, much the same as “Who stole the donkey?” “How are your poor feet?” and so on.
“Till `Take him, Topham' became a proverb, and a formidable one, in the mouth of the people.” —