The tune (but not with the original words) was used in "The Beggar's Opera," in the 18th cent. by author John Gay - the original appearance of the character, Mack the Knife, supported by a cast of other highwaymen, footpads and sluts in slit skirts. Purcell did indeed make an arrangement of the tune, I don't believe he actually composed it. The Harvard Dictionary of Music goes on to further describe it as "A 17th-century political tune the melody of which appeared FIRST (my emphasis) under the name "Quickstep" in the "Delightful Companion" (1686). This melody [cf. Grove Dictionary iii, 198] was, in the following year, used to a political text, satirically directed against the Papists and the Irish Roman Catholics, which began as follows: Ho, broder Teague... The melody has been used for various other texts of the same type. It also appears under the name "A New Irish Tune" in "Musick's Hand Maid" for the Virginal and Spinet (1689) with H. Purcell given as the composer either of the tune or of the keyboard version. Purcell also used i t as a ground bass in his play "The Gordian Knot Unty'd" (1691)" Collins Encyclopedia of Music agrees with the above, likewise crediting Purcell only with having made a setting of the tune, not as the composer.
UT - A Celtic Harper, AKA Mari-Kat