The Ballad of Sally in our Alley

Original Text: 
H. Carey, Poems on Several Occasions, 3rd edn. (London: E. Say, 1729): 127-31. 11632.e.70 British Library
A Vulgar Error having long prevailed among many Persons, who imagine Sally Salisbury the Subject of this Ballad, the Author begs leave to undeceive and assure them it has not the least allusion to her, he being a stranger to her very Name at the time this Song was composed. For as Innocence and Virtue were ever the Boundaries of his Muse, so in this little Poem he had no other view than to set forth the Beauty of a chaste and disinterested Passion, even in the lowest Class of human Life. The real Occasion was this: A Shoemaker's 'Prentice making Holiday with his Sweet-heart, treated her with a sight of Bedlam, the Puppet-shews, the Flying-chairs, and all the Elegancies of the Moorfields: From whence proceeding to the Farthing Pye-house, he gave her a Collation of Buns, Cheesecakes, Gammon of Bacon, Stuff'd-beef, and Bottled-ale; through all which Scenes the Author dodged them (charm'd with the Simplicity of their Courtship), from whence he drew this little Sketch of Nature; but being then young and obscure, he was very much ridicul'd by some of his Acquaintance for this Performance; which nevertheless made its way into the polite World, and amply recompenced him by the Applause of the divine Addison, who was pleased (more than once) to mention it with Approbation.
2     There's none like pretty SALLY,
3She is the Darling of my Heart,
4     And she lives in our Alley.
5There is no Lady in the Land
6     Is half so sweet as SALLY,
7She is the Darling of my Heart,
8     And she lives in our Alley.
10     And through the Streets does cry 'em;
11Her Mother she sells Laces long,
12     To such as please to buy 'em:
13But sure such Folks could ne'er beget
14     So sweet a Girl as SALLY!
15She is the Darling of my Heart,
16     And she lives in our Alley.
17When she is by I leave my Work,
18     (I love her so sincerely)
19My Master comes like any Turk,
20     And bangs me most severely;
21But, let him bang his Belly full,
22     I'll bear it all for SALLY;
23She is the Darling of my Heart,
24     And she lives in our Alley.
25Of all the Days that's in the Week,
26     I dearly love but one Day,
27And that's the Day that comes betwixt
28     A Saturday and Monday;
29For then I'm drest, all in my best,
30     To walk abroad with SALLY;
31She is the Darling of my Heart,
32     And she lives in our Alley.
33My Master carries me to Church,
34     And often am I blamed,
35Because I leave him in the lurch,
37I leave the Church in Sermon time,
38     And slink away to SALLY;
39She is the Darling of my Heart,
40     And she lives in our Alley.
41When Christmas comes about again,
42     O then I shall have Money;
43I'll hoard it up, and Box and all
44     I'll give it to my Honey:
45And, would it were ten thousand Pounds;
46     I'd give it all to SALLY;
47She is the Darling of my Heart,
48     And she lives in our Alley.
49My Master and the Neighbours all,
50     Make game of me and SALLY;
51And (but for her) I'd better be
52     A Slave and row a Galley:
54     O then I'll marry SALLY!
55O then we'll wed and then we'll bed,
56     But not in our Alley.


1] Sally Salisbury: "A notorious character who led a debauched life among the gallants of the time. Her real name was Sarah Priddon, but she was always known as Sally Salisbury. Three works relating to her are still extant, viz.: Memoirs of The Celebrated Sally Salisbury; The Conversations of Sally Salisbury; and Sally Salisbury's Letter to F. Rig -- all published in 1723" (Wood, Poems: 257).
Bedlam: "Bedlam (Bethlehem Hospital), was at this time situated in Moorfields, on the site now occupied by Liverpool Street Station. Until the year 1770 the London public could pay two pence to see the lunatics, and this asylum was considered one of the sights of London. Ned Ward, in chapter iii of The London Spy (1703), a veritable storehouse of information on life in the metropolis in the early years of the eighteenth century, gives a lengthy account of a visit to Bedlam" (Wood: 257). Back to Line
9] cabbage-nets: nets to boil cabbages in. Back to Line
36] Text: the Biblical passage on which the minister proposes to preach the sermon. Back to Line
53] Apprentices were usually bound to their master for seven years before they could venture out on their own into business. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001.