Sally In Our Alley
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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The original tune and the words to Sally in Our Alley were written by Henry Carey (c 1693–1743), the English composer and playwright. It was published a collection of his works in 1726.*

According to Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time Carey's original melody was replaced around 1760 by "a much older ballad-tune" The Country Lass.** It was with this melody that it became popular in America in the eighteenth century.

Chappell relates the story behind the ballad. A shoemaker's apprentice was on holiday with his sweetheart. He took her to see the sights, including Bedlam, puppet shows, Moorfields. Evidently charmed with the "simplicity of their courtship," Carey followed them throughout the day and wrote the ballad based on their "sketch of nature."**

Though the ballad became popular, Carey was ridiculed for the ballad. Several other words were written to his tune, including

Sally's Lamentation; or The Answer to Sally:

What pity 'tis so bright a thought
Should e'er become so comon;
At ev'ry corner brought to naught
By ev'ry bawling woman.
I little thought when you began
To write of charming Sally,
That ev'ry brat would sing
    so soon,
'She lives in our alley.'

Of all the girls that are so smart
There's none like pretty Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.
There is no lady in the land
Is half so sweet as Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

Her father he makes cabbage-nets,
And through the streets does cry 'em;
Her mother she sells laces long
To such as please to buy 'em;
But sure such folks could ne'er beget
So sweet a girl as Sally!
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

When she is by, I leave my work,
I love her so sincerely;
My master comes like any Turk,
And bangs me most severely:
But let him bang his bellyful,
I'll bear it all for Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

Of all the days that's in the week
I dearly love but one day—
And that's the day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday;
For then I'm drest all in my best
To walk abroad with Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

My master carries me to church,
And often am I blamèd
Because I leave him in the lurch
As soon as text is namèd;
I leave the church in sermon-time
And slink away to Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

When Christmas comes about again,
O, then I shall have money;
I'll hoard it up, and box it all,
I'll give it to my honey:
I would it were ten thousand pound,
I'd give it all to Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

My master and the neighbors all
Make gave of me and Sally,
And, but for her, I'd better be
A slave and row a galley;
But when my seven long years are out,
O, then I'll marry Sally;
O, then we'll wed, and then we'll bed—
But not in our alley!

From *Best Loved Songs of The American People and
**Popular Music of The Olden Time
See Bibliography for full information.