“Sally in Our Alley” and Henry Carey on Grub Street

The 18th century was an important period of change in British history. During this period, British society experienced an all-round modernity turn. Among them, in the field of cultural consumption, the wave of marketization of literature has emerged, and popular culture has flourished. In this wave of cultural development and turning, Grubb Street has played an important role. This very ordinary neighbourhood once located in the East End of London attracted a large number of literati and publishers due to its low rent in the 17th and 18th centuries. It once became a center of the early British cultural publishing industry. The literati group on Grubb Street initially only refers to the low-level literati living in and around Grubb Street. With the continuous expansion of the London literary market, the extension of the literati group also expanded. In the 18th century, all the low-level literati who lived by writing and living hard on writing were generally called Grubb Street literati. In the history of British society and culture in the 18th century, the literati of Grub Street and Grub Street had their own controversial physiques because of their uniqueness. The historical status of the street cannot be ignored. In the book “Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere”, the German scholar Habermas convincingly demonstrated the role of Grub Street in promoting the evolution of British politics in the direction of modernization. In addition, the literati on Grub Street and Grub Street provided diversified products for the strong cultural consumption demand of the British people in the 18th century, some of which have become popular classics. And “Sally in our Alley” (Sally in our Alley) written and composed by Henry Carey (1687-1743) is one of the masterpieces.

“Sally in Our Alley” is a light-hearted and cheerful folk song that has been chanted and chanted for a long time since it came out in the 18th century. The songwriter and lyrics of this ballad, Henry Carey, was born in London. He was rumored to be the illegitimate son of the Marquis of Halifax, but he was never recognized by his biological father during his life. Carey relies on his writing ability to sell writing for a living. It can be said that he is a typical 18th century Grubb Street literati. In Britain in a period of change, Carey has his own political and cultural choices. He holds a conservative political stance, supporting the Tory Party (the predecessor of the British Conservative Party) and opposing the leader of the Whig Party (the predecessor of the British Liberal Party) Walpole; at the same time, his long-term low-level life experience has made him familiar with real civil life and civilians The way the masses express their emotions. If the rumored “God Bless the King” created by him is an expression of his conservative stance to a certain extent, then “Sally in Our Alley” is Carey’s chanting of the daily life of the lower-class people in London.

The exact creation time of “Sally in Our Alley” has always been controversial. Some researchers believe that this ballad was written in 1718, while others believe that it was written in 1715. Although later generations of researchers constantly tried to find clues from relevant historical materials, the answer to this question is still a mystery. According to the latest research on Carey’s life and his works, it can be determined that between 1716 and 1717, Carey worked as a playwright at the Royal Theatre on Drury Street in London’s West End and also a part-time singer in the theater. On May 20, 1717, an advertisement for the theater previewed the latest song “Ballad of Sally” by its lead actor and singer Mrs. Willis-it is actually what we will know in the future “Sally in Our Alley.” This is the earliest known performance time of “Sally in Our Alley”.

As a popular ballad, “Sally in Our Alley” is inspired by real life. Carey himself regarded this ballad as his “little nature sketch”. In this natural sketch, a “cobbler’s apprentice” takes his beloved girl Sally, traveling along London’s Morfield to Pye’s restaurant. On the way, they passed by the noisy playground and watched puppet and speed car performances. At the Pye restaurant, the “cobbler’s apprentice” asked his beloved Sally to taste various foods such as bread rolls, cheese, bacon, and malt…

It can be said that compared with poems full of classical imagery created by the famous poet Pope of the same time, “Sally in Our Alley” is obviously more straightforward in terms of wording and sentence making. However, it is this simple and white sketch of life that vividly outlines the 18th-century London city life scene in the works of British prose master Addison that resounds with all kinds of “screams” all day long. The fireworks of common life in London. “Sally in Our Alley” has also won Addison’s affirmation.

In order to restore the life-filled scenes in the ballad during the performance, Mrs. Willis deliberately dressed up as “the apprentice of the shoemaker” and became famous. Since then, theater advertisements about this song have continued to show that the people love this song. In fact, the popularity of “Sally in Our Alley” is not accidental. The drastic changes in British society in the 18th century, the expansion of people’s cultural consumer demand, and the shrinking of the British upper-class culture into the court, all brought space and opportunities for the vigorous development of folk secular culture. It can be said that in the 18th century British culture, there has been a prosperous scene of coexistence with the Lower Liba people. With the ability to capture life inspiration, Carey played an outstanding role in the “discovery of the power of love in the bottom life”. The role.

With the popularity of ballads, various speculations about “Sally in Our Alley” have also emerged, especially regarding the identity of the heroine Sally in the ballad. Some people even think that Carey is using this song to satirize a prostitute named Sally Salisbury. In order to clarify this matter, Carey wrote a song preface with a disclaimer in the future, in which he pointed out:

For a long time, a vulgar mistake has been circulated among the world. People regard Sally Salisbury as the protagonist of this ballad. The author hereby begs to give up this speculation and promise: This ballad is in harmony with Sally So Elsbury has nothing to do with Sally. The author never met Sally when composing the music. We were strangers to each other. The author’s muse still insists on the boundary between innocence and virtue. In this little poem, the author has no other plans than to clarify the beauty of a holy and selfless passion that exists even in the lives of people at the bottom.

Although it has nothing to do with the prostitute Sally, the heroine of the song Sally is still often talked about. She has also become the origin of other works, and various imitated works with Sally as the protagonist emerge in endlessly. Someone with good deeds even wrote a little poem in Sally’s tone, titled “Sally’s Sorrow”. The author of this poem obviously knows Henry Carey very well. Not only did he arrange for Sally to have a dialogue with Carey in the poem, but more interestingly, this playful little poem talked about the inside and outside of the song from the perspective of a bystander of an era. The story allows readers to get a glimpse of the leopard and learn more about this ballad and Carey’s fate in reality. The author uses Sally’s mouth to recognize the novel sentiments that Carey conveyed in “Sally in Our Alley”, and then the conversation changed, by comparing John Gay (British poet and playwright) and Carey The revenue of creation, lamented that Carey did not profit from the popularity of “Sally in Our Alley”; and as the heroine of the ballad, Sally also failed to get out of the alley because of “famous”:

If John Gay is my love,/if Sally’s song comes from his handwriting,/he will have a lot of money,/maybe able to buy half an alley,/but all my glory will be squandered ,/Because I am the creation of crazy Henry,/Because of his handwriting, I was forced to stay in our alleys,/Always live there.

This poem quite accurately describes Carey’s situation in reality. As a literati on Grubb Street, Carey himself is unknown, and has been ignored or even denied for a long time. Just as “Sally in Our Alley”, which is intended to portray “innocence and virtue”, has been misunderstood by many people as Satirize the prostitute of the same name. At the end of the preface, Carey said bitterly that he was “ridiculed by some of his peers because of his youth and lack of fame.” Since then, in a play he created, Carey couldn’t help but feel bitter:

Alas, what kind of fame and gain can I expect? Others imitated my creations quickly. Various speculations are rampant, and crude works are often regarded as self-made. …The great Addison praised this song; prejudice and jealousy also came together; just because they thought that such a beautiful song would not come out of their own hands.

The popularity of “Sally in Our Alley” did not bring Carey a lot of money. After being widely sung, it has become a model for almost all folk songs to imitate, and it has been repeatedly pirated. Numerous “Country Jasmine” or “Nelly” emerged one after another, and even replaced “Sally” at one time. In his career as a writer and composer, Carey complained a lot about the material gains lost due to the proliferation of piracy. However, since the literary market was still in its infancy in the 18th century in Britain, and the parliament had not yet enacted a complete copyright law, Carey basically had nothing to do with the losses caused by the irregular market behavior such as piracy. He could only watch his own labor. Others bring huge benefits. If Sally in Carey’s ballad has not been able to get out of the alley in her lifetime, Carey’s fate is even more miserable. On October 4, 1743, Carey hanged himself.

It is worth mentioning that Carey’s misfortune is by no means unique. In fact, in Britain in the 18th century, not all literati were as lucky as Pope to make a lot of money from the literary market and win economic independence. For those Grubb Street literati who sell literary works for their livelihoods in the emerging literary market, Carey’s experience is to some extent the norm. Even Johnson, the British literary giant and the editor of The Dictionary, can do nothing more. Before he became famous, his life was very difficult, and he was even ruthlessly cold-eyed by the powerful. But Johnson was unswerving, compiled the “Dictionary” with his own strength, and published the “To the Earl of Chesterfield” which is called the “Declaration of Independence” by the Grab Street literati, expressing a former Grab Street literati’s pursuit of independence. Determination and courage.

Since its publication, “Sally in Our Alley” has been reprinted countless times. Among the countless folk songs, this song is quite popular. In the 19th century, it was still the most popular repertoire in theaters, including Carey’s son George Savile Carey, and many well-known singers have performed it. The tune of this ballad has been slightly adjusted since then, but whether in the 18th century or today, the life of the London city and the true emotions it conveys in easy-to-understand terms still continue to be harvested by critics and compilations of music anthologies. Praise of the author. Carey’s past life is sighing, but fortunately, “Sally in Our Alley” has brought him a certain back name. The world’s love for this song may be able to comfort Kaili and his heroine. Sally’s Spirit in the Sky.