The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #167854   Message #4052360
Posted By: cnd
14-May-20 - 12:24 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Queen Sally
Subject: ADD: Queen Sally
Folkways albums always have excellent liner notes. Copied & poasted (with some typographical corrections) from Virginia Traditions: Ballads from British Tradition:

Kate's rendition of "Queen Sally" is highly unusual; she has grappled with the problem of fitting ordinary guitar chord accompaniment to a rhythmically complex song. Her solution has been
to simply (but uniquely) alter the time from 3/4 to 2/4 as needed and not to attempt to adhere to any one strict time signature. She has subtly subjugated the instrumental accompaniment to
the maintenance of the tune's odd twists and quirks.

The song itself has an interesting and complex history. Not only is it very similar to some versions of "The Brown Girl" (see Sharp variant J, pp. 303-304), it is also very much like some texts of "The Death of Queen Jane" (Child 170; Sharp 32, pp. 230-232). The main difference between the two ballads has to do with why Queen Jane (or Sally) is sick. In "The Death of Queen Jane," King Henry cuts a baby-his-from her dying body. In "The Brown Girl," there is none of that; we can only assume that she (in this case Queen Sally) is bearing an illegitimate child. Consequently, the overall emotion of the song is not one of sorrow on the part of the doctor (or King Henry), but rather of scorn. Kate's version is also unique in that the man called for is King Henry; he is usually a "young squire" or a "wealthy merchant." The name is evidently borrowed from "The Death of Queen Jane." Cox mentions a number of variant titles including "Sally and her True Love Billy," "The Bold Sailor," and "The (Young) Sailor from Dover" and says it has been in print since the late 18th

Queen Sally, Queen Sally
Taken sick down in bed,
No one knew the reason
To relieve her from bed.

King Henry was sent for
On horseback full speed,
To relieve Queen Sally,
Queen Sally his maid.

"I am no doctor,
Why did you send for me here?"
"Yes, you 're the doctor
Who can kill or can cure.

"I courted you in honor,
You slighted me in scorn,
I'm now going to remind you
Of things past and gone.

"Of days past and gone, love,
Let's forget and forgive,
Spare me one hour.
Please Lord let me live"

"I'll spare you no hour,
No moment or day,
I'll dance on your grave love
When you're 'neath the cold clay."

Off of her fingers
Diamond rings she drew three,
"Wear these loving Henry,
When you're dancing o'er me.

"When you 're dancing o'er me love,
On the banks of my grave,
Think of Queen Sally,
Queen Sally, your maid."