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The Hannah More Project

Computational Analysis, Author Attribution, and the Cheap Repository Tracts of the 18th Century

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The Story of Sinful Sally



Story of Sinful Sally.



How from being SALLY of the GREEN she was first led to become SINFUL SALLY, and afterwards DRUNKEN SAL, and how at last she came to a most melancholy and almost hopeless End; being therein a Warning to all young Women both in Town and Country.



COME each maiden lend an ear,

Country Lass and London Belle!

Come and drop a mournful tear

O’er the tale that I shall tell!

I that ask your tender pity,

Ruin’d now and all forlorn,

Once, like you, was young and pretty,

And as cheerful as the morn.

In yon distant Cottage sitting,

Far away from London town,

Once you might have seen me knitting

In my simple Kersey Gown.

Where the little lambkins leap,

Where the meadow looks so gay,

Where the drooping willows weep,

Simple Sally used to stray,

Then I tasted many a Blessing,

Then I had an honest fame;

Father Mother me caressing,

Smil’d and thought me free from blame.

Then, amid my friends so dear,

Life it speeded fast away,

O, it moves a tender tear,

To bethink me of the day!

From the villages surrounding,

Ere I well had reach’d Eighteen.

Came the modest youths abounding,

All to Sally of the Green.

Courting days were thus beginning,

And I soon had prov’d a wife;

O! if I had kept from simming,

Now how blest had been my life.

Come each maiden lend an ear,

Country Lass and London Belle!

Come ye now and deign to hear

How poor sinful Sally fell.

Where the Hill begins inclining,

Half a furlong from the Road,

O’er the village white and shining

Stands Sir William’s great abode.

Near his meadow I was tripping,

Vainly wishing to be seen,

When Sir William met me skipping,

And he spoke me on the Green.

Bid me quit my cloak of scarlet,

Blam’d my simple Kersey Gown;

Ey’d me then, so like a Varlet,

Such as live in London town.

With his presents I was loaded,

And bedeck’d in ribbons gay;

Thus my ruin was foreboded,

O, how creafty was his way!

Vanish’d now from Cottage lowly,

My poor Parents’ hearts I break;

Enter on a state unholy,

Turn a Mistress to a Rake.

Now no more by morning light

Up to God my voice I raise;

Now no shadows of the night

Call my thoughts to prayer and praise.

Hark! A well-known sound I hear!

‘Tis the Church’s Sunday Bell;

No; I dread to venture near:

No; I’m now the Child of Hell.

Now I lay my Bible by,

Chuse that impious book so new,

Love the bold blaspheming lie,

And that filthy novel too.

Next to London town I pass

(Sinful Sally is my name)

There to gain a front of brass,

And to glory in my Shame.

Powder’d well, and puff’d, and painted,

Rivals all I there out shine;

With skin so white and heart so tainted,

Rolling in my Chariot fine.

In the Park I glitter daily,

Then I dress me for the play,

Then to masquerade so gaily,

See me, see me tear away.

When I meet some meaner Lass

Then I toss with proud disdain;

Laugh and giggle as I pass,

Seeming not to know a pain.

Still at every hour of leisure

Something whispers me within,

O! I hate this life of pleasure,

For it is a Life of Sin.

Thus amidst my peals of laughter

Horror seizes oft my frame:

Pleasure now û Damnation after,

And a never-dying flame.

Save me, Save me, Lord, I cry,

Save my soul from Satan’s chain! û

Now I see Salvation nigh,

Now I turn to Sin again.

Is it then some true Repentance

That I feel for evil done?

No; ‘tis horror of my sentence,

‘Tis the pangs of Hell begun.

Bu a thousand ills o’ertaken

See me now quite sinking down;

Till so lost and so forsaken,

Sal is cast upon the town.

At the dusk of evening grey

Forth I step from secret cell;

Roaming like a beast of prey,

Or some hateful Imp of Hell.

Ah! How many youths so blooming

By my wanton looks I’ve won;

Then by vices all consuming

Left them ruin’d and undone!

This the cruel spider stretches

Wide his web for every fly;

Then each victim that he catches

Strait he poisons till he die.

Now no more by conscience troubles,

Deep I plunge in every Sin:

True; my sorrows are redoubled,

But I drown them all in Gin.

See me next with front so daring

Band of ruffian Rogues among;

Fighting, cheating, drinking, swearing,

And the vilest of the throng.

Mark the youngest of the thieves;

Taught by Sal he ventures further;

What he filches Sal receives,

‘Tis for Sal he does the murther.

See me then attend my victim

To the fatal Gallows Tree;

Pleas’d to think how I have nick’d him,

Made him swing while I am free.

Jack I laughing see depart,

While with Dick I drink and sing;

Soon again I’ll fill the cart,

Make this present Lover swing.

But while thus with guilt surprising,

Sal pursues her bold career,

See God’s dreadful wrath arising,

And the day of vengeance near!

Fierce disease my body seizes,

Racking pain afflicts my bones;

Dread of Death my spirit freezes,

Deep and doleful are my groans.

Here with face so shrunk and spotted

On the clay-cold ground I lie;

See how all my flesh is rotted,

Stop, O Stranger, see me die!

Conscience, as my breath’s departing,

Plunges too his arrow deep,

With redoubled fury starting

Like some Giant from his sleep.

In this Pit of Ruin lying,

Once again before I die,

Fainting, trembling, weeping, sighing,

Lord to thee I’ll lift mine eye.

Thou cans’t save the vilest Harlot,

Grace I’ve heard is free and full,

Sins that once were ôred as scarletö

Thou canst make as ôwhite as wool.ö

Savior, whom I’ve pierc’d so often,

Deeper still my guilt imprint!

Let thy mighty Spirit soften

This my harden’s heart of flint!

Vain, alas! is all my groaning,

For I fear the die is cast;

True, they blood is all-atoning,

But my day of Grace is past.

Savior! hear me or I perish!

None who lives is quite undone;

Still a Ray of Hope I’ll cherish

‘Till Eternity’s begun.


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