Welcome to The British Literary Ballads Archive, a site dedicated to a unique genre of literary imitations of traditional ballads. The site contains a growing archive of over 700 poems, as well as short biographical sketches of the poets who wrote them.

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Henry Carey (?1687-1743)



English poet, dramatist, and song-writer, born in London. Poems on Several Occasions came out in 1713 as his first poetry publication. The term “namby-pamby”, which means affected, weak, and maudlin, comes from Carey’s poem, Namby Pamby (1725), a satire of Ambrose Philips, who wrote a series of odes in a new prosody of seven-syllable lines and dedicated it to “all ages and persons, from Robert Walpole to the mother in the nursery”. The poem, which had been praised by Alexander Pope (1688-1744), was so successful that Carey was referred to as “Namby Pamby Carey” and Philips himself as “Namby Pamby”. “The Ballad of Sally in our Alley”, applauded by Joseph Addison more than once, was also very successful, and continues to be sung even today. (M. Y.)

1.The Ballad of Sally in our Alley