“Creeping and Crawling”

Alternate titles: “Pretty Polly”; “The Snoring Maid”; “Lay Your Leg over Me Do”; “Nancy and Johnny”; “The Young Doctor”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1907 (Sharp mss., a "Sally My Dear" version with the words bowdlerized)
Keywords: bawdy childbirth sex seduction lament clothes
Found in: Britain(England(Lond,South)) US(So) Canada(Newf)

Description

The young man, creeping and crawling, seduces the maid, taking a knife to cut the tie on her drawers. He leaves her to lament nine months later.

Notes

In England, this song regularly mixes with "Hares on the Mountain," with which it shares a tune. But the plots are different; I happily keep them separate though Roud lumps them (while defining "Crawling and Creeping" as a separate item). - RBW

The Lloyd recording provocatively contains the chorus "Lay your leg over me, over me, do" And at least one recorded version of "Sally, My Dear" -- an American one -- contains the "cutting the trousers" motif. So if "Sally, My Dear" is truly part of the "Hares on the Mountain" family, then "Creeping and Crawling" (or the "Pretty Polly" variant of it) is another link to "Roll Your Leg Over." - PJS

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Randolph-Legman I, pp. 33-39, "Creeping and Crawling" (7 texts, 2 tunes)
  2. Kennedy 178, "The Knife in the Window" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Lehr/Best 89, "Pretty Polly" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. DT, CRPCRAWL* KNIFWIND
  5. Roud #12590
  6. BI, RL033