Carey, Henry [Savile]


b ?Rothwell, Yorks ?1687 (m1708), d Clerkenwell St James, London (Middx) 1743. A schoolteacher and singer, he was reputedly the son of the Marquis of Halifax (see Grove; though this has also been denied, see W Milgate etc). His primary gifts lay in authorship, and he is first heard of in 1710 as editor of a weekly, The Records of Love. He was the ‘Psalm-raiser’ at Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, 1714–17; and described himself in London as a ‘Musick Master’. For a decade from c1723 he composed in various styles for the Drury Lane Theatre; he wrote ballads and songs including ‘Sally in our alley’, and a notable hymn tune used with several different texts. From 1732 he worked with J F Lampe at Covent Garden, a satirical and comic opera partnership which anticipated Gilbert and Sullivan by a century and a half. He excelled in farce and burlesque including Chrononhotonthologos, ‘the Most Tragical Tragedy that ever was Tragediz’d by any Company of Tragedians’, performed in 1734. His collected poetry appeared in 1713, a song collection The Musical Century in 1740, and his dramatic works 3 years later just before his death. He originated the word ‘namby-pamby’ (also adopted by J Wesley and C F Alexander) in the title of his verses on the poet Ambrose Philips, his younger contemporary; Philips wrote for children in what even then seemed a condescendingly puerile style. Carey’s name has also been connected, never conclusively, with the words of 470 and the music of 458, which authentically belong together. Two further uncertainties about him are his links with the National Anthem (the tune: see Percy Scholes, God save the Queen, 1954), and the circumstances of his death which was possibly suicide. The ‘natural flow’ and ‘melodic charm’ of his music added to his achievement as the most prolific songwriter of his day. No.240=596.

Tunes and arrangements by Carey, Henry [Savile]

Tune Name
Surrey (Carey)