“Creeping and Crawling”


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.


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


  • James "Iron Head" Baker, "Crawling and Creeping" (AFS 717 A1, 1936)
  • Harry Cox, "The Knife in the Window" (on FSB2CD)
  • A. L. Lloyd, "Pretty Polly" (on BirdBush1, BirdBush2)
  • Asa Martin, "Crawling and Creeping" (Oriole 8452, 1935)


  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)
  5. Roud #12590
  6. BI, RL033


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)
Found in: Britain(England(Lond,South)) US(So) Canada(Newf)