Foggy Dew (English song)

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"Foggy Dew" or "Foggy, Foggy Dew" is an English folk song. The song describes the outcome of an affair between a weaver and a girl he courted for some time. Early versions of the song refer to her fear of the "bugaboo" rather than the foggy dew.[1] It is cataloged as Laws No. O03 and Roud Folk Song Index No. 558. Many authentic versions of the ballad have been recorded, including a beautiful rendition by Norfolk farmworker Harry Cox, recorded on different occasions in 1953 by Alan Lomax[2] (available online via the Alan Lomax archive[3]) and Peter Kennedy,[4] which seemingly inspired A.L. Lloyd's recording as well as a popular 2019 version by Ye Vagabonds.

"Foggy, Foggy Dew"[edit]

The song is a ballad; first published on a broadside around 1815, though there are very many versions: Cecil Sharp collected eight.[5] Burl Ives, who popularized the song in the United States in the 1940s, claimed that a version dated to colonial America, and he was once jailed in Mona, Utah, for singing it in public, when authorities deemed it a bawdy song.[6] BBC Radio likewise restricted broadcast of the song to programmes covering folk tunes or the works of Benjamin Britten.[7] The tune is a late 18th- or early 19th-century revision of "When I First Came to Court", licensed in 1689.[citation needed]

When I was a bachelor, I liv'd all alone
I worked at the weaver's trade
And the only, only thing that I ever did wrong
Was to woo a fair young maid.
I wooed her in the wintertime
And in the summer, too
And the only, only thing that I did that was wrong
Was to keep her from the foggy, foggy dew.

One night she came to my bedside
When I was fast asleep.
She laid her head upon my bed
And she began to weep.
She sighed, she cried, she damn near died
She said what shall I do?
So I hauled her into bed and covered up her head
Just to keep her from the foggy foggy dew.

So, I am a bachelor, I live with my son
And we work at the weaver's trade.
And every single time that I look into his eyes
He reminds me of that fair young maid.
He reminds me of the wintertime
And of the summer, too,
And of the many, many times that I held her in my arms
Just to keep her from the foggy, foggy, dew.[8]

A further verse, generally used as the penultimate one, is:

Twas in the first part of the night
That we did sport and play
And in the second part of the night
She in my arms did lay
When morning came, she said to me
Oh sir, I am undone.
Oh hold your row, you silly young gal
The foggy dew is gone.


  1. ^ Norm Cohen, Folk Music: A Regional Exploration, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005, p.286.
  2. ^ "The Foggy Dew (Roud Folksong Index S341543)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  3. ^ "Alan Lomax Archive". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  4. ^ "The Foggy Dew (Roud Folksong Index S175477)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  5. ^ The Foggy Dew
  6. ^ Burl Ives (1948). The Wayfaring Stranger. New York: Whittlesey House, pp. 129-131.
  7. ^ Russell Davies (21 September 2008). "Russell Davies". BBC Radio 2. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Version from Folksongs Arr. Benjamin Britten, Perf. Peter Pears, London Records