Foggy, Foggy Dew, The

TITLE: The Foggy, Foggy Dew
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain
KEYWORDScourting, seduction, weaving, pregnancy, bastard
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: 1689 (broadside, EngBdsdBA Pepys 5.250)

weaver's handloomThe foggy dew exists in two main versions, The Foggy Dew about the aftermath of the Easter Rebellion, an armed insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week 1916. The second version, the more popular one is known as The Foggy, Foggy Dew. In The Foggy, Foggy Dew a girl has been wooed by a young man, without apparent success, for some months. One night, in great distress, she comes into his bedroom and tells him that she is afraid of ‘the foggy dew’ (in some songs, ‘the bugaboo’). The young man takes her into bed with him. Next morning she regrets this, but the young man comforts her by saying that the cause of her fear is gone.  

Various explanations of the phrase ‘the foggy dew’ have been put forward, the most detailed being that given by James Reeves in ‘The Idiom of the People‘, 1958, pp. 45-57. He concludes that ‘foggy dew’ signifies the girl’s impulse to seek the man’s comfort. [Revised from Susannes Folksong-Notizen]


  • When I Was a Bachelor
  • The Weaver
  • The Bugaboo

RECORDINGS: (mp3’s available through



Foggy, Foggy Dew

When I was a bachelor, I lived all alone,
I worked at the weaver’s trade.
And the only, only thing that I did that was wrong
Was to woo a fair young maid.
I wooed her in the wintertime, and part of 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 knelt close by my side
When I was fast asleep.
She threw her arms around my neck
And then began to weep.
She wept, she cried, she tore her hair, ah, me, what could I do?
So all night long I held her in my arms
Just to keep her from the foggy, foggy dew.

Again I’m a bachelor, I live with my son,
We work at the weaver’s trade.
And every single time I look into his eyes,
He reminds me of the fair young maid.
He reminds me of the wintertime, and part of the summer too,
And the many, many times that I held her in my arms,
Just to keep her from the foggy, foggy dew.


  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books


NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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