Tagged: dew

‘A Foggy Foggy Dew’ a song about Depression?

This is a really old song, in fact the earliest known account is from a broadside from the Samuel Pepys collection:

The frightened Yorkshire damsel” dated 1689 about a girl being frightened into a mans bed by a ghost (his mate wearing a white sheet, luring her into his friends bedroom) or a monster, which goes under various names: bug-a-boo, bogilmaroo, and bogle bo. Bogey is the modern usage; perhaps the derivative of the ‘Bogey man’?

Another interpretation suggested by Robert Graves is perhaps it’s link to the Black plague, rife in Europe between 1346 and 1353.

James Reeves in ‘The Idiom of the People’, 1958, pp. 45-57. concludes that ‘foggy dew’ signifies virginity or chastity, and that in that version the girl’s sudden agitation was caused by an overwhelming desire for the young man.

As well as many interpretation and like most traditional folk songs being of the people and for the people, there are also many variations of melody and lyric, which influence any thoughts on the relative meaning, and I would like to put forward my own view based on the version that we sing below, which is that the phrase ‘foggy dew’ is in fact symbolic for depression or anxiety, which even today is renounced by many as trivial and not a genuine.

Please let me know what you think and indeed, if you have any more variations on the story…

Watch us perform A Foggy Foggy Dew here: https://youtu.be/SFcEwzKmRSA





When I was a bachelor, I liv’d 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

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 she 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 am a bachelor, I live with my son

We work at the weaver’s trade.

And every sing time I look into his eyes

He reminds me of that fair young maid.

He reminds me of the wintertime

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.