Foggy Dew (Kenneth Peacock) English

See also: Foggy Dew (Kenneth Peacock) Irish

When I was young, scarce twenty-one,
I followed a roving trade,
And all the harm ever I done
was court a fair pretty maid;
I courted her a summer season,
part of the winter, too,
And I ofttimes wished her in my arms
out of the foggy dew.

One night as I lay on my bed
she came to my bedside,
The tears rolled down her rosy cheeks,
most bitterly she cried,
Wringing her hands, tearing her hair,
crying, "What shall I do?"
"Pull off your clothes,
jump in the bed out of the foggy dew."

Oh, all the first part of the night
how we did sport and play,
And all the latter part of the night
'twas in my arms she lay,
Until the daylight did appear,
crying, "What shall I do?"
"Arise, fair maid, don't be afraid,
for gone is the foggy dew."

I took this girl, I married her,
I thought I'd done my part;
She proved to me as a virtuous wife,
I loved her to my heart.
I never told her of any of her faults
or I never intended to,
But every time she laughs or smiles
makes me think of the foggy dew.

"If I should have a child, my dear,
'twould cause us both to smile,
If I should have another,
we'd wait a little while;
If I should have another, my dear,
another, another, plus two,
We'd both give up to sow no more
but think on the foggy dew.

####.... Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Foggy Dew (The Bugaboo) [Laws 03] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, Foggy Dew, published by J Pitts (London) sometime between 1819 and 1844, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(394) ....####
Collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Mr Levi Everett Bennett [b.1899] and Mrs Freeman Bennett [1908-2006] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.518-519, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this Newfoundland variant is similar to one collected by Cecil Sharp in England in 1904 and quoted in The Idiom Of The People by James Reeves who considers it "the oldest [variant] we possess." Several pages of Mr Reeves' book are devoted to this one song, and he offers a fascinating theory regarding the origin and symbolic meaning of 'the foggy dew.'

From Cecil Sharp's English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, Vol II: [this] is one of the few frankly erotic songs so common in Southern England to survive more or less uncensored in American tradition. Its centre of dispersal seems to have been the Suffolk-Norfolk area, where it still can be heard being roared out in remote country pubs. This ribald variant has been frequently broadcast over the BBC, which in spite of its occasional stodginess, makes our American radio and television networks seem old-maidish. However, Miss Collins prefers the version that Sharp found in Calloway, VA. I quote her: "I think that this is the most beautiful version of the song to be found anywhere. To me, it's the only version that doesn't have a sneer behind it; it's truly tender and loving." But James Reeves, the author of The Idiom of the People, says, "it has a rough coherence, but surely none of the subtlety or the emotional and psychological interest of English versions." -and "it is an example of the hopeless confusion resulting from evident misunderstanding of traditional symbolism." However, I'm sure for girls everywhere, the Virginian variant wins hands down.


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