“The Foggy Dew (The Bugaboo)”


The singer courts the girl and takes her to bed "to keep her from the foggy dew." In the morning they go their separate ways. In due time the girl bears a son. The further course of the song varies; in some texts he marries her, in some she dies


This ballad should be [called] "The Foggy, Foggy Dew" to distinguish it from the Irish lyric love song "The Foggy Dew."

The original of this ballad is traced to a broadside ballad dating to 1815 in the collection of the antiquarian bookseller John Bell of Newcastle now in the King's College Library. See A.L. Lloyd, Folk Song in England (London, 1967). - EC

It will be observed, however, that the item ZN2840 in the Broadside Index dates to 1689. I have not been able to verify whether this is actually "The Foggy, Foggy Dew" itself or something similar. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bob Atcher, "Foggy, Foggy Dew" (Columbia 20538, 1949)
  • Phil Hammond, "The Foggy Dew" (on FSB2, FSB2CD)
  • Bradley Kincaid, "The Foggy Dew" (Decca 12024, n.d.)
  • A. L. Lloyd, "The Foggy Dew" (on Lloyd3, Lloyd5)
  • Pete Seeger, "Foggy Dew" (on PeteSeeger32)
  • Doug Wallin, "The Foggy Dew" (on Wallins1)


  1. Laws O3, "The Foggy Dew (The Bugaboo)"
  2. Randolph 105, "The Foggy Dew" (4 texts plus a fragment, 2 tunes)
  3. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 99-101, "The Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 105A)
  4. Randolph-Legman I, pp. 257-263, "The Foggy Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Cray, pp. 61-64, "The Foggy Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Logsdon 38, pp. 203-206, "The Boogaboo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. SharpAp 137, "The Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Cambiaire, pp. 57-58, "A Gentleman's Meeting (Down by Yon Riverside" (1 text, which starts out as "Pretty Little Miss" [Laws P18] but ends with 'The Foggy Dew (The Bugaboo)" [Laws O3]; Roud lists it as a version of Laws P18, but it appears that the larger part of the text is O3 -- though the material in the middle could be from either)
  9. Sandburg, pp. 14-15, "Foggy, Foggy Dew"; 460-461, "The Weaver" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  10. Combs/Wilgus 107, pp. 183-184, "The Bugaboo" (1 text)
  11. Kennedy 174, "The Foggy Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. Lomax-FSNA 43, "The Foggy Dew-I"; 44, "The Foggy Dew-II" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  13. Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 123-125, "The Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  14. Peacock, pp. 518-519, "Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  15. Arnett, pp. 37-38, "Foggy, Foggy Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
  16. PBB 83, "The Foggy Dew" (1 text)
  17. Darling-NAS, pp. 126-137, "The Foggy Dew" (1 text)
  18. Silber-FSWB, p. 159, "The Foggy, Foggy Dew" (1 text)
  19. BBI, ZN2840, "When first I began to court" (?)
  21. Roud #558
  22. BI, LO03


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1815
Found in: US(Ap,MA,MW,Ro,SE,So,SW) Britain(England) Canada(Newf,Ont) Australia