One Misty Moisty Morning


'The Farmers Daughter',
John Everett Millais (1829-1896)

This song comes from a seventeenth century broadside with the economical title of "The Wiltshire Wedding betwixt Daniel Doo well and Doll the Dairy Maid, with the Consent of her Old Father Leather-Coat, and her dear and tender Mother Plod-well." The first couple of verses are frequently recited as a nursery rhyme and commonly appear in books of children's poetry. The tune is shared with another mischievous ditty and lute piece called the "The Friar and the Nun."

My rendition is an adaptation of Steeleye Span's adaptation. I was confused on first hearing Steeleye's version because there did not seem any connection between meeting the old man on the road and the courtship and marriage scenes that follow. The full text of the broadside reveals that the old man turns out to have been Dolly's daddy. Daniel is well rewarded for his morning courtesy when the old guy gives his blessing to the marriage.

I include all the lyrics from the broadside below. However, although I restored a couple of verses that Steeleye left out, I don't sing them all. It makes for an interminably long song - great entertainment for a cold winters night in the seventeenth century but a bit tedious for modern audiences.

The nursery rhyme illustrations often depict a female or child figure greeting the old man. So, I wonder if nursery rhyme and the wedding song may have been wedded together at some point. It might have been a shotgun wedding but It seems to have turned out as happily as the marriage of Danny and Dolly themselves.

.

Lyrics: 

One misty moisty morning when cloudy was the weather
I met with an old man a-clothed all in leather
He was clothed all in leather with a cap beneath his chin
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

This rustic was a thresher as on his way he hied
And with a leather bottle fast buckled by his side
He wore no shirt upon his back but wool unto his skin
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

I went a little further and there I met a maid
A-going a-milking, a-milking Sir she said
Then I began to compliment and she began to sing
Saying how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

This maid her name was Dolly clothed in a gown of grey
I being somewhat jolly persuaded her to stay
And straight I fell a-courting her in hopes her love to win
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

I having time and leisure, I spent a vacant hour
A-telling of my treasure while sitting in the bower
With many kind embraces I stroke her double chin
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

I said that I would married be and she would be my bride
And long we should not tarry and twenty things beside
I'll plough and sow and reap and mow and you shall sit and spin
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

Did you not know my Father, the Damsel then reply'd;
His Jerkin was of Leather, a Bottle by his side;
Yes, I did meet him trudging, as fast as he could win;
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

Kind Sir, I have a Mother, besides a Father still:
Those Friends above all other you must ask their good-will:
For if I be undutifull, to them it is a Sin;
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

Now there we left the Milk-pail, and to her Mother went;
And when I was come thither, I asking her consent:
And doft my Hat and made a Leg, for why, she was within;
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

My Husband is a Thresher, who is her Father dear;
He'l give with her his Blessing, kind Sir, you need not fear:
He is of such good Nature, that he would never lin,
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

For by your Courteous carriage, you seem an honest Man,
You may have her in Marriage, my Husband he anon
Will bid you very welcome, though he be poor and thin,
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

Her Dad came home full weary, alas! he could not chuse;
Her Mother being Merry, she told him all the News:
Then he was mighty jovial too, his Son did soon begin,
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

Her parents then consented, all parties were agreed
Her portion thirty shillings, we married were with speed
Then Will the piper he did play whilst others dance and sing
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

In pleasant Recreation they pass'd away the Night,
And likewise by relation, with her he takes delight
To walk abroad on Holidays, to visit kiff and kin,
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again

Then lusty Ralph and Robin with many damsels gay
Did ride on Roan and Dobbin to celebrate the day
And when they met together their caps they off did fling
Singing how d'ya do and how d'ya do and how d'ya do again