NauenThen

One Misty-Moisty Morning

June 7, 2015

Probably the first poem I learned by heart—I must have been 4 or 5—was "One Misty-Moisty Morning," which I always assumed my mother brought with her from England. South Dakota, being a prairie state, didn't get much fog, but I recited it any time we got a little, and I still do. I've only ever met one other person who knew it.

One misty-moisty morning
When cloudy was the weather
There I met an old man
Clothèd all in leather.
He began to compliment
And I began to grin.
How d'you do, and how d'you do
And how d'you do again.

There are variants on these words but this is the way it's in my head.

I've just learned it's also a song, composed from a 17th-century poem, "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." According to the site where I found this (which includes the entire text), "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.'" Apparently the old man turns out to be Dolly's father, and because of Daniel's morning courtesy, the old man gives his blessing to the marriage.