One Misty, Moisty Morning

One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment, and I began to grin,
How do you do, and how do you do?
And how do you do again?

One Misty, Moisty Morning


The nursery rhyme One Misty Moisty Morning comes from a 17th-century flyer titled The Wiltshire wedding betwixt Daniel Doo-well, and Doll the dairy-maid. The print dates back somewhere between 1684-1695.


While the first verse of it has found its way to children’s nursery rhyme books, the original had more than a dozen verses. The whole composition was meant to be sung at weddings. It begins with a young girl meeting a man, and then the story develops until the thirteenth verse begins goes: Her parents then consented, all parties were agreed; Her portion thirty shillings, we married were with speed.

Good Marriage

So why would a young girl want to marry “an old man”? The answer is obvious—he was clothed in leather. Leather clothes were associated with noblemen because knights wore them as lighter body armor before firearms made them obsolete. Hundreds of years ago, any girl from a poor family was thrilled by the opportunity of “marrying up”—in other words, improving her social status through matrimony.