Willie Winkie

By William Miller 1810–1872 William Miller
Wee Willie Winkie
    Rins through the toun,
Up stairs and doun stairs
    In his nicht-gown,
Tirling at the window,
    Crying at the lock,
“Are the weans in their bed,
    For it’s now ten o’clock?
“Hey, Willie Winkie,
    Are ye coming ben?
The cat’s singing grey thrums
    To the sleeping hen,
The dog’s spelder’d on the floor,
    And disna gie a cheep,
But here’s a waukrife laddie
    That winna fa’ asleep.”
Onything but sleep, you rogue!
    Glow’ring like the moon,
Rattling in an airn jug
    Wi’ an airn spoon,
Rumblin’, tumblin’, round about,
    Crawing like a cock,
Skirlin’ like a kenna-what,
    Wauk’nin’ sleeping folk.
“Hey, Willie Winkie –
    The wean’s in a creel!
Wamblin’ aff a body’s knee
    Like a very eel,
Ruggin’ at the cat’s lug,
    Rav’llin’ a’ her thrums –
Hey, Willie Winkie –
    See, there he comes!”
Wearied is the mither
    That has a stoorie wean,
A wee stumpie stousie,
    That canna rin his lane.
That has a battle aye wi’ sleep,
    Before he’ll close an e’e –
But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips
    Gies strength anew to me.

Source: The Dorling Kindersley Book of Nursery Rhymes (2000)

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Poet William Miller 1810–1872



Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Town & Country Life

Poetic Terms Couplet, Nursery Rhymes


William Miller was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Trained as a cabinetmaker, he began writing poetry as a young man. Miller placed many of his poems, written in Scots, in local newspapers and journals. Known as the “Laureate of the Nursery,” Miller is most famous as the author of “Willie Winkie,” which appeared in the nursery rhyme collection Whistle-binkie: Stories for the Fireside (1842). Miller’s collected poems were published as . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Town & Country Life



Poetic Terms Couplet, Nursery Rhymes

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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