Wee Willie Winkie

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… I spotted this memorial at Glasgow Necropolis …
apparently he died in poverty
and is buried in an unmarked grave at Tollcross

… I don’t know any of his other poems
and never realised this one had so many verses …
more poems and information:  here

 

Willie Winkie

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toun,
Up stairs and doon stairs in his nicht-goun,
Tirlin’ at the window, cryin’ at the lock,
‘Are the weans in their bed, for it’s noo ten o’clock?’

‘Hey, Willie Winkie, are ye comin’ ben?
The cat’s singin’ grey thrums to the sleepin’ hen,
The dog’s spelder’d on the floor, and disna gi’e a cheep,
But here’s a waukrife laddie that winna fa’ asleep!’

Onything but sleep, you rogue! glow’ring like the mune,
Rattlin’ in an airn jug wi’ an airn spune,
Rumblin’, tumblin’ round about, crawin’ like a cock,
Skirlin’ like a kenna-what, wauk’nin’ sleepin’ fock.

‘Hey, Willie Winkie – the wean’s in a creel!
Wambling aff a bodie’s knee like a verra eel,
Ruggin’ at the cat’s lug, and ravelin’ a’ her thrums
Hey, Willie Winkie – see, there he comes!’

Wearit is the mither that has a stoorie wean,
A wee stumple stoussie, that canna rin his lane,
That has a battle aye wi’ sleep before he’ll close an ee
But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gies strength anew to me.

William Miller

Meaning of some Scottish words:
Tirlin’=rapping
ben=through
thrums=purring
spelderd=spread out
waukrife laddie=insomniac boy
glow’ring=shining
mune=moon
airn=iron
Skirlin’=shrieking with excitement
kenna-what=something or other
creel=deep basket
Wambling=wriggling
Ruggin’=tugging
lug=ear
ravelin’=confusing
thrums=purring
stoorie=dusty
stumple stoussie=short, sturdy child

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~ by marysia on 27 July 2017.

2 Responses to “Wee Willie Winkie”

  1. Thank you for this posting! As a child in Canada I learned a version of the first verse without the Scots vocabulary and bedtime was eight o’clock!

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