Willie Winkie

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Willie Winkie  (1841) 
by William Miller
"Wee Willie Winkie," by William Miller (1810-72).

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night 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 gi'e 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 spune,
Rumbling, tumbling round about, crawing like a cock,
Skirling like a kenna-what, walking sleeping fock.

"Hey, Willie Winkie - the wean's in a creel!
Wambling aff a bodie's knee like a verra eel,
Rugging at the cat's lug, and raveling 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.

English translation[edit]

The most common English translation is given below:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
"Are the children in their bed, for it's past ten o'clock?"

"Hey, Willie Winkie, are you coming in?
The cat is singing purring sounds to the sleeping hen,
The dog's spread out on the floor, and doesn't give a cheep,
But here's a wakeful little boy who will not fall asleep!"

Anything but sleep, you rogue! glowering like the moon,
Rattling in an iron jug with an iron spoon,
Rumbling, tumbling round about, crowing like a cock,
Shrieking like I don't know what, waking sleeping folk.

"Hey, Willie Winkie - the child's in a creel!
Wriggling from everyone's knee like an eel,
Tugging at the cat's ear, and confusing all her thrums
Hey, Willie Winkie - see, there he comes!"

Weary is the mother who has a dusty child,
A small short little child, who can't run on his own,
Who always has a battle with sleep before he'll close an eye
But a kiss from his rosy lips gives strength anew to me.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.