Wee Willie Winkie

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs, in his nightgown;
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock:
“Are the babes in their beds, for it's now ten o’clock?”

Wee Willie Winkie

Origin

William Miller (1810-1872 )wrote this poem in Scottish in 1841. The rhyme has ever since become associated with children’s bedtime and is used as a lullaby. (Link to the sheet music page is at the bottom.)

The original Scottish full version:

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toon,
Up stairs an’ doon stairs in his nicht-gown,
Tirlin’ 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 comin’ ben?
The cat’s singin grey thrums to the sleepin hen,
The dog’s speldert on the floor and disna gie a cheep,
But here’s a waukrife laddie, that wunna fa’ asleep.”

Onything but sleep, you rogue, glow’ring like the moon,
Rattlin’ in an airn jug wi’ an airn spoon,
Rumblin’, tumblin’ roon about, crawin’ like a cock,
Skirlin like a kenna-what, waukenin’ sleepin’ fock.

“Hey Willie Winkie, the wean’s in a creel,
Wamblin’ aff a bodie’s knee like a verra eel,
Ruggin’ 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, stumpie, stousie, that canna rin his lane,
That has a battle aye wi’ sleep afore he’ll close an e’e-
But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gies strength anew to me.

Willie Winkie was a Jacobite nickname for George IIIGeorge III (King of Great Britain from 1760 to 1820). Some people have tried to find a secret interpretation behind the words. However, William Miller likely just used the name without giving the rhyme any undercover meaning.

 

Sheet music

Andromedian Magick