and Reason - Transcription
and adaptation from THE HERALD DIARY [Glasgow] - 3rd Sep. 2009
Lord Provost Bob Winter unveiled a plaque yesterday, the 2nd of
September, 2009, in Dennistoun, [East End of Glasgow] to
commemorate the life of William Miller, the poet who composed
the legendary nursery rhyme 'Willie Winkie'. A talking point at
the unveiling was the fact that the original text had Willie
running through the town crying, "Are the weans in their bed,
for it's noo ten o'clock". Slowly, over the years, many
publishers of nursery rhymes changed it to 'eight o'clock',
presumably to give parents a helping hand!
bronze memorial has been erected on on the wall of the Tennents'
Brewery which sits on the site of William Miller's former house
in Dennistoun. It replaces a less elaborate one which previously
marked the site.
Miller first published the famous rhyme 'Willie Winkie' in his
1842 collection within 'Whistle-binkie': Stories for the
Fireside'. It subsequently re-appeared with a number of his
other song lyrics and poems in a composite volume of 'Whistle
Binkie' in 1853. 'Willie Winkie' of course went on to become
known in many other countries, but in translated forms.
was born in Glasgow in 1810 and spent most of his boyhood in
what is now the city's Parkhead area. His ambition to become a
surgeon was ended by serious illness and he was eventually
apprenticed as a wood-turner. He became a skilled craftsman,
developing a particular talent for cabinet-making. Early in his
life he began writing poetry and childrens rhymes, mainly in
the Scots language he used in everyday life. Miller never
managed to make a career solely as a poet and continued to work
as a cabinet-maker and wood-turner for most of his life. He died
of Spinal Paralysis on the 20th of August, 1872 at 21 Windsor
Street, Glasgow and was buried in the family plot in Tollcross
Cemetery in an unmarked grave near the main entrance.
and admirers raised a memorial stone by public subscription and
it stands in the Glasgow Necropolis, near the Bridge of Sighs.
poems include 'A Wonderful Wean', 'Gree, Bairnies Gree', 'The
Sleepy Laddie' and 'John Frost'.
by William Miller
Willie Winkie rins through the toun,
Up stairs and doon stairs in his nicht-gown,
Tirlin' at the window, cryin' at the lock,
"Are the weans in their bed, for it's noo ten o'clock?"
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!"
but sleep, you rogue! glow'rin' 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' sleeping fock.
Willie Winkie -- the wean's in a creel !
Wambling aff a bodie's knee like a very eel,
Ruggin' at the cat's lug, and ravelin' a' her thrums--
Hey, Willie Winkie -- see, there he comes!"
the mither that has a stoorie wean,
A wee stumpie 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.
version, paraphrased for English readers, appeared in print
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?
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!
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.
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!"
the mother who has a dusty child,
A small short little child, who can't run on his own,
Who always has a battle wi' sleep before he'll close an eye
But a kiss from his rosy lips gives strength anew to me.