Skip to product information
1 of 6

The Gently Mad Book Shop

William Miller (Laureate) Scottish Nursery Songs (Rhymes) : Wee Willie Winkie : 1st Edition 1863

William Miller (Laureate) Scottish Nursery Songs (Rhymes) : Wee Willie Winkie : 1st Edition 1863

Regular price £425.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £425.00 GBP
Sale Sold out
Tax included.

By William Miller
Published by William Macrone, Glasgow, 1863. Scarce First Edition. 8vo, hardback, blind-stamped cloth and with gilt title to upper board, plain spine, manilla endpapers, 69 pages.

A good copy of this scarce work. The cloth binding is good with a little nibbling to the top of the spine and a little bubbling to the cloth on the fornt board. Endpapers good with light grubbiness. Pages good but with some light ocassional spotting. Overall a good copy of the first edition.

William Miller (August 1810 – 20 August 1872) was a Scottish poet best known for the nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie.

Miller, known as "The Laureate of the Nursery", was born in Glasgow and lived in Dennistoun, Scotland. He suffered from ill health and was unable to become a surgeon and instead took up woodturning and cabinet making. At the same time he began writing poetry and children's rhymes, mainly in the Scots language. His poetry was published in various works including the Whistle-binkie books.

In 1842, Whistle-Binkie: Stories for the Fireside was published and contained the rhyme Wee Willie Winkie. The poem would go on to become known in other countries, in translation, and made Miller famous at the time. He published his own volume of Scottish Nursery Rhymes in 1863 which was received with great success but sadly not many copies were printed, alothough it has been reprinted since.

In 1871, Miller's leg became ulcerated and he had to retire from cabinet making. The leg became infected and led to his death in 1872 aged 62. By then Miller was destitute and was buried at Tollcross. Later a memorial to Miller was erected on the Glasgow Necropolis.

“Wee Willie Winkie” Lyrics (Original Scottish 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.

Enlgish Version

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.

(Loc: Scottish shelf no 1)
View full details