Wee Willie Gray


Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet, Peel a willow wand to be him boots and jacket; The rose upon the breir will be him trews an' doublet, The rose upon the breir will be him trews an' doublet, Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet, Twice a lily-flower will be him sark and cravat; Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet, Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet.

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Vivien Heilbron

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It is read here by Vivien Heilbron.

More about this song

Burns did not show much interest toward popular children's verse, but the Wee Willie Gray fragment is a variation to the tune of a nursery-song called 'Wee Totum Fogg':

Wee Totum Fogg
Sits upon a creepie;
Half an ell o' gray
Wad be his coat and breekie

The original verse depicts the homely figure of Totum Fogg, sitting on a low stool (creepie) with a length of cheap cloth for his clothing; Burns' version clothes Willie Grey almost in a faerie guise, with the provisions of nature - willow, rose, lily-flower, and feathers.

As the lyrics are in fragment, not much is known of Burns' intention for them, but they present an easy-going, lively snapshot.

Lisa Harrison

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