Thursday, 5 February 2009

Bairnies Cuddle Doon

Here's a YouTube link to Jean Weir from the Greba (Greyabbey) in County Down reciting a lovely wee poem called Cuddle Doon. Jeannie remembers learning this at school.

The original text (Jeannie's varies slightly) is as follows:

Cuddle Doon
by Alexander Anderson

The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht
Wi muckle faught and din.
"Oh try an' sleep, ye waukrife rogues,
Your faither's comin' in."
They niver heed a word I speak,
I try tae gie a froon,
But aye I hap' them up an' cry
"Oh, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

Wee Jamie wi' the curly heid,
He aye sleeps next the wa'
Bangs up and cries, "I want a piece!"
The rascal starts them a'.
I rin and fetch them pieces, drinks,
They stop a wee the soun',
Then draw the blankets up an' cry,
"Noo, weanies, cuddle doon."

But ere five minutes gang, wee Rab
Cries oot frae neath the claes,
"Mither, mak' Tam gie ower at aince,
He's kittlin' wi' his taes."
The mischief in that Tam for tricks,
He'd bother half the toon,
But aye I hap them up an' cry,
"Oh, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

At length they hear their faither's fit
An' as he steeks the door,
They turn their faces tae the wa'
An Tam pretends tae snore.
"Hae a' the weans been gude?" he asks,
As he pits aff his shoon.
"The bairnies, John, are in their beds
An' lang since cuddled doon!"

An' just afore we bed oorsel's
We look at oor wee lambs,
Tam has his airm roun' wee Rab's neck
An Rab his airm roun' Tam's.
I lift wee Jamie up the bed
An' as I straik each croon,
I whisper till my heart fills up:
"Oh, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht
Wi' mirth that's dear tae me.
But soon the big warl's cark an' care
Will quaten doon their glee.
Yet come what will to ilka ane,
May He who rules aboon,
Aye whisper, though their pows be bald:
"Oh, bairnies, cuddle doon!"

The poem was written by Alexander Anderson (1845-1909) who came from a working-class family in Kirkconnel, Scotland, and worked on the railways before becoming Chief Librarian at the University of Edinburgh. There's much more about Anderson on the following link:


  1. Fair faa ye, Newton Lass.
    A doot ye hae baith music an poetry in ye.
    Jeannie Weir leeved fornenst me in Hard Breid Raa, Greba.

  2. I haenae read this poem since I was a wean. Noo I hae 3 babbies o ma ain (aa boys). Wud ya mind if i pit it on ma ain blog 'Fae tha Han o a Low Country Lad' ?