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Broadside ballad entitled 'Life and Death of the Piper of Kilbarchan (Habbie Simpson)'

Introduction:
This eulogy begins: 'The Epitaph of Habbie Simpson, / He made his cheeks as red as Crimson, / Who on his Dron bore bonny Flags, / And babed when he blew the bags.' As was noted along the top of this sheet, this eulogy was penned by Robert Sempill of Beltrees, Renfrewshire (c.1595-1659).
Image Rights Holder:
National Library of Scotland
Ref:
15860
Project:
749:Popular Print in Scotland, 1650-1850
Material:
Broadside
Dimensions:
164 x 288mm
Subject:
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
Who:
Habbie Simpson (subject)
Robert Sempill of Beltrees (author)
Robert Burns (associated)
Robert Fergusson (associated)
National Library of Scotland (keeper of collection)
When:
Where:
The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Background:
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
Description:
Habbie Simpson, famed in his time both for his musical talent and his outstanding personality, worked for the town of Kilbarchan in the late 1500s. There are other sheets held in the National Library of Scotland's collection which give further details of his life. The lyrics themselves became influential in Scots poetry as the style, known as the 'Standard Habbie' was adopted by Fergusson (1750-74) and Burns (1759-96) for non-eulogy poems.