Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/355

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11 S. XI. MAY 1, 1915.]



which Cromwell and his men can alone be definitely identified. Moreover, two of the Dictionary's own witnesses refute its defini- tion. These are John Trapp and William Lilly, and when their statements are com- pared with Lord Hopton's definition of " lobsters " (set out in my first article), it is clear that " lobsters " and " ironsides " had precisely the same origin and meaning.

There has never been the slightest justi- fication for attributing any sort of moral quality to either " lobsters " or " ironsides." Nor was " Ironsides " abusive. It was descriptive, and, as Lilly says, referred to the " iron " armour, ""head-pieces, back- and breast -plates," with which Cromwell and his horsemen were equipped. One has only to glance at any contemporary engrav- ing of Cromwell to see its appropriateness. J. B. WILLIAMS. (To be continued.)

" HABBIE SIMPSON " (11 S. xi. 229). Robert Sempill's vigorous lyric, ' The Life and Death of the Piper of Kilbarchan,' in,a stanza favoured and made famous by Burns, tells probably all that is known of this local celebrity. The tribute is in James Watson's ' Choice Collection of Comic and Serious Scots Poems,' published in 1711. The poet refers to the various activities of the piper among the harvesters, at festivities, fairs, " Clark -plays," horse-races, and so on and also indicates the distinction he held as a player at football, and the leading position he invariably took, " with Kittock hinging at his side," when a bride was being conducted to her new home. Sempill thus concludes his eulogy :

Alas ! for him, my Heart is sair,

For of his Springs I gat a skair,

At every Play, Race, Feast, and Fair,

but Guile or greed. We need not look for Piping mair,

son Habbie 's dead !


When Habbie Simson was -born or died has never, so far as I know, been discovered. His tombstone, many years ago, was in Kilbarchan Parish Churchyard, but was so defaced that only the initials H. S. and a figure some supposed of bagpipes, others a flasher's chopper could be traced.

In 1810 there was a family named An- derson resident in Kilbarchan stated to be related to Habbie, on his mother's side.

The statue referred to by MR. ARDAGH was in the steeple of the church or school- room, which I have often seen.

That Habbie had a son there is no doubt, for he appears in connexion with the son of the author of Habbie's 'Elegy,' who, it is said, once so offended his father that for some time they did not speak to one an- other, and at length obtained forgiveness by promising to add a stanza to the ' Elegy/ which he did as follows :

It 's now these bags are a' forfairn That Habbie left to Rab his bairn, Though they war sew'd wi' Hollan yairn

And silken thread, It maksna, they war fill'd wi' shairn Sin' Habbie 's dead.

Robert Sempill of Beltrees was this son ; he followed his father in 1625, and was the author of ' The Life and Death of the Piper of Kilbarchan.' Both Ramsay and William Hamilton (of Gilbertfield) acknowledge this in Ramsay's ' Familiar Epistles ' (vol. i. pp. 118-22, London, 1761).

The Elegy would occupy too much space in ( N. & Q.,' but should MR. ARDAGH find difficulty in obtaining it, I shall be glad to- send him a copy.

A painting of Habbie Simson was in the possession of John Buchanan, Esq., of Greenock in 1843. See ' Poems of the Senv pills of Beltrees,' Edinburgh, 1849, by Jas. Paterson. ALFRED CHAS. JONAS.

MACBRIDE (11 S. xi. 266). Was not Admiral Macbride the son of that honoured and beloved minister of Ballymoney, County Antrim, whose monument in the parish church begins :

" Here lies the body of the Reverend Robert Macbride. Truly pious. Always chearful. He lived in friendship with the good men of all persuasions" ?

It is yet remembered in that remote village that the admiral ran away to sea because his father, riding to preach in the country on Sunday, found his boy at a cockfight, and bitterly upbraided him.

Some forty years ago some University distinction won by a descendant of the admiral drew forth a correspondence in The Athenceum, in the course of which a letter from a local antiquary established the fact that the admiral was from Ballymoney, The Rev. John Macbride of Belfast is believed to have been the father of the minister of Ballymoney, who was born in, the latter part of the seventeenth century. The name is spelt on the marble slab with only one capital letter, if my recollection does not play me false. Macbride is the usual form in' Ulster for this not uncommon name. There is no mention in the epitaph of this "truly pious, always chearful"