Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HABBIE, n. 1. An inhabitant of Kilbarchan, a town in Renfrewshire, so called after its well-known 17th cent. piper, Habbie [Herbert] Simpson, whose statue adorns the Town Steeple (n.Ayr., Rnf. 1956). Rnf. a.1901  Poems Kilbarchan (Lyle 1929) 55:
The great events in thirty two When “habbies” for reform were praying, They marched to Renfrew's grand review Wi banners flying, music playing.

2. Phr.: Standard Habbie, a name applied by Allan Ramsay to the stanza form aaabab, the b's forming a bob-wheel, of Troubadour origin, used in the Piper of Kilbarchan, a mock-elegy for Habbie Simpson ascribed to Sir Robert Sempill of Beltrees, c.1640, and popularised by Ramsay, Fergusson, Burns and their imitators (see Henley and Henderson Centenary Burns I. 336 sqq.). Sc. 1719  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 119:
Ye're never rugget, shan, nor kittle, But blyth and gabby, And hit the Spirit to a Title, Of Standart Habby.
Sc. 1900  T. F. Henderson Sc. Vernacular Lit. 442:
It is in the very simple stave of “Standard Habbie” (a stave which almost writes itself), that he [Burns] is most effective.
Sc. 1954  Burns Chronicle 48:
This stanza has been variously called the “Burns stanza,” the “Scottish stanza,” and the “Habbie stanza.”

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"Habbie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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