So asks the famous Elegy to Habby Simpson. Here we report on another harvest piper met by a distinguished English visitor.

Keith Sanger recently sent us an excerpt from the journal ‘History Scotland’ which documented the discovery of an early 17th century manuscript description of a visit to Scotland by the renowned English poet Ben Jonson, written by his unidentified companion. In fact, it was more than a mere visit; in 1618 Jonson and his companion had walked all the way from London. To quote the article ‘The account reveals the fascinating details of Jonson’s long journey … [and] the warmth of his welcome wherever he travelled in Scotland… in Edinburgh the women ran “in thronges” to see [him] arrive.’
But the moment in the journey that is of interest to us was when he reached North Berwick, in East Lothian,  east of Edinburgh. Here Jonson was told by his host that ‘the farmhands had begged to have a sight of him. “So hee walked up into the fieldes where was a number of them with a bagpipe, who no sooner saw [Jonson] but they circled him and daunc’d round about him’.