Lines Composed on Reviewing the Place Where my Love and I used to meet
The Rose of Aberdeen
Lines to my Mother when I left
Thoughts of Home
Verses Composed at Sea about Twenty Years Ago
The Virtue of Kisses
Seeing Mona Again
A Poem about Things I have seen in Liverpool
Reflections Composed in Liverpool
Composed on Mull Hill on a very calm and lovely Sabbath evening
Lines for Poor Shimmin
On Presentation of his Photograph
Yn lion as yn lugh
The lion and the mouse
Yn ayr as e vec
The father and his sons
Yn moddey-oadley as yn eayn
The wolf and the lamb
Yn mwaagh as yn tortoise
The hare and the tortoise
Yn moddey as yn scadoo
The dog and the shadow
Yn eirinagh as yn coayr-vane
The farmer and the stork
Yn vuc-awin as yn daa hroailtagh
The bear and the two travellers
Yn moddey ayns y vanjoor
the dog in the manger
Yn moddey-oadley ayns coamrey keyrragh
The wolf in sheeps clothing
Yn cabbyl as guilley-ny-gabbil
The horse and the groom
Yn bochilley aeg as yn moddey oadley
The shepherd boy and the wolf
Ny guillyn as ny froggyn
The boys and the frogs
Yn scollag as ny undaagaghyn
The boy and the nettles
Yn shynnagh fegooish e aman
The fox without his tail
Yn dow as yn frog
The ox and the frog
Ny kellee caggee as yn urley
The game cocks and the eagle
Yn partan as e voir
The crab and its mother
Yn ven aeg as yn curn bainney
The young woman and the milk can
Yn darrafg as yn chuirtlagh
The oak and the reeds
Yn lion as ny three terriu
The lion and the bulls
Yn fannag as yn cruishtin
The crow and the pitcher
Yn shynnagh as ny berrishyn-feeyney
The fox and the grapes
Yn assyl, yn shynnagh, as yn lion
The ass, the fox, and the lion
Yn tortoise as yn urley
The tortoise and the eagle
Yn lion as yn vochilley
The lion and the shepherd
Mona, or as the Manx lovingly call it, “Mannanin veg veen” (sweet little Mann), has an attraction particularly its own. Its glorious shores are the delight of thousands of annual visitors from all parts of the United Kingdom. It is the most popular sea-side resort of West England, and Lancashire, par excellence. The reason is plain. Its lovely glens and bays; its luxuriant vegetation, mild climate, and sea hreezes, and the many amenities a stay offers to pleasure seekers, artists, sportsmen, and to the naturalist, the antiquary, and the faded business man are irresistible; the native Manx, moreover, a homely and hospitable people, soon make you feel at home, and engage your sympathy.
The Island has another attraction. It is a Celtic country, just like Wales, the Highlands, and Ireland; only that the Welshman talks “Cymric,” and the others give you “Goidelic” speech. It will fare with Mann as it has done with Cornwall: the language is over-ridden and ousted by English; the school-master is abroad, and the native tongue is fading, and slowly dying, and only spoken now by the old in the central, western, and northern secluded upland farms, in the small creeks of the sea fringe, by fishermen and farmers, in their confidential talk amongst themselves. The more curious visitor, if he gets into their good graces, will carry away a few scraps of idiomatic phrases or words, too guttural and unutterable for English mouths to imbibe or retain. But still it is a most engaging language. The sacred Scriptures are preserved in it by great Bishop Wilson, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” exists in Manx dress, and the Manx population owe to it one of the most mellow versions of Watts’s hymn-book. For the dialect-hunter their language is like what the heather blossom is to the bee. The Anglo-Manx has a native aroma. It is engrafted on the Lancashire dialect as spoken in the Fylde, and its peculiar Celtic-English ring — strange blend as it is — takes quick possession of you.
There is no practical vernacular Manx grammar or reading book in the language to help the visitor to a comprehension of the language, of which most have but a sort of vague idea that there is such a thing left yet in our times. The short collection of twenty-five Fables, now published bi-lingually, may therefore be a pleasant reminder and a keepsake to take away, and will show ocularly that it still breathes and lingers. The impulse lately given to Celtic study, and the formation of the Celtic Union for preserving and reviving a decaying speech, has led some interested Manxmen to open classes in the Island for the practical study of Manx. To such it may also prove a slight but agreeable help. If the reader wishes to see the Manxman at home, or to get a glimpse at his inner life, let him read Egbert Rydings’ charming “Manx Tales,” or the introductory sketch to Principal Rhys’s “Manx Phonology,” which gives a picturesque account of his pleasant wanderings along the countrysides amongst the peasantry in search of Manx sounds. Another delightful channel will be found in the late Rev. T. E. Brown’s poetical tales in Anglo-Manx, and for anyone who wishes to get a little more acquainted with Manx folklore and idiosyncracies, let him peruse A. W. Moore’s “Manx Folklore,” and my own contribution to the “Lhioar Manninagh,” the organ of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, which is a rich store-house of everything Manx.
A few biographical words about the translator himself, Mr. Edward Farquhar, of Cregneish, will, I hope, add to the interest of the booklet.
Edward Farquhar, who now stands in his 70th year, a true type of the “Manninagh Dooie,” lives in the little hill-village of Cregneish, and has spent almost all his active life on the sea as a fisherman, and comes of a family of fishermen for generations untold. The Cregneish folk were just like a great fisher-family entirely left to themselves, and little disturbed by the outside waves of modern life, with its rush and throbbing speed. They were frugal, hardy, and sea-toiling men, whose lives were divided between mackerel fishing and the harvesting of their little oat and potato crofts. The Mull, with its venerable stone-circle, the Calf, made memorable by Hall Caine, and the grand view spread around, offers a sight scarcely rivalled in its beauty and impressive loneliness in the Island. They are dwelling in the high, rocky upland, amidst purple heather and gorse, and you can see the wild dashing and splashing breakers, and hear the roaring from the sea caves. The winter time is there rough and desolate, and the fishing is then resting, and they draw closer to their glimmering turf fires to tell weird stories and gruesome legends. It was here in this mountain loneliness, so rich in natural scenery, that he grew up, and there is no man in the Island that loves his native soil more intensely, or is fonder of the contemplation of nature.
In his time, education was in a very backward condition, and a luxury few could afford, least of all, poor fishermen; for his schooling he was sent to Port St. Mary, where an old dame kept an infants’ school for writing and ciphering. The nearest parish school was two miles away, and they had to take their dinner with them, the tiny things. He attended for two years, and became a pretty good reader and writer. There was little English taught and known in Cregneish, his mother being the only person who could converse with strangers. His father was a fair scholar and wrote all the letters for the Cregneish people, and that was a great thing then. The family being large — there were twelve children — he had to go to sea very young, and joined his father’s boat, fishing with him for seven years. In those days, to be thought a man, you had to give proof of your virility by hard drinking. All the fisher-villages were packed with ale houses, and the “jough” went round merrily and noisily enough, singing and fighting alternating the entertainment. They were very successful in fishing — the fishing grounds yielded good catches then, and a great deal of their earnings went to the public houses; they were, to use a happy Manx expression: “Just like a cow that gave a canful of milk, and then put her I foot into it and upset the can.”
Mr. Farquhar is entirely self-taught, and knows his Scott, Byron, Milton, and his Bible well, to which is added a very retentive memory for the recitations of old ballads end folk-tales. His knowledge of Manx lore is simply unique; and as a man who can tackle a fish, or knows the ins and outs of the coast-line and its creeks and its caves, he is, I believe, unmatched. He speaks, of course, both Manx and English, and is considered to be one of the best vernacular conversationalists extant in the Island. He is of a poetical temperament, and was always able to make some verse, but his muse brought him little thanks, and the consequential jeers and derision of his uncultured companions and the buxom village belles, brought him more wormwood than golden opinions. He never kept a copy until he was about 26 years old, and then began to write on many subjects — lyrical, contemplative, sacred and legendary.
For a short time he went to Liverpool to become a safe-maker, working amongst Welshmen, who were worse English speakers than himself, and he learnt but little English there. His longing, however, for the sea and his heather-clad hills was too over-powering, and he returned again to Cregneish, and fished for mackerel at Kinsale and on the West coast of Ireland for twenty-five spring seasons. He has been shipwrecked and narrowly saved, and weathered great storms in his rough voyages. In middle age he married, and has a family, but has been a widower for many years. The earnings were good at first, but the last ten years, have passed so poor that it is not worth while going fishing at all, and the men would be glad to give it up, if other employment could be found.
He has been a total abstainer for the last twenty years, and during that period he has composed about a thousand sacred songs and innumerable others, but seldom reads them to any. A few of his poetical contributions have appeared at various times in the Mona’s Herald and the Cork Eagle, and were always welcomed and appreciated. He is passionately fond of nature, and, as he tells me — I have enjoyed the pleasure of his intimate friendship for many years now — in autumn, when the heather is in bloom on the hills around Cregneish, he could sit there and admire it all the day long, and covet no other spot in the world for its beauties. He has achieved the great feat in his old age of translating the whole set of Aesop’s Fables (313 in number) from English into Manx within four months, while not in the best health, and harassed by domestic afflictions. Should there be a public desire to have another sheaf of them, the publishers may not be unwilling to continue the series at a later period.
Mr Farquhar has done great services to Manx Folklore, and it is due to him that at this late period an immense amount of valuable Manx legends and Insular lore have been preserved, for which indeed the Isle of Man must ever be under gratitude to him. His poetry is of the homely, descriptive kind, and appeals to the simple emotions of the heart. It expresses his deep and intense lore for nature, and breathes a real religious feeling. His pretensions are modest — to have sung to himself has been sufficient reward to him. Brought up in a different sphere, he would have gone forth as one of Mona’s great and eminent sons.
Hall Caine, who kindly has perused a small collection of Mr, Farquhar’s verse submitted to him, says in a considerate letter he has written to me: “I have read the poems with pleasure; they shew a good deal of sensibility to poetic feelings — to a certain state of emotion. That the author is a man of very amiable character, and that his love of his native Island is very tender and beautiful, is sufficiently obvious — a really admirable man, who has preserved a simplicity of natural feelings that is rather too rare.”
And I may sprinkle here for the poet a few blossoms of his inspiration to exhibit the current of his muse which I trust the reader will not despise. Mr Ernest U. Savage, of Douglas and Pembroke College, has kindly undertaken to revise the translation, and also read the proof-sheets, to make the little book as perfect as possible.
LINES COMPOSED ON REVIEWING THE PLACE WHERE MY LOVE AND I USED TO MEET IN THE EVENING.
This is the place we used to rove,
This is the road we walked in;
This is the nook, and this the grove
Where we so often talked in;
And these the primroses that bloom,
This is the hawthorn blossom,
This is the place of shade and gloom
I clasped her to my bosom.
This is the place my vows I sighed,
Her charms my cares beguiling,
This is the place I viewed with pride,
My loved one sweetly smiling;
This is the place I press’d her lips,
This is the place we strolled in;
This is the place I kissed her cheeks,
While in my arms enfolding.
This is the dew-bespangled bed
Where we sat down down to rest us.
This is the place where sadness fled,
For nothing then distressed us;
This is the place she fondly clung —
Though now my heart regrets it —
The place where on my neck she hung,
My sad heart ne’er forgets it.
This is the hill, the mountain side
Where all our vows were spoken,
The place she vowed to be my bride,
But all those vows are broken.
These are the birds that used to sing,
And these the evening breezes,
This is the crystal flowing spring,
This is the pool that freezes.
This is the place that was so sweet,
At evening shade we hasted,
This is the place we used to meet —
Many an hour we wasted.
NOTE. — I made the acquaintance of a Scotch lass once when I was in Liverpool. She was servant in a gentleman’s house an the outskirts of the town. She was from Aberdeen, in Scotland, and was a fine rosy lass; she wished me to come to meet her the next evening she would be out. It was in the summer time, and the weather was very warm. I went at the hour appointed, but as she could not get out so early I had to wait some time, and I went over to the hedge and lay down in the grass to wait her appearance, and as I lay there I composed a song on the occasion, and I will give you a copy:
THE ROSE OP ABERDEEN.
The setting sun is sinking down
Behind the western hills,
While gentle zephyrs waft the sound
Of distant flawing rills;
The little birds are gone to rest
In yonder shady grove,
The crimson twilight in the west
Brings forth the time for love.
The dew falls silent from the sky,
On every shrub and flower,
And evening shadows hover nigh
When love comes out with power;
While I am lonely lying here,
And musing on the scene,
Waiting till Jessy will appear:
The Rose of Aberdeen.
‘Tis neath the closing shades of night
That lovers have their charms,
When lips are pressed in fond delight
Locked in each other’s arms;
Love is a timid, bashful thing
That hovers round the heart,
But like the owl is on the wing,
Who wanders in the dark;
And thus reclining on the grass,
Amidst this calm serene,
Awaiting for this bonny lass;
The Rose of Aberdeen.
Her cheeks are like the roses red,
Her eyes like diamonds shine;
Her lips are like the scarlet thread;
She’s lovely and divine!
She’s all that I can wish to be,
She’s nature’s fairest Queen,
The lass I love so tenderly:
The Rose of Aberdeen.
LINES TO MY MOTHER WHEN I LEFT HOME.
Across the deep blue sea I fly,
Forced by despairing love to part;
While tears o’erflow my pensive eye,
And sadness seems to freeze my heart.
I leave behind my native shore,
And you my best and only friend,
And oh, may meet on earth no more,
Another happy day to spend.
Yet still I’ll bear thee in my mind,
In every distant clime I rove;
And though I leave thee far behind,
I never can forget thy love.
Though doomed by fate to cross the deep,
Thy tender smile no more to see, —
Yet cease, my mother — cease to weep;
Farewell, — but still I’ll think of thee.
You soothed my heart when in distress,
And when I grew to riper years
You still retained your tenderness,
And o’er the wanderer shed tears.
I’ll not forget thy tender care,
Though distant I am doomed to be;
The victim, too, of sad despair,
Farewell, — but still I’ll think of thee.
Long since my bleeding heart had broke,
Life’s weary vale while passing through,
Ere now I’d lost each spark of hope,
My mother, were it not for you.
Yet if we meet on earth no more,
Until we bow to fate’s decree,
Farewell, — but on a happier shore
I hope thy face again to see.
I’ll not forget thy parting tears,
When last I left the dear loved place,
The object of thy fervent prayers,
And turned the mountain of Cregneish.
Yet while life’s crimson current flow,
Thy name shall dwell in memory;
Though now destined by fate to go,
Farewell, — but still I think of thee.
Though all things change, and naught remain
To soothe this heart by grief opprest,
My mother — till we meet again —
The thoughts of thee shall fill my breast.
Thy name I often will repeat,
Where’er I roam, where’er I be,
No other name on earth so meet,
Farewell, — but still I think of thee.
I’ll not forget that tender love
Which I have only found in thee.
And every change in vain will prove —
For naught can work a change in me.
In vision while I lie asleep,
Thy gentle form I often see;
Then cease, my mother — cease to weep;
Farewell, — farewell, — remember me!
THOUGHTS OF HOME.
Now far away from Mona’s shore,
Thy hills behold I can no more,
Thy sylvan glens and shady bowers,
And cliffs adorned with purple flowers,
Nor little birds that sweetly sing,
To welcome in the rosy spring:
Though all these charms are lost to me,
Yet still my fond heart clings to thee.
The prickly gorse, with yellow bloom,
That grows entwined with the wild broom,
The rose that shimmers from the fen,
And meek primroses in the glen,
The wintry snows and rosy spring,
That taught my muses how to sing,
Are graven on my memory,
And oh, my fond heart clings to thee!
The bee has sipped the bright-eyed dew,
And hovered o’er the violet blue;
The lark that sung the morn to cheer,
Whose melody I loved to hear
When the bright source of day returned,
And Mona’s smiling glens adorned,
Are all invisible to me,
But still my fond heart clings to thee!
My fancy lingers still around
Where nectar’s fairest scenes abound;
In dreams the meadows green appear,
And tinkling streamlets bright and clear,
With verdant spots where daisies grow,
And heather bells in purple glow;
Though I no more those charms can see,
In thought I’ll still revisit thee!
The setting sun that gilds the west,
And Mona’s hills with beauty drest,
While evening zephyrs gently move
The closing roses in the grove,
And moonlight in the east appears,
To stud the grass with fairy tears,
Are now beyond the deep blue sea,
But still my fond heart clings to thee!
Thy frowning cliffs — majestic, wild,
Which I have climbed when but a child,
Where fairies danced in days of yore,
And mermaids sang upon the shore;
The shady glens and gloomy caves,
Lashed by the surges of the waves,
Are left behind and lost to me,
But yet my heart still clings to thee!
In thee my fancy lingers still,
And climbs thy steep and rugged hill,
And seems to heave the painful sighs
Drawn from my heart by beauty’s eyes,
And sips the soft ambrosial dew
From lips of sparkling coral hue,
My Island home, though far from me,
In memory I dwell in thee.
In midnight dreams I rove along,
To hear the mermaid’s fabled song;
And view the fairies take their flight
Beneath the moon’s pale, silver light,
O’er heather bells of purpled blue,
And valleys laid in mist and dew:
Those charms by day no more I see,
Yet slumber brings them back to me.
In dreams I see the sunny smile
Which once did all my cares beguile,
And seem to taste the nectar sweets
That hung upon her rosy lips,
And thus transported in her arms,
Revive anew love’s youthful charms,
And happy moments ones enjoyed
Where sweet Castruan’s waters glide,
In vision still so let me roam,
To see my childhood’s happy home.
Where light spring flowers sweetly bloom,
And west winds carry their perfume,
Though ruin’s mantle now is spread
Above the graves of loved ones dead,
My heart is twined around the spot,
My little native village cot,
Wherever I wander, wherever I be,
My fond heart lingers still in thee.
And thou shalt be remembered still,
Secluded village of the hill;
Though I may never see thee more,
In dreams I’ll linger on thy shore,
And visit all thy secret bowers,
Where elfins sport in midnight hours;
Till death shall still this throbbing breast,
And ‘neath the willows laid at rest.
VERSES COMPOSED AT SEA ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO.
Mona, my native land,
Though far from thee I rove:
In fancy on thy strand,
I rest with those I love,
While on the billows lone and wild,
I think of thee, my wife, and child!
Thy hills and heather flowers,
Thy glens and woody dells,
Thy ancient fairy bowers,
Thy moss-clad sparkling wells
Just as of yore are flowing still,
And swell the mountain’s gurgling call.
Mona, my Island home,
I dearly love thee yet;
Though far from thee I roam,
I never can forget.
Distance and absence cannot blot
My childhood’s home, my native cot.
Mona, my native shore,
My father’s land, and mine;
Still fondly as of yore,
My heart-strings round thee twine.
Though far I wander o’er the earth,
I love the land that gave me birth.
Mona, where I have slept,
Mona, where I have toiled,
Mona, where I have wept,
Mona, where I have smiled,
My native cot, still dear to me,
I wish to rest in death near thee.
THE VIRTUE OF KISSES.
Oh! what a medicine kisses prove
In infancy and childhood’s years,
Nothing like these the heart can move,
There’s nothing dries so many tears.
Though nothing is so sweet and brief,
Nothing so many wounds does heal,
Nothing can soothe the heart in grief
Like the sweet kisses lovers steal.
A good night’s kiss is very sweet
When weary nature calls to rest,
And then peacefully we sleep
When those we love our lips have prest.
And sweet is a good morning kiss,
The promise of a happy day,
For with this tender taste of bliss,
Our troubles seem to pass away.
Sweet the forgiving kiss of love;
And the approving kiss is strong;
It cheers the spirit prone to rove,
And very often rights some wrong.
A sister’s kiss keeps many a boy
From evil and its siren art;
A brother’s kiss is oft the joy
And comfort of a sister’s heart
A child’s kiss is a dear reward
For many a weary hour of toil;
A mother’s kiss of kind regard
The seeming ills of life beguile.
A husband’s kiss leaves a light step,
A bright smile, and glad heart behind;
While curbing care and vain regret
That kiss has banished from the mind.
The home where kisses thus abound,
Will be a home of peace and love;
No words unkind will there be found,
To draw the mind from things above.
SEEING MONA AGAIN.
Fair Mona, thou gem of the waters,
Thy hills with delight I behold;
Where thy healthy sons and fair daughters
Are tripping o’er cowslips of gold.
The skylark his carol is singing,
While rivers meandering glide,
And streams in the hillside are springing,
And travel right down to the tide.
The silver mists still round thee gather,
Yet the wizard chief is not there;
Reclining upon the blue heather,
Old Manannan beg Mac-y-Lir.
The sun on thy mountains is shining,
The “three legs” are now out of date;
While gorse bush and heather is twining,
As all things are ruled by cold fate.
Thy vales with primroses bespangled,
That daisies and violets adorn,
The rocks where of yore I have angled,
Besprinkled with dew in the morn.
Thy hills with the gay heather flowers,
I own are thrice welcome to me;
Thy dark glens and gay fairy bowers,
Thou beautiful gem of the sea!
By billows of ocean surrounded,
As clear as the bright crystal stream,
Where arrows of Cupid have wounded
The bosom of many a swain.
How welcome to me are thy mountains,
Thy rude cliffs and pebbly shore;
Though thy rippling streamlets and fountains
Are haunted by fairies no more.
Fair Mona! of beauty exquisite,
There’s no place so lovely and dear;
Though mermaids no longer re-visit,
Nor on thy rude rocks comb their hair.
Yet still as the home of my childhood,
Thy beauties I seem to adore;
Absent from thy dark glens and wild wood,
My fond heart but loves thee the more.
Wherever hard fate bids me wander,
In thought I’ll revisit thee still;
And on thy old legends I’ll ponder,
And cling to Mull’s heather-clad hill.
Fair Mona! thou star of the ocean,
Wherever I wander from thee,
Thy charms still are dear to my bosom,
Thou beautiful gem of the sea!
A POEM ABOUT THINGS I HAVE SEEN IN LIVERPOOL.
(Composed just before leaving.)
I’ve wandered on proud Albion’s shore,
And viewed the scenes the world adore:
The works of art and phantasy
That can possess no charm for me;
For still my heart is far away
Beyond the waves of the deep sea,
Where daisies and primroses bloom
And heather flowers the breeze perfume.
I’ve been to concert, dance, and ball,
And I have seen St. George’s Hall,
I’ve seen the great in gay attire,
And follies that the world admire;
But yet they had no charm for me —
My heart was far beyond the sea,
Among the hills and valleys gay,
And larks that sing their morning lay.
I’ve seen the shops of great renown
Erected in the sinful town;
I’ve seen the ships with snow-white sails;
And, Oh! I’ve seen the Prince of Wales;
I’ve seen the Princess, too, as well,
And more than now I mean to tell;
Yet all could bring no joy to me,
My heart was still beyond the sea.
I’ve seen the ladies, young and fair,
And in their love did often share,
Which often cheered in care and toil,
While in the sunshine of their smile;
Yet still ’twas cold and dark to me —
My heart is far beyond the sea:
Where mother plies the spinning wheel,
And Betsy turns the creaking reel.
I’ve seen the tear in beauty’s eye,
I’ve seen their bosoms heave and sigh,
I’ve felt their lips impressed on mine,
And felt their loving arms entwine;
Yet all could bring no joy to me,
My heart was still beyond the sea —
Among the hills of Mona’s Isle,
Where Kate for me was wont to smile.
Farewell to phantasy and art
That never can fill up my heart,
And those fair maids, with witching smile,
No more can my sad heart beguile;
For still my fancy lingers where
The youthful Kitty blooms so fair,
And father tills my native soil
Among the hills of Mona’s Isle.
Farewell! Those dreams no more can please
The heart that lies beyond the seas,
Among the hills and heather flower,
Which oft beguiled my youthful hours;
Though once I left, forlorn, alone,
But now again returning home,
Where my fond parents yet remain,
And Kate, to welcome me again.
REFLECTIONS COMPOSED IN LIVERPOOL.
I’ve stood on the top of Barrule,
And walked over steep Cronk-ny-Harrey;
I’ve stood on the summit of Mull,
And climbed the steep cliffs of the Staggey.
I’ve scaled the rude walls of Rabouge,
And bathed in sweet Castruan’s harbour;
And sat on the heather that robes
The bills and the valleys with verdure.
I’ve robbed the seagull of her young,
And in the rude rocks I have angled,
And little red “bollans” have hung
From the point of my fishing-rod dangled.
I’ve followed the stream in the glen
And seen it fall into the ocean.
I’ve plucked the primrose in the fen,
And stuck it to bloom in my bosom.
I’ve traversed the shore all around,
And heard the dread hurricane roaring;
I’ve sheltered in caves underground,
Whilst rain-drops in torrents were pouring.
I’ve walked o’er the hills in moonlight,
And seen the gay lark in the morning;
I’ve seen the sun setting at night,
And seen it in glory returning.
I’ve sailed round the little Calf Island,
And sighed when the flowers were dead;
I’ve gazed on the billows so wild,
From the summit of proud Spanish Head.
But now far away from the scene,
Yet distance nor time can efface;
Though billows are rolling between
Me and the rude hills of Cregneish.
COMPOSED ON MULL HILL ON A VERY CALM AND LOVELY SABBATH EVENING.
When the summer day’s declining,
And the flowers wet with dew,
And the moonbeams brightly shining,
With the ocean in view,
When the wind has ceased its raging,
And the sea like glass appears,
And the evening calm assuaging
All life’s sorrows and its cares:
Then the mind is sweetly stealing
From a world of toil and pain,
To a source of peace unfailing,
Like a calm upon the main;
For the ills that here oppress us
Cannot reach that peaceful shore,
And the trials that distress us
Cannot enter through its door.
While the gentle breathing zephyrs
Waft the fragrance of the grove,
And the ever-closing shadows
Draw the mind to things above;
Oh, how sweet ’tis now to wander
Where the heather flowers bloom,
And reflect on scenes more tender
In the land beyond the tomb:
Where the wind is never blowing,
And the tempest’s rage is o’er;
Where the stream of life is flowing
For the humble and the poor;
Whore the heaving sigh of sadness
Never heaves the troubled breast,
Where the voice of joy and gladness
Soothes, the cares of life to rest;
Where no tear of woe is starting,
And no dread of death’s cold stream,
And the heart that bleeds at parting
Never more shall bleed again;
Where the sadness of the bosom
Shall for ever more remove,
As we plunge into the ocean
Of the great Redeemer’s love:—
May we, still in earnest seeking,
That blest country strive to win,
Where the eye shall cease from weeping,
And no more oppressed with sin;
‘Neath the willow’s shade reclining,
Free from sunshine and from showers,
And the heart no more repining
For the joys of happier hours.
LINES ON POOR SHIMMIN.
Poor poet! Thou art laid to sleep
Beneath the graveyard’s verdant soil,
Though few lament thy fate, or weep
The bard of Mona’s sea-girt Isle:
For sons of genius are despised
Upon this rugged Island shore,
And poets are so slightly prized,
And seldom thought of any more.
Yet, though with talents thou wert blest
And sung the charms of Mona’s hills,
And built a cottage in the West,
Beside the mountain’s flowing rills:
Thy life was all a checkered scene,
With fits and starts of doing well;
But whatsoever thou hast been,
Or what thy fate is, none can tell.
For death’s cold hand has cut thee down,
And hid thy talents in the earth, –
Now thou art moulding in the ground,
While no one cares to sing thy worth.
Are we not told if man should gain
The world, and then possess the whole,
Would not his wealth be all in vain
If at the end he lost his soul?
Yet if thou hast through blood Divine
Entered the land of sweet repose,
I hope its happiness is thine —
Yet God and thee the secret knows.
To judge thy faults we are forbid,
For we are dust defiled in sin;
And where the Spirit goes ’tis hid
From those that live this world within.
Thou told me once that I might say
Thy soul was gone with Christ to dwell,
But thou art dead and gone away —
I know not if to heaven or hell.
And now thy songs have ceased to thrill
Alike the youthful and the fair,
Yet some may be remembered still
By old men withered up and sere.
Farewell, poor bard! thy thrilling song
Alas, had but few charms for me.
And thou art gone to dwell among
The beings of eternity.
Since thou art laid beneath the sod,
We’ll not review thy failings here;
We leave thy faults and deeds with God,
Who gives more kindly judgment there.
Note. — Shimmin was a well-known man of great powers and talent. He lived in the south west part of the Island, and composed many songs in Manx. His fame still lingers in the memory or the old people. He was held to be very eccentric and erratic.
ON PRESENTATION OF HIS PHOTOGRAPH.
Dear friend! Accept this token small
Of my sincere regard,
It will not humble you at all,
Nor seek for a reward.
Tried by the artist’s dainty skill,
No taint nor shade is lost,
An age will see it blooming yet
Like evergreens in frost.
And yet, when I am laid at rest,
If you think to reward,
Then show it to each friendly guest,
And say he was a bard:
Who sang among fair Mona’s hills,
The charms be loved so dear,
And wandering by the mountain rills,
When none but God was near. —
Ere long his song will die and cease.
His notes will rise no more:
But yet he hopes to sleep in peace
Upon some kindlier shore.
Translated into Manx Gaelic
YN LION AS YN LUGH
Va lion er ny ghoostey ass e chadley liorish lugh roie harrish e eddin. Dirree eh seose ayns chorree as hare eh ee. V’eh gholl dy varroo ee, agh ren yn lugh jannoo aghin son e vioys, gra: “Myr nee oo sparail my vioys neeyms son shickerys eeck oo reesht.” Ren yn lion gearagh, as lhig j’ee yn raad. Dy gerrid lurg shoh va’n lion goit liorish shelgeyryn as shickyrit lesh teiddyn lajerey gys y thalloo. Haink yn lugh huggey, cooinaghtyn yn choraa echey; as ren ee chaigney ny teiddyn lesh e feeacklyn, lhig da yn raad, as dooyrt ee “Va shiu craidey yn smooinaght aym dy voddyn chur cooney diu as cha ren shiu jerkal dy voddym eeck oo reesht son dty aigney mie. Agh nish ta shiu fakin dy vod lugh jannoo foays da lion.”
THE LION AND THE MOUSE.
A lion was once awakened from sleep by a mouse running over his face. Rising up in anger, he caught her, and was about to kill her, but the mouse intreated for her life saying, “If you spare my life, I will surely repay you.” The lion laughed, and let her go. Shortly after this, the lion was caught by hunters, and secured with strong ropes to the earth. The mouse, recognising his roar, came up and knawed the ropes with her teeth, and set him free, and said, “You ridiculed the idea of me being able to help you, and you did not expect from me any repayment for your favour; but now you know that it is possible even for a mouse to confer benefits on a lion.”
YN AYR AS E VEC.
Va lught thie dy vec ec dooinney dy row, as v’ad dy kinjagh tuittym-magh ny vud oc hene. Tra ren eh failleil dy chur jerrey er ny arganeyn oc liorish coyrlyn, ghow eh ayns laue liorish prowal fudagh jeh nyn meereiltys noi-ry-hoi. As er-shoh dooyrt yn ayr roo un laa dy chur lesh bundeil dy vaidjeyn. Tra v’ad er yannoo myr shen ren eh cur yn bundeil ayns laue dagh unnane jeu, fer lurg fer, as chur eh currym orroo dy vrishey ad veih-ry-cheilley. Streiu ad, dagh fer jeu’ lesh ooilley e niart dy vrishey ad agh cha voddagh ad shen y yannoo. Ren eh ny lurg shen scarrey ny maidjeyn veih-my-cheilley, as ghow eh ad fer lurg fer as chur eh ad ayns laueyn e vec. Shen-y-fa ren ad brishey ad dy aashagh. Eisht loayr eh ny goan shoh: “My vec, myr vees shiu ooilley jeh yn un aigney as sneimmey ry-cheilley dy chooney lesh-y-cheilley bee shiu myr yn bundeil shoh, fegooish assee liorish ooilley ny croutyn nyn noidyn. Agh myr ta shiu er ny scarrey ny vud eu hene bee shiu er ny vrishey myr dy aashagh as ny maidjeyn shoh.”
THE FATHER AND HIS SONS.
A father had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of their unruliness one with another. For this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had done so, he placed the faggot into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They each tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next unclosed the faggot, and took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into their hands, on which they broke them easily. He then addressed them in these words, “My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.”
YN MODDEY-OALDEY AS YN EAYN.
Veeit moddey-oaldey eayn er-shaghryn veih yn woaillee, as ghow eh ayns laue gyn dy ghoaill eh ayns fuill feayr, agh dy gheddyn oyr ennagh liorish oddagh eh jannoo magh da’n eayn hene dy row cairys echey dy ee eh. Myr shen dooyrt eh rish, “Wooidjeen, nurree ren oo jannoo faghid j’eem.” “Dy jarroo,” dooyrt yn eayn lesh coraa feer trimshagh: “Cha row mee ruggit ec y traa shen.” “Eisht,” dooyrt yn moddey-oaldey, “t’ou gyndyr er yn aber ayms.” “Cha vel, vainshter mie” dooyrt yn eayn, “cha vel mee rieau vlastyn faiyr.” “Eisht,” dooyrt yn moddey-oadley, “ta shiu giu ass my hibber.” “Cha vel,” dooyrt yn eayn, “Cha ren mee rieau gee giu ushtey, son ta bainney my vayrey jannoo beaghey as jough d’ou.” Er-shen ren yn moddey-oaldey tayrtyn er as gee eh seose gra: “Cha bee’ms fegooish my hibber, ga dy vel oo er heyrey oo hene jeh ooilley ta mee er ghra.”
Yiow yn tranlaasagh dy mennick leshtal son e hranlaase.
THE WOLF AND THE LAMB.
A wolf meeting a lamb astray from the fold resolved not to take him in cold blood, but to find some reason which should justify to the lamb himself his right to eat him. He thus addressed him: “Miscreant, last year you grossly insulted me.” “Indeed,” said the lamb in a mournful voice, “I was not born then.” “Then,” said the wolf, “you feed in my pasture.” “No, good sir,” replied the lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.” “Then,” said the wolf, “You drink of my well.” “No,” exclaimed the lamb, “I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.” On which the wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well, I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.”
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
YN MWAAGH AS YN TORTOISE.
Va mwaagh un laa jannoo faghid jeh tortoise son e chassyn giarey as e chesmad moal lhiastey lhiastey litcheragh. Ren yn tortoise gearagh, as dooyrt eh, “Ga dy vel shiuish cha bieau as yn gheay nee’ms roie meriu ayns coorse liauyr.” Yn mwaagh coontey ny goan echey myr fardailys, ny-yeih ren eh choard eh dy roie, as dy row yn shynnagh dy hoiaghey magh yn raad as yn roie. Gow ad toshiaght dy roie cooidjagh. Hie yn tortoise, fegooish un tullagh dy ea, cha tappee as oddagh ee. Yn mwaagh treishteil ayns yn skibbyltys e ghooghys, cha ren eh cur scanch er, agh lhie eh sheese ergerrey da’n raad mastey faiyr as ren eh cadley son traa liauyr. Ec yn jerrey ren eh dooisht sease, as roie eh lesh ooilley e niart, agh honnick eh yn tortoise ec y kione jerrey as eh saveenagh dy gerjoilagh lurg e tooilleil.
THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE.
A hare one day was making fun of a tortoise for her short feet and slow pace. The tortoise, laughing, said “Though you be as swift as the wind, I will run with you in a long race.” The hare, deeming her words simply impossible, nevertheless agreed to run, and they agreed that the fox should choose the course and fix the goal. On the day appointed for the race, they started together. The tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went as fast as she could. The hare, trusting to the swiftness of his nature, cared little about the race, hut lay down by the wayside among grass, and slept for a long time. At last, waking up, and moving as fast as he could, he saw the tortoise at the goal, dozing comfortably after her fatigue.
YN MODDEY AS YN SCADOO.
Va moddey, goll harrish droghad, va tessyn er strooan, lesh cramman dy eill ayns e veeal honnick eh yn scadoo echey hene ayns yn ushtey as goaill eh eh dy ve moddey elley lesh cramman foddey smoo. Er-y-fa-shen chur eh ny raad da’n cramman echey hene as lesh eulys ren eh soiagh yn moddey elley dy ghoaill yn cramman mooar voish. Myr shoh ren eh coayl yn nah chramman: shen ren eh greimmey ayns yn ushtey, er yn oyr cha row eh agh scadoo; as yn cramman hene, er yn oyr dy ren yn trooan sceabey eh er-sooyl.
THE DOG AND THE SHADOW.
A dog, crossing a bridge over a stream, with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water, and took it to be another dog with a piece of meat double his own in size. He therefore let go his own, and fiercely attacked the other dog, to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.
YN EIRINAGH AS YN COAYR-VANE.
Ren eirinagh skeayl lieenteenyn er e halloo dy noa currit as ren eh tayrtyn shiartanse dy coar-ny-hastanyn v’er jeet dy gheid yn rass echey. Marish ny coar-ny-hastanyn va stork myr-geddin, as va e lurgey brisht liorish ny lieenteenyn. Ren eh aghin son e vioys gys yn eirinagh, as dooyrt eh rish “Lhig dou goll dy seyr yn un cheayrt shoh. Lhig my lurgey vrisht dooishtey dty hymmey. Marish shen cha vel mish coar-ny-hastan, agh she mish stork, ushag feer fastagh. Jeeagh shiu cre cha graihagh as ta mee er my ayr as my voir as kys ta mee tooilleil er nyn son. Jeeagh shiu reesht er my edjaghyn cha vel mee ayns yn ayrn sloo gollrish coar-ny-hastan.” Ren yn eirinagh gearagh dy ard, as dooyrt eh “Foddee dy vel eh ooilley myr ta shiu dy ghra, agh jeeagh shiu ta mish er ghoaill shiu marish ny maarlee shoh, ny coar-ny-hastanyn, as shegin diu geddyn baase ayns nyn sheshaght.”
Ta ushagyn jeh fedjagh chaghlym cooidjagh.
THE FARMER AND THE STORK.
A farmer placed nets on his newly-sown land and caught a quantity of cranes which came to pick up his seeds. With the cranes, he caught a stork also, with its leg fractured by the net. He besought the farmer to spare his life: “Let me go free this once. Let my broken leg excite your pity. Besides, I am no crane. I am a stork; a very useful bird. Look how loving I am to my father and mother, and how I toil for them. Look, too, at my feathers; they are not in the least like those of a crane.” The farmer laughed aloud, and said “It may be all as you say, only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, the cranes, and you must die in their company.”
Birds of a feather flock together.
YN VUC-AWIN AS YN DAA HROAILTAGH
Va daa ghooinney troailt cooidjagh er cassan tra haink muc-awin dy veetail ad feer ghoaltattym. Ren fer chosney seose ayns billey dy bieau, as cheil eh eh hene mastey ny banglaneyn. Yn fer elley, fakin dy row eh ayns danjeyr, lhie eh sheese er y thalloo, as tra haink yn muc-awin seose, as loaghtey eh lesh e stroin as soaral eh ooilley harrish, ren eh cummal e ennal, as lhig eh er dy row eh marroo cha mie as oddagh eh. Ren yn muc-awin faagail eh ayns tra gerrid, son t’eh grait cha jean eh bentyn rish cretoor marroo. Tra v’eh er-sooyl ass shilley haink yn troailtagh elley sheese ass y villey, as dooyrt eh rish e charrey ayns aght grinderagh “Cra va’n vuc-awin sonjeragh ayns dty chleaysh?” Ren eh gansoor “Chur eh yn coyrle shoh dou: gyn dy bragh dy hroailt marish charrey va roie er-chea tra va gaue tayrn er-gerrey.”
Ta drogh-erree prowal firrinys chaarjyn.
THE BEAR AND THE TWO TRAVELLERS.
Two men were travelling together when a bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them quickly climbed up into a tree, and concealed himself among the branches. The other, seeing that he was in danger, fell flat upon the ground, and when the bear came up and felt him with his snout and smelt him all over, he held his breath and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other traveller descended from the tree, and, accosting his friend, jocularly inquired “What it was the bear had whispered in his ear?” He replied “He gave me this advice: Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger.”
Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends.
YN MODDEY AYNS Y VANJOOR.
Va moddey ny lhie ayns manjoor, as liorish e ghyrnal as scryssey lhiettal ny dew voish gee yn traagh currit ayns shen daue.
“Cre’n moddey pitteogagh!” dooyrt fer jeu rish e chumraagyn. “Cha vod eh gee yn traagh eh-hene, ny-yeih t’eh gobbal dy chur dauesyn dy ee.”
THE DOG IN THE MANGER.
A dog was lying in a manger, and by his growling and snapping preventing the oxen from eating the hay put there for them.
“What a selfish dog!” said one of them to his comrades. “He cannot eat the hay himself, and yet he refuses to allow us to eat it.”
YN MODDEY-OALDEY AYNS COAMREY KEYRRAGH.
Keayrt dy row, va moddey-oaldey dy slane chiarail dy chaghlaa e ghooghys liorish e choamrey. Myr shen dy voddagh eh geddyn beaghey fegooish gortey. Coamrit lesh crackan keyrragh, ren eh gyndyr marish y chioltane, molley yn bochil lesh e chrout. Ayns yn astyr v’eh jeighit liorish y bochil ayns yn woaillee, as va’n dorrys jeant shickyr. Haink yn bochil ayns yn oie dy gheddyn beaghey son y vairagh, as ghow eh seose yn moddey-oaldey smooinaghtyn dy row eh keyrrey, as ren eh marroo eh lesh e skyn ayns yn woaillee.
Myr t’ou shirrey son olk, nee oo geddyn olk.
THE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.
Once upon a time, a wolf resolved to change his nature by his habit, so that he might get food without stint. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock, beguiling the shepherd by his artifice. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold, the gate was closed, and the entrance made secure. The shepherd came into the fold during the night to provide food for the morrow, and caught up the wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him with a knife in the fold.
Harm seek, harm find.
YN CABBYL AS GUILLEY-NY-GABBIL.
Va guilley-ny-gabbil dy row cheau laghyn ayns caartaghey as kerey cabbyl, agh ec yn un traa v’eh geid yn corkey voish, as creck eh ad son e chosney hene. “Aless,” dooyrt yn cabbyl, “my ta shiu dy jarroo yeearree mee dy ve ayns stayd vie, shegin diu kerey mee ny sloo, as cur ny smoo dy veaghey dou.”
Ta’n onnerid yn chreenaght share.
THE HORSE AND THE GROOM.
A groom used to spend whole days in curry-combing and rubbing down his horse, but at the same time stole his oats and sold them for his own profit. “Alas,” said the horse, “if you really wish me to be in good condition, you should groom me less and feed me more.”
Honesty is the best policy.
YN BOCHILLEY AEG AS YN MODDEY-OALDEY.
Va bochilley aeg, freayll arrey er shioltane keyrragh er-gerrey da balley-beg-cheerey, as chur eh lesh ny cummaltee magh three ny kiare dy cheayrtyn liorish geamagh magh “Yn moddey-oaldey! Yn moddey-oaldey!” as tra haink ny nabooyn gys e chooney, ren eh gearaghtee orroo son nyn anvea. Haink yn moddey-oaldey dy jarroo ec y jerrey. Va’n scollag nish dy firrinagh agglit as geamagh ayns angaaish as atchim: “Ta mee guee erriu, tar gys my chooney, son ta’n moddey-oaldey marroo ny kirree.” Agh cha ren unnane jeu cur geill da e eam ny cur cooney da. Yn moddey-oaldey, fegooish oyr erbee dy agglaghey eh er-sooyl, ghow eh e traa harrish, as ren eh raipey ny stroie yn slane shioltane.
Cha vel breagerey dy ve creidit ga te’h loayrt yn irriney.
THE SHEPHERD BOY AND THE WOLF.
A shepherd boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out “The wolf! The wolf!” and, when the neighbours came to help him, laughed at them for their trouble. The wolf, however, did truly come at last. The shepherd boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the wolf is killing the sheep;” but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The wolf, having no cause for fear, took it easily, and lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
NY GUILLYN AS NY FROGGYN.
Va paart dy ghuillyn cloie er-gerrey loghan, as honnick ad earroo dy froggyn ayns yn ushtey, as ren ad cur toshiaght dy chlaghey ad gys ren ad marroo ymmodee oc. Tra ren unnane jeh ny froggyn troggal e kione erskyn ny ushtey, as geamagh magh: “Fuirree, my ghuillyn, ta mee guee orroo; shen ny ta jannoo aittys diuish, jannoo baase dooin.”
THE BOYS AND THE FROGS.
Some boys, playing near a pond, saw a number of frogs in the water, and began to pelt them with stones. They killed several of them, when one of the frogs, lifting his head out of the water, cried out: “Pray stop, my boys: what is sport to you is death to us.”
YN SCOLLAG AS NY UNDAAGAGHYN.
Hooar scollag aeg guin voish undaagaghyn. Ren eh roie thie, as ginsh eh jee e voir gra “Ga dy vel eh coyrt wheesh dy phian dou. Cha venn mee eh agh feer veeley.” “Shen yn oyr,” doyrt e voir, “dy vel eh shiu er scoaldey Yn nah cheayrt nee oo bentyn undaag greim eh dy daaney as bee eh cha meeley as sheeidey ayns aty laue, as cha jean eh scoaldey shiu er ny sloo.”
Cre erbee t’ou jannoo, jean eh lesh ooilley dty niart.
THE BOY AND THE NETTLES.
A boy was stung by a nettle. He ran home and told his mother, saying “Although it pains me so much, I did but touch it ever so gently.” “That is just it,” said his mother, “which caused it to sting you. The next time you touch a nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be as soft as silk in your hand, and not in the least hurt you.”
Whatever you do, do with all your might.
YN SHYNNAGH FEGOOISH E AMMAN.
Va shynnagh tayrit ayns ribbey, as ren eh scapail liorish coayl e amman. Ny lurg shen gennaghtyn e vioys myr laad da liorish yn oltooan as nearey v’eh taghyrt rish, v’eh resooney rish eh hene son saase dy chur lesh ooilley ny shynnee gys yn un stayd rish eh hene, dy voddagh eh ny share keiltyn yn coayl echey hene. Ren eh chaglym carroo mooar dy hynnee as coyrlagh ad dy ghiarey ny fammanyn jeu, gra: “Nagh jinnagh ad ynrican jeeaghyn foddey share fegooish oc, agh dy beagh ad rey rish trimmid ny skeabanyn, va feer neu-yesh daue. Ren fer jeu, scarrey eh, as dooyrt eh. “Mannagh row shiu hene er choayl dty amman, my charrey, cha jinnagh shiu, myr shoh, coyrlaghey shin.”
THE FOX WITHOUT HIS TAIL.
A fox, caught in a trap, escaped with the less of his tail. Henceforth, feeling his life a burden from the shame and ridicule to which he was exposed, he schemed to bring all the other foxes into a like condition with himself, that in the common loss he might the better conceal his own loss. He assembled a good many foxes, and publicly advised them to cut off their tails, saying: “That they would not only look much better without them, but that they would get rid of the weight of the brush, which was a very great inconvenience.” One of them, interrupting him, said: “If you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus counsel us.”
YN DOW AS YN FROG.
Va dow giu ec loghan, as ren eh stampey gyn-yss er aail dy frogyn aegey, as ren eh marroo fer jeu. Haink yn voir seose, as choayl un jeh e mec, ren ee briaght jeh ny braaraghyn, cre’n erree venn rish. “T’eh marroo, voir deyr, son traa gherrid er dy hinney haink brouit feer vooar lesh kiare cassyn gys yn loghan, as ren eh smoashal eh dys baase lesh e royn sceilt.” Ren yn frog sheidey ee hene magh as briaght ee: “Row yn vrouit wheesh shen?” “Fuirree shiu, voir, sheidey shiu hene magh,” dooyrt mac, “as nagh bee shiu corree, son ta mish shickyr, dy beagh shiu scoltey roish yinnagh shiu hene ayns co-caslys y vrouit shen.”
THE OX AND THE FROG.
An ox, drinking at a pool, trod on a brood of young frogs, and killed one of them. The mother coming up, and missing one of her sons, asked his brothers what had become of him. “He is dead, mother dear; for just now a very huge beast with four feet came to the pool and crushed him to death with his cloven feet.” The frog, puffing herself out, inquired: “If the beast was as big as that in size?” “Cease, mother, to puff yourself out,” said her son, “and do not be angry; for you would, I am sure, sooner burst than successfully imitate the hugeness of that monster.”
NY KELLEE CAGGEE AS YN URLEY.
Va daa chellagh caggee dy row ayns uhllin eirinagh strieu son yn vainsteraght. Ren fer ec y jerrey castey yn fer elley. Ren yn chellagh va currit fo-chosh roie er-sooyl as dollee eh eh hene ayns corneil feagh. Yn fer ren geddyn yn varriaght, getlagh seose er boayl ard, ren eh craa e skianyn as gerrim dy moyrnagh, lesh ooilley e niart. Va urley, shiaulley trooid yn aer, as ren eh greimmey eh ayns e chroagyn as curlesh eh er-sooyl. Haink yn fer elley magh ass y chorneil chelleeragh, tra ren eh fakin shen, as ren eh reill fegooish unnane dy strieu rish.
Yiow moyrn lhieggey.
THE GAME COCKS AND THE EAGLE.
Two game cocks in a farmyard were fighting fiercely for the mastery. The vanquished cock ran away and hid himself in a quiet corner. The conqueror, flying up to a high wall, flapped his wings and crowed exultingly with a11 his might. An eagle, sailing through the air, pounced upon him and carried him off in his talons. The vanquished cock immediately came out of his corner, and ruled henceforth with undisputed mastery.
Pride will have a fall.
YN PARTAN AS E VOIR.
Dooyrt partan rish e vac: “Cre’n fa ta shiu shooyll wheesh gys yn derrey cheu, my lhiannoo? T’eh foddey share dy gholl jeeragh er yn raad.”
Ren yn partan aeg gansoor: “Ta shen feer chiart, voir gheyr, as my nee shiush jeeagh yn raad jeeragh dou neemys gialdyn dy hooyl ayn.”
Ren y voir strieu ayns fardail as chur seose fegooish fockle dy ghra rish e lhiannoo.
Ta sampleyr ny stroshey na anney.
THE CRAB AND ITS MOTHER.
A crab said to her son: “Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is much better to go straight forward.”
The young crab replied: “Quite true, dear mother, and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it.”
The mother tried in vain, and submitted without a word to say to her child.
Example is more powerful than precept.
YN VEN AEG AS YN CURN BAINNEY.
Ya inneen eirinagh curlesh curn baianey er e kione voish yn vagher gys y thie eirinys. Tra huitt ee ayns smooinaght er yn aght shoh: “Yn argid nee yn bainney shoh creck er-y-hon, nee eh kionagh three keead dy oohyn er y chooid sloo. Ny hoohyn, lowal son lhaghaghyryn, nee bishaghey daa cheead as lieh dy hein. Bee ny hein aarloo son yn vargey, tra nee ad cur lesh yn prios smoo. Myr shen ec jerrey y vleeaney as lesh ny dhooraghtyn nee tuittym gys my ayrn bee argid dy-liooar aym dy chionnagh coamrey noa. Ayns jn coamrey shoh hem’s gys ny daunseenyn ec yn Ollick. Eisht vees ooilley ny guillyn aegey laccal mish son sheshey agh neeym craa my chione ec dy chooilley unnane jeu.” As ren ee craa e kione ayns cordailys rish e smooinaghtyn, as ren yn cum bainney tuittym gys y thalloo as va ooilley e smooinaghtyn scarrit ayns tullagh.
Ny coontey ny hein roish ta ny hoohyn guirt.
THE YOUNG WOMAN AND THE MILK CAN.
A farmer’s daughter was carrying a pail of milk from the field to the farm house, when she fell a-musing: “The money for which this milk will be sold will buy at least three hundred eggs. The eggs, allowing for all mishaps, will produce at least two hundred and fifty chickens. The chickens will become ready for the market when poultry will fetch the highest price; so that by the end of the year I shall have money enough from the perquisites that will fall to my share to buy a new gown. In this dress I will go to the dances at Christmas, when all the young fellows will propose to me; but I will toss my head, and refuse them every one.” At this moment, in unison with her thoughts, she tossed her head, when down fell the milk pail to the ground, and all her thoughts were shattered in a moment.
Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.
YN DARRAGH AS YN CHUIRTLAGH.
Va darragh feer wooar lhieggit lesh y gheay, as er ny cheau tessen er strooan. Ren eh tuittym ny-vud paart dy chuirtlagh, as ren eh myr shoh loayrt: “Ta mee goaill yindys, cre’n aght ta shiuish, ta cha eddrym as faase, nagh vel shiu broojit ooilley cooidjagh, lesh yn gheay lajer.” Dansoor ad eh: “Ta shiu gleck rish yn gheay as shen-y-fa ta shiu er ny stroie, agh ta shin lhoobey roish yn ennal sloo dy gheay as shen-y-fa ta shin neuvrisht as scapail.”
Croym dy gheddyn barriaght.
THE OAK AND THE REEDS.
A very large oak was uprooted by the wind, and thrown across a stream. It fell among some reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are slight and weak, are not entirely crushed by the strong wind.” They replied: “You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed, while we bend before the least breath of air, and, therefore, are unbroken, and escape.”
Stoop to conquer.
YN LION AS NY THREE TERRIU.
Va three terriu son traa liauyr gyndyr cooidjagh. Va lion lhie ayns cooill jerkal dy yannoo ad e cragh, agh v’eh agglit dy huittym orroo ooilley cooidjagh. Ec-y-jerrey lesh goan foalsey ren eh scarrey ad, eisht huitt eh orroo fegooish aggle myr va’d gyndyr nyn lomarcan, as jannoo giens orroo, fer lurg fer, ayns e hraa hene.
Ta unnaneys niart.
THE LION AND THE THREE BULLS.
Three bulls for a long time pastured together. A lion lay in hiding in the hope of making them his prey, but was afraid to attack them whilst they were together. Having at last by guileful speeches succeeded in separating them, he attacked them without fear, as they fed alone, and feasted on them one by one at his own leisure.
Union is strength.
YN FANNAG AS YN CRUISHTIN.
Va fannag cherraghtyn lesh paays, dy row fakin cruishtin, as ren eh jerkal dy gheddyn ushtey, ren eh getlagh huggey lesh boggey mooar. Tra ren eh roshtyn eh, ren eh geddyn magh gys e trimshey dy row red beg dy ushtey ayn agh cha voddagh eh roshtyn huggey liorish aght erbee. Ren eh prowal dy chooilley haase oddagh eh smooinagh er dy roshtyn yn ushtey, agh ayns fardail. Ec-y-jerrey ren eh chaglym wheesh dy chlaghyn veggey as oddagh eh, as chur ad, fer lurg fer ayns y chruishtin lesh e gob gys ren eh cur-lesh yn ushtey gys e roshtyn, as myr shoh haue eh e bioys.
Ta feme moir ny croutyn.
THE CROW AND THE PITCHER.
A crow, famishing with thirst, saw a pitcher, and, hoping to find water, flew to it with great delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he could carry, and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach, and thus saved his life.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
YN SHYNNAGH AS NY BERRISHYN-FEEYNEY.
Va shynnagh neeu dy row, as fakin ee dossanyn dy berrishyn-feeyney appee, croghey voish billey-feeyney, ren ee strieu liorish ooilley e chroutyn dy gheddyn huc, gys ren ee skee ee hene ayns fardail, son cha voddagh ee roshtyn ad. Ec-y-jerrey ren ee chyndaa er-sooyl as cleayn ee hene voish e yerkalys vollit, dooyrt ee: “Ta ny berrishyn geayr, as cha vel ad appee myr va mee smooinaghtyn.”
THE FOX AND THE GRAPES.
A famished fox saw some clusters of grapes hanging from a vine. She strove by all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At length she turned away, beguiling herself of her disappointment and saying: “The grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought.”
YN ASSYL, YN SHYNNAGH, AS YN LION.
Va assyl as shynnagh, ayns commee son nyn yendeilys as sauchys, hie ad magh ayns y cheyll dy shelg. Cha row ad er gholl feer foddey tra veeit ad rish lion. Yn shynnagh, fakin dy row ad ayns gaue, hayrn eh er gerrey da’n lion, as ren eh gialdyn dy gheddyn magh saase dy hayrtyn yn assyl, my yinnagh eh cur e ockle gyn dy chur yn bioys echey hene ayns gaue. Er yn lion shickyragh da nagh jinnagh eh assee da, ren yn shynnagh leeideil yn assyl gys ooig dowin, as ren eh saasaghey dy jinnagh yn assyl geddyn lhieggey sheese ayns shen. Yn lion, fakin dy row yn assyl shickyr, chelleeragh ghreim eh yn shynnagh as eisht d’ee eh yn assyl ayns traa va jesh da.
THE ASS, THE FOX, AND THE LION.
An ass and a fox, in partnership for their mutual protection, went out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far when they met a lion. The fox, seeing that they were in danger, approached the lion and promised to contrive for him the capture of the ass, if he would pledge his word that his own life should not be endangered. On his assuring him that he would not injure him, the fox led the ass to a deep pit, and contrived that he should fall into it. The lion, seeing that the ass was secured, immediately clutched the fox, and then ate the ass at his leisure.
YN TORTOISE AS YN URLEY.
Va tortoise dy litcheragh ghrianey ee heae, as plaiynt gys ushagyn ny marrey jeh’n cronney creoi eck, nagh jinnagh unnane jeu gynsaghey ee dy etlagh. Va urley crowal ergerrey, as tra ren eh clashtyn e gaccan as plaiynt, ren eh briaght jee cre’n leagh yinnagh ee chur da son gynsaghey ee dy etlagh as dy hiauill ayns yn aer. “Ver-yms diu,” dooyrt ee, “ooilley berchys yn Aarkey-Jiarg.” “Neeyms gynsaghey shiu dy etlagh,” dooyrt yn urley, as goaill ee seose ayns e chroagyn, hug eh lesh er-gerrey da’n bodjalyn agh dy doalt-attym lhig eh yn raad j’ee, huitt ee er slieu ard, as va’n tlig eck brisht ayus meeryn. Dooyrt yn tortoise ayns tullagh e vaaish: “Ta mee er hoilchin my chronney; son cre va ayms dy yannoo rish skianyn as bodjalyn, nagh voddagh fegooish doilleeid goll mygeayrt er y thalloo.”
Dy jinnagh deiney geddyn ooilley ny ta’d dy yeearree, veagh ad dy mennick currit naardey.
THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE.
A tortoise was lazily basking in the sun, and complaining to the sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her to fly. An eagle hovering near, heard her lamentation, and demanded what reward she would give him if he would take her aloft, and float her in the air. “I will give you,” she said, “all the riches of the Red Sea.” “I will teach you to fly, then,” said the eagle; and taking her up in his talons, he carried her almost to the clouds — when suddenly letting her go, she fell on a lofty mountain, and dashed her shell to pieces. The tortoise exclaimed in the moment of death: “I have deserved my present fate; for what had I to do with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about the earth?”
If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.
YN LION AS YN VOCHILLEY.
Va lion rouail trooid keyll. Ren eh sthamp er jolg, as traa gherrid ny lurg shen haink eh gys bochilley, as ren eh sooree er, ymmiltee e amman myr dy row eh yeearree dy ghra: “Ta mish aghinagh as shirrey dty chooney.” Ren yn vochilley shirrey son y jolg lesh dunnallys as tra ren eh geddyn eh, ghow eh cass y lion er e ught as hayrn eh yn jolg ass. Ren yn lion chyndaa reesht gys y cheyll. Lurg traa, va’n bochilley currit ayns prysoon er plaiynt foalsey, na deyrit “dy ve ceauit ayns ooig lion,” myr kerraghey son yn loght va currit er. Tra va’n lion er ny lhiggey ass e ooig, ren eh cur enney er y vochilley dy ve yn dooinney ren lheihys eh, as, ayns ynnyd jeh greimmey eh, haink eh ergerrey da as chur eh e chass er e ught. Tra ren yn ree clastyn jeh, ren eh goardrail yn lion dy ve soit ec rheamys reesht, as yn vochilley dy ve pardoonit, na currit thie reesht gys e chaarjin.
THE LION AND THE SHEPHERD.
A lion, roaming through a forest, trod upon a thorn, and soon after came up towards a shepherd, and fawned upon him, wagging his tail, as if he would say “I am a suppliant, and seek your aid.” The shepherd boldly examined and discovered the thorn, and placing his foot upon his lap, pulled it out and relieved the lion of his pain, who returned to the forest. Some time after, the shepherd was imprisoned on a false accusation, and condemned “to be cast to the lions,” as the punishment of his imputed crime. The lion, on being released from his den, recognised the shepherd as the man who had healed him, and, instead of attacking him, approached and placed his foot upon his lap. The king, as soon as he heard the tale, ordered the lion to be set free again in the forest, and the shepherd to be pardoned and restored to his friends.
A Sketch of Old Cregneish
“In the time of my boyhood, Sir, every house in Cregneish had a stack of heather at its gable. They called it “conney freoaie,” and gorse “aittin.” Everyone about the Mull that owned a bit of mountain was cutting turf in May — they called it “sod,” and then spreading it to dry, and the sods being well dried, they made stacks of them for the winter fire; they called the stack “eekad,” also “eek moaney” (turf stack). I don’t remember a fire-grate in any Cregneish houses, but burning heather and sods on the hearth.1
There were only two farmers in Cregneish who had a pair of horses, but there were a good many of them who had one; and then two of them joined together at ploughing time, and ploughing together like they are in the West of Ireland at the present time: one man driving and the other holding the plough. They had wooden ploughs in those days. I remember them very well, and one of the little farmers would be lending the plough to the other.
The old folks of Cregneish were very different from the present generation; they only spoke the Manx language, and were clothed with their manufactured clothes. They had a pair of cards in every house to card the wool, and a heckle to heckle the flax, and cards to card the tow. They very often spun the tow, and made sackcloth of it, and some of the hard-working men had shirts of it. The women spun the flax and the wool, and there were plenty country weavers. I recollect five weavers in Cregneish alone — John Gale, nicknamed Joan Vess; Richard Keggan, or Dick mooar; Billie Taubman, often called the “fidder”; and old Jenny Quark, and John Watterson (Jack Illiam). They made woollen cloth and flannel for singlets for the men that were going to sea, and petticoats tor the women. Then they were sent to the mill to thicken it for drawers and coats to work in: the coats were white and bound with black braid, and looked very stylish. But the “perree bane” is gone out of date for many years. I often think of the old men of Cregneish when I see the Irish in the West of Ireland with the “perree bane,” both old men and young. They were mixing wool of different colours, as black and white, and spinning and weaving them, and then milling the cloth for trousers, “breechyn glooinagh,” or knee breeches. They called the cloth “keeir-lheeah,” or brown grey.
The food in those days was chiefly porridge (made of oatmeal) and milk for breakfast, potatoes and fish, or salt herring in the winter, for dinner, and sometimes beef and broth made up of shelled barley and cabbage, and other things such as leeks, and onions, and potatoes, and parsnips, mashed up together to eat with, and sometimes potatoes and beans mashed up together — a kind of large bean that grew in the garden. I have sometimes seen potatoes and white cabbage mashed up for dinner, and fresh fish, but it was often groat porridge for supper, and sometimes potatoes in their jackets, and fish of some kind, with plenty of buttermilk. There was no tea in the evening, and only three meals each day. I have heard some of the old farmers say, if they had been in some house and saw the family at tea, that they would soon be in poverty. We used to catch as many hake fish and cods with our lines in the herring season, as made us a good store in the winter. When they were dried in the sun, and then kept in a dry place, they were very good when broiled before the fire. I would rather them than cheese, but the times have changed. There are no hakes to be got about the Island in these days.
The farmers in Cregneish, and all over the Island, used to steep the husk of the oats in water for some time, and some dust of oatmeal, and run the water through a sieve to get the husks out, and then it was like white water; and they filled the biggest pot in the house with it, and stirred it with a potstick all the time it was on the fire, until it was thick and solid, and they ate it for supper with new milk. The Manx people called it “cowree,” and a very good feed it was. That was the “cowree” the fairies were so often eating in the houses. The big pot was emptied into dishes, and it was quite solid when it was cold, and lasted for nearly a week for supper in the farm houses. They boiled the milk with the “cowree” when it was cold, and it appears the fairies were very fond of it by all accounts. I have not seen nor tasted “cowree” in the Island for many years.
I think it a great shame to Manx folk that cannot speak their native language. No doubt the old people of Cregneish were not like some others of their neighbours in the little sea-port towns, with their “perry bane,” “keeir lheeah” knee breeches and “carranes,” but they were more innocent, and kinder one to another; they all used to help one another to get the crops down, and in the harvest helped each other to cut the corn and stack it. There was no word about pay.
My aunt was talking about old times the other day — in her youthful days in Cregneish. When the cows of one family were dry, the rest of the neighbours that had cows milking were dividing the milk with them that had none. I recollect myself when there was no paying for milk in Cregneish, and a big vessel, something like a quart in shape, but holding half a gallon, standing on the dresser full of butter-milk and thinned with water. They called it a bumper, and it was always kept nearly full for anyone that was thirsty, if you asked for a drink.
I recollect when there were no houses nor gardens on the Green, and when I was a boy we had the whole place to run on. We were often, in the winter time when it was moonlight in the evenings, playing hares and hounds on Cregneish Green, but the owner sold it to those who wished to build, and they enclosed the most of it with walls, so there is not a place for the children to play but on the Mull.
In those days they seldom took a cart to the mill, but put the sack across the horse’s back. I have been many times at the Colby Mill myself with a sack of corn, and getting the meal again the same way. They had a thing like the two legs of a pair of pants, made of straw, which they fastened on the horse’s back, so that the sack would not slip off. We used to carry the manure on our backs2 in boxes made of straw. We called them “clein,” but some of them a “creel.”
“Chimer-lye” is the English name in the Island for “mooin.”3 The people in my young days used a great deal of it; every house used to have an old crock somewhere outside the house where they kept the “mooin gort,” as it was called in Manx. At that time they manufactured their own cloth and flannel, and the women spun the woollen yarn, and there was always some oil mixed with the wool before it was carded and spun. The women knitted the stockings with oily thread, and the “chimer-lye” with some warm water was the thing for taking the oil out of the long flannel webs and stockings manufactured at home.
I remember when we made our own herring nets, we had shuttles made of the wood of elder trees or “trammon,” and they were white when new, but we steeped them in the “chimer-lye” pot, which turned them as red as if they were painted.
The “foaddan” were the long chips of fir tipped with brimstone, which served as a match to light the fire. On the Mull and in Bradda, as well as in many other places over the Island, the people had their kiln, which was fired for drying the corn and grain.
The nearest school was at the Parish Church, and over two miles from Cregneish. I mean the school where the children were learning writing and ciphering. There was an old woman at Port St. Mary who kept a school for infants. We knew very little English at Cregneish in those days. The fishermen were all very fond of the Manx ale or “jough,” and spent a great deal of their earnings in the public houses, and the old men said that a man that would not drink was no man.
And now a few words about the people and houses that I remember when I was a boy. There was one at the Sound, and the occupier’s name was Corrin, but the people called him “Juan Illiam Ned,” and others, “Boy mooar.” The next house was James Carine’s, or “Jemmy Varrey.” Then Keig’s house — he was called “Saggyrt.” His son was called “Rowley” for a nickname, and his daughter “Wopper vooar.” Collay, or Cowley, wife and family, were eleven in all. Then there were the Farquhars — “Thom ruy,” “Neddy Thom ruy,” and “Ned Thom ruy.” Then came William Taubman’s house, and old Quark’s — and the whole family gone to their rest. Taubman left a son and plenty of grandchildren to keep up the family name. Then there was old Crebbin, called “Johnny Tim.” Then old Bill Karran — they called the son “Billy mooar” — and the Bridsons; R. Keggin and Bill Keggin — called “Bill Dee”; Wm. Watterson — one of the sons going by the name of “Illiam beg yn vrandy, or brandy”; John Watterson — called “Jack Illiam,” the father of fifteen children, one third of the people of Cregneish having sprung of him, some of the people calling them “the tribe of Jack.” Then Mrs Karran. Then there was John Gale’s house, called “Juan Vess” for a nickname. Jemmy Kelly. John Keggin, the monoglot Manxman, lived in the Chasms.
There have been one hundred and fifty deaths in Cregneish of old people in my time, besides many infants and young people.
I have heard my grandfather telling about the old Karrans of Cregneish. They were very big men — half giants, and very powerful, who are said to be the offspring of the Spaniards of the Spanish Armada, which was wrecked in Spanish Head. It appears some of them escaped the briny deep, and afterwards married in the Island, and one Karran took a Cregneish woman. The father of the Karrans was a very big man, and he had some very strong sons. I heard one time they were herring fishing in rowing boats, and the Karrans were all in one boat. The fleet of rowing boats were going so far from the Island that the men could see the cattle in the folds in Wales and Ireland. Once one of the big Karrans was not able to go to sea with the boat, and they got another man in his place, and they had a good haul of herrings that night. When they came to divide the money they gave the strange man only half a share, for they reckoned him only half a man. And he summoned big Karran before Deemster Lacey,4 and the Deemster asked in Manx: “Row uss son gymmyrt noi gheay as roayrt rish Karran mooar Crenaish? (Wert thou able to row against wind and tide like big Karran of Cregneish?) And he had to acknowledge that he could not, so the Deemster told him to he thankful for what he had got. I heard of Harry Karran, who was much bigger than the common run of men in the Island, and very powerful, but a very quiet man that would not harm anyone. There was another big man in the parish called “Thommy Howlym Whither” (that was either his real name or nickname), and he was very quarrelsome, and a great bully. Once Howlym quarrelled with Harry on meeting him in a public house, but Karran would not fight with anyone, and the others would not allow Howlym to hit him, so he had to content himself until it got late, and near shutting up time. Then Howlym went before Karran, and lay by the hedge up Fistard road to tackle Karran when there would be no one to defend him. Karran was no boxer, though very strong, so when Howlym got up and ran at him, taking him by surprise, he caught hold of Howlym and squeezed him that he fainted, and left him on the road. He came to himself after a while, but he never got over the squeeze, and did not live many years afterwards. He had a very little wife for such a big man, but I heard a little woman say once that “a very little crab could lie under a big stone.” All the big Karrans are gone. The trade of the old Karrans was quarrying lintels at Spanish Head. They had a rope ladder going to the bottom of the cliff. There was an old woman living in the village called Etty and “Black-stocking.” She was a great tyrant, and all the neighbours were afraid of her. She had one brother who was drowned while fishing at the Black Head with a rod. The rod was found on the rock, but his body was discovered only some days afterwards. The old folks were of opinion that it was the “boggane,” that haunted the cave at the Black Head, which frightened him with his roaring, and that this was the cause of his falling into the water. Old Etty had one daughter, Margot, whom she left heiress to the farm. She was a very good singer and dancer. She lived in the house alone, and it was a great haunt for the young men. She used to learn us to sing and dance. It was a meeting house for both sexes for many years. When she died, the house went soon to ruin. The little garden in front has disappeared, and the haggard, where as boys we used to play among the stacks of corn at “tip-lift-thorran,” is like the rest of the common, and Margot’ s old haggard is trodden like the highway.”
1. A Shetland hut had a fire on the floor, but no chimney, and the smoke eddied near the opening in the roof. See “Excursion to the Shetlands,” by Rev. Dan. M’Allum, London, 1829. — C.R.
2. In the Shetlands (see Catton, page 106), they carry the manure in straw baskets, called “kishey,” on their backs or ponies, the same as they used to do in the Highlands formerly, and in Scotland and West England.
3. Chimer-lye or Chamber-lye, is the Lonsdale dialect — chammer-lye, is the fetid or stale urine. — C.R.
4. He lived in Sartfield, Jurby, 1798
OLD CREGNEISH FAMILY NAMES.
The old Cregneish people kept much to themselves, and not many strangers came to live in the village. The old family names were kept up from generation to generation, and consequently not much fresh blood was added to the secluded community. The following are the old families: —
Cowley (pronounced Cowlah).
Gale (pronoinced Goile).
Taubman (pronounced Toman and Homan)
Nelson — (Kneale in the North, and Kreale in the South).
Also (but absent at present) —
It may be mentioned that the same style and mode of life was found in former times in Lancashire. We have but to read Bamford’s faithful sketch of the Lancashire farmers, which agrees in a marvellous way with Cregneish village life in the beginning – of last century (see Bamford’s “The Dialect of South Lancashire, or Tim Bobbin’s Tummus and Meary.” London, 1854, preface pages 5, 6, 8, and 9). — C.R.
Published in 1901, Skeealyn Aesop (‘Aesop’s Fables’) by Edward Faragher is a book of three parts: original English-language poems; Manx translations of the Ancient Greek moral tales (with their English versions alongside); and Faragher’s description of old Cregneash. Despite being received with indifference from the general Manx public upon its initial publication, today the book is seen as one of the most significant non-religious Manx publications by a single author.
Skeealyn Aesop was published thanks to the efforts of Faragher’s friend, the Manchester-based folklorist, Charles Roeder. Keen to help the cause of traditional Manx culture and language, and also the prospects of Faragher, then an aging Cregneash crofter, Roeder edited and had the book published in 1901. As his introduction makes clear, Roeder had selected only a small portion of the complete translation of Aesop, the many stories and the thousands of poems that Faragher had available. He hoped that the interest in Skeealyn Aesop would warrant further publications of Faragher’s work. That hope was to be frustrated.
Despite Faragher’s place as perhaps the most important living source for Manx culture at a time when Manx identity was drifting towards its lowest ebb, the indifference of the Manx public was sufficiently pronounced, and the sales so weak, that there was no prospect of further Skeealyn being published. However, in the century that has passed since then, Skeealyn Aesop has now come to be justifiably recognised as a key work in the history of Manx literature.
Edward Faragher (also known as “Ned Beg Hom Ruy”) was the last great native Manx-speaking poet. Born and raised in Cregneash, Faragher scraped a living as a traditional fisherman and farmer, but he eventually came to the attention of Manx cultural enthusiasts for knowledge of traditional folklore and for his having written thousands of poems and songs in Manx and English.