A Book of Manx Poetry


This compilation of verse relating to the Isle of Mann is, for the most part, the work of writers Manx by birth or by descent. The intention was to bring together in small compass some of the best specimens of native poetry, many of them long buried in out-of-print volumes and old periodicals.

It originated in a desire to awaken in the young people of this country a deeper interest in the land of their birth by an acquaintance with the poetic writings of their kinsmen; a tributary stream which later may bear them out upon the broad waters of English poetry; and it was further hoped that the book might become a factor in the present revival of the Manx national spirit initiated by the late A.W. Moore, sometime Speaker of the House of Keys, and by the genius of Thomas Edward Brown.

One of the aims of this patriotic movement, now being carried on by a small but enthusiastic group of workers and writers, is the preservation of the language, examples of which are given in this volume. And here I would appeal to my fellow-countrymen and women not to let die the speech of innumerable generations of our fore-fathers.

Matthew Arnold, in his “Study of Celtic Literature,” humorously says: “My brother Saxons have, as is well known, a terrible way with them of wanting to improve everything but themselves off the face of the earth; I have no such passion for finding nothing but myself everywhere; I like variety to exist and show itself to me, and I would not for the world have the lineaments of Celtic genius lost.”

A knowledge of Manx Gaelic opens the treasure-house of the whole literature of the Gael; for there are but few philological differences among the Irish, the Scottish, and the Manx Gaelic. Moreover, about 75 per cent, of place-names in Mann, and a large number of family names, are of Celtic origin, and their derivations can only be ascertained by means of a knowledge of Manx. This fact alone ought to invite the attention of our Educational Authorities to the old language; and it is my pleasing duty to acknowledge the kind encouragement of my friends the Chairman and members of the Douglas School Board and of the Higher Educational Authority of the Douglas District, who have promised to place this book in the schools under their care. I trust, none the less, that it will appeal to more experienced readers than the young people for whom it was chiefly designed.

Although I have cast my net widely, and covered a period extending from the seventeenth century to the present day, it will be seen how few pieces of early date I have been able to include. Though many of our beautiful old melodies exist, the words originally belonging to them have long been forgotten; so that we hear such fine tunes as “Mylecharane” and “Kirree fo Niaghtey” sung to obviously unworthy words.

A further reason for the remarkable slenderness of our early literature is the fact that Manx Gaelic was rarely written down until the Scriptures were translated for the benefit of the people in the eighteenth century. All our surviving ancient native ballads and poems have reached us solely through oral tradition. In all likelihood a considerable number of these were current in the eighteenth century; we have evidence in Moore’s “Manx Ballads” not only that as late as 1762 the ancient ballad “Fin as Oshin,” given on page 1 of this volume, was well known, but that other ballads connected with the great Celtic legendary heroes were familiar to the people.

The ballads and romances relating to Oshin, or Ossian, son of Fin MacCooill, form a large and most interesting body of poetry. Their character justifies the supposition that they are fragments of one great epic poem. They bear internal evidence of having been produced subsequently to the third century, the period assigned to Oshin. In the Irish Ossianic poems, for instance, there are references to St. Patrick, who flourished in the eighth century; and in our surviving Manx fragment one of the chief personages is Orry (more correctly, Gorry), a prince of the Royal line of Norse rulers, which, if not a later interpolation, forbids an earlier date than the tenth or eleventh century. Assuming it to be a homogenic composition, it is difficult to explain the anachronism of introducing Fin MacCooill and Prince Gorry as contemporaries. In any case, this
Manx Ossianic poem is certainly a remnant of a very early epic, and, considered merely with reference to its antiquity, must possess great interest for us; while the story of its discovery, as related in A.W. Moore’s “Manx Ballads,” is very curious. Abridged, it runs as follows:

In the year 1762, when Macpherson’s Ossianic poems were making such a stir in the literary world, an eminent Manx clergyman and scholar, Philip Moore, chanced to be reading aloud a portion of the poems to the Vicar-General of the time, the Rev. Matthias Curghey, at Bishop’s Court, where they were engaged in translating the Bible into Manx. He was overheard by an old gardener, who offered to produce a woman who could “sing a good song” about Fin and Oshin and Cuchullin. From her dictation, the poem was written down, and a copy afterwards sent to Professor Thorkelin, of Copenhagen, who deposited it in the British Museum, together with four other Manx ballads, in the year 1789. From that time, “Fin as Oshin” seems to have lapsed into oblivion until it was published by Moore in “The Manx Notebook,” and later in his collection of Manx Ballads.

In a few other cases, also, pieces have been inserted in the present volume for their intrinsic interest rather than for their poetical value. It would have been a pity, for instance, not to have found room for those describing Manx customs and traditions.

I have also given space to a few poems by authors who, though not natives of the Island, have become associated with it in both a literary and a residential sense, such as Bishop Rutter, T. J. Ouseley, D. Macaskill, Wordsworth, and A. P. Graves. The last named, the author of “Father O’Flynn,” and other sparkling Irish songs, was long associated with W. H. Gill, the late Dr. Clague, and The Deemster Gill in their labours which culminated in the publication of the Manx National Song Book, and to him I am indebted for “Illiam Dhone” and two other poems in this volume.

But one writer, whom I take special pleasure in rescuing from undeserved neglect, was both a true poet and a true Manxwoman. I refer to Esther Nelson, daughter of the Rev. John Nelson, a Rector of Bride, in which parish her life was spent. She published, in 1839, a volume of poems entitled “Island Minstrelsy,” from which selections have been made for this volume. She also wrote under the nom-de-plume of “Hadassah ” in “The Manx Sun” up to the year of her death. The brilliant promise of her youth, gradually dimmed and finally extinguished by the ill-health so clearly reflected in the sadness of her poetry, makes her a strangely pathetic figure in our literary annals. T. E. Brown, in his “Letters.” vol. i., page 110, refers to her as “a true woman of genius,” and begs from a friend the “inestimable favour of a copy of her poems,” then, as now, extremely difficult to obtain.

Special acknowledgment is due to Alan C. Kissack, of the Douglas School of Art, for his sketches; and particular reference should be made to the delightful drawings of the late Professor Edward Forbes, one of the foremost scientific men of his generation, who is represented here both as a poet and as an artist. The frontispiece is from a study made by E. H. Kelsey in collaboration with Richard Corbould, art tutor to King Edward VII, who lived in Douglas fifty years ago. Corbould intended the figure to surmount a noble stone monument, Scandinavian in character, which he had designed for erection in Douglas by public subscription. The project, however, fell through.

Messrs. Macmillan and Co. have generously granted me permission to include the poems which appear above the name of T. E. Brown.

My thanks are due to my friends, W. Walter Gill, A. A. Patterson, J. J. Kneen (translator into Manx of two of the poems), and P. W. Caine for their contributions, suggestions, and assistance in other ways. For their kindly encouragement and advice I have many other friends to thank, among whom I may mention Miss Morrison and Messrs. T. R. Lewin, F. R. Grundey, and W. Meyrick.


Frances Brown.

Songs of our Land, ye are with us for ever;
The power and the splendour of thrones pass away,
But yours is the might of some far-flowing river,
Through summer’s bright roses or autumn’s decay.
Ye treasure each voice of the swift-passing ages,
And truth which Time writeth on leaves or on sand;
Ye bring us the bright thoughts of poets and sages,
And keep them among us, old Songs of our Land!

The bards may go down to the place of their slumbers,
The lyre of the charmer be hush’d in the grave,
But far in the future the power of their numbers
Shall kindle the hearts of our faithful and brave.
It will waken an echo in souls deep and lonely,
Like voices of reeds by the summer breeze fann’d;
It will call up a spirit for freedom, when only
Her breathings are heard in the Songs of our Land.

Songs of our Land, ye have follow’d the stranger
With power over ocean and desert afar;
Ye have gone with our wand’rers through distance and danger,
And gladden’d their path like a home-guiding star!
With the breath of our mountains, in summers long vanish’d,
And visions that pass’d like a wave from the sand,
With hope for their country, and joy for her banish’d.
Ye come to us ever, sweet Songs of our Land!


Fin and Oshin – Traditional
Let the World Run Round – Bishop Rutter (circa 1590-1662)
Mary Lee – Edward Shimmin
Mannin Veg Villish Veen – Rev. Hugh Stowell (1768-1835)
On Entering Douglas Bay – William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Tynwald Hill – William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
My Native Land – Rev. Robert Brown (1792-1864)
Peel Castle in Moonlight – Rev. Robert Brown (1792-1864)
Mona, I love thee – Lieut. G. H. Wood (1794-1874)
Land of the Generous and Free – Lieut. G. H. Wood (1794-1874)
May – Lieut. G. H. Wood (1794-1874)
Peel Castle and Cathedral – Lieut. G. H. Wood (1794-1874)
Castleward – Lieut. G. H. Wood (1794-1874)
A Manxman’s Farewell – Captain William Kennish R.N. (1799-1862)
The Bard’s Lamentation – Captain William Kennish R.N. (1799-1862)
Awake, my Muse – Captain William Kennish R.N. (1799-1862)
Isadore’s Song – Esther Nelson (1805-1843)
Dreams – Esther Nelson (1805-1843)
My Island Home – Esther Nelson (1805-1843)
Song of the Absent – Esther Nelson (1805-1843)
The Dredging Song – Professor Ed. Forbes (1815-1854)
A Night Scene – Professor Ed. Forbes (1815-1854)
Lament for the Days – Professor Ed. Forbes (1815-1854)
Two Eyes! Dark Eyes! – Professor Ed. Forbes (1815-1854)
The Linden Tree – Eliza Craven Green (written circa 1824-1830)
Oh, Mona – Eliza Craven Green (written circa 1824-1830)
Ellan Vannin – Eliza Craven Green (written circa 1824-1830)
Douglas Bay – Eliza Craven Green (written circa 1824-1830)
Spring – Eliza Craven Green (written circa 1824-1830)
The Braddan Runic Stones – Eliza Craven Green (written circa 1824-1830)
Bright Emerald – T. J. Ouseley (written circa i860)
When Childher Plays – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
Look at me, Sun! – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
The Intercepted Salute – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
The Peel Lifeboat – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
The Schooner – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
The Prayers – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
In the Great Hall – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
Dear Countrymen – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
God is Love – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
The Blackbird – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
To the Future Manx Poet – Rev. T. E. Brown (1830-1897)
The Ruins of Peel Castle – D. MCaskill (written circa 1840)
Up with the Lug! – Deemster J. Fred. Gill (1842-1899)
Ushag Veg Ruy – “Emil Ingram.”
Tom Brown – “E.P.” (written 1897)
A Manx National Anthem – W. H. Gill
The Sheep under the Snow – W. H. Gill
Happy as a King – W. H. Gill
The Eagle and the Child – W. H. Gill
The Moddey Doo – W. H. Gill
The Maid of Port-y-Shee – W. H. Gill
The Harvest of the Sea – W. H. Gill
Celtic National Anthem – Alfred Percival Graves
Illiam Dhone – Alfred Percival Graves
The Good Oul’ Times – Cushag
Cadlag the Sleeper – Cushag
A Hymn of the Manx People – Cushag
Traa dy Liooar – Cushag
The Cushag – Cushag
Kirree fo Niaghtey – Cushag
Promise – Cushag
The Tholthan – Cushag
Mona Ma Chree – Cushag
The Ballafletcher Cup – Cushag
In Memoriam: T. E. Brown – Rev. Stephen Hughes-Games
An Islander – A. A. Patterson
Friends – W. Walter Gill
Vespers – W. Walter Gill
A Fancy – W. Walter Gill
To an Exile – W. Walter Gill
Exile to Exile – W. Walter Gill
Lament of the Mother Tongue – W. Walter Gill
Manx Translation: Celtic National Anthem – J. J. Kneen.
Manx Translation: A Manx National Anthem – J. J. Kneen.
The Lhen Beach, Andreas – Philip W. Caine
It’s O! to Return – Philip W. Caine
Willie Clague – Philip W. Caine
Manx Proverbs
The Lord’s Prayer in Manx Gaelic
Bibliographical Note
Biographical Notes



The following is doubtless a fragment of an ambitious Epic or Saga belonging to a very early period of Manx history. It deals with the great chieftain Fin, the hero of Celtic legend, Fin’s son Oshin, and a Prince of the Royal line of Gorry. (See Introduction for the story describing how the fragment came to be recovered).

FIN and Oshin went out to hunt,
Fal, lal, lo, as fal, lal, la.
With a noble train of men and dogs,
Not less in number than one hundred men,
So swift of foot and keen, none were their like;
With scores of Bandogs fierce they sallied forth,
O’er Hill and Dale, much Havock for to make.

Whom left they then at home but youthful Gorry!
Who slept secure beneath the shadowy rock;
Full three score Greyhounds, with their whelps, they left,
With three score lovely maidens young and fair,
As many old dames to attend the young.

Says Fin’s fair daughter, in Disdain and Scorn,
“How on young Gorry shall we be revenged?”

Says Oshin’s Daughter:
“Fast to the Harrows we will tie his Hair,
And to his nimble feet we’ll set a train of Fire.”

Then up starts Gorry, with a nimble spring.
Feeling his feet abroiling with the heat,
With Curses direful, vowing to destroy,
Those who presum’d t’affront a King his Son!
Swearing most bitterly by Sun and Moon,
To burn themselves and all their habitations.

Then to the Mountains hies he fast away,
His heavy Gorse-hack poised upon his shoulders.
Eight ponderous burthens thence he carried off,
And eight large Faggots cram’d in ilka Burthen.
Not eight such men as in the world are now
Could from the Ground one of these burthens raise.
Into each Window, he a Burthen thrust.
Into each Door, a Burthen of the same.
But the grand blazing Burthen on the floor
Of the great Hall he laid, and set on fire.

Meanwhile, our Heroes, Fin and Oshin hight,
They and their hardy men pursued the chase,
Eager, in sweat and dust all cover’d o’er.

Vast clouds full floating from the west
Were seen, like Billows dreadful, as I ween.

Then Fin he ran, and Oshin also ran,
Till faint and out of breath, he sat him down:
But Fin, the hardy chief, still held it out.
Then lift he up his lamentable Voice,
Calling to Oshin, who was far behind,
“We’ve nothing left but rueful, ruin’d walls!”

This mischief who has done? Who but young Gorry,
Who fled, and in a rocky Cavern hid himself.
Then chok’d with Smoke, they drag him by the heels,
And tore him Limb from Limb with Horses wild.


Bishop Rutter

Let the world run round,
Let the world run round,
And know neither end nor station.
Our glory is the test
Of a merry, merry breast,
In this little quiet nation.

We eat, we drink, we laugh, we sing,
To-morrow freely comes and goes,
We strike up music’s gentle string,
And understand no other blows.

If any sour, unhallow’d breath,
Our harmless sports should dare defile,
Let that man fall in love with death,
Whilst we the griefs of life beguile.

What though our peace much envy’d be,
Our fears they need not to increase,
For ev’ry where abroad we see
That men do even fight for peace.

Thus, from all enemies secure,
Our heads and hearts as light as air,
Not made the heavy yoke t’ endure
Of too much wealth or too much care.

Gold, and the troubled strife for gold,
Are evils unto us unknown:
Our clothing’s neither gay nor cold,
It covers us, and it’s our own.

We do not liberty contrive
Ourselves in bondage for to bring,
As birds to snare do haste alive,
By the loose freedom of the wing.

Our shepherds on their reeds do play,
Charming their sweethearts and their sheep,
Neither of which do go astray,
By Nature taught their bounds to keep.

The Master of these festive sports,1
Commander of the truest hearts,
Takes to himself the serious thoughts,
And leaves to us the merry parts.

So now, good Master, health to thee!
And, if there’s one who will not pass
The cup, let him hence banished be,
To quench his thirst in the Dhoo-Glas.2

Let the world run round, etc.

1. The Earl of Derby while resident in Castle Rushen.
2. The rivers Dhoo and Glas are said to give Douglas town its name.


Edward Shimmin

Were all the beauties of the East
Drawn out before my sight,
They could not move my constant breast,
Or give my eye delight.
Nor gold, nor pearls, nor diamonds rare,
Have any charm for me;
For all that’s rich, and all that’s fair,
I’ve found in Mary Lee.

The first time I beheld her face,
‘Twas at her cottage door:
A woodbine sweet adorn’d the place,
And shed its fragrant store;
But, ah! more lovely was the maid,
And fairer far to see,
In simple russet vest array’d,
The blooming Mary Lee.

A trembling seiz’d on all my frame,
Yet ’twas a pleasing pain;
And soon I told my tender flame,
Nor did I plead in vain;
For she I love scorns all disguise,
She own’d her passion free,
While modest transport fill’d the eyes
Of lovely Mary Lee.

O Love! propitious to my pray’r,
Speed on the happy day,
And fill our sails with breezes fair
To waft us on our way!
And when I reach my native land,
Ah! who can speak my glee?
For soon shall I receive thy hand,
My sweetest Mary Lee.


Hugh Stowell (the elder)

The wandering rover,
Who all the world over
From country to country has been,
Has discover’d no where
With thee to compare,
O Vannin1 veg villish veen!2

Their much boasted gold
Other regions may hold,
In thee what is better is seen,
The skeddan3 delicious,
Than gold far more precious,
O Vannin veg villish veen!

Tho’ chill be thy air,
And thy land bleak and bare,
Still fann’d by the sea breezes keen,
Yet we need no more,
For kindness far o’er
Spreads Mannin veg villish veen!

Of friends when forlorn,
From my native land torn,
May my steps by some angel unseen
Be thither directed,
Where strangers protected
Bless Mannin veg villish veen!

As long as the tide
Thy stern cliffs shall deride,
Green Erin and Albion between;
So long last each blessing
Thou now art possessing,
O Vannin veg villish veen!

1. Vannin, vocative case of Mannin.
2. Dear, sweet little (Isle of) Mann.
3. Herring.


William Wordsworth

The feudal Keep, the bastions of Cohorn,
Even when they rose to check or to repel
Tides of aggressive war, oft served as well
Greedy ambition, armed to treat with scorn
Just limits: but yon Tower1 whose smiles adorn
This perilous bay, stands clear of all offence:
Blest work it is of love and innocence,
A Tower of Refuge built for the else forlorn.
Spare it, ye waves, and lift the mariner,
Struggling for life, into its saving arms!
Spared, too, the human helpers! Do they stir
‘Mid your fierce shock like men afraid to die?
No; their dread service nerves the heart it warms,
And they are led by noble Hillary!2

1. Tower of Refuge on Conister Rock.
2. Sir William Hillary, a Douglas citizen, who in 1832 founded the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.


William Wordsworth

Once on the top of Tynwald’s formal mound
(Still marked with green turf circles narrowing
Stage above stage) would sit this Island’s King,
The laws to promulgate, enrobed and crowned;
While compassing the little mound around
Degrees and Orders stood, each under each:
Now, like to things within fate’s easiest reach,
The power is merged, the pomp a grave has found.
Off with yon cloud, old Snaefell! that thine eye
Over three Realms may take its widest range;
And let, for them, thy fountains utter strange
Voices, thy winds break forth in prophecy,
If the whole State must suffer mortal change,
Like Mona’s miniature of sovereignty.


Rev. Robert Brown

Island of mountains steep and bare!
Bleak is thy climate, and thy soil
But ill repays the planter’s care,
But ill rewards the reaper’s toil:
No costly harvests wave on thee,
On thee no forests wide expand;
Yet, Mona, thou hast charms for me,
For art not thou my native land?

No rivers deep and broad hast thou,
Like those which flow through British ground;
Thine are but streams that, from the brow
Of lofty mountains, swiftly bound
Through narrow channels to the sea,
Which bursts upon thy murmuring strand;
Yet, Mona, thou hast charms for me.
For art not thou my native land?

No minstrel of immortal fame
Has yet among thy sons been found,1
Nor of thy country can we name
A single portion classic ground:
No harp has sounded yet in thee,
Struck by a Gray’s or Milton’s hand;
Yet, Mona, thou hast charms for me,
For art not thou my native land?

Rough is thy coast, and loud the roar
Around thy rocks of ocean’s wave;
The tide that rolls upon thy shore
Has often proved the seaman’s grave,
But yet my bosom clings to thee;
Yes! it is nature’s own demand,
Island! that thou be dear to me,
For art not thou my native land?

1. The author’s son, Rev. T. E.Brown, had not yet risen to fame as a poet.


Rev. Robert Brown

I ENVY not the man who, while
The moon, as now, her radiance lends
To yonder small romantic isle,
Can view unpleased the moss-clad pile
That from its verge ascends.

Never so beautifully shone
Those walls beneath the lunar light
As now, when mouldering, roofless, lone,
And silent, save but for the moan
That speaks the breezes’ flight.

Thus never does the grove display
So sweet a scene as when we view
Its leaves beginning to decay,
When summer’s lively tint gives way
To autumn’s graver hue.


G. H. Wood

O MONA! I love thee, thou land of my birth!
Tho’ long I have roam’d the world’s wilderness o’er,
No spot have I found on the fair face of earth
Half so dear as thy own rocky, sea-beaten shore.

Tho’ the world hath not rung with the deeds of thy fame,
Nor history’s tablets thy glories have borne,
Yet gems of bright genius, unknown as thy name,
And flowers of fair virtue thy valleys adorn;

Where Truth and pure Piety, join’d hand in hand —
Sweet cherubic sisters, — have made their abode.
And a fair, blooming Eden have form’d in thy land.
Where thy sons in sweet converse walk humbly with God.

For ever, dear Island, thy hills are before me.
In Memory’s vision, all verdant and bright;
And O! as those fond recollections rush o’er me,
They fill me with pensive, but hallow’d, delight.

Then long o’er thy fields, dearest Isle of the ocean!
May the soft dews of heaven descend from above,
And thy sons and thy daughters, in purest devotion,
Be happy in Friendship, and blessèd in Love.


G. H. Wood

Land of the generous and free!
Blest Isle of my nativity!
My doating heart still cleaves to thee,
Thou lovely Isle!

From off life’s troubled sea, opprest,
I fly to thee, my ark of rest,
And feel as if amid the blest
In heaven above.

For long I’ve roam’d the world around,
But happiness have nowhere found;
For here, on Mona’s hallow’d ground,
The cherub dwells.

Once more I tread thy peaceful shore.
Embrace each long-lost friend once more,
And feel a joy unfelt before;
Tho’ light — how brief!

An aching chill comes o’er my heart;
For soon with them and thee I part,
Lov’d and all lovely as thou art,
My own dear Isle!

What tho’ we part — perhaps for ever!
Can I forget thee, Mona? — never! —
My heart may break, but nought can sever
That heart from thee.


G. H. Wood

Ah! now’s the merry month of May,
And sweet, in musing fit, to stray
Thro’ flowery mead and verdant vale,
Where cowslip wan and primrose pale,
And daisy pied, and blue hare-bell,
Sweet rural sisters, — love to dwell.
Ye favourite children of the Spring!
Pleasing thoughts to me ye bring,
Which with youthful pleasure beam,
Thronging o’er me like a dream,
Scenes of other days and years,
When the heart was free from cares, —
Childhood’s happy, vernal days,
When, ‘mid springtide’s flowery ways,
I was wont to skip and play,
Lightsome, frolicsome, and gay:
Or, busy, spend the sunny hour,
Gathering every smiling flower,
Fond, as miser o’er his store,
The more I got, to add the more,
And loath to leave the anxious toil,
Whilst my hand could clasp the spoil,
Or my lap the treasure hold,
Precious more to me than gold:
Then with infant pride I’d glow,
And homeward quickly speed, to show
To all around the rich display
Of flowery treasure, cull’d that day.


G. H. Wood

There is not a spot in Mona’s Isle
Has purer charms for me
Than yonder lonely, mouldering pile,
Which beams in the bright sun’s parting smile,
Ere he sinks in the western sea:
‘Tis a hallow’d spot, with its turrets of light
That gleam in the glassy wave,
Where its image is mirror’d so calmly bright,
You’d think it the work of enchanter’s might,
Rais’d up from the ocean’s grave.

There beams each hoary, time-worn tower,
All bent with the weight of years,
Like goodly Age in his dying hour,
Whilst sunny Hope’s triumphant power
Dispels his doubts and fears.
There stands the holy, mouldering fane,
Where rest the sleeping dead,
Where they for ages long have lain,
And slept the sleep that knows no pain,
Each in his grassy bed.

But roofless now is that holy pile,
And its arches rent and riven;
Yet I love to tread its lonely aisle,
Where the footfall only is heard the while,
And muse on the things of heaven;
For who could cherish dark thoughts of gloom
In a scene so bright and fair,
Where the sunbeams lighten the place of the tomb,
And gild the wild flowers that around us bloom,
Which offer their incense there?

But let us explore the ruins around,
And the Castle’s lone dungeon cells,
Where the royal lady1 lay fettered and bound, —
Till ling’ring death her chains unwound, —
Accus’d of dark magic spells;
And the room near the dim portcullis-door.
Where the night-watch oft was scar’d
By the “spectre hound”2 so fam’d of yore,
As told in his lay of minstrel lore
By Scotia’s brightest bard.3

1. The Duchess of Gloucester.
2. The Moddey Doo (see “Yn Moddey Doo,” by W. H. Gill).
3 Sir Walter Scott.


G. H. Wood

Down in the bosom of a mossy dale,
Thro’ which a narrow streamlet winds its way,
There towers abrupt a rugged, rocky mound,
By Nature’s sportive hand grotesquely reared,
And quaintly clad with shrubs and stunted trees.
‘Tis said that native chiefs, in olden time,
Have oft assembled here their chosen bands,
And, as in tower impregnable, sustain’d
The furious shock and fell assault of foes.

And still the place retains the name and trace
Of war’s rude art; and there the labouring hind,
Whilst, cheerful, singing at his peaceful toil,
Has oft upturn’d the relics of the past, —
Old, rusty, time-worn implements of war.

To this lone mound, in autumn’s evening hour,
Oft would I wander forth with one belov’d, —
With one whose soul could sympathise with mine,
And share the beauties of the varied scene; —

* * *

And we would hold sweet converse as we sat.
And talk of “deeds of days of other years,”
When this wild spot, so peacefully serene,
Re-echoed to the tread of mailed men,
The prance and neighing of the barbed steed,
The trumpet’s clang and all the din of war.


William Kennish R.N.

A Manninagh Dooie from the clean I was troggit,1
Close by the foot of the bridge of Cornaa,
Whose keystone was fix’d in the year I was ruggit,2
Three miles and a half from the town of Rhumsaa.3
In this rural spot, at the foot of the mountain,
I pass’d the gay morn of my life’s chequer’d day,
Alike when December in ice bound each fountain,
Or flowers sprung forth at the mild breath of May.

To me seem’d my cot and the green fields around it
The whole of vast Nature’s dominion below,
Tho’ oft the blue ether that archingly bound it
Caused many conjectures its nature to know;
In a circle of joy each moment pass’d daily,
As freely I roved the green meadows or carn,4
And sang, in my own native language, so gaily,
The “Kirree-fo-Niaghtey” or “Mylecharane.”5

But, ah! cruel Fate, in her freak, had design’d me
To traverse the regions of old mother earth,
And leave my dear Mannin with sorrow behind me,
The home of my fathers — the land of my birth!
Full well I remember that day yet with sorrow,
When first from my own Mannin veen I did stray,
And when I beheld her high cliffs on the morrow,
Fast sinking below the blue waves far away.

I thought of my parents who fondly caress’d me,
And soothed all my sorrows in childhood’s fond years,
And love unrequited, that pang which distress’d me
And forced me away from my Island in tears:
What language can picture my heartfelt emotion,
As flew the gay bark o’er the white-foaming swell,
When I sigh’d to the breeze, in my silent devotion,
“My Mannin, my own Mannin veen, fare-thee-well!”

1. Literally — A Manxman true from the cradle I was reared.
2. Born.
3. Manx name for Ramsey.
4. The name of a field.
5. Two popular songs in the Manx language.


William Kennish R.N.

Ah, Mannin! dear Mannin! how can I neglect thee?
My unroaming heart closely clings to thy shore,
And while it yet throbs I shall never forget thee,
Tho’ I should behold thee, my Mannin, no more.

As clings the young infant, with fondling caresses,
Unto the glad mother to gaze on her smile —
So does my fond heart, ‘midst the world’s sad distresses,
Cling close to the rocks of my dear native Isle.

As pines the wild hart, on Syria’s parch’d mountains,
The murmuring streamlet’s clear waters to see —
Or the green myrtle groves that shade the cool fountains —
So pine I in absence, my Mannin, for thee!


William Kennish R.N.

Awake, my Muse! — together let us sing
Of hills and groves and sweet sequester’d vales —
Of feather’d tribes that make the valleys ring —
And of the gurgling brook that never fails,
But murmurs hoarsely from the depths below,
Swelling in floods within the darken’d dell,
Deep’ning its course for ever in its flow
Thro’ craggy glens, where wizards love to dwell;
Of rugged mountains, clad in mossy vest,
Towering on high their dark gigantic forms,
With far outspreading base and taper’d crest
That’s stood the rage of countless winters’ storms; —
Of North Barrule, nodding o’er Maughold’s plains,
Paying due homage to vast Snaefell’s height,
While Pen-y-Pot o’er Lonan still maintains
Its evening shadows with undoubted right; —
Of Barrule, Rushen, which the South commands,
And kindly shelters from the western blast
The lowland cultured fields and rocky strands,
When stormy clouds the wintry skies o’ercast.


Esther Nelson

Know’st thou that green spot ‘mid billows of ocean,
Whose valleys are wild, and whose mountains are bare,
The shrine of my heart’s deep, undying devotion, —
The lone, lovely mist-gem of Mannin Mac Leear?1
Know’st thou where Holm Peel’sproud ruins rise hoary,
Where ghosts of the princely at dead midnight moan?
Know’st thou where Rushen still frowneth in glory?
Hast thou heard where the death-shot laid low Illiam Dhone?3

Know’st thou the glens which the elf race inhabit,
Where brightly their tiny lamps burn as of yore?
Knowest thou “Queunque jeceris stabit”?4
Or the dread Moddey Doo5of the wild western shore?
Know’st thou the spot where the rose and the thistle,
The leek and the shamrock, are lovelily blent,
Where shrill on the hills is the hollow wind’s whistle,
Where fairies by moonlioht dance over the bent?

‘Tis Mona the lone! where the silver mist gathers —
Pale shroud whence our Wizard-chief6 watches unseen
O’er the breezy, the bright, the lov’d home of my fathers;
Oh, Mannin, my graih my chree! Mannin veg veen!
‘Tis Mona the lone! thro’ whose wild curraghs roaming,
I’ve lingered to list to the oaten pipe’s strain; —
Where, enchanted, I’ve gazed on the rustics at gloaming,
Bedight in dear simple keeir Iheeah7and carrane.8

‘Tis the spot where my spirit exultingly wander’d
‘Mid Nature’s own solitudes, breezy and bare; —
Where, shrin’d in Glenaldyn’s recesses, I’ve ponder’d,
Enraptured o’er legends of Mannin Mac Leear.
And gentle and kind are its brilliant-eyed daughters —
My vision ne’er brought me one other more fair;
Tho’ lovely and noble have come o’er the waters,
Give me the Manks maid with the dark flowing hair.

Then hail to thee, happy home! — gem of the ocean!
Oh, thine are the youths honest-hearted and free; —
Ever free in each generous soul-felt emotion
As the wing of the eagle or foam of the sea.
Then hail to thee, happy home! land of my fathers! —
Proud nest of famed chieftains! blest isle of the fair! —
The hills, the wild hills, where the fairy mist gathers —
Oh, Mannin, my graih my chree! Mannin Mac Leear!
With the patriot’s fire my bosom is beating; —
All my soul’s with my lute; — then, wise critic, forbear! —
Deem not your rude minstrel barbaric, unweeting,
But smile on a scion of Mannin Mac Leear.

* * *

Kind smiles be thine, young Isadore!
Kind smiles from all be ever thine; —
Sooth, but thou canst full well restore
Mona’s proud days of “auld lang syne;”
Sing on, young minstrel of the Isle!
Thine be thy country’s brightest smile.
Come round us, spirits of the dead! —
Come to your mist-clad Island home; —
And all a spirit’s blessing shed
On your lone dwelling ‘mid the foam.
Their holiest smiles be thine, sweet one!
Those mightiest masters of the spell —
The glorious host of warriors gone —
They who fought bravely and died well —
Ay, be their spirit-blessings thine; —
And may sweet flowers for ever twine
Their richest blossoms round thy brow,
And oh I be ever gay as now.
The lady rose. . ….

1. The Wizard Chieftain of Mann (Mannanan beg Mac y Leear) who, when he feared an invasion of his territory, clothed the Island in a mist.
2. Peel Castle.
3. William Christian, the Martyr, shot by Charles, Earl of Derby, at Hango Hill in 1663.
4. The National motto of Mann: “However circumstances may come, I stand.”
5. The Black Dog of Peel Castle (see Walter Scott’s “Peveril of the Peak.”)
6. Mannanan beg Mac y Leear.
7. A home-spun woollen cloth.
8. Shoes made from the skin of a cow, untannned.


Esther Nelson

Beautiful dreams! beautiful dreams!
Come to my soul with your exquisite gleams;
Gleams of the land of the shadowless hours,
Gleams of the regions of fadeless flowers,
Gleams of enchanted bowers, moonlighted streams;
Beautiful dreams! beautiful dreams!

Bear to my bosom the light hearts of childhood,
The birds and young flowers of my own far wild wood, —
The hills and the glen where the clear brook is stealing,
Youth’s sunny visions, hope’s gay revealing,
All with which earth a pure paradise seems, —
Beautiful dreams! beautiful dreams!

Whence do you come, dear mysterious things,
With the rich hues of your magical wings?
Where is your airy home? where have ye birth?
Oh! ye have might and power over the earth!
Beautiful, shadowy, exquisite things,
What is the spell which your potency flings?


Esther Nelson

My Island home! my Island home!
The lone, the loved, the fair, the free;
Pale emerald set in pearly foam,
One Island heart beats high for thee;
Amid the whirlwinds and the storms,
Whate’er my fate, where’er I roam,
The thought of thee my bosom warms,
My Island home! my Island home!
My Island home! this bounding breast
Swells with the patriot’s truest glow;
Oh! if there be one tranquil rest,
One home of refuge here below,
Thou art that rest, thou lonely star!
For thee the wanderers cease to roam;
To thee the warriors turn from far,
My Island home! my Island home!

Oh, Mona! daughter of the flood!
Oh, Mona, Mona! graih ma chree!1
The faithful heart — the pure — the good,
The brave — the wise — beat high for thee!
Genius of Mona! hear thy child,
In thy fair temple’s glorious dome,
Breathing her spirit to thy wild,
Sweet Island home! sweet Island home!

1. Manx Gaelic for “Love of my heart.”


Esther Nelson

Blest be the spot,
My heart leaps to it o’er the swelling billow!
Home! Earth hath not
One dream that brings thee not unto my pillow.
I pine to cleave
The deep dark waters that from thee do sever.
I would not leave
Thee, mine own Isle! my heart’s sweet home! oh, never,
For brighter skies,
Or the fantastic dreams of wild ambition,
No thought can rise
To win me from thy simple calm condition;
No wildfire light
Can dazzle me, thine own rude Island daughter,
‘Tis utter blight
And grief doth haunt me o’er thy girdling water.
Too idolised —
Thou to whose earth this passionate heart is clinging,
Thou art too prized!
How know I what futurity is bringing? —
Estranged years,
And weary days of cold and bitter feeling,
And hopeless tears!
Oh! what a sad and shadowy train is stealing
Across my path!
Aye! mournful thoughts of which is no repressing
Yet home — home hath,
In shade or sunshine, evermore my blessing.
Isle of my soul!
This heart leaps madly o’er the severing water;
Can space control?
Time cannot chill thine own adoring daughter.
No! till that hand
Which comes to all falls darkly, darkly, o’er her
With death’s dread power.
Then make her grave — where long have slept before her
Her Island dead —
Upon the green hill that looks o’er the billow,
And let Heaven shed
Its light and incense o’er her lone Manks pillow.
Isle of my heart,
Mona! the lone! the wild! the unforgot!
My home! thou art
The star, the idol of a wayward lot —
Earth cannot bring
One dearer vision to me than thy face,
Time cannot bring
Forgetfulness! affection mocks at space.


Professor Ed. Forbes

Hurrah for the dredge, with its iron edge,
And its mystical triangle,
And its hided net with meshes set
Odd fishes to entangle!
The ship may move through the wave above,
‘Mid scenes exciting wonder,
But braver sights the dredge delights
As it roveth the waters under.

Then a-dredging we will go, wise boys!
Then a-dredging we will go!

Down in the deep, where the mermen sleep,
Our gallant dredge is sinking,
Each finny shape in a precious scrape
Will find itself in a twinkling!
They may twirl and twist, and writhe as they wist,
And break themselves into sections,
But up they all, at the dredge’s call,
Must come to fill collections.

The creatures strange the sea that range,
Though mighty in their stations,
To the dredge must yield the briny field
Of their loves and depredations.
The crab so bold, like a knight of old,
In scaly armour plated,
And the slimy snail, with a shell on his tail
And the star-fish — radiated.


Professor Ed. Forbes

A night-sky over head:
One solitary star
Shining amid
A little track of blue — for dark clouds hid
Its sister sunlets; on its azure bed
It seemed a sun, for there
No jealous planet shone with which it to compare.

The dark clouds rolled away,
And all heaven’s shining train
Of suns and stars,
With the great moon, beamed forth their gorgeous light.
Where then was that fair star that shone so bright?
Where was it? none could say,
Yet there it doubtless was although it seemed away.

So lustrous shall we find
Each living soul
When seen alone;
And though when brighter spirits round it press,
We lose its form and doubt its loveliness,
Still should we bear in mind
That it is not less bright although it be outshined.


Professor Ed. Forbes

Oh! lament for the days that are past and gone,
When the sun of glory bright,
On the fairest Isle of the ocean shone
With freedom’s holy light;
When the golden ship on a field of red,1
Beamed forth on the flag of the free,
And the King of the Green Landbowed its head
To the King of the Ocean Sea!3

Would the Saxon dare to draw his brand
Were Gorrywith us now?
Would the Albiondare to lift his hand
Were the crown on King Olaf’sbrow?
But in the sleep of death they lie —
Their glory has passed away —
And the children of their chivalry
A Saxon king obey.

Oh, where was the blood of the Kings of old,
When Athol sold his throne?
When our chieftain bartered his rights for gold,
Was this like Gorry’s son?
Our Isle is still as bright, as fair,
Its sons are still as free,
But a stranger monarch reigneth there,
On the throne of the Kings of the Sea!

1. The ancient arms of Mann.
2. Ireland.
3. Mannanan, the Son of the Sea.
4. Ancient King of Mann.
5. The Scotsman.
6. Ancient King of Mann.


Professor Ed. Forbes

I to my heart a journey made,
To see that world of joy and care;
For often had I heard it said
That hearts are full of wonders rare,
And many strange sights saw I there.
But of them all I most did prize
(Though everything was passing fair)
Two eyes! dark eyes!

They seemed to have some magic might
Beyond the power of mystic gem.
Oh! never jewels shone so bright
In Khan or Kaiser’s diadem:
And as my spirit gazed on them
It poured its incense forth in sighs
Which no controlling power could stem,
To those dark eyes.

When from my heart I’d come away,
And to the world my steps retrace,
In vain to leave I did essay,
For of a path there was no trace!
I’ve made it now my dwelling-place,
Where ever I do idolise,
One image fair — one form, one face,
Two eyes, dark eyes!


Eliza Craven Green

The wind, with a sway and rustle,
Toss’d the leaves of the linden tree,
And, deep in the silvery shadow,
A treasure was shown to me.

A little brown nest, soft laden,
Wee pearlies, one, two, three;
But oh! the eyes of the watcher
That perch’d on the linden tree!

Little heart! in the flowery summer,
Thy nestlings shall sing to me;
Fold thy wings in the leafy shadow,
Love hallows the linden tree!


Eliza Craven Green

Oh, Mona! dear Mona! my spirit returneth,
Like a bird to its eyry, to seek thy green shore;
Thro’ the mist and the tempest thy light ever burneth,
But my bark on life’s ocean shall reach thee no more!


Eliza Craven Green

When the summer day is over
And its busy cares have flown,
I sit beneath the starlight,
With a weary heart alone.
Then rises like a vision,
Sparkling bright in Nature’s glee.
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And its green hills by the sea!

Then I hear the wavelets murmur
As they kiss the fairy shore,
And beneath the emerald waters
Sings the Mermaid — as of yore.
And the Fair Isle shines in beauty,
As in youth it dawn’d on me, —
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And its green hills by the sea.

Then memories — sweet and tender —
Come, like music’s plaintive flow,
Of the hearts in Ellan Vannin
That loved me, long ago.
And I give, with tears and blessings,
My fondest thoughts to thee,
My own dear Ellan Vannin
And thy green hills by the sea!


Eliza Craven Green

Oh, emerald waves, to me your music cometh
Like the dim music in an ocean shell,
Calling me back, with fond, familiar voices,
To tread again thy shores, beloved, alas! too well.

Oh, lovely are ye, ye encircling waters,
Girdling with brightness the romantic shore,
With faery sails in the far sunlight gleaming,
And silvery shower-drops from the glancing oar.

There the green headland, with its crowning turrets,
The far gray cliffs — the clear and sparkling sands,
And the sweet homes of peace whose groves and gardens
Blossom in beauty as the view expands.

No fairer scenes may to the Poet’s spirit
Beneath the blue skies of Italia smile,
Than thine, oh, lovely bay, that fondly guardest,
With thy far-spreading waves, dear Mona’s Isle.

* * * *

It is the ocean’s harvest! what kind wishes
Go with that moonlight navy’s spreading sails!1
From many hearts the fervent prayer ariseth,
That hope, yet tremble, as the breeze prevails.

Husband and lover — brother, son, and sire,
Go forth upon thy water; may they come
With gladsome triumph back, their treasures garner’d —
Their perils past — to bless their Island home.

Fair shores of Mona! fond remembrance hallows
Your changing scenes through mist, and sun, and shade, —
A cherish’d dream of beauty, unforgotten.
Till life itself shall from your minstrel fade!

1. The large fleet of fishing luggers which fifty years ago frequented Douglas waters.


Eliza Craven Green

Green leaves are on the lilac tree,
And May-buds on the briar;
The daffodils and crocuses
Light up their golden fire.
The pansies in the garden plot
Lift up their dewy eyes,
And velvet blooms, as painted by
Moonlight and purple skies.
The linden in the dim court-yard
Shakes out its silvery green;
Thus even in the city street
The Beautiful is seen.
The children gather the springing grass,
I bless them in their glee;
But daisies on a village grave
Are the flowers Spring gives to me


Eliza Craven Green

Oh, dark and nameless! I have gazed on thee
Until the silent dweller in thy shrine
Was to my heart no more a mystery,
And in each wildly traced and fading sign
There was a spell for spirits such as mine;
The very winds around me seemed the tone
Of an unearthly voice at day’s decline,
Breathing the legend of the lonely stone.1

I linger’d o’er the silent characters2
Of a forgotten language darkly gone
With those who traced them to their sepulchres,
Until it seemed their shadowy lore was won:
The mystery of the dead! and dreams came on
In fearful beauty, such as might not last —
The lineage — deeds — of that departed one —
His life — his love — a moment, they were past!

Did’st thou come proudly o’er the ocean foam
To the lone Island of the storms, to reign
A northern Sea-king in thy desert home,
The dark usurper of the trackless main,
Whose proud heart yielded in the Pagan fane,
Spelled by their runic rites and mystic force, —
But when far sweeping on the waves again,
What power might check the wild marauder’s course?

Or woke thy spirit in this lonely Isle
First to the light — child of the wilderness —
Free as its stormy waters, by the smile
Of sunbeams seldom blest (not loved the less
For all their tempests)? Was it thine to press
With the first wind of morn, amid the still
And shadowy mists, from thy lone cave’s recess
To wake the red deer on their silent hill?

Tired Hunter of the Isle! thy chace is past;
Dark Ruler of the Waters! we can trace
No shadow of thy course o’er ocean cast;
It is forgotten like thy resting place!
Where is the legend of thy name or race?
Far in the mist of ages, Time has shed
Oblivion o’er thy glory or disgrace;
We know but this — thy rest is with the dead!

1. These stones are now preserved in Braddan Old Church, which is built upon the site of a very ancient keeill.
2. The Runic letters traced upon the stones.


T. J. Ouseley

Bright emerald from the amethystian sea,
Beautiful Mona, rising from the deep;
All who love Nature needs must worship thee,
Sunlight and joy are thine; the heart will leap
With a wild rapture as the eye doth sweep
Over thy fertile and majestic hills:
Thy rocks of ages — mighty, jagg’d and steep,
The sparkling of thy many crystal rills,
Scenes of enchantment form — the heart with rapture fills!

Beautiful Mona, robed in ambient air:
Isle of Sea Nymphs who around thee play;
Brave men hast thou, and women passing fair,
And peaceful valleys on thy sunnyway,
Tempting us never from thy shores to stray;
Clear are the waters that around thee flow,
Pure as the cloudless sky at noon of day;
Upon thy sea-girt hills wild flowers grow,
Whilst sparkling waves and sands are dallying far below.


T. E. Brown

Now the beauty of the thing when childher plays is
The terrible wonderful length the days is.
Up you jumps, and out in the sun,
And you fancy the day will never be done;
And you’re chasin’ the bumbees hummin’ so cross
In the hot sweet air among the goss,1
Or gath’rin’ blue-bells, or lookin’ for eggs,
Or peltin’ the ducks, with their yalla legs,
Or a climbin’ and nearly breakin’ your skulls,
Or a shoutin’ for divilment after the gulls,
Or a thinkin’ of nothin’, but down at the tide,
Singin’ out for the happy you feel inside.

* * * *
That was all — just baby play,
Knockin’ about the boats all day,
And sometimes a lot of us takin’ hands
And racin’ like mad things over the sands.
Ah! it wouldn’ be bad for some of us
If we’d never gone furder, and never fared wuss;
If we’d never grown up, and never got big,
If we’d never took the brandy swig,
If we were skippin’ and scamp’rin’ and cap’rin’ still
On the sand that lies below the hill,
Crunchin’ its gray ribs with the beat
Of our little patterin’ naked feet:
If we’d just kept childher upon the shore
For ever and ever and ever more!

* * * *
That’s the way with the kids, you know,
And the years do come and the years do go,
And when you look back it’s all like a puff,
Happy and over and short enough!

1. Gorse.


T. E. Brown

Look at me Sun, err thou set
In the far sea;
From the gold and the rose and the jet
Look full at me!

Leave on my brow a trace
Of tenderest light;
Kiss me upon the face,
Kiss for good-night.


T. E. Brown

A LITTLE maiden met me in the lane,
And smiled a smile so very fain,
So full of trust and happiness,
I could not choose but bless
The child, that she should have such grace
To laugh into my face.

She never could have known me; but I thought
It was the common joy that wrought
Within the little creature’s heart,
As who should say: — “Thou art
As I; the heaven is bright above us;
And there is God to love us.

And I am but a little gleeful maid,
And thou art big, and old, and staid;
But the blue hills have made thee mild
As is a little child.
Wherefore I laugh that thou may’st see —
O, laugh! O, laugh with me!”

A pretty challenge! Then I turned me rounds
And straight the sober truth I found.
For I was not alone; behind me stood,
Beneath his load of wood,
He that of right the smile possessed —
Her father manifest.

O, blest be God! that such an overplus
Of joy is given to us:
That that sweet innocent
Gave me the gift she never meant,
A gift secure and permanent!
For howsoe’er the smile had birth,
It is an added glory on the earth.


T. E. Brown

Of Charley Cain, the cox,
And the thunder of the rocks,
And the ship St. George —
How he baulked the sea-wolf’s gorge
Of its prey —
Southward bound from Norraway;
And the fury, and the din,
And the horror, and the roar,
Rolling in, rolling in,
Rolling in upon the dead lee-shore!

See! the Harbour Master stands,
Cries — “Have you all your hands?”
Then, as an angel springs
With God’s breath upon his wings,
She went;
And the black storm-robe was rent
With the shout and with the din. . .

And the castle walls were crowned,
And no woman lay in swound,
But they stood upon the height
Straight and stiff to see the fight,
For they knew
What the pluck of men can do:
With the fury and the din . . .

“Lay aboard her, Charley lad!”
“Lay aboard her! — Are you mad?
With the bumping and the scamper
Of all this loose deck hamper,
And the yards
Dancing round us here like cards,”
With the fury and the din . . .

So Charley scans the rout,
Charley knows what he’s about,
Keeps his distance, heaves the line —
“Pay it out there, true and fine!
Not too much, men!
Take in the slack, you Dutchmen!”
With the fury and the din . . .

Now the hawser’s fast and steady,
And the traveller rigged and ready.
Says Charley — “What’s the lot?”’
“Twenty-four.” Then, like a shot —
Says Charley, “‘s all I see.”
With the fury and the din . . .

“Not a soul shall leave the wreck,”
Says Charley, “till on deck
You bring the man that’s hurt.”
So they brought him, in his shirt —
O, it’s fain
I am for you, Charles Cain —
With the fury and the din . . .

And the captain and his wife,
And a baby! Odds my life!
Such a beauty! such a prize!
And the tears in Charley’s eyes.
Arms of steel,
For the honour of old Peel,
Haul away amid the din . . .

Sing ho! the seething foam!
Sing ho! the road for home!
And the hulk they’ve left behind,
Like a giant stunned and blind
With the loom
And the boding of his doom —
With the fury and the din . . .

“Here’s a child! don’t let it fall!”
Says Charley. “Nurse it, all!”
O the tossing of the breasts!
O the brooding of soft nests,
Taking turns,
As each maid and mother yearns
For the babe that ‘scaped the din . . .

See the Rainbow bright and broad!
Now, all men, thank ye God,
For the marvel and the token,
And the word that He hath spoken!
With Thee,
O Lord of all that be,
We have peace amid the din,
And the horror and the roar,
Rolling in, rolling in,
Rolling in upon the dead lee-shore!1

1. This poem is based upon the story of the wreck of a Norwegian barque named the “St. George,” which occurred off Peel in the year 1889.


T. E. Brown

Just mark that schooner westward far at sea —
‘Tis but an hour ago
When she was lying hoggish at the quay,
And men ran to and fro,
And tugged, and stamped, and shoved, and pushed, and swore,
And ever and anon, with crapulous glee,
Grinned homage to viragoes on the shore.

So to the jetty gradual she was hauled:
Then one the tiller took,
And chewed, and spat upon his hand, and bawled;
And one the canvas shook
Forth like a mouldy bat; and one, with nods
And smiles, lay on the bowsprit-end, and called
And cursed the Harbour-master by his gods.

And, rotten from the gunwale to the keel,
Rat-riddled, bilge-bestank,
Slime-slobbered, horrible, I saw her reel,
And drag her oozy flank,
And sprawl among the deft young waves, that laughed,
And leapt, and turned in many a sportive wheel,
As she thumped onward with her lumbering draught.

And now, behold! a shadow of repose
Upon a line of gray,
She sleeps, that transverse cuts the evening rose —
She sleeps, and dreams away,
Soft-blended in a unity of rest,
All jars, and strifes obscene, and turbulent throes
‘Neath the broad benediction of the West —

Sleeps; and methinks she changes as she sleeps,
And dies, and is a spirit pure.
Lo! on her deck an angel pilot keeps
His lonely watch secure;
And at the entrance of Heaven’s dockyard waits,
Till from Night’s leash the fine-breath’d morning leaps,
And that strung hand within unbars the gates.


T. E. Brown

I WAS in Heaven one day when all the prayers
Came in, and angels bore them up the stairs
Unto a place where he
Who was ordained such ministry
Should sort them, so that in that palace bright
The presence-chamber might be duly dight;
For they were like to flowers of various bloom;
And a divinest fragrance filled the room.

Then did I see how the great sorter chose
One flower that seemed to me a hedgeling rose,
And from the tangled press
Of that irregular loveliness
Set it apart — and — “This,” I heard him say,
“Is for the Master”: so upon his way
He would have passed; then I to him: —
“Whence is this rose? O thou of cherubim
The chiefest?” — “Know’st thou not?” he said, and smiled,
“This is the first prayer of a little child.”


T. E. Brown

In the great hall
High festival
Is heard no more.
The knights and barons bold
Are trodden into mould;
The gems they wore,
The shields they bore,
Are dust; the fiery hearts are cold!

Yet have hearts fire,
And men aspire
To worthy deeds,
And blazon1 of renown!
To wear the civic crown
Race, race succeeds,
Accepts the meeds,
And hands the hard-won trophy down!

1. A heraldic figure.


T. E. Brown

Dear Countrymen, whate’er is left to us
Of ancient heritage —
Of manners, speech, of humours, polity,
The limited horizon of our stage —
Old love, hope, fear,
All this I fain would fix upon the page;
That so the coming age,
Lost in the Empire’s mass,
Yet haply longing for their fathers, here
May see, as in a glass,
What they held dear —
May say, “‘Twas thus and thus
They lived”; and, as the time-flood onward rolls,
Secure an anchor for their Keltic souls.


T. E. Brown

At Derby Haven, in the sweet Manx land,
A little girl had written on the sand
This legend: — “God is love.” But when I said:—
“What means this writing?” thus she answered:—
“It’s father that’s at say,
And I come here to pray,
And . . . God is love.” My eyes grew dim —
Blest child! in Heaven above
Your angel sees the face of Him
Whose name is Love!


T. E. Brown

O BLACKBIRD, what a boy you are!
How you do go it!
Blowing your bugle to that one sweet star —
How you do blow it!
And does she hear you, blackbird boy, so far?
Or is it wasted breath?
“Good Lord! she is so bright
The blackbird saith.


T. E. Brown

O Poet, somewhere to be born
‘Twixt Calf and Ayre before the century closes,
Cain, Karran, Kewish, or Skillicorn,
Soft-lapt serene, ‘mid antenatal roses.
Abide until I come, lest chance we miss
Each other as we pass, nor any kiss
Be planted on your brow thrice dear,
Nor any spell of mine be murmured in your ear!

For I will seek you in the bowers
Where Plato marked the virgin souls desiring
The birth-call of the ripening hours,
And Spenser saw old Genius attiring
The naked babes. And I will help to dress
The awful beauty of your nakedness;
And from that moment you shall be
The Poet of the Isle, a Poet glad and free.

* * * *

Yet haply should the search be vain.
For that I am not worthy — you are coming:
Heaven holds you promised! Karran, Cain,
Kewish, Skillicorn, revealed the absolute summing
Of cherished hopes. So may the Gods enlarge
Your wings to flight immortal as the charge
You keep to sing the perfect song
Pent in your Mother’s inmost heart, and pent so long!

Nor lacking you of scholarship
To guide the subtle harmonies soft-flowing
From rugged outward-seeming lip,
By vulgar minds not relished, all unknowing
Of gentle arts. Trench deep within the soil
That bore you fateful: toil, and toil, and toil!
‘Tis deep as Death; dig, till the rock
Clangs hard against the spade, and yields the central shock.

No mincing this. Be nervous, soaked
In dialect colloquial, retaining
The native accent pure, unchoked
With cockney balderdash. Old Manx is waning,
She’s dying in the tholthan.1 Lift the latch,
Enter, and kneel beside the bed, and catch
The sweet long sighs, to which the clew
Trembles, and asks their one interpreter in you.

Then shut the tholthan. Strike the lyre,
Toward that proud shore your face reluctant turning;
With Keltic force, with Keltic fire,
With Keltic tears, let every string be burning.
And use the instrument that we have wrought,
Hammered on Saxon stithies, to our thought
Alien, unapt, but capable of modes
Wherein the soul its treasured wealth unloads.

* * * *

And, for the wayward thing is lax,
Capricious, guard against the insidious changing
Of pitch, that makes more tense, or slacks
Our diatonics. See there be no ranging
Ad libitum; but moor the wand’rer fast,
And fix him where two sev’ring ages cast
Their secular anchors. Matters not,
If arbitrary, when or where one single jot.

But come, come soon, or else we slide
To lawlessness, or deep-sea English soundings,
Absorbent, final, in the tide
Of Empire lost, from homely old surroundings,
Familiar, swept. O excellent babe, arise,
And, ere a decade fall from forth the skies,
Unto our longing hearts be born,
Cain, Karran, Kewish supreme, supremest Skillicorn!

1. Ruined cottage.


D. Macaskill

Grey mists are creeping o’er the earth, dark clouds rush through the sky,
The night-wind with its wakeful hush sweeps low and sadly by;
How mournful is its swelling dirge! its deep and stirring tones,
As it waves the white grass on the walls, the moss upon the stones!
The dew-damp of a hundred years hath quenched the lonely hearth,
The feudal pomp of gone-by days moulders with crumbling earth;
The mountain blast hath borne the foam from off the mountain stream,
And wreathed it round the wasted towers that gloom in the moonbeam.

A vision of the past returns. The hearth, now black and cold,
Is blazing bright, while ring around the laugh and song of old;
There are fair maids, and bright-eyed boys, and lips that sweetly smile;
The war-deeds of our sires are told, who fought for our loved Isle,
And there a bard with silver hair sings the bold gathering song,
Till the fire of light in every face burns steady, stern, and strong;
There is a shout on every lip, a deed in every eye,
And a hundred high and hoary hills give back the patriot cry!

But the howlet’s scream and the coney’s foot have sounded through the hall,
And gloomy ivy, banner-like, hangs darkly on the wall;
The song that swelled in days of yore hath sunk to the midnight sigh,
The brown fern rustles o’er the hearth, which erst was blazing high.
Where are the sons of lonely Mann, whose barks o’er the wide, wide sea,
Were light as the bound of the mountain deer, as fearless and as free?
Whose march in light was like a crag from some tall mountain riven.
Or like the eagle when he swoops resistless from the heaven.

Where are the heart and eye of fire, which knew nor fear nor rest.
Like the levin-bolt which fiercely plays o’er Greeba’s rugged crest?
They’re scattered like the roaring surge, which bursts upon the rock,
Or the grim cliff that’s shivered by the sounding thunder-shock.
And they have left no trace behind, save those storm-beaten walls,
Beneath whose base, with echoes harsh, the wave of Ocean falls,
Deserted are the halls, save when, in his lone wanderings,
The falcon swoops from his height awhile to rest his weary wings.


J. Fred. Gill

Up with the lug and let her run
Before the wind and tide;
The gannets plunge, the gulls keep watch,
The herring shoal is wide.

Oh, the herring, boys, the herring,
Oh! the herring, boys, for me!
Red or kipper’d, fresh or pickled,
Oh! the herring is king of the sea!

Contrary Head and Niarbyl Point
Will soon be left behind;
Off Fleshwick Bay, sou’ west by west.
Our merry friends we’ll find.

Admiral Quirk has struck his flag,
So down with the nets, and pray1
The fisher’s Friend to bless our homes
And toil by night and day.

Over the Cronk-ny-irree-laa2
The sun’s bright signal shines;
‘Tis time to haul our glitt’ring train
And ship our loaded lines.

With moisten’d brow, and grateful heart,
And joyful voice we raise,
As homeward glides our gallant craft,
Our morning songs of praise.

1. It was the custom of the Manx fishermen to join in prayer before shooting their nets.
2. Cronk-ny-irree-laa: The hill of the rising day.


Emil Ingram

Hush, little darling, the daisies you love
Under the stars now lie sleeping;
Hush thee, ah! hush thee, my little white dove,
Trust thou thy life to my keeping;
Mother is near thee, sweet; what can befall?
Angels are guarding thee, God guards us all.
Hush thee, ah! hush thee, my little white dove;
God has us all in His keeping!

Hush, little darling, my blossom, my dove!
Is it the night wind thou fearest?
How should you fear, mantled o’er with my love?
Hush thee, ah, hush thee, my dearest!
Mother is near thee, sweet; what can befall?
Angels are guarding thee, God guards us all.
Hush thee, ah! hush thee, my little white dove;
God has us all in His keeping!

1. Old Manx air, “Ushag Veg Ruy” (“Little Red Bird”).



Mourn, Mona, thy sweet sing’er is no more,
Who sang because he loved! full love, full song!
‘Twere treason for such love to paint thy sons
As paragons of virtue; greater treason still
To truth; such love as his could never sing
Half truth.
Yet some did love him not, because
His love-song ran in perfect harmony,
Because he knew subtly to interweave
Those undertones of truth, those discord strains
Of native coarseness with his melody,
And dared to write the language of thy sons
In all its nakedness of common speech.
They loved him not because they could not grasp
The length and breadth, and depth and height of love
Foursquare in all its passionate embrace
Of native life.
He loved, as they do love,
His Island’s mountains, everlasting hills,
The beauteous girdle of her azure sea,
And all her fairness plain to common eyes,
And all her saints, whose memory lingers still
In Manxmen’s hearts;
But with an equal love
He loved her cushags, curraghs, claddaghs, dubs,
Her ruined tholtans, and her crazy Chalse,
Her sinners and her saints; he loved his love,
For better or for worse, till death did part.
And would they know the beauty in his life,
Their love must be like his — a perfect love.


W. H. Gill

O LAND of our birth,
O gem of God’s earth,
O Island so strong and so fair;
Built firm as Barrool,
Thy throne of Home Rule
Makes us free as thy sweet mountain air.

When Gorry, the Dane,
In Mannin did reign,
‘Twas said he had come from above;
For wisdom from heav’n
To him had been giv’n
To rule us with justice and love.

Let storm-winds rejoice,
And lift up their voice,
No danger our homes can befall;
Our green hills and rocks
Encircle our flocks,
And keep out the sea like a wall.

Our Island, thus blest,
No foe can molest;
Our grain and our fish shall increase;
From battle and sword
Protecteth the Lord,
And crowneth our nation with peace.

Then let us rejoice
With heart, soul, and voice,
And in the Lord’s promise confide;
That each single hour
We trust in His power
No evil our souls can betide.


[Manx Gaelic Version of above.]

J. J. Kneen

O Halloo nyn ghooie,
O Chliegeen ny s’ bwaaie
Ry gheddyn er ooir aalin Yee;
Shickyr ta dty Ardstoyl,
Farraghtyn myr Baarool,
As freayll shin ayns seyrsnys as shee.

Tra haink Gorree yn Dane,
Er traie ec y Lhane,
Son Ree Vannin v’eh er ny reih;
‘S va creenaght veih Heose
Er ny chur huggey neose
Dy reill harrin lesh cairys as graih.

Lhig dorrinyn bra,
Troggal seose nyn goraa,
As brishey magh ayns ard arrane;
Ta nyn groink aalin glass,
Yn keayn cummal ass,
As coadey lught-thie as shiollane.

Nyn Ellan fo-hee,
Cha boir noidyn ee,
Nee bishagh nyn eeastyn as grain;
Nee’n Chiarn shin y reayll
Voish strieughyn yn theihll
As crooinnagh lesh shee’n ashoon ain.

Lhig dooin boggoil y ve,
Lesh cree, annym, ‘s coraa,
As credjal ayns gialdyn yn Chiarn;
Dy vodmayd dagh oor,
Treishteil ayns e phooar,
Gagh oik ass nyn anmeenyn ‘hayrn.



W. H. Gill

The snow’s on the mountains,
The snow’s in the gill,
My sheep they have wandered
All over the hill;
Uprise then, my shepherds,
With haste let us go
Where my sheep are all buried
Deep under the snow.

The dogs in the haggard
Are barking aloud,
At the moon, as she struggles
From under the cloud.
Uprise then, my shepherds,
With haste let us go
Where my sheep are all buried
Deep under the snow.

Take staves, and take lanterns,
Put on your carranes1;
We’ll hunt on the mountains,
We’ll hunt in the plains.
Uprise then, my shepherds,
With haste let us go
Where my sheep are all buried
Deep under the snow.

Then up rose those shepherds,
With haste they did go
Where the sheep lay all buried
Deep under the snow;
They sought them with sorrow,
They sought them with dread,
And they found them at last; —
But the sheep were all dead!

1. Carranes, Sandals of raw hide formerly worn by the Manx peasants.



W. H. Gill

And do you want to know, my boys,
The for1 I am so glad?
If you were in my shoes, my boys,
You’d never more be sad.
I’m happy as a king, my boys,
Whatever ills betide;
Go to the Church and ring, my boys;
She says she’ll be my bride!

The day I went to Castletown
To see my Ben my Chree,2
She wore her finest Sunday gown
As purple as the sea.
I’m happy as a king, my boys,
Whatever ills betide;
Go to the Church and ring, my boys,
She says she’ll be my bride!

We sat beneath the trammon tree,3
Her little hands in mine;
Her blackbird sang a melody
That sounded all divine.
I’m happy as a king, my boys,
Whatever ills betide;
Go to the Church and ring, my boys,
She says she’ll be my bride!

Oh, would that God had taught me too
To sing so sweet a song;
I’d sing it to her all night through,
I’d sing it all day long!
I’m happy as a king, my boys,
Whatever ills betide;
Go to the Church and ring, my boys,
She says she’ll be my bride!

1. The reason why.
2. Sweetheart.
3. The elder-tree.



W. H. Gill

“Sir Thomas1 and his Lady taking their usual walk in his park, drew near to a desert and wild situation where it was commonly reported an Eagle usually built her nest, and upon their near approach thereto, heard the cries of a young child, which they ordered the servants attending to look for, who on search reported that it was in the Eagle’s nest, which they directed to be taken down, and to their great surprize and wonder was found to be a male child, and they, having no male issue, looked upon this child as a present from Heaven, and had it carefully nursed, and baptized by the name of Latham, and as the story goes on, he became possessor of that large estate, and at his death left an only daughter named Isabel, whom Sir John Stanley married, and in the memory of this event, took the Eagle and Child for his Crest, as since used by his noble successors the Earls of Derby.” — (Seacomb’s Memoirs of the House of Stanley, 1767.)

‘TWAS eve; and, bathed in purple mist,
The sun was sinking, when
Sir Thomas and his Lady fair
Were walking up the glen.2

All bent with age and care, they mused
In pensive mood and sad.
That all these years no Heir had come
To make their household glad.

When suddenly upon the ear
There fell, as from the sky,
All through that golden solitude
A baby’s tender cry.

High up the heather-crested peak
Of proud Cronk Urleigh’s3 breast
An eagle on a rocky ledge
Had built her scanty nest.

The servants ran and found the babe
And snatched it from the nest;
They laid it in the Lady’s arms,
She warmed it at her breast.

Then home they took the little babe —
‘Twas hale and strong and fair —
And praised the Lord with thankful hearts
That He had heard their prayer.

And when, arrived at man’s estate,
The little stranger came
To rule the Island of his birth
He won a splendid fame.

To-day great Derby’s House still paints
Upon its ‘scutcheon bold
An Eagle and a little Child
With coronet of gold.

1. Sir Thomas Latham, ancestor of the Houses of Stanley and Derby.
2. Glen Wyllin, in Kirk Michael.
3. Cronk Urleigh in Michael, i.e., The Hill of Eagles, on which in olden times were held the Tynwald Courts.

YN MODDEY DOO. (The Black Dog.)


W. H. Gill

The Castle clock had struck the midnight hour,
The warder slept upon the high watch-tower,
And all was still on land and sea.
The soldiers sat around the guard-room fire,
And heard the Minstrel play upon the lyre
Proud songs of war and bravery.

The music ceased, all dim the cresset burned,
Towards the secret door all eyes were turned
Where glared the eyes of Moddey Doo.
Then spake the Bard — “Who is the bravest man
Of this brave host? — As foremost of the van
Let him the Devil-Dog pursue!”

Then Juan Quayle stood up and said — “I’ll go!
Or dog or devil, I defy the foe!”
Thus spake he, drew his sword, and went.
In breathless silence sat the company
To think what might befall, when suddenly
With hideous yells the air was rent.

At last, all pale, their comrade hastened back
With broken sword and bleeding head, alack!
His face and limbs convulsed with pain.
They gave him spirit and they gave him ale,
But all their efforts were of no avail —
Struck dumb, he never spake again!

To-day the dwellers near St. Patrick’s Isle,
Beneath the shadow of the mouldering pile,
Relate – ’tis passing strange but true —
How, when the waves at midnight lash the shore,
There mingles with the angry tempest’s roar
The dismal howl of Moddey Doo.


AIR — “YN COLEAGH BRECK.” (The Speckled Heifer.)

W. H. Gill

She was Kit, and he was Juan,
And they lived at Port y Shee;1
Him she called her own King Gorry,
Her he called his Ben my Chree
As they walked along the meadows
Of the peaceful Port y Shee.

“Kit,” quoth he, “I cannot marry,
Marry, marry thee,
For thou no marriage portion hast,
And I no property.”

Quoth she “There is our little calf —
1 cannot have it now,
But Father says it shall be mine
When it becomes a cow;

So although we cannot marry,
Marry, marry, marry now,
We can tarry, tarry, tarry
Till the calf becomes a cow;”
So they both resolved to tarry
Till the calf should be a cow.

Day by day she’d put a wreath
Of daisies round its neck,
For Juan’s sake she’d often stoop
To kiss her Coleagh breck.3

One night there came a fairy host —
‘Twas on the first of May;
They filled the barn with song and rout,
And stole the calf away.

But in her stall, so snug and warm,
They’d left three sacks of gold,
They’d filled the loft with yellow corn
And harvest wealth untold.

Kit and Juan, there and then, resolv’d
To wed without delay;
And they married, married, married
In that merry month of May;
And Kirk Braddan bells were ringing,
Ringing, ringing all the day.

Lads and maids, don’t marry, marry
Till your ways and means are sure;
Lest, when want comes in at the window, —
Love flies out at the door:
Therefore tarry, tarry, tarry
To the tune of Traa dy liooar!4

1. Port y Shee, Harbour of Peace.
2. Ben My Chree, Woman of my Heart.
3. The Speckled Calf.
4. Traa dy liooar, Time enough. — A common saying in the Isle of Mann.


(Manx Fishermen’s Evening Hymn.)

W. H. Gill

“That it may please Thee to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, and to restore and continue to us the blessings of the sea, so as in due time we may enjoy them.” — (Manx Book of Common Prayer.)

“Before shooting the nets, at a sign from the master of the boat, every man, upon his knees and with uncovered head, implores for a minute the blessing and protection of the Almighty.” (Manx Society’s Publications, Vol. XVI.)

Hear us, O Lord, from Heaven, Thy dwelling place;
Like them of old, in vain we toil all night
Unless with us Thou go, Who art the Light;
Come then, O Lord, that we may see Thy Face.

Thou, Lord, dost rule the raging of the sea,
When loud the storm and furious is the gale;
Strong is thine Arm, our little barks are frail;
Send us Thy help; remember Galilee.

Our wives and children we commend to Thee;
For them we plough the land and plough the deep,
For them by day the golden corn we reap,
By night the silver harvest of the sea.

We thank Thee, Lord, for sunshine, dew, and rain,
Broad-cast from Heaven by Thine Almighty hand —
Source of all life, unnumbered as the sand —
Bird, beast, and fish; herb, fruit, and golden grain.

O Bread of Life! Thou in Thy Word hast said
“Who feeds in faith on Me shall never die;”
In mercy hear Thy hungry children’s cry —
“Father, give us this day our daily bread.”

Sow in our hearts the seeds of Thy dear love,
That we may reap Contentment, Joy, and Peace;
And, when at last our earthly labours cease,
Grant us to join Thy Harvest Home above.


Alfred Perceval Graves

The Original is the Welsh Song. ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadan.’ English translation by A. P. Graves; Manx Translation by J. J. Kneen.

O Land of my fathers, O Land of my love,
Dear mother of minstrels who kindle and move,
And heroes who, holding your fame beyond all,
For freedom their life blood let fall.
Mann! Mann! O but my heart is with you!
And as long as the sea
Your bulwark shall be
To Mannin my heart shall be true!

O Land of the mountains, the bard’s Paradise,
Whose precipice proud, valleys lone as the skies,
Green murmuring forest, far echoing flood
Fire the fancy and quicken the blood.
Mann! Mann! O but my heart is with you!
And as long as the sea
Your bulwark shall be
To Mannin my tongue shall be true!

For though the fierce foeman has ravaged your realm,
The old speech of Mannin he cannot o’erwhelm,
Our passionate song into silence command
Or banish the harp from your strand.
Mann! Mann! O but my heart is with you!
And as long as the sea
Your bulwark shall be
To Mannin my tongue shall be true.


[Manx Gaelic Version of above.]

J. J. Kneen

O Heer my Hennayryn; O Halloo my ghraih!
Voir villish dy vardyn ta griennagh dty leih;
As dunnallee chum dhyts dty voyrn as ardghoo,
Dys gheayrt fuill nyn mioys assdoo:
Heer Ghooie! She Ihiats ta m’annym as cree,
Chouds’ tou Vannin veen
Er dty chruinnagh lesh keayn
Nee’m cummal ayns seyrsnys as shee.

O Halloo ny Sleityn! O Phargys yn Vard
Lesh glionteeyn aalin, as eaynneeyn ard;
Lesh awinyn tassaneagh, as keylljyn sheeoil,
Lesh eunys to’u greesagh my uill.
Heer Ghooie! She Ihiats ta m’annym as cree,
Chouds’ tou Vannin veen
Er dty chruinnagh lesh keayn
Nee’m cummal ayns seyrsnys as shee.

Ga dy dug ny noidyn ayd jeeill er dty rheam,
Bee’n chenn ghlare dy Vannin dy-kinjagh ermayrn.
Bee cairys ain chouds’ hassys shenn Cronk Keeil Eoin,
Nyn seyrsnys cha vod ve goit vein.
Heer Ghooie She Ihiats ta m’annym as cree,
Chouds’ tou Vannin veen
Er dty chruinnagh lesh keayn
Nee’m cummal ayns seyrsnys as shee.


Alfred Perceval Graves

The Scot to mighty Wallace
And lordly Bruce is leal;
The Irish heart’s the palace
Of Brian and O’Neil;
The Welsh, they laud Llewelyn
With harp and trumpet tone;
But oh! our hero’s Illiam,
Our hero’s Illiam Dhone!

For when oppression flourish’d,
And we were slaves, not men,
What voice rebellion nourish’d
And gave us heart again?
What proud insurgent vassal
Could shake the tyrant’s throne,
And pluck from him his castle,
Say, who but Illiam Dhone?

Ah! laurel tree fair risen,
But blasted at a breath,
O’erpower’d and pent in prison —
Tried, doom’d, and led to death!
His fair ones he is clasping —
A flash, a fall, a groan —
And in his life’s blood, gasping,
Lies gallant Illiam Dhone!

His foes traduced him living,
His foes traduced him dead,
With hatred unforgiving,
Our hand, our heart, our head.
But when the dead have mounted
Before the Judgment Throne,
Which shall be righteous counted,
Shall they, or Illiam Dhone?

Then, oh, while great and simple
Still side by side are set,
In God’s own Tynwald temple,
Let Manxmen ne’er forget,
That the red seal on a charter
Of freedom all our own
Is the life-blood of our martyr
And monarch, Illiam Dhone!

For an account of the history of Illiam Dhone (William Christian) and the Manx Rebellion of 1651, see volume xxvi. of the Manx Society.



Them was the times, the fine oul’ times,
When the Manx was goin’ a spakin’;
In the pulpit an’ all, it was goin’ for all,
At the like of the oul’ Archdacon.

Them was the times, th’ oul’-fashioned times,
When the flax would be goin’ a spinnin’;
An’ the busy the queelswere whistling roun’,
As quick as the talk of the women.

Them was the times, the prosperous times,
When no one was thinkin’ of savin’s;
But heavin’ the puddens over the quay
To show there was lanshins and lavin’s.

Them was the times, the fine oul’ times,
When the weaver was bringin’ the newses,
An’ colloguin2 the bargain urrov the wife
While giving the masthar his viewses.

Them was the times, the courtin’ times,
When the buoys to the dhure were stealin’;
And the busy the dogs were waggin’ their tails
To show there was no ill-feelin’.

Them was the times, the fine oul’ times.
When the childher was goin’ a rarin’
On porridge an’ jough, an’ bonnags an’ broth,
An’ suppin’ on priddhas an’ herrin’.

1. Spinning wheels.
2. Persuading.



What road are you taking, my Ihiannoo veg villish,2
And where will you go at the end of the day?
We are taking the road to the Glen of the Twilight,
And ‘Cadlag the Sleeper’ will show us the way.
Where the Fayries are weaving the dreams for our pillow,
And lighting the candles that burn in the sky;
Where ‘Cadlag the Sleeper’ is swaying the willow,
And blackbirds are calling, Oie-vie! Oie-vie!3

And what will you do in the Glen of the Twilight,
When ‘Cadlag the Sleeper’ has found you a nest?
We’ll play with the roses the Fayries have brought us,
And murmur of waters shall lull us to rest.
Where the Fayries are weaving the dreams for our pillow
And rocking the cradle where softly we’ll lie —
Where ‘Cadlag the Sleeper’ is swaying the willow,
And childher are nodding, Oie-vie! Oie-vie!

1. One of the Seven Sleepers.
2. Sweet little child.
3. Good-night.



O COME all ye people with prayer and with praise,
To bless our great Ruler, the Ancient of Days;
Though nations be shifting as grains in the sand,
In honour and safety may He keep our land.

He bringeth us Harvest from mountain and sea,
Our Tower of Refuge in danger is He;
Through perils and changes upheld by His Might,
With Him for our Leader we strive for the right.

Our old Island Kingdom enthroned on the deep,
Our Celtic Inheritance, long may we keep;
With customs and laws that our forefathers gave,
Unsullied, unblemished, and free as the wave.

Then stand up, ye sons of the Vikings, and hold
Your freedom and honour as dearer than gold;
So Rulers and People together shall sing,
In peace and agreement may God save our King!



There’s a wickad little falla that goes among us here,
An’ the wickadness thass at him is tellin’ far an’ near;
He’s prowlin’ in the haggart an’ in at every dhure,
An’ coaxin’ an’ persuadin’ — an’ his name is Traa-dy-Liooar!

The house is all through others, the childher’s late for school,
The man is spendin’ all his time in lookin’ for a tool,
The wumman’s tired thremendjus with clearin’ up the flure,
An’ the wan that’s doin’ all the jeel2 is wickad Traa-dy-Liooar!

The fields is full of cushag, the gates is patched with gorse,
You’ll hardly see the harness for the mire upon the horse;
The cows is shoutin’ shockin’, an’ puzzlin’ them for sure,
Is the waitin’ doin’ on them at that tejus3 Traa-dy-Liooar!

There’s a power of foes within us, and enemies without,
But the wan that houls the candle is that little lazy lout;
So just you take an’ scutch him, an’ put him to the dhure,
An’ naver let him in again, that tejus Traa-dy-Liooar!

1. Manx Gaelic for “time enough.”
2. Damage.
3. Tedious.



O the cushag flower, in a fairy bower,
Would shine like a star of gold;
But when it grows in the farmer’s close
‘Tis a shocking weed, we’re told.
Yet common things
May have their wings
To help our souls above;
And wayside weeds,
Like kindly deeds,
Spring from a Father’s love.

The cushag flower had fairy power
In olden times, you know,
To bear you away, on a summer’s day,
Wherever you wished to go.
Its golden wings
Were slender things
To carry souls aloft;
But fairy tales,
Like fresh’ning gales,
May have their uses oft.

The cushag flower, in a stormy hour,
Shines brighter for the gloom;
So kindly deeds, like wayside weeds,
May shine when troubles loom.
Old folks would say,
In their own day,
When troubles took their fill,
And times were bad,
And hearts were sad,
“There’s gool on the cushag still!”

Now the cushag, we know, must never grow
Where the farmer’s work is done;
But along the rills, in the heart of the hills,
The cushag may shine like the sun.
Where the golden flowers
Have fairy powers
To gladden our hearts with their grace;
And in Vannin Veg Veen,
In the valleys green,
The cushags have still a place.




Oh, dark is the daylight and darker the sky,
And small are the snowflakes, but closely they lie:
Then rouse ye, my shepherds, to the hills we must
For I’m fearin’ the sheep will be lost in the snow!

Then up rose the shepherd and sadly did say:
“Oh, masthar, oh, masthar, there’s sorrow this day —
For the childher this morn to the schoolhouse did go
And I’m fearin’ they’re losted deep under the snow!”

Oh, haste ye then, shepherds, get lanterns and men,
For the snowflakes are piling on mountain and glen.
Fetch Trusty and Mona, the best dogs I know,
For there’s more than the sheep may be lost in the snow.

Oh, Trusty, oh, Mona, what is it you’ve found,
And what is there under that cold, silent mound?
For the poor dogs, lamenting, lay down in their woe,
But their cries could not waken the lambs in the snow.

And there lay the childher so peaceful and sweet,
A sod for their pillow, a stone to their feet;
And rosy their faces in the lanterns’ red glow —
But the light never wakened the lambs in the snow!

There’s sheep on Slieu Whallian and sheep on Slieu Dhoo,
And young lambs are playing in sheltered Folieu;
But there’s mourning and crying in farms high and low
For the lambs that were lying deep under the snow.



The first day came from the bitter north —
Was there ever so cold a Spring?
But the sun shone out for an hour at noon,
And we heard the cuckoo sing!

The next day woke with a cheerless blast
And a sky that was gray with snow,
But we heard the corncrake tune his pipe
In the meadow down below!

The third day sobbed with a dismal rain,
The very trees looked numb,
But the swallows arrived on the old roof-tree,
And we knew that the summer would come!



Lone little tholtan, left by the wayside,
Where have they wandered that loved thee of old?
Where are the children that played by the fireside?
Poor little chiollagh,2 forlorn and cold!

Mutely thy gables are standing asunder,
Rafterless, ragged, the ruin between!
All that was homelike, secluded, and tender,
Stripped of its sheltering thatch is seen.

Why have they left thee so drear and forsaken,
Was it misfortune, or sadder unthrift?
Was there a stone of the Church in thy building
Secretly working to send them adrift?

Was it the dream of a new Eldorado
Lured them away with its roseate hue?
Only to find the green hills of the distance
Bare as Barooil to the nearer view.

Come winds of Autumn and cover it gently,
Poor little hearth-stone, deserted and bare;
Cover it softly with leaves from the woodlands,
Lap it away from the cold, bleak air.

Hasten the day when those desolate gables,
Holding their secret of failure and dearth,
Gently shall sink to their grave by the wayside,
Hidden at last in the warm, kind earth.

1. A ruined cottage.
2. Fireside.



O Mona ma Chree! we are far, far away,
And between us a wide, brimming sea;
But the roar of the wind is like music to-day,
For it minds us of Mona ma Chree.

O Mona ma Chree! we are long, long from home,
And longer our exile must be;
But a wreath of blue smoke, or a curl of salt foam,
Brings us back to our Mona ma Chree.

O Mona ma Chree! when darkened the dale
With the storms rushing in from the sea,
The gorse blazing golden o’er mountain and vale
Make a sunshine in Mona ma Chree.

O Mona ma Chree! though poor, poor and bare
The fisherman’s tholtan might be;
There was gold on the cushag and wine in the air
Of our loved little Mona ma Chree.

Dear Mona ma Chree! wherever we bide
Will our fond hearts be turning to thee;
And the roar of the wind and the roll of the tide
Will remind us of Mona ma Chree.

1. Mona, my heart.



When Magnus2 brought the magic cup
From Norway o’er the sea,
He said “Where shall I find a place
Where this may safely be?
For who shall break this crystal cup
From strife shall have no rest;
But who shall keep this crystal cup,
With peace he shall be blest.
So rare a thing, so fair a thing.
Is peace for ever blest.”

“The Northern farms stand square and strong,
Begirt with golden corn;
But Scottish kerns3 come raiding o’er
And vanish with the morn.
Old Inis Patrickholds her own
Above the stormy waves,
But she might lose the lovely thing
Among her winding caves.
Too rare a thing, too fair a thing,
To hide in gloomy caves.”

“In Castle Rushen’s banquet hall
A place might sure be found;
But some great shout, with shattering note,
Would dash it to the ground.
From Point of Ayre to Scarlett Rocks,
From Scarlett round to Bride,
Where shall I find a place of peace
In all the country wide?”

A little child came running by
And whispered in his ear:—
“Trust not the cup to mortal hands,
Though they should hold it dear,
But search among those ancient trees
On Ballafletcher lea,
You there shall find a place of peace
Where dwells the Lhiannan Shee.5
So rare a thing, so fair a thing,
Leave with the Lhiannan Shee.”

The little child ran on before,
And Magnus followed swift;
He found the place of ancient peace,
Where he might leave his gift.
“I leave the cup with you,” he cried,
“O mystic fairy sprite;
With magic spell, oh, guard it well,
And watch it day and night.
So rare a thing, so fair a thing,
To guard by day and night.”

And now where stand those churches twain
On Ballafletcher strand,
May peace and plenty still be found,
Through all the pleasant land.
Though storms may ravage overhead,
And clash their pealing bells;
Yet men may walk in peace below
If peace within them dwells.
So rare a thing, so fair a thing,
Is Peace where’er she dwells.

1. Ballafletcher, a farm on the ancient Abbey Lands of Braddan, on which the two Braddan Churches are built.
2. Magnus, King of Mann.
3. Scottish adventurers.
4. St. Patrick’s Isle, at Peel.
5. The Peace Fairy.


Stephen Hughes-Games

Autumn and whispering leaves:
Soft twilight fall;
Sunset and gathered sheaves,
Gold over all!

* * * *

Poet and Patriot, strong,
Tender and wise,
All notes were in thy song,
Mirth in thine eyes.

Keen was thy lash to scourge
Falsity, show;
Yet could thy pathos urge
Tears’ overflow.

At the heart’s core was joy —
Joy of a child;
‘Neath the man’s mask a boy —
Clean, undefiled.


A. A. Patterson

Ah, little Mona, native land of mine,
That fostered me between thy hills and bays,
I render thanks to God
That I was born in Thee!

Not in some larger land, whose wide domains
Could never all be known and loved by me
As old familiar scenes;
But thou art all my own!


W. Walter Gill

Above the blackness of Barrule
The full Moon lifts her face, and seems
To ponder every crag and pool
In Aldyn of the hundred streams:

But broods most tenderly, I think,
On the low dwelling where you lie;
And from the dew-gray garden’s brink
The River sings you lullaby.


W. Walter Gill

Through fires of rose and saffron sinks the sun
Beyond the glittering waters’ molten rim,
And the fair daylight hours, in joy begun,
Go down to death with him.

Slowly the splendours dwindle, slowly die,
The darkness deepens. Faint as from the verge
Of the vast emptiness of wave and sky
Come whispers of the surge.

Low hung against the star-gemmed violet eve,
The moon, dew-veiled, an ivory mirror gleams;
Give back, O moon, day’s lost delights, or weave
Their memories into dreams!


W. Walter Gill

In the sun’s heat I labour
At forkinig up the hay;
Fork-load by load I lift it,
And each load is a day.

And some are light and easy,
And some are heavy and spilled,
But as the stack grows greater
It is my life I build.


W. Walter Gill

Friend, whom in far-off cities fate detains.
Do you not sometimes think of your own land,
Your foam-ringed Island sweet with western rains,
Where gorse and fuchsia, by the soft air fanned.
Burn gold and crimson; where the element-scarred
Giant Barrule fronts with his sovereign stare
The huddled mountains Southward, and stands guard
Over dear Ramsey’s roofs and the wide Ayre?

Or sometimes, ‘mid the routine of the hour,
Does not a sudden glory surge in your breast
With abrupt flood and ebb of backward power,
Sucking your soul into its huge unrest,
Wetting your lashes with a kindred brine,
Charming your ears with deep continual sound
Of green swell breaking in a brilliant line
Up a long level beach by tall cliffs crowned?

When fire-born shadows flicker, and house and street
Are still, does never, awakening suddenly,
The sea-wind’s well-remembered anger beat
Iron-handed on the door of reverie?
Nor the sea’s breath blow rough and salt with spray
Through the dead air of dream in bitter kiss: —
Langness and Bradda and Maughold, do not they
Stab your mid-sleep with lightning memories?

To your strayed footsteps does no summons come,
At that hushed hour when twilight spreads her peace,
From a kind valley in the hills of home,
Through whose rich heart streams pour and never cease,
Where odorous wood-smoke wanders, and thin mist
Drifts soft as dreams drift through the vale of sleep,
Like day’s grey ghost haunting dusk’s amethyst —
Would not your pain be lulled there, would you
not slumber deep?


W. Walter Gill

Child, dream not overlong
How the swift-following breakers throng
In bright disorder up the sands a-fret;
Forget, forget
The salt that stings the lips, the sea-wind’s violent song.

‘Twixt coast and coast unending war is rolled;
But in your midland meadows night shall spread
A starry peace above your head,
And love untold
About your heart her sheltering’ wings shall fold.

Beneath her covering wings your heart shall bide . . .
Yet in sleep’s dim-lit landscape hide
Outlaws of memory —
Odours of weed, the surf’s monotony
Under the cliff’s dark side. . .
I know, I know: like passion stirs in me;
Our blood must answer still the unseen tide,
And still our finite hearts thirst for the infinite sea.


W. Walter Gill

A rendering into verse of W. J. Cain’s literal translation of Kennish’s “Dobberan Chengey ny Mayrey” published in 1840. (See A. W. Moore’s “Manx Ballads,” page 142)

I Walked on Snaefell all alone
When night’s black banner fell unfurled
Across the skies, and floated down
Over the Manx side of the world.

And following darkness came the rest
Then God gives man to comfort him —
His peace to those of troubled breast,
His sleep to those of wearied limb.

But to my heart no quiet came —
Only the dark’ness brooded there,
To see my country brought to shame
By those who should have cherished her.

And while I pondered Mannin’s ills —
The change, the strife, the suffering,
Behold! a woman on the hills,
Running towards me through the ling.

Old, old and gray, bowed down with years,
Her tattered garments wet with dew,
Her ancient visage wet with tears,
She rose upon my startled view.

The heart within me shook with grief
To see the hapless creature’s plight,
For she had known (’twas my belief,)
More honour than was hers that night.

As thus she came I heard her sigh:
“What woe is mine, what misery!
Despised, abandoned thus to die,
By those who should have cherished me.”

* * * * *

Each little bird had found its nest,
Each lamb had found its mother’s side;
The sea rose up in dark unrest
Beneath the night-wind’s trampling stride.

The sun had set; a shadowy veil
Crept westward over dreem and pairk;
The moon had spread her silver sail,
And drifted glorious up the dark.

On Snaefell’s grassy slope we sate,
I and the ancient woman there:
“O Manxman, hear me now relate
Why thus I wander, thus despair.

“I am thy dying Mother-tongue,
The first speech of this Island race,
Dying, because of the deep wrong
Of their neglect and my disgrace.

“‘Twas I who kept the strangers out,
And kept unspoiled our Island home:
‘Tis I could put them still to rout,
And spare my children grief to come.

“But now up every hill and glen,
On Cardle Vooar, in Tholt-y-will,
Come companies of Englishmen,
Their multitudes increasing still.

“From Jurby southward to the Sound,
Mad as the beasts the croghan1 stings,
The Manxmen a strange taste have found
For English words and English things

“As never their forefathers used,
Who loved their land and cherished me,
And in their wisdom still refused
The stranger’s gold and flattery.

“Ah! would that those who yet remain
Of loyal heart and loyal speech
Would rise upon the Saxon strain,
And drive them seaward from the beach;

“And turn again to field and boat —
The simpler tasks of former days —
From the bewildering world remote.
Contented in their fathers’ ways.

“O men of Mannin, trust not those
Who come with gifts but stay to rule;
Their gold is but the bribe of foes,
Their speech a plaything for the fool.

“But I, forgot, must follow this
The dusty pathway to the tomb;
For see, my head how gray it is
With age, and grief, and nearing doom!”

1. Horse-fly.


P. W. Caine

The long curving road ran down to the beach,
With coasts rounding off on either side;
To right or left, far as eye could reach,
A continent stretched flat and wide,
Of whit’ning sand — the blazing sun’s bleach? —
And a strip, a shade, of hueless tide.

Behind, dunes of sand rose to hide the land,
By playful breezes channelled and swirled;
They were clothed with a greeny-yellowy bent,
And withered weeds discoloured and curled;
And I breathed the sea-air; and inhaled the sea-scent,
And thought myself come to the edge of the world.


P. W. Caine

O the bloom of the bluebells in Scacafel’s1 woods,
O the tints of the larch leaves above!
O the ferns overspreading, as dark emerald hoods,
Round the bloom of the bluebells in Scacafel’s woods;
It was Spring in her playfullest, sprightliest moods,
As I climbed up the path with my love;
O the bloom of the bluebells in Scacafel’s woods,
And the tints of the larch leaves above!

O the heather and gorse on old Bradda’s broad back,
A mantle of purple and gold!
(No purple or gold need the Manxman e’er lack
While there’s heather and gorse on old Bradda’s broad back);
Down below, toiled the farmer ‘mid stook and ‘mid stack,
For Autumn had naught to withhold;
O the heather and gorse on old Bradda’s broad back,
A mantle of purple and gold!

O the hawthorn or rose, like white cliffs o’er a strait,
O’erhanging the road on each side!
O the fuchsia that brightens each cottager’s gate
‘Twixt the hawthorn, or rose, the white cliffs o’er the strait;
Such beauties in Manxland lie constant in wait,
Nor alone in one district abide;
O the hawthorn or rose, like white cliffs o’er a strait,
O’erhanging the road on each side!

My love, are we chained to this drab, dismal town,
Have we bidden our Mother good-bye?
Though the call of the glens Mammon’s chariots would crown,
My love, are we chained to this drab, dismal town?
O to lay all the strenuous history down,
To see the dear face and then die!
My love, are we chained to this drab, dismal town,
Have we bidden our Mother good-bye?

1. Scacafel – old Manx name for Skye Hill.


P. W. Caine

My bonnie Willie Clague,
Are you not a captain brave,
Arm and heart bent to achieve
Glory or the grave?
Down at Surby green,
There you pitch your little camp;
How the daisies fall and die
‘Neath your martial tramp!

My bonnie Willie Clague,
Are you not an Indian fierce,
Uttering war-whoops dread as e’er
Pale-face ear could pierce?
Down at Surby roads,
There you fly with lifted spear;
How the waving of your hands
Fills the fowls with fear!

My bonny Willie Clague,
Are you not a sailor bold,
Skilled to cheat the cruel waves
By stern tempests rolled?
Down at Surby brook,
There you float your gallant bark;
But her voyages all cease
When the day grows dark.


Jean traagh choud as ta’n ghrian soilshean!
Make hay while the sun shines!

Ta dty Ihiasagh dty ghoarn!
Thy recompense is in thine own hand!

Share goll dy Ihie fegooish shibber na girree ayns Ihiastynys!
Better to go to bed supperless than to get up in debt!

Lhiat myr hoilliu!
Success as thou deservest!

Cha bee breagerey creidit, ga dy ninsh eh y n’irriney!
A liar will not be believed though he speaks the truth!

Quocunque jeceris stabit.
Raad erbee cheauys oo eh, hassys eh!
Whatever circumstances may come, I stand!

Ta meir frioosagh ny share na toghyr-poosee.
Thrifty fingers are better than a marriage portion.

Baarail ommijagh ta ayr boghtynid.
Foolish spending is the father of poverty.

Onid aalid ben.
Simplicity is the beauty of a woman.

Bee shin unnane jeh uinnagyn glen Yee dy vod yn ghloyr echey soilshean ny trooid.
Be one of God’s clean windows, that His glory may shine through.

Ta beeal tutler poagey-scrieu jouyll.
A gossip’s mouth is the devil’s post-bag.

Shee, yn chibbyr ta’n strooan dy gherjagh roie voish.
Peace is the well from which the stream of joy runs.


Ayr ain t’ayns niau,
Father our who art in heaven,

Casherick dy row dt’ ennym.
Holy (may) be Thy name.

Dy jig dty reeriaght.
Come Thy Kingdom,

Dt’ aigney dy row jeant er y thalloo myr te ayns niau.
Thy will be done on the earth as it is in heaven

Cur dooin nyn arran jiu as gagh laa.
Give to us our bread to-day and every day.

As leih dooin nyn loghtyn
And forgive to us our tresspasses

Myr ta shin leih dauesvn ta jannoo loghtyn nyn ‘oi.
As are we forgiving to those who are committing trespasses us against.

As ny leeid shin ayns miolagh;
And not lead us into temptation;

Agh livrey shin veih olk.
But deliver us from evil.

Son Ihiats y reeriaght,
For Thine the Kingdom.

As y phooar, as y ghloyr.
And the power, and the glory,

Son dy bragh as dy bragh. Amen.
For ever and ever. Amen.


Quotations for this volume have been taken from the following and other sources, namely: —

Brown, Rev. Robert. Poems. 1826.
Brown, Rev. T. E. Collected Poems. 1909.
“Cushag.” Poems.
Forbes, Edward, Life of. By Wilson and Geikie. 1861.
Gill, W. H. Manx National Songs. 1896.
A Manx Wedding and other Songs. 1900.
Green, Eliza Craven. Sea Weeds and Heath Flowers. 1858.
Hughes-Games, Rev. Stephen. Thekla, and other Poems. 1904,
Kennish William. Mona’s Isle and other Poems. 1844.
Moore, A. W. Manx Ballads. 1896.
Nelson, Esther. Island Minstrelsy. 1839.
Ouseley, T. J. Mona’s Isle, and other Poems. 1853.
Patterson, A. A. Quacks and Twitters. 1910.
Quiggin’s Guide to the Isle of Man. 1842.
Shimmin, Edward. Poems on Several Subjects. 1817.
St. Matthew’s Bazaar Handbook. 1897.
Train, Joseph. Historical Account of the Isle of Man. 1845.
The Isle of Man Times. File of 1897.
The Manx Sun. File of 1840.
Wood, G. H. Poems. 1853.
Wordsworth, William. Poems.


BROWN, REV. ROBERT (1792-1846). — The only son of Captain Robert Brown and Jane Drumgold, both of Douglas. His mother’s family name was given to Drumgold-street in that town. His grandmother was a Stowell, of Ballastowell, Maughold, and he was also connected with that other old Manx family, the Cosnahans. The Rev. Robert Brown will be best remembered as the father of the Rev. T. E. Brown, the great Manx poet. He was educated at the Castletown Academic School, and became Head Master of the Douglas Grammar School and Chaplain of St. Matthew’s (1817-1832), and Vicar of Braddan (1836-1846). His son T. E. Brown says he preached a sermon in Manx Gaelic every Sunday, and with these discourses he took even more pains than with his English.

BROWN, REV. T. E. (1830-1897). — The third son of the above-named Rev. Robert Brown and Dorothy Thompson, and younger brother of the eminent Baptist divine, the Rev. Hugh Stowell Brown. Born in New Bond Street, Douglas. Educated partly in the parish school at Braddan and partly by his father. At the age of 15 he went to King William’s College. In 1847 he won the second prize for a poem, the first prize having been won by F. W. Farrar, afterwards Canon Farrar (author of “Eric, or Little by Little”), who was at King William’s College at the same time. He secured several valuable successes at both the College and later at Oxford. In 1854 he obtained the highest academic honour, that of a Fellowship at Oriel. He was Vice-Principal of King William’s College for eight years. In 1864 he was appointed second master of Clifton College, where he spent nearly 30 years. He repaired to his beloved homeland in 1892, and took up residence in Ramsey. A bust in marble, carved by a Manx sculptor, Swinnerton, stands in the hall of the Douglas Public Library. He published several volumes of verse, the first being “Betsy Lee, and other Poems,” in 1881, and the whole were collected and published in one volume shortly after his death. Later, his letters to a number of friends were also collected and published. Although a great quantity of his verse is in the Manx dialect, he is increasingly being recognised as taking high rank among the masters of English poetic literature.

E.P. — I have been unable to ascertain the identity of the author writing under the initials E.P. No one but a Manxman could have written the charming lines on page 55. They appeared in The Isle of Man Times in 1897, just after T. E. Brown’s death.

FORBES, PROFESSOR EDWARD (1815-1854). — Son of Edward Forbes, of Oakhill and Cronkbane, near Douglas, and Jane, heiress of William Teare, of Corvalla and Ballabeg, Ballaugh, was bom in Lord Street, Douglas, near the Public Library. His first tutor was a Miss Stowell. He spent most of his earlier years at the home of his grandmother in Ballaugh, and developed his love of natural history pursuits there. At 16, he entered Edinburgh University as a medical student, but his leanings were to natural history. In 1832, he investigated the natural history of Mann. In the following year he sailed from Douglas in a timber brig to Norway, where he studied marine life. In 1834 he dredged the sea round the coasts of his own country. He visited France, Switzerland, Germany, and Algeria, studying natural history, and lectured in London and other University cities. In 1841 he was appointed naturalist to H.M.S. Beacon, engaged in surveying work in the Levant. He dredged the south and west coasts of Asia Minor in 1842, and in his absence he was elected Professor of Botany at King’s College, London, and Curator of the Museum of the Geological Society. In 1844 he was appointed Government Palaeontologist on the Geological Survey, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geological Society, of which Society, in 1853, he became President. In the following year, at the age of 39, he was elected to the Professorship of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh – one of the highest positions a scientist can fill — which was the ambition of his life. The tasks which he took up were too numerous and severe for his delicate constitution; he worked too hard, and illness overtook him, and he died at Edinburgh after a few days illness. He was buried in Dean Cemetery in that city. His memory is commemorated by a marble bust in the Tynwald Court and a tablet in St. George’s Church. In his short busy life he wrote numerous works, some of which may be studied in the Douglas Public Library. The poem “Lament for the days that are past and gone,” was written at the age of 16.

GILL, JOHN FREDERICK (1842-1899). — He was a Deemster from 1884 to 1899. He was the son of Joseph Gill, one of the ancient family of Gill of the parish of German. His mother was a daughter of Vicar-General Thomas Stephen. He was born in Sicily, where his father held an appointment. He studied law with his second cousin, Sir James Gell, and entered into partnership with him in 1864. He edited the Manx Statutes from 1417 to 1895, a very laborious work. A thoroughly patriotic Manxman, he used to take pride in the fact that he had only pure Manx blood in his veins. He will be remembered by his countrymen as the co-editor with Dr. Clague, and his brother, W. H. Gill, of the volumes which contain their very fine collection of Manx National Songs and Music.

GREEN, ELIZA CRAVEN. — The author of “Ellan Vannin,” which poem has become the national anthem, came to reside in Douglas in the year 1824, when she was, though young, a leading actress in a theatrical touring company performing in the old Athol-street Theatre. She at that time regularly contributed to the Poet’s Corner in the Manx Sun. Her volume, “Sea Weeds and Heath Flowers,” was published in Douglas in 1858. She says that her Insular poems were written in early life, and enshrine all the golden memories of youth: —

“I sang thy valleys and thy beauteous shore;
The far-off nations listen’d to the strain,
And strangers sought thee, loving evermore
The fairy Island throned in the main;
And my heart kindled as they praised thy tone.
Wild Harp of Mona! for thou wert my own!”

KENNISH, WILLIAM, R.N. (1799-1862). — He was not only a poet, but a successful inventor and practical engineer. He was born at Cornaa, in Maughold, where his father was a farmer. When he entered the Royal Navy in 1820, in his twenty-second year, he knew only the Manx language. So great, however, was his natural ability and his perseverance, that he rose, in the short period of seven years, to the position of master carpenter of the whole British Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea — a post of great importance. He acquired a considerable knowledge of science. In 1829, when on the North American station, he invented ‘a method for concentrating the fire of a broadside of a ship of war’ for which he received the thanks of the Admiralty and a gold medal. Other useful inventions were — ‘a method of floating guns on shore by means of water tanks,’ and ‘a fuse intended to burst the shell on striking the object without reference to distance.’ It was at this time that steam was seriously thought of as a means of propelling ships, and Kennish’s inventive mind devised for the Admiralty several marine engines; and, many years before they actually came into operation, he designed and made a model of a screw propeller. He also invented the pneumatic tube. In 1845 he retired to Mann, and became a schoolmaster at Ballasalla. After making a survey of the coasts of Mann for the British Government, he, in 1849, visited America, being chiefly engaged in prospecting, at great risk to his life, in New Granada. He surveyed the isthmus of Panama, and submitted, in 1855, to the United States Government and to various learned societies a scheme for a canal without locks, which was to join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He was the first to assert that the oceans were upon a level, and up to this time no canal had been projected without locks. At the De Lesseps banquet in New York in 1880, a public tribute was paid to Kennish as “an able engineer” and the discoverer of ‘the first and only feasible route without locks, gates, or dams, for a ship canal, two hundred feet wide, and thirty feet deep, including a tunnel three miles long through the Cordilleras.’ It is understood that the Manxman’s scheme of 1855 is largely incorporated in the great Panama Canal finally adopted. Kennish’s poetry is admittedly rugged, but it is vigorous, and portrays many of the most characteristic Manx customs with truth and detail.

MACASKILL, DONALD. — A native of the Isle of Skye, which for several
centuries belonged to the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Macaskill’s poem on
Peel Castle was first published in Dillon’s Manx Guide in 1845.

NELSON, ESTHER (180S-1843). — This very talented lady belonged to the ancient family of the Nelsons of Balla Nele (now Ballakneale), Rushen. Her father was the Rev. John Nelson, Rector of Bride. She had true poetic inspiration. The Rev. T. E. Brown declared her to be “a true woman of genius.” Her volume of poems, “Island Minstrelsy,” published when she was 34 years of age, is now rare. Her best poem is one of considerable length, “The Carrasdhoo Men,” a legend connected with Jurby parish and the Curragh. From the fact of her early death, and from internal evidence in her poems, one is led to believe that she was a victim of consumption. The harrowing knowledge of an early doom might well, in a woman of feeling and genius, induce a deep-rooted and constant sadness. And this feeling is constantly apparent in her poems. For instance:

Oh! I have seen
The canker in the rose — the blossom fade —
The lily severed from its shielding nest —
The violet plucked — the humble daisy crushed —
The gay young carolling bird pierced on the wing —
The gorgeous butterfly, upon a flower
Sipping its meed of sweetness, shivered
Into a mass of atoms — and can I
Marvel at the brief date of earthly joys?

OUSELEY, T. J. — This poet was an Englishman, a personal friend of Charles Dickens, to whom he dedicated his collected poems, published in Douglas in 1870. He was at one time proprietor of the “Liverpool Herald,” and resided in Mona-terrace, Douglas, for many years. He also edited and published a newspaper in Douglas in the ‘sixties. His poems on “Mona’s Isle” deal with much traditional lore; but, he says:

Old customs now have nearly passed away,
The Christmas revelries and New Year’s Eve,
Sporting and garlanding in sunny May,
With flowers that youth for beauty would inweave;
The feastings for the dead, when all should grieve;
Wedding processions — and the osier wands
With which the groomsman would the bride receive,
Marching thrice round the church in little bands,
And dancing in the moonlight — on the silv’ry strands.

RUTTER, BISHOP SAMUEL. — He wrote the ballad “Let the World Run Round” at Castle Rushen circa 1641, during the residence of James, the Seventh Earl of Derby, in that stronghold. He was Archdeacon of Mann and Rector of Andreas from 1646, and became Bishop of Sodor and Mann in 1661. He was chaplain to and the confidant of James the Seventh Earl of Derby, and tutor to his eldest son. He was interred in the centre of St. German’s Cathedral on St. Patrick’s Isle, Peel. To judge from the Latin inscription on his tomb, he was a witty prelate. Translated, it runs: —

“In this house which I have accepted from my companions, the little
worms, I, Sam, by Divine permission Bishop of this Island, lie in a
hope of a resurrection to life. Stop, reader! Look and laugh at the
Bishop’s palace. Died 30th May, 1662.”

SHIMMIN, EDWARD. — The bibliographical information concerning this author is very meagre. He published from a Liverpool Press — that of G. F. Harris’s Widow and Brothers, Water street— in the year 1817, “Poems on Several Subjects.” The only copy of the volume which I have known to exist is in the Liverpool Reference Library. From internal evidence in the poems, I judge that he must have been a native of Mann.

STOWELL, REV. HUGH (1768-1835). — Third son of Thomas Stowell and Ann Brown (great aunt of the poet T. E. Brown), belonged to the ancient family of the Stowells of Lonan, but he was born in Douglas. He received his education at the Ramsey Grammar School and the Castletown Academic School. He became one of the greatest divines Mann has produced. He had an intimate knowledge of the classical languages, and is said to have been a more eloquent preacher than his eloquent son, who became Canon of Salford. In 1797 he became Master of the Douglas Grammar School and Chaplain of St. Matthew’s. He established the first Sunday-school in Mann, in Lonan parish, in the year 1808. He wrote many works in both Manx and English, and corrected the 1810 edition of the Manx New Testament. His greatest literary work is “The Life of Bishop Wilson,” published in 1819. His son, Canon Hugh Stowell, was the author of many well-known hymns, including “Jesus is our Shepherd,” and “The Mercy-Seat.”

WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM (1770-1850). — Wordsworth’s poems on page 7 were composed or suggested by his visit to Mann in 1833. He visited Douglas, the ruins of Rushen Abbey, Castle Rushen, Peel, and Tynwald Hill. He walked the greater part of the way from Castletown to Peel. He wrote concerning his walk by Tynwald Hill:— “I found . . . agreeable company in some little children, one of whom, upon my request, recited the Lord’s Prayer to me, and I helped her to a clearer understanding of it as well as I could; but I was not at all satisfied with my own part; hers was much better done, and I am persuaded that, like other children, she knew more about it than she was able to express, especially to a stranger.”

WOOD, GEORGE H. (1794-1874). — A son of General Wood, and grandson of John Wood, Governor of the Isle of Mann from 1761 to 1777. He early entered the Army, joining the 20th Regiment, then in the Peninsula. He afterwards went to India, and thence about the year 1818 to St. Helena, where his regiment guarded the great Napoleon till his death in 1821. It is interesting to note, by the way, that the Governor of St. Helena during a portion of Napoleon’s captivity was another Manxman, Colonel Mark Wilks, who afterwards returned to his native country and became Speaker of the House of Keys. It is evident from Wood’s poem relating to St. Helena — which he re-visited in 1826 — that he regarded Napoleon with the greatest affection. He writes —

Oft have I gazed upon this wondrous man.
But aye with strange emotions, undefin’d,
Akin to fearful dread and wonderment,
As if oppress’d by some mysterious power . . .
. . . For, O! there was a magic in his eye
That seem’d to penetrate the very soul . . .
Himself a sealed book, unread the while.

* * * * *

But I did gaze upon that eye — how chang’d!
When all its bright celestial fire had fled;
Upon that pallid lip, where, e’en in death,
That smile still lingering play’d, that won all hearts;
And I did hold that pale, cold hand in mine,
Which once did grasp the sceptre of the world.

On the departure of his regiment from St. Helena, after the death of Napoleon, he left the Army and returned to his native land. Some of Lieut. Wood’s poems were published in Douglas in 1827 by Quiggin, and another edition in 1853, the latter containing “Critiques on Metaphysical Subjects.” In 1852 he visited Napoleon III. in Paris, and presented him with an original portrait of the “Great” Napoleon drawn by an artist at St. Helena. In return he received a beautiful diamond and emerald ornament.

For obvious reasons, no living authors have been included in the above Biographical Notes, excepting in the cases of “Emil Ingram” and “E.P.,” whom I have not been able to trace.

A selection covering three centuries of poetry from the Isle of Man, created by the future Director of the Manx Museum, William Cubbon.

Having been deeply involved in the Manx cultural revival through his work with the likes of A. W. Moore, J. J. Kneen, Sophia Morrison and others, Cubbon identified the need “to awaken in the young people of this country a deeper interest in the land of their birth.” His contribution to this was the production of this book, the first selection of Manx poetry that had ever been produced. Cubbon hoped that the book would:

“become a factor in the present revival of the Manx national spirit initiated by the late A. W. Moore, sometime Speaker of the House of Keys, and by the genius of Thomas Edward Brown.”

There is little doubt that Cubbon was the best-placed person to compile this book as his knowledge of the literature of the Isle of Man was unsurpassed. As well as effectively being responsible for the creation of the Manx national library and archives at the Manx Museum, he was the author of the monumental Bibliography of the Literature of the Isle of Man. However, the focus of the book on giving an idea of national sentiment to young people means that there is a tendency to focus on shorter works written in simple English while avoiding any contentious topics. As the careful selections of T. E. Brown’s Fo’c’s’le Yarns and Esther Nelson’s Island Minstrelsy should show, although this book is a fantastic introduction to the island’s poetry, there is a great deal more to investigate in the originals.

Director of the Manx Museum from 1932 to 1940, William Cubbon was one of the key figures in the Manx cultural revival at the start of the 20th Century.