Poems by Cushag (Second Edition)


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 freshening 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.


“Mother,” she said, “when you’re not by,
There’s lil wans talkin’ to me,
They’re showin’ me pictures out in the sky,
Where the sun sets over the sea.
Will I lave a piece of my supper,” she said,
“An’ a dhrop of milk in the cup?
D’you think its Fayries thass in?” she said.
— I’m thinkin’ ’twas Wans from Up.

“Mother,” she said, “when the nights is long
There’s lil wans comin’ to me.
They’re bringin’ a harp an’ makin’ a song,
And houlin’ a light to see.
I’ll lave a bit of my supper,” she said,
“An’ a tase of milk in the cup;
I’m thinkin’ it’s Fayries thass in,” she said.
— But I knew it was Wans from Up.

Mother,” she said, “my head is sore,
An’ the lil wans is callin’ me;
They say there’s a boat waitin’ down at the shore
To take me a sail on the sea.
Keep by a piece of my supper,” she said,
“An’ lave some milk in the cup;
I’ll go with the Fayries a bit,” she said.
— An’ she went to the Wans from Up.


“Where are you going, little Boy Beg,
With your little grey dog an’ all?”
“I’m going to look for the King an’ Queen,
To see will they cure me for all.”

“Where will you find them, little Boy Beg,
The King an’ the Queen so high?”
“I’ll watch from the bank where the bluebells grow,
To see will they ever pass by.”

“How will you know them, little Boy Beg,
When you’ve wandered many a mile?”
“I’ll know the King by his golden crown,
An’ the Queen by her lovely smile.”

“How will they see you, little Boy Beg,
With your poor little crutch an’ all?”
“I’ll be houlin’ my flow’rs an’ makin’ my bow,
An’ the Queen she’ll see me for all.”

“What will you say to them, little Boy Beg,
When you stand at the carriage door,”
“I’ll give them a flow’r, an’ they’ll touch my ban’.
An’ I’ll never be lame no more.”

An’ that very same day the King came by.
An’ the Lady Queen she smiled;
An’ they tuk the flow’r from the little han’,
An’ they put the cure on the child.

Now little Boy Beg can walk an’ run
With his little grey dog an’ all.
God bless the king and his lovely Queen —
But he hadn’t no crown for all!


Johnny an’ me was sweethearts
Many a year gone by,
Stannin’ aroun’ in the haggart,
An’ havin’ a cooish on the sly.
Till “Mayry, Mayry, Mayry, where’s the milk?”
An’ “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, you’ll be took!”
An’ “Dear me heart, wherever is that gel!”
An’ “Bless me sowl, that Johnny should be shook!”

Johnny was goin’ to market
With priddhas, an’ butter, an’ eggs,
An’ of coorse I was runnin’ to meet him.
Jus’ for to soople me legs.
Then “Mayry, Mayry, Mayry! Where’s that gel!”
An’ “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny! Do you hear!”
An’ “Bless me sowl, that Mayry should be shook!”
An’ “Dear me heart, what’s keepin’ Johnny theer!”

Johnny’d be firin’ the chimley
With a wisp of gorse an’ sthrow,
An’ of coorse I was houlin’ the matches
Jus’ till he set it aglow.
But “Mayry, Mayry, Mayry, come you here!”
An’ “Johnny, Johnny, John, come urrov that!”
An’ “Dear me heart, wherever’s Mayry gone!”
An’ “What in all the worl’ is them two at!”

Johnny an’ me was married
Many a year ago,
An’ a fine scutch of childher at us —
Ma word, how the lumpers grow!
Now its “Mayry, Mayry, Mayry, min’ the chile,”
An’ “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, wipe your feet;”
An’ I’m spendin’ me time washin’ dishes,
An’ John is kep’ running for meat!


The golden sunshine filled the room,
To every corner stealing;
It glanced on Charlotte’s silver hair,
And flashed along the ceiling.

It touched the dingy walls with gold,
And painted all the china;
The “rosy basins” on the shelf
Grew rosier and finer.

The window high above the road
Looked over field and meadow,
To where the sun, fast rolling down,
Left Scacafell in shadow.

And Charlotte placidly enjoyed,
But gazed without emotion;
Something was lacking, I could see,
But what, I had no notion.

“The windhar on the stairs,” she said,
And now she showed elation;
“There’s where the thram is, an’ the lights,
An’ all the ‘Lectric Station!”

“An’ all the folks as plain as plain,
That’s comin’ in or goin’ —
That’s what I like,” she said, “the thram
An’ all the lights a-glowin’!”


THE little stream of Ballacowle,
It tumbles down the Glen
And hides beneath the lady-fern
To sparkle out again —
Then plunges underneath the road
To seek a devious way,
Where, lost in quarry refuse now,
Its early cradle lay.

A roomy cradle once it was,
O’er-arched with spreading trees;
A tangled Paradise of flowers,
Scarce touched by passing breeze,
And here, among the primrose tufts,
It wound its cheerful way,
When, long ago, we wove our wreaths
To Welcome in the May.

On May Day Eve I wandered there,
And, by the old plum tree,
I found a bent and aged man
Who gazed along the lea.
His dress was of the loaghtan-brown,
His hair was white as snow;
And quietly he rested there
And watched the streamlet’s flow.

“Good evening, friend,” I gently said.
“Good everin’,” said he;
I said “What do you here so late,
Beneath our old plum tree?”
“Good everin’,” he said again,
His voice was soft and low,
“I came to put a sight down here,
Where I was rarin’ to.”

He laid a bleached and withered hand
Upon the cold grey wall
That once was gable of the house,
The house of Ballacowle, —
Though little now remains to show
Where once it stood so fair,
And, but the plum tree lives to mark
The garden that was there.

“I mind the day we rode to church,
The hay was nearly teddin’,
The apple trees were dressed in pink
As we came through Claghbeddin:
We rode along the Cuckoo Field,
The skies were blue and fair,
And through the Croshag’s miry lane,
To Kirk Christ of Lezayre.”

“I mind th’ oul’ ancient Masthar well
That lived at the Claghbeddin:
He lent the horse and pillion fine
To take us to our weddin’.
I mind the dogs and childher too,
That scampered to and fro,
And pussy cats wisout no tails,
Where I was rarin’ to.”

The sunset faded into gray;
I heard the little stream,
It seemed to mingle with his voice
Like music in a dream.
No longer could I see his face.
But still he murmered low:
“I came to put a sight once more
Where I was rarin’ to.”


Herself an’ me was talkin’
Of yondhar time in June
When her an’ me was walkin’
Of a Sunday afternoon.
The lil lambs was flockin’
All so weiss an’ good,
An’ the cuckoo shoutin’ shockin’
In the T Fir wood.

The choir wans was singin’
On the Crag up theer,
The voices goin’ a-bringin’
On the win’ so clear.
An’ the sweet it was to listen
On the Cooag stile,
An’ watch her blue eyes glisten
Twix’ the tear an’ smile.

Not a penny at us either
An’ the long to wait,
But not despairin’ neither
Nor we’d not be bate.
For in Faie-ny-cooag rovin’
She had toul me what I knew –
That she’d be always lovin’
An’ I’d be thrue.


Ho! Ho! the Phynodderee!
Swinging by himself in the Tramman Tree.
I once was lord of a fairy clan,
But I loved a lass in the Isle of Man;
Her eyes were like the shallows of the mountain stream,
Her hair was like the cornfield’s golden gleam
Her voice was like the ringdove’s, soft and slow,
Her smile was like the sunbeam’s — come and go;
But alas and alack-a-day!
The jealous fairy maids stole my love away.
And now I’m all alone in the Tramman Tree,
Swinging by myself in the Tramman Tree
Alas and alack-a-day!

Ho! Ho! the Phynodderee!
Swinging by himself in the Tramman Tree.
I was once a prince in the fairy land,
But I failed to come at the king’s command;
His wrath was like the thunder in the mountain gills,
His eyes were like the lightning on the lone dark hills;
His voice was like the raging of the boiling tide,
As he hurled me down to the earth to bide,
And alas and alack-a-day!
The whole night long I must work away
Till daylight sends me up to the Tramman Tree,
Swinging by myself in the Tramman Tree.
Alas and alack-a-day.

Ho! Ho! the Phynodderee!
Swinging by himself in the Tramman Tree.
I fetched the stone to Tholt-y-Will;
I saved the sheep on the snow-clad hill;
I saw the storm was coming while the farmer snored;
I drove the sheep before me while the Howlaa roared
I folded them in safety beneath the creg,
And hunted over Snaefell for the loaghtan beg;
But alas and alack-a-day!
A witch she was, and she would not stay
Till daylight sent me up to the Tramman Tree,
To swing by myself in the Tramman Tree.
Alas and alack-a-day!

Ho! Ho! the Phynoddoree!
Swinging by himself in the Tramman Tree.
I threshed the corn in the lonely night,
And swept the house in the still moonlight.
I watched the sleeping haggart while the dog took rest,
And drove away the witches that dared molest;
I milked the cows at dawning, and eased their heads,
And soothed the patient horses in their tired beds,
But alas and alack-a-day!
The farmer thought I worked because I wanted pay!
And left a coat and breeches for the poor Phynodderee;
So his lassie cannot see him in the Tramman Tree,
Swinging by himself in the Tramman Tree.
Alas and alack-a-day!


“Oh! Is it a sheep or a witch,” quoth he;
“Is it only a loaghtan beg?
Or am I awake or asleep,” quoth he,
“Or am I the hairy Phynodderee
That started to catch the meg?”

“I chased her over Barooil,” quoth he,
“And along the side of Clagh Owre;
And three times round Snaefell, like fire, went she
With a screech at the hairy Phynodderee
That turned the night’s milk sour.”

“I have raced the mountain lambs,” quoth he,
“And seen them run like deer;
But I never seen wan like yondher,” quoth he,
“That could run like the hairy Phynodderee,
She’ll not be no right wan I fear.”

“I’ve seen many a sheep in my day,” quoth he,
“From the Calf to the Point of Ayre;
But never a wan like that,” quoth he,
“Which nearly done the Phynodderee” —
Man veg! you have brought me a hare!


O gaily sing the birds among
The woods of Ballaharry,
And brightly shines the gorse along
The lanes of Ballavarry;
But I must go and leave them all
To sail upon the sea,
Unless you say one little word,
Sweet Etty of Rhenwee.

My father he will go his ways
And never heed or bother,
But Oh! My heart is falling when
I think upon the mother.
But I must leave them all and go
To sail upon the sea,
Until you say that little word,
Sweet Etty of Rhenwee.

We played together, boy and girl,
Among the gorse and heather,
And mine it was, in storm and shine,
To shield you from the weather.
But I must go away for all
To sail upon the sea,
Unless you say that little word,
Sweet Etty of Rhenwee.

O golden shines the gorse along
The lanes of Ballavarry,
And sweetly sing the birds among
The woods of Ballaharry.
But never came the Eirey home
That sailed upon the sea,
For never could she say that word,
Sweet Etty of Rhenwee.


“An’ was there a dhrop between us?”
That’s what they’re sayin’ still.
An’ never a dhrop was there at all,
But a crowd of wans in the road for all,
An’ sthrivin’ up the hill.

The dawn was barely sthreakin’
An’ a sup o’ rain doin’ in;
But liftin’ as the day drew on,
Like dhryin’ up when the night was gone.
With a scutch o’ risin’ win’.

An’ here was these wans comin’,
An’ creepenin’ up the side,
With a surt of murmurin’, wailin’ soun’,
That seemed to be risin’ all aroun’,
Like the soun’ of the weary tide.

There was oul’, an’ young, an’ childher,
All bended under loads;
With beds, an’ crocks, an’ spuds, an’ grips,
An’ spinnin’ wheels, an’ taller dips,
All filin’ up the roads.

From Earey Beg an’ Earey Moar,
Over the broken bridge;
Over the pairk at Earey Glass,
By Balla’himmin and up Rhenass,
An’ all along the ridge.

An’ toilin’ up Bearey Mountain,
With that wailin’, sighin’ soun’,
As if their hearts were goin’ a-breakin’,
The for their last leave they were takin’,
Wherever they were boun’.

An’ Bearey was roulin’ his cloak,
An’ reachin’ it down his side,
An’ coaxin’ them up an’ lappin’ them roun’,
Till the wailin’ was dyin’ gradjual down,
Like the calm of the ebbing tide.


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
Made 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.


Poor Bobby, he thravelled from dhure to dhure,
An’ each wan gev him a piece;
He’d ress on the settle or lie on the flure,
An’ a bit of dhry bread was a feas’.

He had his oul’ cot an’ a bit of a turf,
To keep out the couth of the night;
But it’s up he’d be an’ down at the surf,
As soon as the morning was light.

There’s wans would be urging him out to the Brows,
To be fetchin’ their cattle in,
But Bobby ‘d be heavin’ hard words at the cows,
‘Twas makin’ his sowl to sin.

Poor Bobby lay down on his dying bed,
An’ “Wumman,” we heard him say.
“Put out them boots an’ that piece of bread,
For I’m goin’ a long, long way.”

The bread was a piece of a barley cake,
The las’ his Mother had made,
Kep’ by him these years for his Mother’s sake,
In the chiss with her Bible laid.

We lef’ him good-night when our work was done,
An’ sof’ we went out on the dhure;
An’ behoul’ ye, next mornin’ poor Bobby was gone —
But his boots was lef on the flure.


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 jeel 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 tejus 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’ navar let him in again, that tejus Traa-dy-Liooar.


What was there doin’ on her?
Aw dade, it’s hard to say.
She wasn’ for complainin’
But goin’ — night an’ day.
Aw, well; there’s no wan at me now
To make the bed or milk the cow!

The cough was subjec’ to her,
Aw teerin’, teerin’ still;
She wore it out upon her feet
Yon time that I was ill.
Aw, well; I’m sick enough for all;
But she’s not hearin’ when I call.

The times I’d not be sleepin’
She’d up an’ have a light,
An’ do a bit of readin’ —
But failin’ in her sight.
Aw, well; I’m lyin’ lonely now,
An’ who’s to go an’ milk the cow?

Ay! Goin’, goin’ still,
Nor never warmed a cheer,
Its like she’ll tire of sittin’ quite,
The way she’ll be up theer,
Like wearin’ out her Sunday gown
An’ longin’ still for us that’s down.

They’re tellin’ me to rise,
Me clo’es is on the chiss,
Aw, well, I havn’ got no heart,
An’ that’s the way it iss!
What use of me above the groun’!
The gable of the house is down!


Tired an’ oul’ an’ wore
An’ a lif’ at these wans when I’m took!
But the Lord will send in His own good time,
That never His poor forsook.

The walls is goin’ roun’
When I rise for to try for to dhress,
An’ I’m forced to sit by the side of the bed
An’ wait for the house to take ress!

I was middlin’ smart for all
Till the time when I fell in the Glen,
Goin’ up to supper the pigs, the sowles!
An’ the leg was bruk at me then.

The coul’, the coul’, an’ the pain!
An’ the hollerin’ out for Crowe;
An’ the thought of the craythers wantin’ their mate,
An’ it spilt at me all in the snow!

But Crowe came by at las’,
Goin’ home from the Ramsey mart,
“Them pigs will be wantin’ their mate,” I said,
When they got me home on the cart.

So that’s the way it iss,
An’ I’ll never be sthrayin’ far;
But we mus’ have somethin’ to keep us down,
The stubborn an’ proud we are.

This wumman is good to me, too,
An’ I’m gettin’ the bes’ thass in,
She was rared at me, an’ me darter’s chile,
An’ married on Dicky-the-Win’.

I’m tired an’ oul’ an’ done!
Nor able to stan’ or to roam,
But it’s only to wait for the Lord’s own time,
An’ He will be taking me Home.


It’ll be in the teens of years I’m livin’ here alone,
An’ the house is bare at me, too, like a ness when the birds is flown;
But the days is lonelier far pas’ what it is in the night,
For then I’m stirrin’ the bons till the house is full of light.

And then I’m seein’ the lumpers all playin’ about on the flure,
With pussy-bogh sthretchin’ her back, and Daa comin’ in on the dhure;
An’ a long little family at us, Henery, John, an’ Lil,
An’ wan that was took at the Angels, an’ Miriam Maud, an’ Bill.

Henery went for a sailor, an’ the ship went down in the night,
But I’m seein’ him readin’ his book when the bons is burnin’ bright;
An’ I’m feelin’ me fut for the cradle, an’ the tear dhroppin’ down from the eye,
For the wan that was took at the Angels when I hadn’t no time to cry.

Johnny was studdy uncommon, an’ terrible fon’ of the lan’,
An’ helpin’ Daa with the bases an’ givin’ us all a han’;
Billy an’ him went foreign — I h’ard they were doin’ well,
But, the name of the place they was to, is beatin’ all to tell.

The gels is married on farmers, an bringin’ a boy or a chile
For to see th’ oul’ granny an’ all, an’ be rared at me here for a while;
But I’m all as well by myself, for then in the mids of the night
I can stir up the bons on the chiollagh till the house is full of light.

An’ I sit with a fut on the cradle till the blaze is dyin’ down,
An’ the childher goin’ a-mixin’ with the shaddas creepenin’ roun’;
I’m watchin’ wan an’ another, an’ always her that was took,
An’ Daa comin’ in on the dhure, an’ Henery readin’ his book.


Oh! the woods of Ballaglass, and the Corna stream,
I was there again just now in the sunset gleam.
Oh! The rolling banks of shingle and the rock-bound shore,
And the music of the waves’ long roar.

Oh! the blaze of gorse and heather in the deep’ning glow,
With their gold and purple mirrored in the pool below.
And the shadows stealing upwards to the drawing night,
And the ling’ring of the last low light.

All above the marshy meadows hung the dark pine trees
Scarcely whispering their secrets to the lifting breeze.
I could hear the cattle breathing by the low stone wall; —
And Barrule to watch and ward o’er all.

Oh! the little lonely house on the Mooragh turf;
With the sound of running water slipping down among the surf,
I went in upon the door — but the hearth was bare,
And the darkness of the night was there.

Then I wakened from my dream as the sun went down,
And I’ll wander never more on the Mooragh brown.
For I’m far from Corna valley and the rock-bound shore,
And I’ll see the little house no more.


The sunshine slants across the open door;
The simple music rises e’er we part.
The Runic Stones, with lichens crusted o’er,
Those pious tokens of our father’s art,
Watch o’er the graves of those who lived of yore,
And with unspoken sermons touch the heart:
The heart perchance adrift in deeper lore,
And all unmindful of its worn-out chart.

The kind good-nights are said — then on we go.
And up the Glebe to where the low turf hedge
Marks all along the coast the cliff’s dark edge.
The sun drops nestling to the mountain side,
And in the hush we hear the shadowy tide
Incessant whispering to the caves below.


A stranger passes this way at night
When the earth is laid to rest:
He pauses before each cottage door
Like a long expected guest.
Is it only a ray of the white moonlight
That falls on the dewy ground?
Or is it the gleam of a Kingly Robe
That sheds such radiance round?

He pauses before each cottage door
When the silence is still and deep:
There are souls that work, and souls that rest,
And souls that must watch and weep.
Is it only the track of the children’s feet
That has furrowed the roadway there?
Or is it the print of a Piercèd Foot
That was heavy with human care?

Then to those who weep, and to those who sleep,
And to those who watch and wake,
There comes the touch of a tender Hand
For a suffering stranger’s sake.
Is it only the breath of the balsam pine
That is filling the midnight vale?
Or is it the balm of a Healing Calm
That sweetens the perfumed gale?

For a stranger came to these gentle souls,
And a sick heart craved for rest:
They gave her their love and they gave her their care
And they gave her of all their best.
Is it only the wind in the waving pines
Or the sound of the distant sea?
Or is it the voice of the Stranger Guest —
“Ye did it unto Me.”


The days of my life! They flow on like a dream,
And I’m nearing the waves of the dim silent stream,
Adrift in the darkness — yet fear I no ill,
For Goodness and Mercy shall follow me still.

The bright days of Springtime, the sunshine and flowers!
No thought then of shadow, of storm-cloud or showers,
Long, long have they left me — yet fear I no ill,
For Goodness and Mercy have followed me still.

There were dull days in Summer when sullen and gray
The thunder clouds broke on the upland way.
Though idols were shattered — yet fear I no ill,
For Goodness and Mercy have followed me still.

There were fair days in Autumn, when troubles took rest
When harvests were garnered, and trials were blest.
They have gone like the shadows — yet fear I no ill.
For Goodness and Mercy have followed me still.

The dark days of Winter! The storm and the rain
The joys that have vanished, the hopes that were vain;
Their shadow remaineth — yet fear I no ill,
For Goodness and Mercy have followed me still.

So the days of my life shall flow on like a dream
Till the Light glimmers far on the dark silent stream.
Though dimly I see it — yet fear I no ill,
For Goodness and Mercy will follow me still.


The gold of Autumn fills the sky,
And homeless leaves come floating softly by:
But they are gone who stood of old
With us to watch the Autumn gold.
Ere the Winter nights grew cold
They are gone.

And Autumn brought us of her store
And comfort smiled where care had reigned before;
But they are gone who used to share
With songs and mirth our joy and care.
Before the Autumn gold was there
They are gone.

And Autumn crowned our work with praise,
And kind success came down to gild our ways;
But they are gone whose love was more
Than praise or fame or golden store.
They are gone! And closed the door!
They are gone!

[To the old Manx Air “Shegin Dooin.”]


Hushed is the harvest field that so lately resounded with mirth
For the gathering in of the harvest, and the joy of the fruits of the earth:
Hushed is the song of the reapers, for lo! in the midst of their toil
Another Reaper has entered to gather in his spoil.

A fall from a loaded waggon; a still form lying there,
The bright, gay tune he was whistling, still throbbing on the air.
Alas! for the news they are bearing to the white house under the trees,
Where the wife who will soon be a widow is nursing their babe on her knees.

“Baby,” she sings, “My Baby! Daddy will come to us soon:
Daddy will come for the Mhellia, and we’ll dance by the light of the moon.
What do you see, my darling, and why that sudden frown?
It is only a shadow, my darling, for the sun is going down.”

How shall they bear to ruin that pretty baby play!
How shall they dare to tell her what they must so quickly say!
A trembling hand on the gate: one look in her startled face —
No need for spoken words! God help her of His grace!

Like a lapwing over the meadow she has flown to her wounded mate;
One broken sob; then steady! the tears can be made to wait.
What recks she how it happened, or where the fault may lie,
She only knows that the sunshine is all gone out of her sky.


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 dangers 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 wailing, wailing up the glen,
There’s wailing down the street;
In every home there’s wailing for
The drowning of the Fleet.

The widow weeps beside the hearth,
The orphans at her knee,
And with the withered grandame mourns
The Bride that was to be.

But none of them have grief like mine
That bears a double weight:
It was my son, my only son,
That led them to their fate.

So bright and fair the morning rose,
Too bright, too bright to last,
The Perkins crossed the shining wake
As out to sea they past.

The first boat gone, the second flew
Behind her like a bird —
With sinking heart I gazed and saw
My boy was starting third.

I called his name. He turned and smiled
But held his way alone;
And in the shadow of the hold
I spied a round white stone.

We lingered on the crazy pier
And watched them out of sight;
But when we turned our eyes inland
The hills stood black as night.

And still the sun shone gaily down
And balmy was the noon,
As soft and fair as if it were
A day in early June.

My eyes were dazzled with the gleam
As I went up the lane —
But in the house I turned and saw
The fire on the pane.

The long hours passed and darkness closed
The bright September day:
A sudden blast — and scuds of rain
Flew lashing on the Bay.

Thick darkness on the rolling sea,
Thick darkness on the land,
And with the rising tide, the storm
Came thundering up the strand.

Oh then we waited: waited, still,
Beneath the streaming skies:
Nor rain alone, nor salt sea foam
Was smarting in our eyes.

We strove in vain to pierce the night:
We strove in vain to hear:
The lantern on its swaying pole
Scarce lit the trembling pier.

When sudden all the rushing dark
Loomed thick with driving forms —
Our hearts leaped up with one long cry
To Him who rules the storms.

And ever since that fearful night
I shrink from looks of hate;
For, doubly doomed, it was my son
Who sealed their hapless fate.

He crashed upon the crazy pier,
He struck the shivering light;
One moment showed his wild, wet face —
The next was roaring night.

Headlong they drove to hopeless wreck
In blackness of the tomb;
The creeping lights upon the land
But lured them to their doom.

With wringing hands I tread the glens,
I lurk along the shore,
And from the lonely mountain tops
I hear the black waves roar.

But shrill above the screaming storm
I hear the dead men’s cry;
The Widow’s curse, the Orphan’s pain,
I bear them till I die.


Oie-vie, oie-vie, ma chree,
My villish veen, oie-vie!
The boats are tossing at the quay,
The tide is rising high.

I go till break of day,
To glean for you, ma chree,
Where silv’ry shoals of sceddan play,
The Harvest of the Sea.

While I’m away, ma chree,
And you are lapped in sleep,
There’s One will watch for you and me,
Whose Path is on the deep.

Fear not the rising wind,
Oie-vie, oie-vie, ma chree;
For He will have us in His Mind,
Who stilled the raging sea.

Fear not the dark’ning night,
For in His Hand we lie,
Who steers us through from dark to light,
Oie-vie, ma veen, oie-vie!

The day will break ma chree,
And home my heart will fly;
To see you on the sunlit quay —
Till then, ma veen, oie-vie!


Sage-Ellen sat by the river side;
O but the river was wide, was wide!
But wider the torrent that flowed between
What must be now and what might have been,
For news had come of a glorious day,
And one had fallen amid the fray.
A simple youth in his last long sleep
Leaving a simple maid to weep,
For the river of death is wide!

Sage-Ellen lay on the church-yard mould,
O but the night was cold, was cold!
But colder the night that wrapped him round
Where he lay on the distant battle-ground.
And for all the sun would shine again
For her it would shine in vain, in vain;
For never more would its beams impart
One spark of warmth to her soldier’s heart
For the river of death is cold.

Sage-Ellen has won to her lover at last,
For the river of death is past, is past!
Past is the night of sorrow and pain
And past is the fear of parting again.
For them is dawning a glorious day,
Their sun will shine for ever and aye,
And each for each in the Realms above
Will render thanks for the Father’s love,
For the river of death is past!


Child Jesus was the Baby Boy
Low in a manger laid,
While holy Angels waiting round
His tender limbs arrayed.
No broidered robes or silken lace
Enwrapped this Baby Boy,
But clad in His pure Innocence
He lay, His Mother’s joy.

Child Jesus in the garden played
Close by His Mother’s arm;
And watching Angels hovered round
To shield Him from all harm.
No gilded toys this Baby had —
No jewels bright and fair;
The little flowerets In the grass
His only playthings were.

Child Jesus learned His daily task,
His simple childish prayer;
The Angels knelt beside Him, while
He asked His Father’s care.
No pictures had this Baby Boy,
No books to make Him wise,
He learned of Love and Charity
From His sweet Mother’s eyes.

Child Jesus sang Himself to sleep
Low laid upon the ground,
While Angels brought Him heavenly dreams
And kept their watch around.
Oh may such dreams be ours again,
Nor leave us when we rise,
To brighten all the lingering years
With memories of the skies.


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.


I walked abroad at early dawn
Before the world was waking;
And one by one the watching stars
Their windows were forsaking.
The earth was all so fresh and sweet,
Clean-washed with heavenly dew,
As it might have been when the world was young
And skies were always blue.

And there I found Tom Tiddler’s ground,
And the Children in the Wood,
And Susan gathering marigolds,
With little Red Riding Hood.
The fields were all so fair and sweet
With glistening veil of dew,
As it might have been when the world was young
And skies were always blue.

The Elfin door was open for
The Trolls within the mountain,
And Barbara Lewthwaite and her lamb
Were drinking at the fountain.
The air was all so pure and clear,
Refreshed with grateful dew,
As it might have been when the world was young
And skies were always blue.

I saw the way that Christian went,
The wicket-gate was there,
And bright the New Jerusalem
Shone through the morning air.
For the earth was all so fresh and sweet,
Clean-washed with heavenly dew,
As it might have been when the world was young
And skies were always blue.


I HEARD the lark at break of day,
I heard the echoes ring;
A lonely maid, and blithe as they —
What could I do but sing?

But neither lark nor echoes stopped
To listen to my song.
And sometimes into silence dropped —
What could I do but long?

And then one stepping lightly past
Called me his singing dove;
With him to please, the days sped fast –
What could I do but love?

And then! He wearied of my song
And lightly passed me by.
So, left alone to love and long —
What could I do but die?


Dawn with the darkness striving; and whirling legions of snow
Fly, hurrying over the hillside, gray-sheeted spectres of woe.
Euroclidon roars in the tumult, while over the desolate hill
The shivering day creeps slowly with pallid features and chill.

Morning — and rain in a deluge that rushes down from the sky,
The tempest still riding aloft while the branches strain and cry.
But changing his icy displeasure, as, touched by the kindly west —
Though raging more wildly than ever — his anger is turning to jest.

Then veering again to the north as the hours storm heavily past;
And the rain flies gusty and fitful till blown into space at last,
When a wild bright gleam of sunshine breaks over the pine-tree stems,
And every storm-drenched bough is alive with a myriad gems;

And every storm-drenched bush is shaking its drops to the ground,
And through all the thin keen air the birds are singing around.
The blackbirds are thronging the lawn, and high on the tallest tree
A thrush is telling the sky of joys that are yet to be.

Night — with her starry mantle, breathing of peace and rest,
Folding the weary earth to her pitying tender breast.
A glimmer of snow on the crag where the moonlight softly falls —
And hark! from the tents of winter ’tis spring herself that calls.


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 go
For I’m fearing the sheep will be lost in the snow.

Then up rose the Shepherd, and sadly did say:
O masthar, O masthar, there’s sorrow this day;
For the childher this morn to the school-house did go,
And I’m fearin’ they’re losted deep under the snow.

O haste ye then Shepherd, get lanterns and men,
For the snowdrifts are piling o’er 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.

O Trusty, O Mona, what is it you’ve found?
And what is there under yon 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 lantern’s 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.


“Hallo Dusty! Hallo Grizel!
Fetch the sheep,” the master cries,
Fetch them from the Island pasture
Quick, before the daylight dies!

Hurling headlong down the meadow,
Almost swimming through the grass,
Dusty-foot and gray Grizelda
Like a hurricane they pass.

Neck and neck the water reaching,
In they plunge with shrieks of joy;
Every task a new-found pastime,
All the world their daily toy.

See them cleave the sunset ripples
Heading each a widening way,
Landing, shake their eager bodies
In a mist of diamond spray.

Silent now with great endeavour,
Working round their fleecy charge,
All the silly sheep collecting
To the gently shelving marge.

Hitherward with careful guiding
Comes the convoy safe to land —
Dusty-foot and gray Grizelda
Flopping, panting on the strand.

“Collies? Aye, they’re surely clever,
Faithful too, and wondrous wise;
But for all that,” says the master.
“Give me still my little Skyes.”


It’s well to be born on the Sabbath Day,
To be handsome and lucky and witty and gay,
And the world has need of the sunny face
To hearten the toilers that strain in the trace.
And beauty and wit like the stars in the sky
Are the pointers to birthright of beauty on high.

Alas for the child that has far to go
And sad to be born on the day of woe.
But the exile may still have a message to bring,
And the sorrowing heart take courage to sing.
For those who suffered and those who longed
May comfort another the world has wronged.

Monday’s child shall be fair of face
And Tuesday’s child be full of grace.
And we need these children to help us along,
But Friday’s child is the crown of the song!
For as long as the poor old earth shall trudge
Somebody’s children will starve and drudge,
And to Saturday’s child that must work for its living
Comes Friday’s bairn all loving and giving.


Spring-time, ring time, merry merry spring time,
Two lovers kissed beside the old Church gate.
Ring love ring around my heart, he said,
The ring is on
The Parson is gone
And now at last they’re wed, wed, wed.

May time, hay time, happy happy May time,
Two lovers quarrelled at the old Church gate.
Heart’s Love! No, love, You’ve broke my heart, he said.
Your love is gone
I’m left forlorn
I would that I were dead, dead, dead.

Snow time, slow time, dreary weary snow time,
Two coffins rest beside the old Church gate.
Ring bells, ring above their graves, we said,
Their race is run
Their quarrels done
And now they’re lapt in lead, lead, lead.


John the Priest of Corna dale
Late crowned with scholar’s bays;
Now sent to teach a rustic flock,
Had cursed his dreary days.

Far on the slopes of North Barrule
The Corna valley lies;
And far remote the lonely keeil
That seems so near the skies.

So few and simple were the folk
And scattered through the vale —
What honour should a scholar find
In savage Corna dale?

Now John the Priest he laid him down
Upon his pallet bare:
And John he heard or dreamed he heard
Soft voices in the air.

“Glory to God” they sang once more
As heralds from on high;
And John he rose or dreamed he rose,
But nought could he espy.

Gray sheets of mist were rolling up,
And pouring through the vale;
When through a rift shone steps of gold —
From Heaven to Corna dale.

And John he saw, or thought he saw,
Or dreamed he thought he saw,
His Master on those shining steps,
And bowed himself in awe.

“My Corna sheep are dear to me
As any in the fold,
My Corna dale is near to me
As Lebanon of old.”

“Thine is the work to save these sheep,
Thy glory let it be,
For every soul in Corna dale
Thou, John, wilt answer me!”

The cloud uplift: the sun sprang up
And sparkled through the vale;
A score of pearly smoke-wreaths rose
To Heaven from Corna dale.

Then John the Priest stretched forth his hands
And blessed the rising sun,
And blessed the simple folk around,
And taught them one by one.

No book nor scrip could there be found;
But on rough slabs of rock
He cut and graved as best he might
The lessons for his flock.

And that himself should ne’er forget
His vision in the vale,
He carved — “Of all the sheep is John
The Priest in Corna dale.”

Far on the slopes of old Barrule
Lone lies the ruined Keeil,
And there the words of John the Priest
In runes are living still.


Stay, Nessy, stay! The whistling wind
Blows through the house with bodeful sound,
The plaintive pe-wit inland flies,
And storm clouds gather dark around.

At the dim-seen edge of the glimmering tide
Poor Nessy seeks with painful tread,
On the wet black rocks that the waves have left
The fresh sweet dulse for the children’s bread.

Turn, Nessy, turn! The rolling mist
Is closing down o’er sea and land —
Too late she hears the lapping waves
In darkness creeping up the sand.

She has laid her head on the wet black rock
And tied her hair to the sea-weed brown,
“My babes will weep,” poor Nessy said,
“But they’ll find me here when the tide goes down.”


When by the winter hearth we sit
And peats are burning bright;
And the rain upon the window pane
Is glancing in the light.
Then upon your listening ear
Steals a voice none else may hear –
O Lhiannoo will you marry me
My villish veen ma chree.

When in the summer fields we stray
The sun is on your hair,
And the little birds are carolling
To see you look so fair.
Then upon your listening ear
Comes a voice you’ll stay to hear –
O Lhiannoo will you marry me
My villish veen ma chree.

When storms are tearing at the thatch
And gales go roaring by.
When calmly lies the sleeping bay
And stars are in the sky.
Still upon your listening ear
Comes a voice that you must hear –
O Lhiannoo will you marry me
My own dear Ben-ma-chree.


Grip me savadge, Miss Geargie,
An’ heis me up in bed,
An’ you can be radin them texes
The while I reddy me head.

Can ye see me hanksher Miss Geargie?
In the bed it’s like it’s los’.
Aw well! the couth of the winter!
Me legs is like sticks of fros’.

An’ the rots is scraerpin’, scraerpin’!
Aw, it’s time poor Kate was took —
No, no, I’ll not have no firin’
For I cannot suffer the smook.

An’ well — Are ye theer, Miss Geargie?
I was dhramin’ a dhrame in the night,
When the win’s took rest from their noisin’
An’ the say was middlin’ quite.

An’ the Lord Himself come down
An’ stud beside the bed,
An’ with thremblin’ fear I heard Him speak:
“Come urrov theer,” He said.

“Come urrov theer, Kate Cowle,” He said.
“An’ go you up on high,
For such as you that’s oul’ and blind
There’s mansions in the sky.”

An’ through the roof an’ through the clouds
Like sthrailin’ through a ford,
An’ singin’ Glo—ry, Glo—ry, while
The waves around us roared.

An’ Glo—ry, Glo—ry, still we sang
Up to the great White Throne —
When suddently the Light went out
An’ I was here alone!

Are ye plentiful in pins, Miss Geargie,
Them laps for me head is lore;
Well, good-everin’ — You’ll he rewahded;
An’ plaze pull to the door.

An’ Glo—ry for ever Glo—ry
An’ a Light for the blind to see —
An’ a lil bit of pudden, Miss Geargie,
If Mayry will spare it for me.”


A cooish, a kiss, an’ a whisper,
A sooryin’ summer’s day;
Then work an’ childher an’ bother
The ress of the way.

Some takes the road by the Chappal,
An’ some houls on by the Church,
An’ some falls down by the wayside,
Lef’ all in the lurch.

I’m used on the Chappal for all —
Its homelier like in the dark,
But Himself was took at the Pazon,
An’ larnt for Parish Clerk.

They’re coming to see me reglar —
Church wans an’ Chappal wans too;
An’ I’m not sayin’ no ill of neither —
Its juss how we’ve grew.

The Church wans is middlin’ free,
An’ passin’ the time o’ day,
An’ Church was in before the Chappal,
As th’ oul people say.

The Chappal wans is high, though,
More prouder an’ wearin’ falls,
An’ the power of fine discoorsin’
Thass at them when they calls.

But Church houls out her arrums
For every chile that’s born;
An’ its Her that puts the blessin’
On the marriage morn.

When the work an’ bother is over,
An’ childher have left us to roam,
Like a tandhar oul’ nursin’ mother
The Church brings us home.

An’ then whether Church or Chappal,
Or fell by the way — we must come;
For without never makin’ no difference,
The Church brings us Home.


They wandered on the Dreem Lang long ago,
All along the Dreem Lang long ago.
When the gorse was golden,
They told the story olden
All along the Dreem Lang.

On the sunny Dreem Lang day by day
Slipped the golden noontide hours away,
Happy larks were singing,
Fairy bells were ringing,
On the sunny Dreem Lang.

Gray along the Dreem Lang rose the mist,
Sank the latest sunbeam while they kissed.
Home the birds were flying;
Only curlews crying
Wailed along the Dreem Lang.

They parted on the Dreem Lang all too soon,
Parted in the glimmer of the waning moon.
When the birds were sleeping,
He left the maiden weeping,
All alone on Dreem Lang.

Ere the gorse had faded all away,
Faded on the Dreem Lang day by day,
Mid the robins’ singing,
The passing bell was ringing
For the maid on Dreem Lang.

When you’re on the Dreem Lang all alone,
On the dusky Dreem Lang all alone,
While the birds are sleeping,
You’ll hear the maiden weeping
All along the Dreem Lang.


What road are you taking my lhiannoo veg villish,
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’ is showing 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 black-birds are calling, oie-vie, oie-vie!

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 will bring us
And murmur of waters will 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.


Over the sands and over the Brooghs
Over the ways of the Gaireys
I followed a tune that never was in
Excep’ it was sung at the Fayries.

I came to the place where the tunes were made
That’s taught to the birds in their nesses;
An’ the music was whisperin’ through the trees
Like the sigh of the win’ when it resses.

An’ a hint of the tune was there for sure
But part of the music was missing,
For something was to it that might have been sung
By mothers an’ childher a-kissing.

I came to the place where the billows rolled
With a soun’ like the terrible thunder,
An’ a ripple of stones went down the strand
To the tune of the water from under.

But the tune of my heart was sweeter still
With the story of wan that was waiting,
An’ something was to it that might have been sung
When the worrls’ was goin’ creating.

I came to the place where the organ played
Like she plays when the people rejoices
With the sweep of the wave and the song of the bird
An’ the soun’ of a thousan’ voices.

But the tune of my heart was louder still
With the soun’ of a chile’s voice ringing,
An’ something was to it that might have been sung
When the stars of the morning were singing.

Then I came to the place where the smoke went up
From the little thatch house in the clearing;
An’ I said to the wan that had waited long: —
“O woman what is it I’m hearing?”

“Is it hearing” she said, with a smile in her eyes,
“Look, yondher’s him out on the Gareys;
He’s brought you home with the tune of your heart,
Puck up at the chile from the Fayries.”


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, 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.


When Donald said good-bye to me
He vowed he’d come again,
Between the hay and harvest,
To the fields of Ballaquane.

Between the hay and harvest
I’m waiting for him here,
But the grey mist rising, rising,
It fills my heart with fear.

Is that you coming, Donal,
So slowly up the lane?
Is that you moaning, Donal,
Like some poor soul in pain?

Is that yourself, then, Donal,
That’s standing at the gate?
Is’t feared you are, then, Donal,
That you have come too late?

I’m waiting for you, Donal,
As I promised I would be,
Between the hay and harvest,
When you said you’d come to me.

What’s on your brow, there, Donal?
What’s dripping from your hair?
What’s doing on you, Donal,
To stand so silent there?

Put you your arm around me —
Oh! but it grips like frost!
But th’ill one cannot harm us
When o’er the sill we’ve crossed.

Where are we going, Donal?
The pool is glimpsing drear —
I do not like the darkness
Among the rushes here.

* * * *

I did not fear the darkness
When I left you long ago;
But your father came behind me
And struck a mortal blow.

Down there among the rushes
He struck me in his pride,
And, jeering, bid me rise from thence
If I would claim my bride.

And its from the dreary rushes
That I’ve come to you again,
Between the hay and harvest,
In the fields of Ballaquane.

* * * *

He has kissed her on the forehead,
She has given him her hand,
And between the parting rushes
They have gone to Fairy-land.

An old man mourned his daughter,
But they sought her all in vain
Between the hay and harvest,
In the fields of Ballaquane.


What bring’s you over the hill to-night?
What makes you look so treih?
Are you hearing soun’s in the win’ to-night?
Or seeing what we can’t spy?

“You’re snug an’ warm down here, my son,
In your thatch-house by the shore.
But there’s wan lyin’ out in the storm, my son,
That I think on more an’ more.”

“Will I take you home to the hill, to-night?
Or will you stop till morn?
You shall sleep in the children’s bed to-night.
And take the road at dawn.”

“I would gladly stop down here, my son,
An’ with the childher bide;
But there’s wan lyin’ out on the hill, my son,
Is callin’ me to his side.”

“As I came over the hill to-night
His voice spoke in mine ear —
‘Art thee coming soon, my widowed wife,
We are snugly housed up here.'”

“‘The turf grows over our heads, my wife,
The gorse is black and charred;
But we lie as warm up here, my wife,
As any in Maughold Church-yard.'”

“So its time I was takin’ the road, my son,
But bide you where you be;
It’s a road I must travel alone, my son
An’ he will be waiting for me.”

“But mind you now what I say, to-night —
When you find my senseless clay:
You’ll take me home to the hill that night,
To the grave beside the way.”

“You’ll lay me there in the gorse, my son,
Where he’s waiting for me still;
I could not rest in my churchyard grave
An’ him lyin’ out on the hill.”


D’you min’ them oul’ Oie’ll Voirreys with the hollan all in berries
An’ the carvels goin’ a singin’ on the night?
An’ Tommy Danny Qullliam an’ quare oul’ Juan Illiam
With cannles in their fisses for the light?

An’ marchin’ up the aisle, singin’ sollum all the while
With all the parish listenin’ to them there?
An’ Pazan smilin’ cheerful, but watchin’ very keerful,
To keep the wans reminded where they were?

There was teens of cannles blazin’ an’ all the people gazin’,
With Pazon’s wans so studdy in the pew.
An’ Church all titivated an’ tasty decorated,
An’ tossed up middlin’ stylish at them too.

An’ Billy Boyde the Bithig an’ Johnny Bob the Kithag,
Them wans was good thremendjus for the chune.
Pretendin’ at a loss, jus’ to give the choir a toss,
But sthrampin’ to be at it very soon.

Wan time that I was workin’ away at Cooil-ny-Eairkan,
Gettin’ holly with the res’ for the day;
So beat I was with slumber, an’ carvels such a number,
That down upon the flure I slipped, an’ lay.

When I wakened by an’ by, the moon was in the sky,
An’ all had gone an’ lef me on the flure!
The freckened urrov massy! I swealed like any lassie,
Nor dursn’t move an inch to rache the dhure!

For everywhere behoul’ ye, black shaddas were aroun’ me,
Till I was jus’ gone fainted with the fear,
An’ thrue as I am talkin’ I saw them shaddas walkin’
Like keepin’ time with chunes I couldn’t hear.

Though bein’ Christmas mornin’, or near enough the dawnin’,
I might have knew they couldn’t harm at all.
For isn’t that night Holy, that brought the babe so lowly,
The very bases doin’ obedience in their stall?

But there I lay the freckened! Till one big shadda beckened,
Aw, then I cleant like lightning urrov that!
An’ comin’ up the aisle, was Pazon, with a smile —
“Dear me,” said he, “I had forgot me hat.”


On a fine summer day the misthress would say:-
“Them windies is scandalous mucky,
“But if Kitty an’ you will agree to consent
“For to clane them, we’ll think ourselves lucky!”
It wasn’ the work we was wantin’ to shirk
When the windies was goin’ a rubbin’,
But feelin’ the saf’ on each side of the pane
To be watched by the other gel scrubbin’.

An’ still an’ for all, there wasn’ no call
For Kitty to stan’ on the lather,
When Johnny an’ me had agreed to consent
For to go for to clane them togather.
So “Kitty,” says I, “‘Tis time for to thry
“For to go for to polish them windies,
“An’ the misthress,” says I, “Says ‘Jus you be spry
“‘An’ not to be makin’ no shindies.'”

For Kitty an’ me was used for to be
The wans that was doin’ the clanin’,
Not like in them houses in towns where you’re took
If out of the windie you’re lanin’.
But “Kitty,” says I, “I’m thinkin’,” says I,
“Of them berries you’re wantin’ to gather.
“An’ safeter,” says I, “When a mansarvant’s by,
“For him to be out on the lather.”

So Kitty give place with a graue on her face
An’ took her revenge on the kettles,
An’ only I cleant middlin’ handy from theer
She’d have had me threw out in the nettles.
“An’ Kitty,” says I, “Don’t go for to thry
“For to take for to give me no imperince,
“Or its likely,” says I, “If the masthar come by,
“He’ll be havin’ ye took for intimperince.”

An’ well to be sure, there was polish dy-liooar
Goin’ a usin’ that day on the windies,
When Johnny begun for to come for to go
For to take for to work with no shindies.
For smilin’ he wass, an’ wilin’ he wass,
An’ talkin’ the gentle an’ aisy —
Till th’ everin’ come down, an’ the misthress come roun’ —
An’ she said we was Scandalous Lazy!


It happened once upon a time
I met the Fairies straying,
From under Bearey’s Cap they came
To go once more a-Maying.

They came about me in the mist,
I heard their songs and laughter,
And some went dancing on before
And some came singing after.

My nag was shod with fairy shoes
And bred among the mountains,
And many a moonlight prank she played
Along the streams and fountains.

We scampered down by Greeba Mills
And on to old St. Trinian’s,
And hastened lest the Big Buggane
Should join us on his pinions.

Though steep as Ugh ta breesh ma chree
The road to green Ballinghan,
My nag stepped out with might and main —
Her like is not in Englan’.

For up she went and on she went
Above the trees o’erarching,
And on the Braid we turned to see
The mountains all come marching.

From Greeba Towers to Laxey Glen
Their noble heads up-lifting,
And far behind them in the blue
Their fleecy helmets drifting.

St. Mark’s and Sluggadhoo we passed
And came to Ballamoddha,
And here my Fairy Company
Fell into some disorder.

For men, they said, and motor-cars
Have spoiled the roads for Fairies,
We’ll meet you further on, they said,
Among the lonely Gareys.

I scarce had gone a mile before
My steed began to blether,
Her fairy shoes, she said, were best
For travelling through the heather.

So round she went, and West she went,
And through the pleasant Gareys,
And here I met my friends again,
My company of Fairies.

And over Colby Bridge we raced
And through the Croit-y-Caley,
And all the folk from Cronk-Howe-Moar
Came out to meet us gaily.

Then up Cregneash we went like storm
For day began to hurry,
And at the circle met the sun
And stayed at Lag-ny-Wurry.

And on the Hill we danced till eve
And round about the hollow,
Till all the bones got up and joined
And set themselves to follow.

“No, no,” we said, “not so,” we said,
“Our ways are not together;
We’ll take the road and go,” we said
“Stay you, and watch the weather.”

My nag was fed by fairy hands,
She drank from Chibber-Garvel
And in a trice she leapt aloft
And left the bones to marvel.

The mist came floating round again
With songs and laughter ringing —
And there we were on Bearey slopes
Where morning larks were singing.


What are ye shoutin’ Lizzie? I’m comin’ so quick as I can,
An’ what call have you to be talkin’ with every passin’ young man!
The King! What King is there on ye — chut — capers — an’ up these hills!
Aw, well! Is it raelly the King, though? An’ me in my dishabills!

Give us a heis up the hedge, gel — we’ll be seein’ handy from theer,
To think of the King of Englan’ comin’ all the way up here!
I’d like to have put a clean brat on me, but I hadn’t no time at all,
For I come so quick as I could the moment I heerd you call.

I min’ they was used to be sayin’ this falla was middlin’ wile,
An’ lashins of gool spent at him since he was a lump of a chile.
But th’ oul’ Queen nussed him clavver, and give him scope for to run,
The knowing that he’d come to when he would have had his fun.

Aw the Lady she was! Ma word! Th’ oul’ Queedn that is gone,
That was sittin’ quite’s an earwig, doin’ judgment from her throne,
An’ the high wans goin a scutchin’ if they didn’ be mindin’ themselves,
And an eye for the sarvents as well, that there wasn’ no duss on the shelves.

An’ rowlin’ her bonnad ribbons to be all so nate’s a pin,
An’ larnin’ the childher their duty, but spashul this wan that’s in.
Its like she’d be radin’ the laws to ‘m while sittin’ beside his bed,
The way she’d be havin’ him studdy by the time he’d come to be head.

An’ sarvin’ his time for King, eddicated an’ all for to know,
Aw, a rale grammatical falla — Prince of Wales they were callin’ him to,
An’ was’n it our “Cap’n” Hunter that was with him aboord the ship,
To see that them ignorant haythens was not givin’ none of their lip.

There’s them comin’ though — there — roun’ by Cronk Urleigh, see —
Gerrourra th’ road, Lizzie veen! Is it devoured you’re wantin’ to be
Under the feet of the horses? Stan’ quite, now, for these wans to tell
The pretty the Manx gels is — (The King passes) — Aw! Well!


Oie-vie noght
Babban boght
Safe in Mammy’s arms you res’,
Villish veg
Babban beg
Coo my birdie in your nes’.

Babban beg
Villish veg
Shut your eyes my pretty love,
Lhiannoo meein
Ushag veen
Coo yourself to sleep my dove.


Arrane — A song or ballad.
Babban — A baby.
Beg or Veg — Little.
Bogh — Poor — term of endearment.
Bons — Bits of stick, charred gorse, &c., gathered for kindling a fire.
Carvel — A carol.
Chibber — – A well.
Chiollagh — Hearth-stone.
Cooag — The Cuckoo.
Cooish — Confidential chat or discourse.
Couth — The cold.
Cushag — Ragwort.
Dreem — Back. The ridge of a hill.
Eirey — Heir.
Earey — An open airy place.
Faie — Field near dwelling house.
Garvel (for ‘Cabbyl’) — A horse.
Gairey — Rough pasture land grown over with gorse.
Glass — Grey, or green.
Graue — Black look.
Howlaa — A spirit who wails on the sea-shore before storm.
Jeel — Harm, Mischief.
Kirree — Sheep.
Keill — Small ancient chapel or cell.
Lhiannoo — A child.
Loaghtan — The brown mountain sheep.
Lumpers — Boys and girls. Probably a sailors’ word.
Mannin or Vannin — Isle of Man.
Ma chree — My heart.
Meg — A lamb brought up by the hand.
Meein or Veen — Fine, soft — term or endearment.
Millish or Villish — Darling.
Mie or Vie — Good.
Mhellia — Harvest-Home.
Moar — Great.
Nogh — To-night.
Oie — Eve.
Oie’ll Voirrey — Eve of the Feast of Mary, Christmas Eve.
Rhullick — Burial ground.
Sceddan — Herring.
Sniaghthey — Snow.
Sooree — Courting.
Tramman — Elder Tree.
Tholtan — Ruined cottage or barn.
Treih — Sad.
Traa-di-liooar — Time enough.
Ushag — A bird.

“these poems should be as much a part of Manxland as the yellow bloom that gives them name”
[Isle of Man Times, 31/08/1907]

The first book of poetry by Cushag (Josephine Kermode), one of the Isle of Man’s best loved and most important poets.

Although this collection was first published in August 1907, a second edition featuring eight new poems appeared in June 1908. As the largest and most complete of the three editions, this is the version of the book presented here.

Amongst the new pieces added to the second edition are a number of poems which show Cushag digging into Manx cultural resources, such as in her renderings of traditional Manx songs like Kirree fo Snaightey and Arrane Sooree. Also included are the poems which were later suppressed as they came to be out of keeping with her mature style, such as the harrowing Nessy of Port-y-Vullin, about a drowned woman, or The Dhreem Lang about a jilted lover dying of heartbreak.

In total, 18 poems included in this edition were to be omitted from the third and final edition of the book. Considering that only 26 new poems were introduced with her next book, Ellan Vannin, this edition of Poems by Cushag is a very important part in the work of one of the Island’s most important poets, Josephine Kermode.

Cushag (Josephine Kermode) was the best-loved poet of her generation and perhaps the island’s most intriguing playwright; she is one of the most important writers that the Isle of Man has ever known.