Poems by Cushag


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.


“MOTHER,” she said, “when you’ve 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 Fairies 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,
An’ 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’ its 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 bluebell grows,
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 han’,
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 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.”



I heard the Guillyn Veggey at the break of day.
On a merry, merry morning in the month of May.
They were hammering an’ clamouring an’ making such a din —
An’ yet there’s fallas doubtin’ that the like is in!
Clink-a-link, link-a-link, link, link, lin,
Clink-a-link, link-a-link, the hammers ring;
Clink-a-link, link-a-link, ding, ding, ding —
An’ yet there’s fallas doubtin’ that the like is in!

They were hammering their barrels in the cooper’s cave,
Sending out the chips to meet the brimming wave.
Working in the hollows of the Cushlin hill,
Turning out their dandy boats an’ tackle still.
Clink-a-link, etc.

I heard them in the cave behind the waterfall,
Merry voices echoed by the rocky wall;
While the bay was covered by the chips that flew.
And every chip became a boat with all its crew.
Clink-a-link, etc.

Oh, lucky is the morning in the month of May,
When you hear the Guiliyn Veggey at the break of day,
Hammering an’ clamouring an’ making such a din —
For they know the herrin’s coming, an’ there’s plenty in!
Clink-a-link, link-a-link, link, link, lin,
Clink-a-link, link-a-link, the hammers ring;
Clink-a-link, link-a-link, ding, ding, ding,
They know the herrin’s coming, an’ there’s plenty in.


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 kings 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 Phynodderee!
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 failing 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 grew 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 murmerin’, 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 grim 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.


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, its 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!


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 down 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.


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 craythurs 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’ along 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.


THE lands that should have come to him
Were gone with stock and store.
They dug a little grave for him,
What was he wantin’ more.

The trees that should have grown for him
Had vanished long before.
They carved a little chiss for him
What was he wantin’ more.

The gown his mother worked for him,
Put ready in the drawer,
Was doin’ a little shroud for him,
What was he wantin’ more.

The Sign of his Inheritance
Upon his brow he bore,
And that was all there was for him
What was he wantin’ more.


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.


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 Piercéd 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.


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 Chibbyr-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.


SO sad the lot of babe forlorn
That hath no home in earth or sky,
But sobs along the dark’ning broogh —
“A Babe without a Name am I!”

Scarce launched upon its earthly course,
It had no time to sin or pray;
But all unwelcome, undesired,
Its harmless life was cast away.

Unblest by sign of Holy Cross,
Whose weight, like Christ, it surely bore,
A sinless soul, through dreary space
Thrust out to wander evermore.

It sobs along the lonely broogh,
Where night and darkness fill the sky,
“Oh, pity me! Oh, pity me!
A Babe without a Name am I!”

* * * * * *
Dark was the night and rough the road
The Heiress in her anguish trod;
To frenzy wrought, her only thought
To hide her shame beneath the sod.

Ask not what woeful deed was done
Ere dimly dawned the sombre day;
What madness of despair sent forth
That dreadful cry above the bay!

The sea-mews rose and wheeled and crossed,
White wings against the dark brow’d hill;
And widening circles on the tide
Broke silently, and all was still.

* * * * * *

At Earey-Cushlin blinds are drawn,
And whispers fill the stagnant air,
Wet foot-prints track the silent hall,
And sea-weed drips from off the stair.

And on a day the mourners go,
And hymns are sung and prayers are said,
And in the Churchyard’s hallowed ground
They leave one more among the dead.

And should they grudge her hallowed ground
That knew not what despair was hers,
Nor dreamed what madness found her there
In that lone Keeill among the furze?

So mass was sung and prayers were said,
And tender hearts wept tears of pain.
Perchance such tears might help to cleanse
A hopeless soul from sinful stain.

Sad fate was hers; yet might she hope,
Though ages long must pass before,
Through prayers and fears and burning tears
At last to reach the heavenly door.

And then — when purged by cleansing fires
She trembles toward the distant light,
Will she not think of that poor babe
Thrust out to wander through the night!

So sad the lot of Babe unblest
That hath no home in heaven or earth,
But mourns in its cold winding sheet
About the place that gave it birth.

It may not reach to heaven above
It may not rest in earth below;
Nor with its lighted taper pierce
The limbo of its outcast woe.

The grey tide leaps upon the rocks,
The sea-mews rise and cross and wheel,
And ever as the darkness falls
The Babe weeps lonely in the Keeill.

And in its trailing winding sheet
Sobs o’er the broogh its piteous cry: —
“Oh, pity me! oh, pity me!
A Babe without a name am I!”


THE old man ceased, and in the pause,
We watched the smoke against the hill;
As in a dream he told his tale,
As in a dream we listened still.

His sea-blue eyes though dimmed by years
Saw far beyond our time and space,
And child-like faith in unseen things
Had smoothed the furrows in his face.

His simple creed — to do his best
As guardian of that treasured pile,
Whose ancient towers and ruined choirs
Stand crowned about Peel’s holy Isle.

And leaning on his staff he sat
Beside us in the sunny nook,
Embrasured by cathedral walls
Whose stones were all his sacred book.

Far off in haze we saw the Cronk
That frowns o’er Earey Cushlin’s strand,
So far remote it seemed to be
As old tales told in fairy-land.

And then one spoke — “Ah, say not so
That sinless souls could thus be left
To suffer for another’s fault
Forever — of all hope bereft.”

“Such hapless souls might rather be
The nurselings of the saints on high,
And learn in gentler worlds than ours
The music of the earth and sky.”

“Alas!” he said, “Those link ones
Who unbaptised have breathed and died,
May never reach the highest bliss —
But still — the Father’s net is wide.”

“And you shall hear how this poor Babe
Was lifted from its grievous plight,
And, by the faith of two poor men,
Set free to reach the blessed Light.”

* * * * * *

From Niarbyl Point to Bradda Head
The great Bay Mooar lies broad and deep,
And here the fishers cast their nets,
While landward folk are lost in sleep.

With steady sweep of heavy oars,
From Dalby strand they make their way,
Before the lingering light has left
The crags of Cronk-ny-Iree Lhaa.

Sometimes the night is loud with storm,
Sometimes the creeping fog comes round,
And sometimes all the moonlit hours
Are holy with a peace profound.

Sometimes between the dusk and dark
The fishers see a glancing spark,
A tiny riding-light;
Now here — now there —
And now a pair,
And now a score,
And everywhere
Around them dancing bright.
And straightway all about them ride
The fairy nickeys on the tide;
And all the air is full of din,
And elfish voices, shrewd and thin,
And creak of spar,
And smell of tar,
And water washing up the side;
While here and there,
And everywhere,
The gentle folk
Are well bespoke,
And room is left for them to ride
In safety on the gleaming tide.
And then a puff
Of wind comes by,
“Oie-vie, oie-vie!” the fairies cry.
And all around the sea is bare,
And not a boat is anywhere!

And that’s the time the men would find
Good luck with all the nets they cast,
And rowing slow with loaded store,
Be home before the night was past.

But other times the fish was scarce,
And some would stay and some would
About the Sloe or further out
Or back to sleeping Dalby, row.

And sometimes only one alone
Would drift along the shadowy land,
And in the darkness quake to hear
The Babe at Earey-Cushlin strand.

Two mates were drifting thus one night
In lonely silence on the Bay,
Such silence as old comrades know
That means more than a man can say.

Then spoke at last the younger man —
“The Babe is fretting sore to-night;
And pitiful it is to hear
Its cries up yonder on the height!”

And then the twain began to speak
Of that sad story of the place;
And question why such things should be
And what could limit Saving Grace.

“For seemeth me,” the elder said,
“That babe hath more than common loss,
For it was born on holy ground
Though never named with sign of cross.”

“And seemeth me,” he musing said
“It must have been so nearly saved,
That even now it might be blest
If any man the deed had braved.”

“And surely God’s own heart must ache
To hear it sobbing through the dark,
And long to have its christened soul
Beside Him in the sheltering ark.”

“Your tender babes are safe at home,
And cradled in their mother’s prayers;
My sturdy sons to manhood grown,
Have long repaid my early cares. ”

“The very hawks upon the hill
Watch their fierce brood through calm and storm;
And timid conies in the fern
Keep their soft younglings safe and warm.”

“And will not He who made them all
Watch o’er His little lost ones too,
And, maybe waited till this hour,
For us poor men His Will to do.”

And then the other made reply —
“Let us christen the Babe if that be so,
And if we are doing the Will of the Lord
He will send us a token, that we shall know.”

And these men of the sea stood up in the boat,
That under them gave, and rocked, and swayed,
And their hearts o’erflowed with a mighty faith,
And they spake with God and were not afraid.

And they signed the Cross on the midnight air,
While the lifting billows rolled and fell,
And the star of night was their altar-light,
And the deep sea sounded their vesper bell.

And the elder lifted his sea-worn hand,
And bared to the sky his rev’rent head;
While the younger followed him word by word.
And thus to the Babe they spoke and said —

“If thou’rt a boy thy name shall be Juan,
If thou’rt a girl thy name shall be Joan.”
And the crying ceased and the Babe was still
And the sound of the sea was heard alone.

And a star shot up from the lone dark Keeill
And a soul flew free from the throes of night;
And their eyes were opened that they could see
The Babe’s glad welcome to fields of light.

And they heard the music of harps on high
While the lifting billows rolled and fell,
Till the sun rose over the watching Cronk
And the deep sea sounded their matin bell.


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!


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 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?


“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.”


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.


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 tore;
Well, good everin’ — You’ll be 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 —
It’s 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 —
It’s 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’ it’s 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’ nursing 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.


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 blackbirds 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.


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.


I WAS down alone in the Moaney,
Nobody else was near,
When my name was goin’ a’callin’
Low an’ sof an’ clear.
None was I seein’ aroun’ me,
Never a face of clay;
An’ my name was goin’ a’callin’
Jus’ at the close of day.

The childher it’s like were callin’,
Wantin’ you they’d be
For a twilight play in the haggart
Under the tramman tree.

None of the childher was near me,
Gone to their homes they were;
An’ my name was goin’ a’callin’
Over the Moaney there.

Daddy it’s like was callin’
Wantin’ your help awhile,
Dhrivin’ the sheep he would be
Over beyond the stile.

Daddy was gone to the mountain,
I saw him against the sky,
An’ my name was goin’ a’callin’
Like a whisper passin’ by.

There’s Them that’s sometimes callin’
Low in th’ everin’ hour,
An’ if you give Them answer
They have you in their power.
A voice when the night is fallin’,
A whisper on the air,
An’ seekin’ to draw you to them
Down in the Moaney there.

Mammy the voice a’callin’,
Callin’ my name to me
Was his that long is lying
Cold in the cruel sea.
You’ll lave Goodbye with my Daddy
An’ lay me on my bed —
Chile veen, chile veen, what ails thee!
I answered it, she said.


WHAT brings 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 —
‘Are thou 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 Quilliam 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’ Pazon 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!


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, bill 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!


SING soft and low
Ye winds that blow
And whisper round this quiet shed,
Wake not His sleep
For shadows deep
Are drawing round His sacred Head.

Sing sweet and high
Ye birds that fly,
But gently trill your tender theme;
Lest all too soon
Your joyous tune
Should wake Him from some Heavenly dream.

Sing loud and strong
Ye Angel throng
To Kings and shepherds bear the sign,
That peace on earth
Has come to birth
And lies amid the humble kine.

O let Him rest
In this poor nest,
Where still His Mother softly sings;
For well we know
What tears will flow
Ere sorrows crown Him King of Kings.


Yet sorrow not as those who have no hope.

O ELLAN VANNIN we are grieving sore,
Lost Ellan Vannin, for the souls you bore
Through that dark crossing to an unseen shore.

What was the story of that last farewell?
Nought but the ocean’s voice remains to tell,
Tolling above them with its endless knell.

O sorrow, sorrow, for the ship that’s lost,
O sorrow, sorrow, for the tears she cost,
But sorrow not for those that safely crossed.

Though through the darkness of the wintry morn
Came that stern call for them ere day was born;
No time to grieve for those they left forlorn!

Though with the blare of that great trumpet blast,
High over head the mighty wave was cast,
From storm to Peace eternal, swift they passed.

O sorrow, sorrow, for the ship that’s lost,
O sorrow, sorrow, for the tears she cost,
But sorrow not for those that safely crossed.

For One came to them on that awful wave,
With loving hands outstretched to calm and save —
Straight to the Port of His strong Arms they drave.

He took the nestling babe to His own Breast,
He drew them safely through the surging crest
Of death’s dark wave to Light, and Peace, and Rest.

Long may we sorrow for the ship that’s lost,
Long may we sorrow for the tears she cost,
But sorrow breaks in joy for those that crossed.


THE sun is goin’ wes’ with me
The little everin’s nigh,
An’ clearer shines the light upon
Those mansions in the sky;
An’ surely through that level light
The very flowers shine more bright,
An’ all things soften to the sight,
In the little everin’.

The years have slipped away from me
Like snow before the rain;
I would not ask to have them back
Or live them through again;
But thankful at the close of day
I linger on the homeward way
An’ watch the childher at their play
In the little everin’.

There’s some that’s gone away from me
In lands afar to roam;
An’ some that’s gone to wait for me
In that new Heavenly Home.
I see them in the sunset gleam
They speak with me across the stream
An’ all my life becomes a dream
In the little everin’.


Arrane — A song or ballad.
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.
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 of 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 read by every patriotic Manxman and woman”
[Isle of Man Times]

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

Although first published in 1907, it is the 1912 third edition of Poems which appears here. This final edition features some editing of previously published poems and even some new poems (including ‘The Sorrowful Crossing’, commemorating the 1909 sinking of the Ellan Vannin steamship).

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.