CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

ORIGIN OF THE ISLE OF MAN.



Of all the Celtic Gods, I envy most
                  That son of Lir,
Who drove his harness’d Dolphins round our coast
                  The live-long year;
Followed by an uproarious, spouting host,

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                  Deafening to hear.

There was no Cove so land-shut or so cozy
                  But Manan knew;
No Island e’er so meadowy or rosy
                  Escap’d his view;

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No river’s mouth or bed but his bold nose he
                  Would poke into.

Of the Atlantic realm sole lord and master,
                  He yet controll’d
Biscayan shores, where, charged deep with disaster,

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                  His thunders rolled—
The Baltic paid him amber tribute faster
                  Than Jews take gold. [Page 108]

Yet not content to be the sole sea-warden
                  Beneath the sun,

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His heart, like ancient Pharoah, he did harden,
                  (Or Hutchinson,)
Seizing on Mona for his “kitchen garden.”*
                  Some legends run.

I sometimes doubt (though some in Manx-man’s letters

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                  ’Tis somewhere said,)
That Manan, once embarrass’d, like his betters,
                  By over-trade,
A sanctuary for all future debtors
                  This Island made.

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It suits not with the hereditary story
                  Of him or his,
To skulk the Sheriff, or the deathless glory
                  A scrimmage gives;
Of the Manx story as I think the more, I

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                  Think less it is.

The gay god’s better purpose is to be seen
                  Beneath the soil,
Where wind the corridors from caves marine
                  For many a mile:

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From earliest day ’twas ordained—we must ween—
                  A smuggling Isle. [Page 109]

And certes this Usquebagh is not at all bad,
                  Excised or not—
Here’s to thee, Manan! most genial old lad;

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                  Not Pict nor Scot
Around this board, but would have sorrow’d sore had
                  You been forgot! [Page 110]

 
 


* John Hely Hutchinson (Lord Donoughmore), of whom Pitt said, if he had got “the three kingdoms for an estate, he would still ask the Isle of Man for a kitchen garden.” [back]