[From Mona's Isle, 1844]



MOST honour’d Sir, a Manxman—in whose breast
Burns the bright spark of patriotic flame,
Unquench’d by time, but with increasing zest
Will urge him on to sing of Mona’s fame
In all the pure simplicity of style
Adapted to the peasants of his isle—

Would with all due humility request
Your kind consent to be the Muse’s friend,
And raise an emulation in her breast
By graciously a kindly ear to lend,
While, in her homely way, she would rehearse
Her native powers in her rustic verse:

And should her claims to poesy be not such
As to obtain your honour’s full applause,
Perhaps your heart may yield to nature’s touch,
For she has drawn her source from nature’s laws,
Unaided by the skill of classic art,
She simply sings the dictates of the heart.

I first began, while yet in early age,
As carelessly I roved the mountain-side,
To glean unconsciously from nature’s page
The rudiments in which I now confide
As my director, and my leading star
Through life’s dark vale, and science’ field afar,

Where countless spheres harmoniously unite
In awful grandeur to transmit their rays,
Forth to proclaim, in silent order bright,
To erring man their mighty Maker’s praise,
Declaring still, by each reflected beam,
Jehovah’s name, Omnipotent—Supreme!

And Truth sublime, to learn and know was mine,—
And practice too, at my paternal home,—
Which, like the magnet the meridian line,
Directs my thoughts where’er on earth I roam—
Tho’ oft by worldly maxims’ artful force
It is diverted from its wonted course,—

And my own erring thoughts full oft would draw
Their influence from fair Virtue’s path apart,
Were it not for that truthful heavenly law
That was establish’d in my youthful heart,
And nurtur’d ‘neath a parent’s watchful eye,
Whose care was to prepare me for the sky.

Inured to labour in the furrow’d field,
I, with the lark, did hail the purple east,
The culturing plough with nervous strength to wield,
Or dole the fodder to the craving beasts
Or, free as is the circumbient air,
I’d rove the craggy glens, devoid of care.—

Such was my training in my childhood’s days,
Ere yet I thought of straying from my home,
To which, e’en now, my memory conveys
My happy thoughts, tho’ doom’d by fate to roam,
A lonely exile from my Mona’s shore,
In foreign climes for twenty years and more.

Fain would I now return, once more to view
The happy spot that give my being birth,
And spend life’s evening ‘mongst those happy few,
The dearest to my heart of all on earth
When cheerfully to sing my Mona’s praise
Would be the theme of my declining days.

Free from all foreign artificial strife,
I’d rove my native mountains once again,
And turn me from all scenes of pamper’d life,
Whose glittering moments end in years of pain,
When worldly wiles no longer satisfy,
And conscience whispers " Mortal, thou must die!"

Far, far from such allurements I would stray,
To where my toil sufficient would bestow
To satisfy the cravings of each day,
While doom’d to tread this mortal vale below,
Tho’ such a spot can scarcely now be found
Throughout the great organic earthly round.

But next to such, my Mona seems t/~at part
Of all the earth to answer my desire,
Her sons, each with a free and honest heart,
Would in declining age my muse inspire
With philanthropic zeal towards mankind,
That soothing solace to the human mind.

I’ve sail’d beneath the flag of England’s fame
These twenty years to many a foreign shore,
And now my crazy hulk, shatter’d and lame,
Lies up in hope to brave the storm no more—
Trusting that fortune yet may deign to smile,
And bear me to my long-loved native isle.

On my return to England’s happy ground,
Fate had decreed to set me once more free,—
For Esculapian skill my timbers found
Unfit for future services at sea,—
Granting me forty pounds and five a year
Down life, close-haul’d, upon the wind to steer,

With my depending family in tow,——
And adverse breakers roaring on my lee,—
While o’er the shoals of life I touch and go,
Endeavouring to weather penury,
Whose threat’ning storm forewarns me to beware
Of its approach, with more than prudent care.

And my best friends are something like myself—
From wear and tear, and Ministerial fate,—
Laid up to rust on the retired shelf,
While changing councils guide th’ affairs of State:
Tho’ willing, thus unable to perform
Their part to shield me from th’ impending storm.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000