[From Mona's Isle, 1844]


PARDON the imprudence of my rustic muse,
Most honour’d Sir, while she would thus intrude
Upon your time, her feelings to diffuse
In all th’ uncouthness of a rough prelude—
To what she may hereafter bring to light
When tempted to essay a loftier flights

She was the sweet companion of my youth,
Ere time had stamp’d its index on my brow;
Nurtur’d together in the path of truth,
We sang of nature at the cult’ring plough
In the pure accents of my native Manx,
In Mona’s Isle, on Corna’s fertile banks.

And now in after-life thus sore opprest,
As friendless and neglectedly I stray,
She ‘s come to offer solace to my breast,
And cheer me down my life’s sequester’d way
With her endearing pictures of the past,
Ere cares of life my youthful brow o’ercast.

My charts, and compass, and my sextant too
Lie mouldering upon my cabin shelf,
Tho’ their adjustments I can warrant true,
For they were manufactur’d by myself
On Nature’s plan of never-erring truth,
Carefully studied from my early youth.

As here I drift before the storm of fate,
Without an anchor, and my rudder gone,
And all my timbers in a shatter’d state,
Unable thus my barque to steer or conn,
While, on my lee, life’s adverse breakers roar
O’er the shoals of penury’s iron shore,

And dead to windward on my weather beam
Red streaks of malice glare amid the gloom
Of low’ring clouds,—which darker to me seem,
Far darker than the regions of the tomb,—
And my already over-power’d barque
For their fierce fury lies a helpless mark!

But here my muse would soar beyond my will,
And write her subject with a gall-dipt pen,
And in her rhyming way some volumes fill
On the oppression of my fellow men;
But Prudence whispers, " Honest man, beware
And shun with caution their entangling snare."

Nor is it my intention, honour’d Sir,
To prostitute my honest rustic muse,
Or to the painful subject to recur,
Which would but tend with rancour to confuse
Her honest self-taught verse, and homely theme
Of country treats, and rustic life’s young dream.

Far better subjects occupy my strain,
Such as are worthy of my home-made lyre:
Amongst my native rocks I would again
Chant forth the rhapsodies of nature’s fire,
And down the stream of life’s declining years
Would glide devoid of artificial fears,

And all the heart-felt pangs that do attend
Th’ aspiring breast to rise to honest fame,
With humble worth my best and only friend,
And long untarnish’d character my claim,—
Tho’ such ingredients in these latter days
Oft meet neglect, and not their meed of praise.

But ere I take my leave, to ask no more
My friends to give my batter’d barque a tow,
To bear up for my long-lost Mona’s shore,
And further supplications to forego,
With all my best exertions come to naught—
The once fair field with lighted prospects fraught,

I would, with heartfelt throes of gratitude,
Most honour’d Sir, my warmest thanks express
For all your favours, ere I here conclude
This my uncouth poetical address;
And though the storm may still around me roar,
I will not trespass on your kindness more.


Back index next

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