[From Manx Melodies, 1922]


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 keeill
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.

Grey 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 keeill
And there the words of John the Priest
In Runes are living still.


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