[From Manxiana, 1870]


Nettles! Nettles! Nettles!
Springing up everywhere,
Amongst the tombs and along the wall,
Nettles both foul and fair.

Lezayre — that once was called
Garden of Mona's Isle,
Why tillage ye God's acre thus!
Is it for sin or guile?

Why, sir," said the sexton old, "
We can't destroy them, no;
Cut or uproot them, still they spring,
Increasing thick they grow.

I've laid the dead here, sir,
For generations past,
And ever round the bad man's tomb
They always grow so fast.

Near babes they never spring,
As if to us they say,
We have no vices to upspring
On resurrection day.

The superstitious folk
That come to funerals here
Wonder, and wonderingly suppose
They brew the Parson's beer.

Don't touch them, sir, they'll sting,
And the wound will never heal;
They're little satans in diguise,
And'll wound you on the heel.

So let them wildly grow,
Offend not fairies' will,
Who come and take their revels here,
When all the Isle is still."

Fie on ye wardens all,
Manx law says you're in charge
To report on witch and nettle,
And sorcerers, too, at large.

The poem may well reflect the criticism made in the 1869 Tynwald Report on Graveyards


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