[From Manxiana, 1870]


In solitary region of the Isle
Where, once a year in Autumn's happy time,
We gang away to gather in the nuts
That grow profusely in thy virin land-
Land that has been untilled from ancient times,
Herited from sire to son for ages past.
Along the ravine is a gorge they call
The not glen, so sequestered placed
That none e'er gather nuts there. 'Twas last week
We rambled there.
I will not tell the way,
You'll know it by the nuts, that thickly grow,
Unknown as yet by Sulby's satchel boys,
Or truant lads from Ramsey's neighbouring town.
Thickly they grow upon the hazel trees,
That bend with nuts; nuts too upon the ground;
Brown shalers, that have ripely fallen there,
Covering the mossy ground-nuts everywhere,
All round you — for ro other kind of shrub
Habitats there — 'tis nut monopoly.
Just shake the boughs, and rattling down they com,
Enough to fill a barrow for the fair.
Now, Jane and Harriet, be alive and bag
Only the ripe ones — fill every thing you have,
Pockets and bags and baskets — all will keep
To merry Christmas, and this time next year,
Nuts to crack there 11 be to make dessert
For us and all our friends both far and near.
Well laden are we walking from the glen,
In Indian file along a sheep-walk track,
Harriet before us — when suddenly we heard
A loud cry echo through the solitude —
— Tehi ! " It was the gloaming hour.
No form appeared — only a voice — " Tehi ! "
Waiting awhile, again in the same tone —
" Tehi ! Tehi ! " was — heard, and then we saw
One of the shepherds of the mountain range,
Who courteously explained that 'twas not right
On Mona's Isle for woman to go on foot
Before — but follow her lord along the path.
For ages past the Enchantress, fair Tehi,
Who once abode in these sequestered vales,
By skill of sweet enchantments won the hearts
Of young men all around, filling their minds
With a bewitchment they could ne'er forget,
So that the daily work neglected was;
Their fields unploughed, their gardens filled with weeds.
Cattle unfed, for want of pasture, died;
The Snaefell peat undug on common laid,
And the huge boulder rocks thrown here and there,'
As you now see them — some on Ohio's hill;
Others half way up steep slope, were sudden stuck,
Glistening like sparkling diamonds in the sun,
A very puzzle to all passers by;
And to the Savan's hammers questioning knock
Opening no door of answer to the quest
That he might put as to its history.
"See," said the aged man, "the land around
How barren — what a doleful waste it looks,
The work of the Enchantress — her sole work;
Far down the valley slopes dig and you'll find
Roots of the ancient forest, charred and black,
And relics of the giant's den, that once
Ranged through the forests of the then free Isle.
Her love made havoc, sir, and ruined all,
As it does ruin now, sir, in our day
More kingdoms than we wot of.
Troy of old Repeated will be," said the shepherd seer.
" Seeing the ruin made, the charmer called
Her clan around her. On her milk-white steed
Mounted, caparisoned in glittering gems,
Leading her lover on a journey where
She promised all a Canaan of delight.
Crossing the Sulby stream, that then aflood,
Surged o'er its banks, she deftly led them in
To the deep gurgling waters' ravin depths,
Where all were drowned — herself across she winged
From off her steed, and vanished through the air.
The Isle, to stop in after times such loss,
And to prevent in future such ill luck,
Wisely ordained that women from thenceforth
On foot should go, and follow after men ;
Beauty should go behind and not in front,
Else Tehi again would come to change and curse the Isle."
Thank you, kind shepherd, for your Mona's tale."
Harriet behind, we walk, nor Tehi fear;
We'll cross the Sulby soon, and then be home,
And store our nuts for merry Christmas time.

Ohio's hill = Ohio Cottage so named as supposedly where letters from Manx emigrants to Ohio were received and read


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2002