[From Manxiana, 1870]
The storm is up.
I heard the Dooinney Oie,
At midnight hour, howl dismal o'er Snaefell,
As mountain-seas surged on the neighbouring coasts,
And the earth trembled, as in earthquake hour.
Thunder and thunder thunder'd all around,
As sulphury, quick-cross'd lightning show'd the hills
All in a blaze with lurid, fitful glare.
On Primrose Hill I saw the frighted kine
Against the sky, so near the precipice
That I did tremble as I gazed on them,
Lest they should topple o er to frightful death.
Down came the rain, and fearful blew the gale,
South-east, right on the Parsonage front,
Making it totter dangerously as China ship
Totters and trembles in the fierce typhoon.
The Sulby stream aflood came rushing down,
Large as the Tay, rolling huge rocks and bridge
Along the Claddagh ; where next morn we saw
Trees, bridge, and rocks, and houses, all around,
With here and there a poor unlucky sheep,
Bearing the brambles with it from the bank,
It seeming clung to in its mute despair.
No lull it had, but hour to hour raged on,
Terrifically grand, yet such its power.
That Nature's self seemed chaos'd for awhile ;
Sky, air, sea, rock and distant mountain-heights,
Madly roared out, now as the Dooinney Oie,
As Demon of Destruction, was at work,
Storming the Isle with deft artillery,
That none could see, but all could feel as death.
Dreadfully doing! deadly devilry !
On Mona's Isle, so fair the day before.
The church Dour comes.
I watched at window sill
For church-goers ; no single one was seen
To pass along the road towards its porch,
Except the Clerk, Old Christy. He would go
If Doomsday came his duty 'twas, and he
Would go, meet death at any hour for this.
Donning sou'-wester-midst the drenching rain
I saw the good old man, like an old Lap,
Screw thro' the hurricane of hail and sleet
His bell to ring more noble he than me.
None heed the bell. " No matter that," said he,
"'Tis tongue of God, and He a purpose has;
Heard or not heard, I ring it at the hour,
My duty 'tis, and duty is my law."
News came from Ramsey of a schooner ship
Battling the storm in making for the bay;
A mile away the anchors were let go,
South of the harbour-anchors held not ; drifting
She was fast on the lee shore, her sails all tatter'd,
Her crew between the billows seem'd
Doing all they could. Poor fellows ! what a fate ;
What memories of their sailor-homes at Barrow!
Their wives and children whom they'd lately left,
To meet the hurricane that sudden rose,
Their decks so deluging, that the frail ship,
Laden with iron-ore, all foundering seemed
As certain to the crowd of lookers-on.
See! the glass shows a woman and her child
Frantically clinging to the rigging ropes.
Oh! who will dire the rescue? Look! there comes
The " Sisters" Life-boat, with her gallant crew,
Live will she thro' the surf and battling waves.
Yes, three times this year she has done her duty;
Like the old Sulby Clerk she'll screw thro' storm,
Her duty do, like Nelson of the Nile.
Onward, thro' Snaefell mountain waves she goes,
Her crew and coxswain are true Island Salts,
No better in the world, as sailors true
To duty and themselves. She nears the ship.
The woman and the child, with all due care,
Are taken first, and then the crew all safe
Are in the " Sisters"' arms of mercy saved.
" Steer for the horbour, ply your strongest oar-
Pull, pull," the coxswain's word, "we won't be beat."
They pull with a will, amidst the dangerous surf,
Cheer'd on by thousands on the Ramsey beach.
" Steer for the 1llorragh, on the northern shore,"
Is now the cry-so the " Two Sisters " dared
And did. Midst the Madras-like surf was seen
The Catamaran-like life-beat pulling thro'
The surge of rolling breakers, as the storm howled
And the huge waters thundered on the shore,
Drowning the cheers of those who cried Hurrah!
And 'midst that crowd were wives who cheer'd as well
The noble courage of their husbands dear;
High-lifted on a wave the boat comes in
Right on the shore-' They're sav'd, they're sav'd," the cry.
Well done, the Ramsey Life-boat!
All friends Be proud of her-do for her all ye can.
The Dooinney Oie's not fear'd when she's afloat,
True mermaid of the Sea of Isle of Man.
God bless them both, the Douglas and our own,
They're worthy of the Isle, the Isle of Man.