[From Manxiana, 1870]


Ye who have livd on Cornish shore,
And watch'd the smuggler flash his oar.
In waning light at evening time,
Ne'er dream'd it was a shade of crime
To steal from good King George the kind,
The duty put on anything;
Or carry goods across the seas,
In weather fair or stormy breeze,
For a profit — or his clan to please.
No matter he be smuggler call'd,
A hooter free of whiskey auld,
He ran his risk, and won his prize,
And liv'd a hero in the eyes
Of her he liv'd alone to love,
Where'er he'd sail, where'er he'd rove,
Who liv'd in cottage on the shore,
Where she could hear the breakers' roar,
And note to him by signal true
If cutter called the revenue
Was in his way to land his tubs,
He had rather with him have no rubs.
So here, on the Isle, like Cornish coast,
The smuggler lived. We give the toast
Of Thurot, known throughout the coast,
With three times three of hearty cheer,
As the Manx sailor buccaneer.
'Twixt Isle of Man and Anglesey
His contraband he ran quite free,
'Twas there he gain'd seafaring skill,
By the noble daring of his will;
Learnt, too, as well seafaring life,
To fight with ocean's stormiest strife.
To fight not only ocean's wave,
But as a warrior he was brave.
When war broke out at Port Dunkirk
He joined the privateer — his dirk
And dauntless daring won a name,
That gives him still a hero's fame.
The British merchants fear'd his skill,
And terrible unconquered will,
That bore down all before his sword.
The enemy trembled ere they'd board,
As hand to hand to fight with one
Who in sea conflict always won.
At length this sailor of Man Isle
Appointed was to the "Belleisle,"
And afterwards by French raised high
To lead their squadron's destiny.
With rank of commodore he sail'd,
With seventeen hundred men, and hailed
Five noble ships to make descent
On Irish coast. The Government
Puzzled would be — ber troops not know
How well to deal with such a foe,
Would be divided — Gallic power
Ireland would gain. In this sad hour
Two of the ships he lost at sea,
But nobly gained the victory
At Carrickfergus, where his name
Is still a household word of fame.
These laurels won as soon were lost,
For on the Kinsale Irish coast
Was Captain Elliott, with his fleet
Of frigates three, who the foe to meet
Set sail in quest, and rounding Mull,
Saw off Luce Bay Thurot's fleet in full,
Making for Mona in full sail,
Right nobly dashing through spring gale.
The chase was short, for Elliott's fleet,
Near Mona's isle the foe did meet.
The " Belleisle " Captain Thurot bold,
In a few words his orders told —
" See there, my men, fair Mona's land,
Gain we the day all contraband,
Tons of Souchong and tons of wine,
From every clime where the sun does shine,
Are ours — we'll have them here aboard."
Thus spoke the hero of a hundred fights,
Amidst the usual blood-presaging sights
Of piles of cannon-ball and cutlass keen,
Now handed up from off her decks atween ;
Artillery was there, and pointed pike,
To board th' enemy when in deadly gripe.
Man fought with man in combat close array'd,
Till one or both were in death's struggle laid.
He paced the deck in solitary guise,
As commodore of this great enterprise ;
None question'd him — or scarce would even dare
To catch his eye, so full of hidden glare.
Of middle size, well-made, and fiery eye,
His look, his sailors said, do this or die.
Such was the discipline enforced on all,
Prompt to obey him at his every call,
Yet all did love him for his kindness too,
To all a friend, affectionate and true ;
Full of sea story, anecdote, and wit,
At evening hour, when cabin lamp was lit.
Proud Elliott's ships nearer and nearer sail,
Till the " Belleisle " was almost within hail,
" Clear decks for action — be doubly brave,
The day is ours, or else a watery grave."
These were his words, and opening then his fire,
The fight began ; and sea rose higher and higher,
As if to join in battle with the foe,
Who ruffled its diurnal ebb and flow,
As broadside after broadside cannon told
How hot the fight was, as the seamen bold
Stood to their guns, and quickly blazed away,
Lash'd to each other in the fatal fray.
The people gather'd on the Ramsey shore,
Full of excitement at the cannons' roar,
And trembled as they thought, who won, who lost,
'Twas life or death to all along the coast.
Elliott they hoped would gain at length the day;
Then all their goods would on the isle then stay.
Loud roared the artillery, loud the cannons spoke,
While all envelop'd was in blacken'd smoke.
Two hours of fearful conflict thus were pass'd,
Then the fire slacken'd, and the fight was past.
Thurot was slain ; two hundred of his men
Never would view the laud or sea again;
The "Belleisle's " decks with blood were delug'd o'er,
And the floating dead wasli'd on the Galloway shore.
'Mongst them were Thurot, known by his attire,
Buried in kirkyard of Kirk Maiden there.
To commemorate the defeat, thus nobly lost,
Fit monument is found in Michael's coast.
A smuggler bold — a warrior-commodore,
He died as fitted midst the cannons' roar ;
Brave to a fault, but generous as brave,
Hero on land, bold smuggler on the wave.
Peace to thy ashes, imitate we may
Thy Nile-like courage seen from Ramsey Bay.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2002