[From A Poetical Guide to the Isle of Mann, 1832]
When in the bay of Douglas you arrive,
All in a bustle passengers will strive
To spring on deck to see fair Mona's strand ;
Each longs to have a telescope in hand.
But if by night you ride in that fine bay,
The boats surround you for your ready pay.
Beware the boatmen sly, who for sixpence
Are bound to land you without more expence,
Your luggage too of pounds full fifty-eight
They must take with you in the darkest night,
But if in harbour 'bark'd, three Manks pence are
The full extent of the stout hobblers fare,
While he of half a hundred weight takes care.
If beyond headlands they've a shilling each
For you-with fifty-six pounds1 on the beach.
If on the pier you light on summer's eve,
Beauty and fashion crowd there to receive
And eye the passengers as they debark
Fear not-all here are friends and not one shark...
But see that sturdy boatman wade the wave,
As on he shoulders like a sir knight brave
The lady from the bark to th' pebbled beach,
Clinging t' his neck and flouad'ring o'er his breeeh ;
Affrighted she, lets go her slender grip,
Weary'd with clamb'ring, and with one fell slip
I th' water plashes, while th' unlucky fall
Ruffles and tumbles, and provokes a squall.;
The hearty laugh is rais'd, and all around
Cry out: "The lady's only wet not drown'd!
Once landed, travellers, proceed sans fear.--
Go straight to custom house at end of pier,
You'll soon releas'd be from our thraldom there,
Then onward go and ramble through the town ;
And if it be not gorgeous do not frown.
Rome in a day was never built; and here
The Manks begin mansions superb to rear.
The town contains six thousand 'habitants,
With scarcely trade enough to meet their wants.
In this chief mart of trade on th' isle you'll see
All that'is worth of commerce and of glee.
Stroll up to Athol-street and the new road
Which leads to Castle Mona, the abode
Of ducal greatness when the thistle crest
Irradiate beam'd on princely Athol's breast.
There a fine spacious view will please your eye,
While the wide bay and town beneath you lie.
Then if you like a walk a mile or so
Before you breakfast, to Kirkbraddan go.
There stands the mother church of Douglas gay,
In wood embosom'd high its tower grey.
The view is beautiful-the prettiest scene
Which round a christian temple you have seen.
As you return to town, and stroll along,
You see St. George's fane the woods among,
To which the fashionists on Sundays throng.
Another object dear to christian eyes
Is the free school, an institution wise
Three hundred children here are taught to read
And write, and reckon, and to say their creed.
As you return by the declivious way,
Your walk may be continued down the quay,
Until to sacred Matthew's shrine you come,
Ancient and reverend though without a dome.
Next, to the public baths your visit make:
There cheap ablutions the unhealthy take;
And those who love to be alert and spruce,
By plunging, hot or cold, the end produce.
These baths, erected by the good Geneste,. .
Are hot and cold and vapour of the best-
All of salt water from the briny sea;
For which you pay a very mod'rate fee.
Or if you should prefër a dive 'long shore,
Machines are in attendance evermore.
Should you prefer (as who would not?) to dine
On well-fed mutton, veal, or a sirloin,.
The Douglas market has a good supply
Of meat, as choice as you would wish to buy,
And in its season, each variety. '
The fish is excellent ; and if you're willing,
A dinner you may purchase for a shilling.
Not herrings only-there is cod and haddock,
Fish of all kinds both salt and fresh- no bad stock.
Red cod, soal, whiting, and cod of the rock;
Flounders and turbot, gurnet, mackrel, skate,
Shell-fish all seasons early as well as late,
Well-flavour'd salmon-a delicious treat!
Would you avoid tW expences of the town,
Go to the country-farm, and be the clown
Raise milk, potatoes, poultry, calves and.shee.p ;
A num'rous family you thus may keep.
If pounds two hundred your clear income be,
A carriage you may keep, and farm d'ye see,
For Dobbins that do plough can draw a chaise,
Where pa' and ma' may sit quite at their ease.
If fond of reading, you may see the news
At news room cheap, or may yourself amuse
With books from lending libraries in town,
Or at the billiard table lose a crown.
Yet pleasures here in vogue are most confin'd ,
To social circles of the better kind.
Degrees, my friends, are here as in all places:
Refin'd and middle classes-spades and aces !
Enjoyments elegant are cheaper here
Than England can afford; the sphere
Of middle grades can live and dress as well
As alderman or lady's birth-night belle.
Five hundred pounds will make a splendid show.
With such an income you may princely go.
The fashions come from London in a week;
And here you may find all you wish to seek
Of rarities in fancy, taste, or dress,
As they at Liverpool, and for much less.
If you be fond of waltzing at a ball,
Here they subscribe, the gents and ladies all,
And foot away at Dixon's till the morn,
And gather roses-not without a thorn ! ;
Mat Hanby on parade has beef and wine,
Where all the. week you may both card and dine.
To theatres the Manks indifferent are
Varieties of men at which to stare
They want not. Though courteous they are
To visitors, they sometimes to their cost
Their kindness have indulg'd and money lost.
Such changes serve for stare. effect to them;
To raise theit humour or provoke their phlegm.
Gay youths sometimes instead.of lounge or sleep ,
Array their skiffs of pleasure on the deep.
The late regatta tried aquatic skill,
Of which some gallant rowers had their fill.
The rage, the general monia is for gigs,
And-to make; way for horses-pounding pigs.2
Lo! on the light sand-stone which Steuart laid,
The ankle elegant of many a maid,
As on she goes united with her beau
To eye the gay assemblage and to spew
Her grace of motion and her handsome bonnet,
With its new peak and weight of ribands on it.
Across the harbour opposite the pier,
Fort Anne's white battlements on high appear,
And seem to say "look this way-we are here."'
The traveller in turn enquires how he
Might nearer get th' aspiring walls to see.
Let him proceed from pier along the quay
To the new bridge, and cross it in his way;
Turn to the left along a beauteous row
Of houses leading to a lane, and go
Ascending a steep winding path; until
He reach 'bout half way- up the rising hill;
Here let him turn, and view the prostrate town,
He'll say the sight is fairly worth a crown.
Lo! in the distance Castle Mona stands,
Along the winding bay, along the sands.
Above how verdant are the fertile fields
That fine green slope the richest pasture yields,
And laughing Ceres nods her yellow head,
And Flora smiles o'er the extended mead.
The hill is skirted with a rising wood,
Once the retreat of Athol great and good.
Beyond is Banks's bough, a headland high,
Which rises boldly 'tween the sea and sky.
The bay expansive next attracts your eye,
On which whole crowds of fishing craft you spy.
Yet to entrance the view along the strand,
Port Anne is not the place to take your stand.
Pass farther on until you reach the fort
Meant for defence-red hot-ay, that's your sort'!
Thence view the bay along the crescent shore ;
Has even Naples marine beauty more ?
Behind the houghi if you trave heart of oak,
You may descend to take a lonely walk,
Hold converse with the wildly foaming tide,
The coursing billows that on ocean ride.
The heathy steep that slopes down to the rock,
And, fearful path, you'll faulter at the shock,
Wiren loud the high wind rises o'er the deep,
And frights the seamews with its horrid sweep.
Leave we this scenery for Heywood's grove3
A pleasant walk for such as love to rove
And meditate, or else converse
In Manks, or English, Irish, Welsh, or Erse.
The vale of Eraddan opens to your view;
Braddan is Manx for salmon-nay, 'tis true.
The stream abounds with salmon-such fine fish,
An emperor would prize the dainty dish.
But don't forget the view ; look you straight on,
And see the rural seat of a Manks Don.
Mark well the walls, the foliage and the green
Did you e'er see the like? were like e'er seen'?
There is another, and another yet;
You ne'er saw finer villas, I will bet
Do you love gardens? Here are fertile beds
Of pinks and roses with their dewy heads;
And tulips, cabbage, onions, and so forth,
And ev'ry pretty painted flow'r that's worth.
No taxes here on hothouse makes it cheap.
This luxury of nature all may keep
Who for the frames and glass and coals will pay
As to their real use, I will not say.-
Apples and pears and berries and the rest
Of plants indigenous I love the best;
And here they do abound. The pears are fine
In flavour some are equal to the pine.4
1Weight of luggage,
2 Vide late statute
3 The Nunnery.
4 Pine Apple we suppose.
Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2010