From the General Collection.
Document No. 163.
That indefatigable literary worker William Harrison, author of Bibliotheca Monensis, gathered a most interesting selection of Proverbs, Sayings, Ballads, &c., peculiar to the Isle of Man. They were published in 1869 under the title of Mona Miscellany, as vol. XVI of the Manx Society for the Publication of National Documents. Harrison, on p. 239, has the following under the heading: A Satire on The Island. A.D. 1682.
When Sathane try'd his arts in vaine
Ye worship of ye Lorde to gaine,
Ye yird he said and all be thine
Except ane place that maun be mine;
Though bare it is, and scarce a span,
By mortals called ye Isle of Mann;
This is a place I cannot spare,
For all my choicest friends are there.
Harrison, unfortunately, does not say where the original came from. He must have got it from an anonymously-published work, with the following title : 'The Isle of Man : a Satire.' Canto I. By - . Douglas : printed by- Penrice &. Wallace. 1845. It is quoted there as from 'Old Satirist (1682).'
Harrison challenges the satirist by claiming that "the natives of the Island have a tradition that Mona is the original Paradise" ! The words ' yird,' 'ane,' and ' maun ' would indicate that it was a Scot who was responsible for the satire! The editor, having that in view, wrote to the National Library of Scotland, and the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. The librarians of both examined Christopher Irvine's 'Historiae Scotiæ Nomenclatura,' 1682, and several of the 44 books published in Scotland in that year, as recorded in Aldis's ' List of Books Printed in Scotland before 1700.' but without finding our quotation. An earlier reference to the satire than 1845 cannot be found in the British Museum.