[From Mannin #9,1917]




Divided by sea but joined by kinship’


We walked among the mists in eager quest
Of faerie-lore, and talked with eyes aglow
Of all the strange invisible things that go
About that sea-girt land we love the best:
And ever the grey mist whirled and took no rest;
The waves came sliding inwards, soft and slow,
And wheeling gulls troubled dim sands below, "
And cold, wet winds came blowing from the west.

Now you have passed out from these shadowed lands
By unknown ways to seek the Light of lights;
Still the pale winds whirl mist across the sea,
And white gulls cry, and rain beats on the sands—
But you are away among the strange delights
Whereof the unquiet waves sing endlessly.


 Ersooyl, i.e. ‘Away.’ Literally, ‘ out of sight.’

THE loss of Miss SOPHIA MORRISON has brought sorrow and grief to all who know and love the Isle of Man. A true friend to all things Manx, she lives in the hearts of the people, and her gentle influence will long be felt. It is a but a brief four years since she founded this Magazine, one object of which was, in the words of Bishop Drury, ‘to preserve what is of value and interest in connection with the history, language and antiquities of the Isle of Man ‘ ; and, as he further hoped, ‘to bring out the high value of what is truly Manx, that MANNIN may thus indirectly foster a knowledge of what we really are ; a people who love what is straight and clean and wholesome, a people who, left to follow their true instincts, hate religious bickerings and party strife, a people who love that righteousness which exalteth a nation and hate the sin that is a disgrace to any people.’


How faithfully that ideal has been followed is shown in the pages of the nine numbers now published—a literary memorial of which her friends may well feel proud. We say ‘nine,’ for the present and final number still represents her work, since each of the articles and most of the notes—excepting of course, those relating to herself, had already been arranged for and their order assigned by her, while in some cases she had revised the proofs and in others had added notes of her own. Her name will also be linked with another work which, unfortunately for us, she did not live to complete, but, it is pleasing to hear that she had practically finished the Dialect Dictionary or Anglo-Manx Vocabulary, which had been begun by the late Speaker, A. W. Moore, and had arranged for its publication by the Oxford University Press. It is to be hoped that subscriptions will now come in, and that we may soon have copies on our shelves of this interesting and important contribution to our Manx Literature.

The preservation of the Manx Language, the recovery of our Folklore in song and story, with illustrations of the past and present-day life of our people, as well as the forging of a link to bind the many Manx folk abroad with those left in our Island home, were the principal aims of Miss Morrison, to which, in spite of failing health, she dedicated her time and her energies with pluck and untiring perseverance. And for this she was qualified as no one else could be by her intimate knowledge of all parts of the Island, her genuine sympathy and her comprehension which commanded the confidence of the people by whom she was loved and respected, and, her unselfish devotion to the cause which she had at heart. EDITOR.

Few events in my life have affected me more deeply than the sudden loss of our friend Miss Sophia Morrison. I had received a cheery letter from her only a short time before she passed away. She filled a very special position in the domain of the Manx Language which has now so few exponents. When William Quayle of Ballamiljyn, the original secretary and part promoter of our Society, was removed by death, it was felt there would be difficulty in replacing him, but, as the occasion makes the man, so a worthy successor was found in the person of Miss Morrison, whose talents were then known only to a few. She more than justified the choice which fell upon her ; but as Editor of MANNIN, in the wider sphere of Manx Folklore and Literature, her high literary qualities became apparent. Through her energy and zeal the Society published a number of booklets (two of which must in part be credited to her) to encourage the study of Manx, and a reprint of Cregeen’s Dictionary. She herself published a book of Manx Fairy Tales, and brought to conclusion Mr. A. W. Moore’s Anglo-Manx Dictionary, and other matters which are still in MS. But her labour of love was undoubtedly devoted to her journal MANNIN, which has drawn forth the admiration of bookmen for the excellence of its subject matter and dainty dress. Miss. Morrison was a true Manx patriot. She loved the Island of her birth and all its best attributes and traditions. Her enthusiasm for gleaning information from old Manx folk was well known. She possessed the instinct of discrimination, and was kindly, liberal-minded, and charitable in a high degree. The Isle of Man has lost a daughter of whom it might well be proud. G. W. WOOD.


The late Mr. Thomas Kneen, Clerk of the Rolls, had many opponents as a politician and as an administrator, but he had ‘the genius to be loved,’ as Mrs. Browning puts it, and he had an intense affection for and devotion to the land which gave him birth. He was doubtless the most popular personality in the Island, and his demise, at a comparatively early age, will be genuinely regretted. It is appointed, judging by a bill just introduced into the Legislature at the instance of the Home Office, that Mr. Kneen shall be the last Clerk of the Rolls in Manx history. Some steps are probably necessary to make the Manx Constitution acceptable to the Manx people, otherwise the deplorable Annexation movement will become really formidable ; but the suggestion that an English barrister—any English barrister—is as good as a Manx judge, is not flattering.

The late Mr. Flaxney Stowell, who died at Castletown on October 13th, was an artist of considerable attainments. Pictures of his have been hung in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Many of his studies of Manx seascapes are of very great merit.

Manxmen continue to shed their blood in the sacred cause of homeland. Since the last issue of MANNIN, at least fifteen Manx sailors have perished in the loss of vessels of H.M. Navy, and many, alas ! many Manx soldiers have died on the battlefield particularly since the commencement of the new offensive. Shortly before the publication of this issue, it was computed that since the outbreak of war four hundred and twenty-seven officers and men of Manx birth or blood have been killed in action or have died of wounds, while fifty-nine others have succumbed to disease or accident, and twenty-seven have been reported missing. In addition, fifty are detained in enemy internment camps, and no less than five hundred and eighty-five have been wounded. Seventy-three officers and men and two nurses have received military decorations, or have otherwise been specially mentioned for conspicuous gallantry or meritorious service. Manx folk have recently thrilled with Pardonable pride as they have listened to the story of how the s.s. Mona’s Queen, one of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s fleet, rammed and sank a submarine which attacked her while carrying troops to Havre on February 8th ; or as they have heard of the courage and skill with which the captain and crew of the Tynwald, in the teeth of a blizzard, rescued the crew and passengers of the American liner New York, when that vessel was damaged by a mine in the Mersey, on April 9th. The Ben-my-Chree, the largest and newest of all our Manx passenger steamers, was sunk by the enemy on January 11th, while acting as a seaplane carrier.

As has been announced in the newspapers of the period, the new secretary of the Manx Society is Miss Mona Douglas, of Ballaragh, near Laxey. The selection is a thoroughly happy one and the Society is fortunate in having such a choice available. Miss Douglas is still very young, but the achievement of her youth is already such as to give the most glowing promise of the achievement & her maturity since the last issue of MANNIN three tender little poems from her pen have appeared in the newspaper column edited by that useful patriot, ‘ Uncle Jack,’ of the Isle of Man Times. Miss Douglas has leisure, she has enthusiasm, and those who are acquainted with her are confident that she has judgment. One can only wish her every success and every happiness in the work she has newly undertaken, and bespeak for her the ready assistance of all who have hitherto interested themselves in the fortunes of the. Society.

We take the following from the Daily Dispatch, 10th March, 1917, as it seems peculiarly appropriate to the Isle of Man :—

For the national festival, to be held during the Birkenhead Eisteddfod in September, Mr. Lloyd George was asked to make a selection of his favourite congregational tunes, and chose Dyfrdwy, Hyder, Dorcas, and Jabez.

In his letter to the chairman the Premier said

I gave myself up during the weekend to the selection of our Welsh hymn tunes. which I am anxious to add to your collection. It was an exceedingly difficult task when there was so much excellent material, and I am not sure that I have been very successful

I am a great believer in the old Welsh Mesur Saim tunes, so long as they are not rattled through, as if the conductors were engaged on piece ‘work, and were paid according to the number of tones they rush through per hour ! By this process they lose their stately impressiveness

‘ I wish there had been a few more of these on your list; and, if you will not be offended at my saying so, the committee might have done better if they had scrapped some of the English tunes and substituted great Welsh tunes like "Dymuniad" and ‘Bryn Hyfryd."

One of the great objects of associating congregational singing demonstrations with the Eisteddfod was to show that Wales had a contribution of her own to make to this important branch of music.

The English hymn tunes chosen might be better; although I have great doubts of that, but that does not end the matter. Englishmen know their own tunes, and the world knows them, whereas the congregational music of Wales is a revelation which has yet to be made Hence. in my judgment, the introduction of such a number of English tunes derogates from the main purpose of the festival unless the festival presents the characteristics of the Welsh congregational music, I fail to see the point of the gathering. However, I leave the matter entirely in your hands, and have only presumed to press this point on the committee as I was the the originator of the idea at the Aberystwyth Eisteddfod, and I feel a special responsibility for seeing that it serves the object for which it was instituted.’

The words of the present Prime Minister, quoted above, have special interest bearing on our Isle of Man Music Guild, which for some years has had a national character of its own. distinguishing it among the many larger Guilds across the water. The establishment of the classes for Manx Music was due to Miss Morrison, who devoted herself unsparingly to the work of encouraging the formation of Manx. singing classes all over the Island. They were supported and chiefly financed by the Manx Language Society, and Miss Morrison gave freely time, strength and money In having Manx children taught to sing old native airs in the old tongue. It was a great grief in her last illness that the classes had been eliminated from the Guild, thus taking from a splendid and most interesting institution a characteristic which it shared with Irish, Scottish and Welsh Music Guilds.

It has been a noticeable feature of MANNIN that a space was set apart for the gradual publication of the melodies taken from Dr. Clague’s MSS. Miss Morrison took special pains in this work to have the tunes printed exactly as they had been taken down. Only by this means could the originals be secured, as, apart from the danger of loss or accident, there would always be the possibility of their being used by modern writers and altered out of their original character. Once printed as taken down by Dr. Clague and his helpers they would be preserved, and future alterations be of less consequence.

As already stated, this is to be the final number of MANNIN. A complete index is being prepared and, as soon as published, will be sent out to subscribers who apply at once direct to the Publishers.

MANNIN having come to a close with this number, the Manx Language Society hope, after an interval, to publish a Magazine of similar character, and they bespeak for that new venture the hearty support of all subscribers to MANNIN.


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