[From Mona Miscellany second series Manx Soc vol 21]
A Legend of the Calf, by Miss E. Nelson.
THERE is a tradition that a little ruin on the island, called the "Calf of Man," was formerly tenanted by a man who retired to this wild spot in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, imposing upon himself a solitary residence as a penance for having killed a beautiful woman in a fit of jealousy.
FAR mid the rocks of Mans wild shore,
An aged sinner dwelt But earthly tongue might never speak
The pangs that sinner felt.
Far in a cavern by the shore,
Of dark Castrooan flood,
A fearful voice waild evermore,
"Old sinner, blood for blood!"
Yet many a day had that old man mournd
Through a weary pilgrimage;
Bitt can hard fare, or penance drear,
Guilts burning pangs assuage?
The tears of heartfelt penitence
Are registered in Heaven;
But that grey man neer shed a tear,
That old man was unshriven.
O! he bare a deadly sin I ween,
The voice waild" blood for blood !"
And the islesmen said, misdeeds had been
By dark Castrooans flood.
And that old mans harp was the white, white bone,
Its strings were soft golden hair,
And the sinner in his sleep would moan,
"Dead ! dead! although so fair!"
And the simple islemen, many a day,
Held marvel of the same;
And many a mother blessd herself;
For thoughts she might not name;
And many a maidens cheek was pale,
To cross the gloomy strath
Alas! there was a weary curse
Upon the old mans path.
There is a headland bare and bold
By Monas lovely isle;
And there the wanderer may behold
A solitary pile;
The hoary sinner reard that pile,
That time-worn "cruciform,"
And there full many a day mournd he,
Above the mist and storm.
There is a cave within the rock,
As dark as evil thought;
When winds howld loud, and waves dashd light,
Its gloom the sinner sought.
Where not a ray of heavens light,
Could that wild temple pierce;
Oh! he would mock the mad tempest
With laughter loud and fierce!
Oh, what is elemental wrath
To the deep mental strife?
~Alas! the sinners bitter laugh,
With agony was rife;
It mockd, yea mockd the elements,
It mockd his own sad soul;
Woe, and alas, for evil hearts
And minds that spurn control!
And years went by, and from his cave
The sinner passd away;
None knew the wherefore, when or how
None know it to this day!
Whereer he went, whateer his fate,
All dark Castrooans flood
Could never from his conscience cleanse
The memory of blood.
Go, view those monuments of old,
They tell a fearful tale
Of deeds that blanch the cheek, and make
The stoutest hearts to quail.
Alas! there was doom for the sinner grey,
That passeth not with time,
Oh! well may the islemen, shuddering, pray
"Lord! save us from all crime."