[From Manx Quarterly, #4 1908]
AN ENGLISH PAPER'S REVIEW.
In the " Manchester City News," one of the foremost literary newspapers in the country, there appeared the following notice of the book of poems recently published by " Cushag " : -
The high place allotted by critics to the Manx poet, T. E. Brown, and the popularity won by the Manx novelist, Hall Caine, together with the Celto-Gaelic renaissance, have supplied a great stimulus to literary effort in and about Manxland during recent years, one result of which is seen in the not inconsiderable amount of rhyming and fiction placed on our reviewer's table lately. The latest con-tribution, a modest little volume of seventy-two pages, contains some forty short poems, mostly tales in verse, in all of which the introspective temperament so characteristic of the Manx people, with its resultant note of sadness, is well reflected. While not soaring to empyrean heights, " Cushag," in pleasing rhyme and varied measure, sings of the love, the longing, the parting, and the griefs of the Islanders, heightened here and there with homely philosophy, or tinged with the superstition still lingering in the scattered hamlets or lonely farmhouses of Ellen Vannin. The dialect verse, in which most of the poems are written, presents an almost insuperable obstacle to English readers, but if this difficulty can be surmounted, there is in the volume ample reward for the trouble involved Rarely has the average woman's lot been better epitomized that in the opening lines of one of the poems
A cooish, a kiss, an' a whisper,
A sooryin' summer's day;
Then work, an' childer, an' bother
The ress of the way.
The writer's nom-de-plume is the Manx name for the ragwort, sometimes styled the national flower of the country, but against which pestiferous weed the insular farmer is legally bound to wage incessant war. Those who have seen the barbaric splendour of its golden crown of flowers lying amongst the green of the Island valleys will endorse the sentiment of the lines
Now, the cushag, we know, must never grow
Where the farmer's work is done;
But along the rills in the heart of the hills
The Cushag may shine like the sun,
Where the golden flowers
Have fairy powers
To gladden our hearts with their grace,
And in Vannin Veg Veen,
In the valleys green,
The cushags have still a place.
So of these poems by " Cushag," we say, amongst the minor poets on our shelves they have a place.
We understand these Poems are out of print, except for some which may be had at the office of the Isle of Man Examiner, Victoria Street, Douglas. Price 1/-