[From Manx Quarterly #18, 1917]


(By George Quarrie, New York.)

QUARE little crather, wis slow, meighin' walk,
And mighty poor English was arrim for talk-
A man that was navar wisout his top-hat,
A moleskin sleeve-waiscad and reddish cravat;
Wis throuris of loughthan; the coat on him still
Was far, far too beeg, or, then, he was too lil ;
Hie shouldhers all hint, all; not that he was owl;
As always he seemed to be hungry or cowl;
His hands in his pockads, he'd quis in his clone,
Wis always a bright little dhrop arris noce;
" Which," the Boultic, a neighbour, would of'en repeat,
Is the only thing clear about that little skheet !"

That was owl Juan a-Beth, whose true native ground,
The lonely Balcherrums, lay scattered around
The grim Cronk ne Voulan, which frowns (or it did),
O'er that plain like a Sphinx, or lost Pyramid.

They say that sometimes, in that dim kind of light,
Which we cannot call day, nor yet is it night,
Some sooryin' ploughboy, instead of the road,
Would cross the Balcherrums to sweetheart's abode,
When, lo! something noiselessly moving around
Would rivet his feet at this spot to the ground,
Until the true terror the poor fellow feels
Made him jump the hedge back and take to 'his heels.
And yet, all he'd seen, if he'd stopped to enquire,
Was only owl Juan picking bons for his fire.
But still, there were things which, as some would maintain,
The Beth either couldn't, or wouldn't explain.
For one, what was almost a fatal affair,
When a sportsman had shot and wounded a hare,
Pursuing the hare on its blood-tainted trail,
His quest after all was of little avail;
For he followed the tracks. till they led him as straight
As a gun to Beth's door, at Grenaby gate!
And for many a day Juan took to his bed,
And barely escaped with his life, it was said.

Of my sthuggahood, Juan, though often the bane,
As you let for my father that endless suggane,
(With me as your twister, in abject despair)
For roping the thurrans at old Ballavair.
To me, all those balls that we stacked up in piles
Would measure, oh, hundreds of thousands of miles,
Each yard of it coined, as I well understood,
From drop after drop of my very heart's blood.
To think of being tied to that twister all day,
Instead of being out in the fields at my play!

How useless it was, thou most silent of men,
To ply you with questions; for surely just then
My rope would be kinking, from being too slack,
And all I would get was a yell to " Go back!"

But, granting all this, and your wizard-like clo'ee,
Your old weazened face and the drop at your nose,
And that some talked of " Juan-a-custa" with glee,
You were always a pleasing old study to me.


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