[From Manx Quarterly, #26, 1921]
By GEO. QUARRIE.
THERE was fish for all in Ramsey bay
In the happy old days of yore,
And many a cottage of fishermen-
Not a family now where there once were ten-
All along the Dog Mill shore.
From the Mooragh up to the breezy Cress,
Every mile one or two of these,
With as promising boys as ever stood,
And with girls as pretty as they were good,
All flourishing like willow trees.
Who cannot recall old Billy and John-
The Moores of the Dog Mill road?
Both had fished for a living from the sea,
And they must have done that successfully,
For each lived in his own abode.
Then a little man fished from Balladool-
The owner of his cottage, too.
I cannot recall this little man's name,
His house was a thatched one, but all the same,
He had fished himself well to do.
Then Nimple, the terrible of the Roads,
With many foes-himself his worst-
Both his house and garden of sallies bought,
And yet., no fish that ever he caught
Could rival old Johnny's own thirst !
When drunk, Johnny always gripped the " thel,"
Which filled all his household with fear;
At the clock he would aim a mighty blow;
" Ye're theer long anough-now, to hell ye go !"
" Come down !" he would yell, " urro theere!"
" What's the matter here?" once a neighbour asked.
" Aw, murdher an' Irish I" cried 'Riar;
" Theer's Maa wis a chip took urrof her head
An' a lhag made in Margate's, too," she said;
" Lil Jack is all bleedin' theer undher the bed,
An' on'y for me he'd a kilt liddle Ned-
Aw 'is thrue, or else 'am a liar."
There was Skinner, a man who hated work
Who dwelt on the brew of Shallag;
Though often too lazy to go and get
The fish that was caught on the lines he' set;
That his pot was full, you could always bet
Aw, no batin' bowld Skinyar-Hallag !
Put Crennell was the type of the Manx sea-dog-
Tom Crennell of the towsy mane-
With the hair of his head and neck an jaws
All bristling defiance of human laws,
And tanned with the wind and the rain.
Old Tom's headquarters was the black Creg Cur,
An amphibious rock of clay,
Festooned with a seaweed forest to hide
Things left in the lurch by the ebbing tide
And panting for its flood there lay.
As this weathered old salt came in with his yawl,
Threw his fish on a screblag shelf,
When he'd shook from his hair the foam and wrack,
And had shouldered his oars, with creel on his back,
You'd swear it was Neptune, himself !
Aw plenty of fish, then, in Ramsey bay,
And fish that was easy to land;
For bait there was lug and endless gibbin,
Even sthuggas caught fish enough for a livin'
With a yard of line just tied to a kibbin,
Drove down for a foot in the sand.
Yes ! these were the days when the poor could fish
With lines and trawl, right on the shore;
But to-day, whatever the cause may be,
All fishing must be done expensively,
With deep sea tackle, far away at sea-
No poor man's fishing any more !