[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]



So you are gone, dear Chalse!
Ah ! well : it was enough—
The ways were cold, the ways were rough—
O Heaven ! O home!
No more to roam—
Chalse, poor Chalse.

And now it’s all so plain, dear Chalse!
So plain—
The wildered brain,
The joy, the pain—
The phantom shapes that haunted,
The half-born thoughts that daunted—
All, all is plain
Dear Chalse!
All is plain.

Yet where you’re now, dear Chalse,
Have you no memory
Of land and sea,
Of vagrant liberty?
Through all your dreams
Come there no gleams
Of morning sweet and cool
On old Barrule?
Breathes there no breath,
Far o’er the hills of Death,
Of a soft wind that dailies
Among the Curragh sallies—
Shaking the perfumed gold-dust on the streams?
Chalse, poor Chalse

Or is it all forgotten, Chalse?
A fever fit that vanished with the night—
Has God’s great light
Pierced through the veiled delusions,
The errors and confusions;
And pointed to the tablet, where
In quaint and wayward character,
As of some alien clime,
His name was graven all the time?
All the time!
O Chalse ! poor Chalse.

Such music as you made, dear Chalse!
With that crazed instrument
That God had given you here for use—
You will not wonder now if it did loose
Our childish laughter, being writhen and bent
From native function—was it not, sweet saint?
But when such music ceases,
‘Tis God that takes to pieces
The inveterate complication,
And makes a restoration
Most subtle in its sweetness,
Most strong in its completeness,
Most constant in its meetness
And gives the absolute tone,
And so appoints your station
Before the throne— Chalse, poor Chalse.

And yet while you were here, dear Chalse,
You surely had more joy than sorrow:
Even from your weakness you did borrow
A strength to mock
The frowns of fortune, to decline the shock
Of rigorous circumstance,
To weave around your path a dance
Of "airy nothings," Chalse ; and while your soul,
Dear Chalse ! was dark
As an o’erwanèd moon from pole to pole,
Yet had you still an arc
Forlorn, a silvery rim
Of the same light wherein the cherubim
Bathe their glad brows, and veer
On circling wings above the starry sphere—
Chalse, poor Chalse.

Yes, you had joys, dear Chalse ! as when forsooth,
Right valiant for the truth,
You crossed the Baldwin hills,
And at the Union Mills,
Inspired with sacred fury,
You helped good Parson Drury
To " put the Romans out,"
A champion brave and stout—
Ah ! now, dear Chalse, of all the radiant host,
Who loves you most?
I think I know him, kneeling on his knees—
Is it Saint Francis of Assise?
Chalse, poor Chalse.

Great joy was yours, dear Chalse ! when first I met you
In that old Vicarage
That shelters under Bradda : we did get you
By stratagem most sage
Of youthful mischief—got you all unweeting
Of mirthful toys— A merry group of girls and boys,
To hold a missionary meeting;
And you did stand upon a chair,
In the best parlour there
And dear old Parson Corrin was from home,
And I did play a tune upon a comb;
And unto us
You did pronounce a speech most marvellous,
Dear Chaise ! and then you said
And sthrooghed 1 the head—
" If there’ll be no objection,
We’ll now purseed 2 to the collection
Chalse, poor Chalse!

And do you still remember, Chalse,
How at the Dhoor 3
Near Ramsey, to be sure
I got two painters painting in the chapel
To make with me a congregation?
And you did mount the pulpit, and did grapple
With a tremendous text, and warn the nation
Of drunkenness ; and in your hand
Did wave an empty bottle, so that we,
By palpable typology,
Might understand—
Dear Chalse, you never had
An audience more silent or more sad!

And have you met him, Chalse,
Whom you did long to meet?
You used to call him dear and sweet—
Good Bishop Wilson—has he taken you
In hand, dear Chalse ? And is he true,
And is he kind,
And do you tell him all your mind,
Dear Chalse—
All your mind?

And have you yet set up the press;
And is the type in readiness,
Founded with gems
Of living sapphire, dipped
In blood of molten rubies, diamond-tipped?
And, with the sanction of the Governor,
Do you, a proud compositor,
Stand forth, and prent the Hemns ? 4
Chalse, poor Chalse!

1 Stroked.
2 Proceed.
3 A well of black water on the Andreas Road.
4 Print the Hymns

Chalse is Manx colloquial form of Charles - real name Charles Gell, 'y Killey' (Manx for 'of the church') being a nickname derived from his simple-minded piety - he 'had a strange passion for death-beds and offering up his own prayers for departing souls, a supplementary item to death-bed scenes which seems in his case to have been welcomed'. Bishop Ward and Archdeacon Philpot at one time thought of building an asylum for such as he but Island sentiment was against it at the time - a temporary asylum was opened at Oatlands, Santon in 1863 before Ballamona Lunatic Asylum opened in 1868. Chalse died c.1870

The old vicarage under Brada was Rushen Vicarage where William Corrin (the prototype for Pazon Gale) was vicar.

The reference to printing hymns with the Governor's sanction however escapes me - there was no censorship on the Island, though Chalse was associated with the agitation against the inclosing of the commons in which the Vicar General (a law officer) Arthur Corlett was enriching himself by playing a leading part.

From the 1862 list of Chapel Deeds it appears that the Dhoor Wesleyan Methodist chapel was rebuilt in 1839 - is it possible that T.E.B. is recalling a childhood incident (he would be 7) spent with his mother's relations in the north ? Certainly Chalse was well known for his impromptu temperance lectures as for his anti Catholic sentiments. Temperance lectures would become a feature of Manx life following the visit, in 1835, of James Teare who preached Total Abstinence.

The poem is found in the Black Note Book [MM] dated 1875, Port Erin, the year of the death of his mother which possibly provoked the childhood memories expressed.


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