The Feats of Manannan
“Manannan beg va Mac y Leirr,
Shen yn chied er ec row rieau ee.”*1
*1 Manannan the little was son of Leirr,
He was the first man that ever had her.”
HAST thou not heard the feats of Man’nan*2 sung,
Who o’er this Isle a silver mist-shroud flung,
To veil the treasure from Sea-rovers’ eyes,
Searching the waters for his fairy-prize ?
This Merchant Manxman of the solemn smile,
First legislator of our rock-throned Isle,
Dwelt in a fort (withdrawn from vulgar sight),
Cloud-capp’d BAROOLE*3 upon thy lofty height.
From New-year-tide round to the ides of Yule,
Nature submitted to his wizard rule:
Her secret force he could, with charms, compel
To brew a storm or raging tempests quell;
Make one man seem like twenty in a fray,
And drive the Stranger*4 over seas away.
But they who read our Island lore aright,
Know that this curious Myth the fact bedight,
How that one Manxman, erst, was worth a score
Of savage Warriors from rude Scotia’s*5 shore.
*1 Translation “Manannan the little was son of Leirr, He was the first man that ever had her.” Meaning the Island. Island is feminine in Manx.
*2,The Manx believe Mannan Mac Lear, to have been their first legislator, and hold him in great reputation for his wisdom.” SACHEVEREL.
*3 ,On the highest point of South Baroole are the ruins of walls of most unusual magnitude. On the steepest and least accessible side the walls are of inferior strength, but on the northern side they are 27 feet in thickness.”- KERRUISH’S Guide, p. 186.
*4 ” Our most Gratious and excellent Lord, Sir John Stanley, King of Man and the Isles. In the Vigill of your Lady Set. Mary, Anno Domini 1422, att his Castle of Rushen, &C., &C., gave for Law, that ‘Alsoe that all Scotts avoid the Land with the next Vessell that goeth into Scotland, upon Paine of Forfeiture of their Goods, and their Bodys to Prison.’ “-Ordinances and Statutes of the Isle of Man previous to the Revestment (MILLS), p. 27.
*5 In the “good old times,” the Manx law permitted a native of the Isle to kill a Scotchman, provided he afterwards went over to Scotland and stole a white skin, meaning a white goat, and so giving the Scotch an opportunity of retaliating (by killing him) ; or he was to forfeit three white goats-plentiful in those days as sheep are in these.