Text: Manx Traditionary Ballad

This poetic account of Manx history in 66 quatrains was composed originally in the Manx language between 1490 and 1520. Manannán is a god-like figure in Gaelic mythology who personifies the sea; it was later said that the Isle of Man was named after him (although this may be a later invention of the literati).

The following extract of the text was translated by Michael Newton from the 1845 edition.

§ 1. If you would listen to my story, I will pronounce my chant as best I can; I will, with my mouth, give you notice of the enchanted Island.

§ 2. Who he was that had it first, and then what happened to him; and how St. Patrick brought in Christianity, and how it came to (the town of) Stanley.

§ 3. Little Manannán was son of Ler, he was the first that ever had it; but as I can best conceive, he himself was a heathen.

§ 4. It was not with his sword he kept it, neither with arrows or bow, but when he would see ships sailing, he would cover it round with a fog.

§ 5. He would set a man, standing on a hill, appear as if he were a hundred; and thus did wild Manannán protect that island with all its wealth.

§ 6. The rent each landholder paid to him was a bundle of coarse meadow grass yearly, and that, as their yearly tax, they paid to him each midsummer eve. […]

§ 9. Then came Patrick into the midst of them; he was a saint and full of virtue; He banished Mannanán on the wave, and his evil servants all dispersed. […]

§ 12. Thus it was that Christianity first came to Man, by Saint Patrick planted in, and to establish Christ in us, and also in our children. […]

§ 17. We are told that Maughold [aka, Mac Cuill] came then, and landed on shore at the Head, and built a church and garden around at the place he thought to have his dwelling. […]

§ 22. Thus then did they live or pass their time, no man that would molest or anger them; but going to get a pardon from Rome, until there came to them King Gorree [aka Godfrey]. […]

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