[from Manx Soc vol 16]


ST. MAUGHOLD the sixth Bishop of Man, was an Irish Prince, who had formerly been the chief of banditti, and having been converted and baptized by St, Patrick, he resolved to avoid temptation by abandoning the world. He embarked in a wicker boat, which drifted before the north wind towards the Isle of Man, where he was cast ashore at the headland still known by his name. He afterwards retired to a cave in the mountains, where, by the austerity of his manners and fervent piety, he became so eminent that he was unanimously chosen Bishop of Man by the natives, A.D. 498.

I'LL tell you the legend as well as, I can,
Of St. Maughold, a pious old Bishop of Man.
This man (like his father)
Was profligate, rather
At least he had been
In an earlier scene,
If his sins we could fish up,
Before he was bishop;
He led his poor wife,
It is said, a sad life,
Would cheat her and beat her,
And often ill-treat her;
Nay, threaten to kick her,
When he was in liquor,
Though now a saint, yet he
Was once-of banditti

The captain or leader, as fierce as could be,
In that island which Moore calls the " Gem of the sea."

And wherever he went,
He on. plunder was bent,

But after a few years began to repent;

So they sent him afloat
In a flat leather boat,
In very rough weather,
His hands tied together,
With bolts on his feet,
And no victuals to eat;

So he sang (while on waves he continued to ride)
I'm afloat, I'm afloat, on the fierce rolling tide,.

At length he was thrown
On an island unknown;
Or at least very few,
At that period knew,
That where the boat ran,
Was the Island of Man;
And St Patrick (the Saint),
Pick'd him up rather faint.

Yet this man became-and believe it who can
A worthy respectable Bishop of Man.

Ay, and such was his fame,
That he got a great name,

When St. Bridget, an Irish nun, came to visit him,
And then lost her heart, say some folks (as a quiz at him),

And soon took the veil,
When she saw him so pale,
With fasting so much of late,
His follies to expiate,

So thus he became ay, believe it who can
worthy respectable Bishop of Man.

And in Mona's fair Isle,
This saint lived for a while,
Where there's now a famed well,
Which contains, as they tell,

A very fine spring, which the Manx (spite of dirt) use,
On account of its famous medicinal virtues.

But then, don't you see?
That its efficacy,
To Man's sons and daughters
Who drank of these waters,

Was chiefly enhanced (though they tasted like paint)
By drinking them off in the chair of the saint -

Not a modem stuffed chair,
But a hard one and bare,
Which no one now, to sit in would care,
Where the saint, with hair shirt,
And all covered with dirt,
Would repent his misdeeds,
And count over his beads.

So I've given the tale, as well told as I can,
In verse, of St. Maughold, the Bishop of Man.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001