[from Manx Soc vol 16]


THE following. lines were written by Mr. Martin F. Tupper, during a visit he made to the Island in the autumn of 1860. According to Manx tradition, King Orry, in the beginning of the tenth century, landed at the Lhane River in the north of the Island.

IN fifty keels and five
Rushed over the pirate swarm-
Hornets outrof the northern hive,
Hawks on the wings of the storm.
Blood upon the talons and beak,
Blood from their helms to their heels,
Blood on hand and blood on the cheek,
In five-and-fifty keels.

O fierce and terrible horde,
That shout about Orry the Dane,
Clanging the shield and clashing the sword,
To the roar of the storm-toss'd main!
And hard on the shore they drive,
Ploughing through shingle and sand,
And high and dry those fifty-and-five
Are hauled in line upon land.

And lo I for the torch straightway,
In honour of Odin and Thor,-
And the blazing night is as bright as the day,
As a gift to the gods of war;
For down to the melting sand,
And over each flaring mast,
Those fifty-and-five they have burnt as they stand
To the tune of the surf and the blast!

A ruthless desperate crowd,
They trample the shingle at Lhane,
And, hungry for slaughter, they clamour aloud,
For the Viking, for Orry the Dane;
And swift has he flown at the foe,
For the clustering clans are here,
But light is the club and weak is the bow
To the Norseman's sword and spear.

And woe to the patriot Manx,
The right overthrown by the wrong;
For the sword hews hard at the staggering ranks,
And the spear drives deep and strong:
And Orry the Dane stands proud,
King of the blood-stained field,
Lifted on high by the shouldering crowd,
On the battered boss of his shield.

Yet, though such a man of blood,
So terrible, fierce, and fell,
King Orry the Dane had come hither for good,
And governed the clans right well.
Freedom, and laws, and right,
He sowed the good seed all round;
And built up high, in the people's sight,
Their famous Tynwald mound.

And elders twenty-and-four
He set for the House of Keys;
And all was order from shore to shore
In the fairest isle of the seas.
Though he came a destroyer, I wist,
He remained as a ruler to save,
And there he sleeps, in the roadside kist,
They call King Orry's grave.


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001