[From Manx Soc vol XXI]
THE Council of the Manx Society having expressed a wish that the editor should make a further selection from his store of the folk lore of the Island of Man, to form a second series to that which appeared in the 16th volume of their publications in 1869 , he has been induced to prepare the present volume, in the hope that it may be received as favourably as its predecessor. He was led to expect that he would have received some aid from members of the Society who had documents of a similar nature in their possession, but he has been disappointed, with the single exception of one, to whom he now wishes to express his warmest thanks for the great interest he has taken in the present volume, and the valuable assistance he has rendered in making it as perfect in its details as possible, although not wishing to be mentioned by name.
To the Rev. John Thomas Clarke, who was ever ready to assist in procuring Manx songs which otherwise would have been lost, as well as to Mr. John Quirk, of Cairn ny Greie, for his willingness to give them an English dress, the Editor also begs his acknowledgments and thanks.
There are, doubtless, many Manx songs that might still be rescued from oblivion that would throw light upon many a long-forgotten fact, if some one could be found capable and diligent enough to collect them. It may be said that many of these are only of a very homely nature and rude verse, yet what are the generality of ballads ?written for the day, nevertheless may contain truths that otherwise would have escaped the notice of the historian of after years. As such, those given in these volumes, it is hoped, will be found useful, if not for their elegance of diction, yet for the truths that may be found in them.
A specimen of a Manx carval is given in the present collection, with an English version of the same, on the " Bad women mentioned in Scripture," which the Editor believes has not hitherto been translated. It would have been easy to have given many of these carvals, which may be termed a literature entirely peculiar to the Manx people, consisting chiefly of ballads on sacred subjects which have been handed down in writing to the present time, and are yet to be found in many an out-of-the-way mountain farm-house, preserved in smoke-dried volumes redolent of peat. A collection of these would some years hence form quite a literary curiosity, many of them possessing consider-able merit, but are yearly becoming more difficult to procure, either from being altogether lost, or the unwillingness of the peasantry to part with their treasured manuscripts. Most of these carvals are from 50 to 150 years old, and amongst the favourites may be mentioned " Josephs History," " Susannahs History," " The Nativity," " The Holy War," " David and Goliah," " Samsons History," " Birth of Christ," with the specimens that have been given in the present collection.
The editor has every reason to believe that the two volumes of " Mona Miscellany " contain the largest collection of the " Folk Lore " of the Isle of Man that is to be met with, and which the author of the term ( Mr. Thoms, for many years the editor of Notes and Queries) defines to include " Popular superstitions, ballads, legends, and generally, as the name implies, the lore of the people."
In the present volume the editor has the pleasure of giving a copy of the scarce print of the shipwreck of the herring fleet in Douglas Bay in 1787, mentioned in the first series of Mona Miscellany, as also a plate of the curious silver cross formerly in the possession of Mylecharaine, which he hopes will be found an acceptable addition.
ROCK MOUNT, July 1873.