Manx Satirical Poetry

The Foundation has just initiated a project to look at the rich tradition of satirical poetry on the Isle of Man and it is being undertaken by Dr Sue Lewis. Since as far back as the 18th century, Manx poets, some of them anonymous, have been satirising local events and politicians. Reading these poems is not only amusing, but also gives an insight into controversial issues such as the enclosure of public land in the 19th century right up to the building of the Island's incinerator in 2004.

A short verse written in the 19th century when the Island had a reputation as a refuge for scoundrels due to its lenient laws gives a flavour of the material:

When Satan tried his arts in vain
The worship of our Lord to gain,
"The world," said he, "and all be thine
Except one spot, which must be mine,
That little place – 'tis but a span,
By mortals called ye Isle of Man;
This is a place I cannot spare,
For all my choicest friends live there".