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Fisher's drawing room scrap book (L.E.L., 1832) page 9 - Carrick-a-Rede.png

T. M. Baynes. J. Davies





He dwelt amid the gloomy rocks,
A solitary man;
Around his home on every side,
The deep salt waters ran.
The distant ships sailed far away,
And o'er the moaning wave
The sea-birds swept, with pale white wings,
As phantoms haunt the grave:
'Twas dreary on an autumn night,
To hear the tempest sweep,
When gallant ships were perishing
Alone amid the deep.

He was a stranger to that shore,
A stranger he remained,
For to his heart, or hearth, or board,
None ever welcome gained.
Great must have been the misery
Of guilt upon his mind,
That thus could sever all the ties
Between him and his kind.
His step was slow, his words were few,
His brow was worn and wan;
He dwelt among those gloomy rocks,
A solitary man.

The romantic anecdote, to which the above lines have reference, is a true one. A manuscript journal of a Tour through the Western Islands of Scotland, and along the Northern Coast of Ireland, in 1746, contains the following passage:—

"Carrick-a-Reid is a great rock, cut off from the shore by a chasm of fearful depth, through which the sea, when vexed by angry winds, boileth with great fury. It is resorted to at this season of the year by fishers, for the taking of salmon, who sling themselves across the perilous gulf by means of a stout rope, or withe, as the name Carrick-a-Reid imports. I was told, that, all through the inclemency of last winter, there dwelled here a solitary stranger, of noble mien, in an unseemly hut, made by his own hands. The people, in speaking of the stranger, called him, from his aspect, 'The Man of Sorrow;' and 'tis not unlikely, poor gentleman, he was one of the rebels who fled out of Scotland."

In the second volume of "Wakefield's Ireland," a particular account of Carrick-a-Rede, its fishery, and "very extraordinary flying bridge," may be found.