Elizabeth Shane (1877-1951) was a Belfast-born poet who lived most of her life in Donegal. “Tales of the Donegal Coast and Islands” is a volume of poetry initially published in 1921, though this edition is a 1927 reprint.
I am inclined to wish Shane took her own strictures about dialect in verse being “apt to become burdensome” a little more to heart. Orwell wrote that Kipling’s verse is much improved by being read without the various dropped aitches and “an'”s and “th'”s that characterise him.
It would be curious to know how much the island doctor has changed – aside from being brought in by helicopter of course.
The doctor’s called to Tory now
An’ his boat is at the pier.
Och! his is not an aisy job
At any time o’year
For he’d need be half a sailor-man
That would be doctor here.
There’s many a day he’ll be to start
An’ face a winter gale,
An’ himself would make no fuss at all,
But tell the boys to sail;
Wi’ the thought o’ one in pain beyond,
He’s not the man to fail.
There’s Neal down workin’ at the boat,
And the rest is with him too,
‘Tis the four o’ them do always go
To make the doctor’s crew;
For ’tis Tory is long miles away,
An’ no less o’ them would do.
‘Have ye tackle there?’ the doctor sez,
‘For the mackerel’s in,’ sez he:
‘We can trawl a bit as we go for luck.
Sure, we might get two or three’
But sez Neal, ‘The speed’ll be rayther much
Wi’ this wind in the open sea.’
Sez the doctor, ‘Tis a soldier’s wind,
We’ll be home ere night,’ he cried,
So they’re slippin’ from the harbour now
Down channel wi’ the tide,
An’ the swell is aisy on the bar
Though the wind is fresh outside.
‘Tis lonesome out on the wide, grey sea,
An’ the boat she does be small,
Yet where sickness is, be it calm or storm,
They will answer to the call.
Och! there’s brave things done an’ little said
On the shores o’ Donegal.