Heres a virtual movie of the obscure but brilliant Michael B Mannion reciting the sixteenth century poem"To Althea, from Prison" Michael B Mannion was a reciter of poetry of whom I have been able to find nothing else about other than that he was Irish and has been described as "The Bard of Kensington"
Michael Mannion came from a farming family in the parish of Tyrnascragh, East Galway. He spent some time as a brother in a religious order.
At the outbreak of WW2 he joined the London Fire Brigade & was stationed in Chelsea. He subsequently volunteered for the Indian fire service. Later he "took the King's shilling whilst under the influence", well so he claimed. He was commissioned & left the army with the rank of captain. He was a salesman after the army, vacuum cleaners & I have heard that he sold watches for Selfridges, Oxford Street.
He had a fantastic memory for poetry which he would recite at the drop of the proverbial.
He drank in most of the Notting Hill Gate pubs including the Churchill Arms. The Prince Albert was different in many ways to the Camden Hill pubs but mainly because Mick was one of many caracters that frequented the boozer. Among these were Jack Doyle, former boxer & wrestler, the actors Oliver McGreevy & Harry Webster & Gerry Quinn who was a patron of Mannion's. Hence the record is dedicated to Gerry's daughters. Btw the producer of that album was not a Dubliner.
One of Michael's friends was Brendan Lynch writer & habitué of the Winsor who wrote an obituary. He was photographed & interviewed by John Cullen (Irish Post,London) & John Minahan (London Evening Stanard)
Michael B Mannion is buried in Fahy Graveyard, in his native parish
To Althea, from Prison is a romantic poem written by Richard Lovelace in 1642. The poem is one of Lovelace's best known works, and its final stanza's first line ("Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage") is often quoted. Lovelace wrote the poem while imprisoned in Gatehouse Prison for petitioning to have the Clergy Act 1640 annulled.
Althea's identity is unknown. "She may even have been a product of Lovelace's imagination. However, evidence suggests she was a woman named Lucy Sacheverell
All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2011
To Althea, from Prison...........
When Love with unconfinèd wings Hovers within my Gates,
And my divine Althea brings To whisper at the Grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair, And fettered to her eye,
The Gods that wanton in the Air, Know no such Liberty.
When flowing Cups run swiftly round With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with Roses bound, Our hearts with Loyal Flames;
When thirsty grief in Wine we steep, When Healths and draughts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the Deep Know no such Liberty.
When (like committed linnets) I With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, Mercy, Majesty, And glories of my King;
When I shall voice aloud how good He is, how Great should be,
Enlargèd Winds, that curl the Flood, Know no such Liberty.
Stone Walls do not a Prison make, Nor Iron bars a Cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take That for an Hermitage.
If I have freedom in my Love, And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above, Enjoy such Liberty.