Armed with over 800 folk songs which he collected in the early 1900s, Vaughan Williams could boast a dedication to folk music to rival that of Bartók and Kodály. He arranged a good many for various vocal combinations and used the melodies of countless others in both vocal and instrumental compositions. Mannin Veen is an arrangement for mixed, unaccompanied chorus of a Manx folk tune, its traditional text translated from the Manx language, which is similar to Irish Gaelic and now virtually extinct. Manx refers to the Isle of Man, situated in the Irish Sea, lying between England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. It is not officially a part of the U.K.
The song, marked Andante sostenuto, opens with female voices singing the lovely, soothing melody and words, while tenors and baritones harmonize wordlessly in lush, dreamy sonorities. All voices sing the beautiful refrain that closes each of the three verses: "Come, then, come/Come, oh! come/Come, oh! come to Mannin Veen." As in most of his folk song arrangements, Vaughan Williams keeps the part-writing uncomplicated, his deft sense for subtlety imparting a seemingly perfect blending of main line and harmony. While this arrangement is not profound in either text or music, it is nevertheless a beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable song.