John Edward Masefield, OM, was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, and poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever".
Masefield was born in Ledbury in Herefordshire, to Caroline and George Masefield, a solicitor. His mother died giving birth to his sister when Masefield was only six, and he went to live with his aunt. His father died soon after following a mental breakdown. After an unhappy education at the King's School in Warwick (now known... more »
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John Masefield Poems
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking, And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
QUINQUIREME of Nineveh from distant Ophir, Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine, With a cargo of ivory, And apes and peacocks,
On Growing Old
Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying; My dog and I are old, too old for roving. Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying, Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving.
I HOLD that when a person dies His soul returns again to earth; Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise Another mother gives him birth.
A Ballad of John Silver
We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull, And we flew the pretty colours of the crossbones and the skull; We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
I HAVE seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain: I have seen the lady April bringing the daffodils, Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.
A Wanderer's Song
A WIND'S in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels, I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon-wheels; I hunger for the sea's edge, the limit of the land, Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.
The West Wind
IT'S a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries; I never hear the west wind but tears are in my eyes. For it comes from the west lands, the old brown hills. And April's in the west wind, and daffodils.
ONE road leads to London, One road leads to Wales, My road leads me seawards To the white dipping sails.
IN the dark womb where I began My mother's life made me a man. Through all the months of human birth Her beauty fed my common earth.
"Goneys an' gullies an' all o' the birds o' the sea They ain't no birds, not really", said Billy the Dane. "Not mollies, nor gullies, nor goneys at all", said he, "But simply the sperrits of mariners livin' again.
Night Is On The Downland
Night is on the downland, on the lonely moorland, On the hills where the wind goes over sheep-bitten turf, Where the bent grass beats upon the unplowed poorland And the pine-woods roar like the surf.
On Eastnor Knoll
SILENT are the woods, and the dim green boughs are Hushed in the twilight: yonder, in the path through The apple orchard, is a tired plough-boy Calling the cows home.
Lollingdon Downs VIII
THE Kings go by with jewled crowns; Their horses gleam, their banners shake, their spears are many. The sack of many-peopled towns Is all their dream:
Quotationsmore quotations »
''I must down to the seas again for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.''John Masefield (1874-1967), British poet, playwright. "Sea Fever," st. 2, Salt-Water Ballads (1902). The line appears as "I must go down to the se...
''Commonplace people dislike tragedy because they dare not suffer and cannot exult.''John Masefield (1874-1967), British poet, playwright. The Tragedy of Nan, preface (1908).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy ...