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Full text of "John Masefield"

JOHN 
MASEFIELD 










JOHN 



"All of life is material for his seeing eye and his thinking heart, 
as he makes the wonderful familiar and the familiar wonderful " 

EDWIN MARKHAM 





1 



JOHN MASEFIELD 



CECURE in a high place in the ranks of English writers, 
^ John Masefield has attained that enviable position through 
various means. He is distinguished not alone as a poet, but 
also as dramatist, historian, novelist, and writer of short stories. 
But it is as a poet, and particularly as a narrative poet, that 
he gained his first and perhaps most lasting fame. 

John Masefield was born in Ledbury, Herefordshire, on 
June 1, 1878. Both his father and mother died while he was 
still a young boy, and with the other Masefield children he went 
to live at the home of an aunt in Ledbury. Here he grew up, 
attending the local school. While still a young boy he evinced 
a strong proclivity for adventure. Tramping the countryside 
and roaming the woods appealed to him more than studying 
indoors. In an endeavor to curb his venturesome spirit he was 
indentured, when fourteen years of age, to a merchant ship. 
Then began the experiences that so vividly burned themselves 
into the memory of the restless, sensitive youth. For several 
years he sailed the sea to many parts of the world, visiting 
strange lands, always storing up impressions that later were to 
help him on his way to fame. 

The desire to write had always been with him. When ten 
years old he had read Sir Walter Scott's poems and Percy's 
Reliques of Ancient Poetry, and at fourteen was deep in 
Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome. These became his favor- 
ite poems, and he wrote some imitations of them. During his 
time at sea he had little opportunity to read or write, so he left 
the service when not yet seventeen years old, and in April, 1895, 
landed in New York, with five dollars, his clothes, and a deep 
yearning for a literary career. Soon he was domiciled in a garret 
in Greenwich Village, subsisting on the fare provided through 
his meagre earnings in any odd jobs he could secure. Among 

[31 



these were work in a bakery, 'a livery stable, along the water- 
front, and the widely celebrated term of a few months in a saloon 
near Jefferson Market. 

A chance acquaintance with the owner of a carpet factory 
in Yonkers, New York, led to a position there, and the next 
two years were happy ones, as they gave security from want 
and time for reading. A book shop in the town was a favored 
haunt of his, and every Friday, which was pay day, he bought 
new books. In speaking of this period he has said, "I did not 
begin to read poetry with passion and system until 1896. I was 
living then in Yonkers, New York (at 8 Maple Street). 
Chaucer was the poet, and the Parliament of Fowls the 
poem of my conversion. I read the Parliament all through one 
Sunday afternoon, with the feeling that I had been kept out of 
my inheritance and had suddenly entered upon it, and had found 
it a new world of wonder and delight. I had never realized, 
until then, what poetry could be. After that Sunday afternoon 
I read many poets (Chaucer, Keats, Shelley, Milton, and 
Shakespeare, more than others) and wrote many imitations of 
them. About a year later, when I was living in London, I 
wrote two or three of the verses now printed in SALT WATER 
BALLADS." 

Masefield's intimate association with sailors and longshore- 
men had given him a deep insight into their lives, and it was 
as their laureate that he began his career of letters. SALT WATER 
BALLADS opens with a "A Consecration," in which he announces 
himself as champion of "the dust and the scum of the earth." 

"Theirs be the music, the colour, the glory, the gold, 
Mine be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mould 
Of the maimed, of the halt and the blind in the rain and the 

cold 
Of these shall my songs be fashioned, my tales be told." 

Some of the poems in this book are now known the world 
over especially "Cargoes" and the oft-quoted "Sea-Fever." 

"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." 



SALT WATER BALLADS was published in England in 1902. 
Several years' strenuous apprenticeship in literary London had 
preceded its appearance. The book won him his first recogni- 
tion. Its unusual quality was praised by leading writers, partic- 
ularly among the modernist group. 

A summer in Devonshire with William Butler Yeats gave 
him encouragement and inspiration. Soon he was publishing 
verse and plays that brought him into favor. In 1903 he 
married Constance de la Cherois-Crommelin. 

His first book of prose, A MAINSAIL HAUL, appeared in 
1905. This, is a collection of dramatic tales of ships and 
sailors and strange superstitions. "Roistering, reckless rogues 
swagger in picturesque procession across the pages of John 
Masefield's A MAINSAIL HAUL. Incorporated in these tales 
is everything of fear 
and fascination that 
men have found in 
the sea since the sail- 
ing of ships began," 
wrote the reviewer 
in the Toledo Blade 
when the book was 
reissued in 1925. 

In the same year 
was published his 
SEA LIFE IN NEL- 
SON'S TIME, an his- 
torical account of 
the rigorous days in 
the British Navy 
during the latter 
years of Nelson's 
career. Fascinating 
illustrations pictur- 
ing the ships of the 




From "Sea Life in Nelson's Time" 



[5] 



period add to the value of the book. This was followed by 
ON THE SPANISH MAIN or SOME ENGLISH FORAYS ON THE 
ISTHMUS OF DARIEN, which tells of stirring exploits of British 
seamen under Drake. For some years these books were not 
available in the United States, but recently a supply was im- 
ported, and the books were warmly welcomed by the reviewers 
and the collectors of Masefield's writings. He spent many 
months of intensive research in British maritime history before 
writing these books. 

CAPTAIN MARGARET (1908), Masefield's first novel, found 
wide favor. The poetical quality which distinguishes his prose 
gives a sustained magnificence throughout this book. The story 
tells of Charles Margaret, a gallant English gentleman and 
poet, owner of the sloop Broken Heart so named from his 
disappointment in love and the thrilling adventures encoun- 
tered after sheltering his lost love and her criminal husband 
on board his boat. 

In 1909 came MULTITUDE AND SOLITUDE, another novel 
of rich and beautiful prose. "London was about to take its 
hour of quiet. Only the poets, the scholars, and the idlers were 
awake now. In a little while the May dawn would begin. 
Even now it was tingeing the cherry blossoms of Aleppo. The 
roses of Sarvistan were spilling in the heat, the blades of green 
corn by Troy gleamed above the river as the wind shook them." 
And again "Pink cranes stood in the shallows. Slowly one of 
them rose aloft, heartily flagging. Another arose, then another, 
till they made a pinkish ribbon against the forest." From 
London to Africa we follow the hero in his search for a cure 
for sleeping sickness. Weird experiences are encountered. 
Masefield's description in this book of a tropical storm has been 
acclaimed as one of the most thrilling in all literature. 

Several tales of adventure followed, among them LOST 
ENDEAVOR (1909), which recounts romantic deeds in far-away 
lands, of the sea and buccaneers along the Spanish Main. 

At this time he was also experimenting with the drama, 
and in 1909 THE TRAGEDY OF NAN, a poignant, powerful play 

[6] 



in three acts, was published. Many critics have agreed that 
this is a masterpiece. It is an intense portrayal of tragic events 
in the life of simple country folk, and has been successfully 
performed in England. In his preface to the play Masefield 
says: "Tragedy at its best is a vision of the heart of life. The 
heart of life can only be laid bare in the agony and exultation 
of dreadful acts. The vision of agony or spiritual contest pushed 
beyond the limits of the dying personality is exalting and cleans- 
ing. It is only by such vision that a multitude can be brought 
to the passionate knowledge of things exulting and eternal." 
THE CAMPDEN WONDER and MRS. HARRISON, sombre trage- 
dies of a gruesome nature; THE SWEEPS OF NINETY EIGHT, a 
little rebel comedy; and THE LOCKED CHEST, favorite one-act 
plays for amateur productions, were written and performed at 
this time. 

In 1910 THE TRAGEDY OF POMPEY THE GREAT appeared. 
Tense in situation and impressive in its poetry, it conveys 
Masefield's genius in the handling of the dramatic form. "He 
is no statutesque Pompey, spouting prose lines masquerading as 
poetry; Masefield has given us Pompey the man," wrote a 
reviewer. 

But it was in 1911 that John Masefield startled England 
and occasioned intense excitement and hot discussion over his 
now world-famous poem, THE EVERLASTING MERCY. Telling 
of this event, W. H. Hamilton, in his critical study of John 
Masefield, writes: "I shall never forget the torrid day in 1911 
when I languidly picked up a blue-covered copy of the English 
Review in a smoker-room, sank with it into a basket-chair, lit 
my pipe, leisurely opened the magazine, and got one of the 
shocks and surprises of my life. . . . The 'room was sudden 
with horror.' At first we gasped 'Oh! What blasphemy! What 
indecency! Phew!' Then, dazed and unbelieving, one read 
the poem again and again and again. It began to dawn on 
us ... that here was one more of the world's great, sudden 
original poems and one of the greatest religious poems ever 
born." Vivid and powerful, written in virile, at times lurid, 

[7] 



language, THE EVERLASTING MERCY tells the story of Saul 
Kane, drunkard and poacher, his spiritual revolt and final con- 
version. Recalling the inception of the poem, Masefield said : 
"THE EVERLASTING MERCY began to form images in my mind 
early in the morning of a fine day in May, 1911. I had risen 
very early and had gone out into the morning with a friend who 
had to ride to catch a train some miles away. On our way 
down a lane in the freshness and brightness of the dew we saw 
coming towards us, up a slope in a field close to us, a plough 
team of noble horses followed by the advancing breaking wave 
of red clay thrust aside by the share. The ploughman was like 
Piers Plowman or Chaucer's ploughman, a staid, elderly, honest, 
and most kindly man whom we had long known and respected. 
The beauty and nobility of this sight moved me profoundly all 
day long." That night he began the poem. It marked a rebel- 
lion from the contemporary spiritless poetry, and it won for 
Masefield the Edmond de Polignac prize of five hundred pounds 
and world-wide recognition. It was his first book to be pub- 
lished in America. 

Closely following THE EVERLASTING MERCY came THE 
WIDOW IN THE BYE STREET, written in much the same icono- 
clastic manner. It tells a tragic tale of Widow Gurney, whose 
son, Jimmy, is hanged for murder, causing her to lose her reason. 
Of these two remarkable poems Masefield tells us: "In THE 
EVERLASTING MERCY a violent man is made happy; in THE 
WIDOW IN THE BYE STREET a good woman is made unhappy. 
In neither case does the event fall by merit or demerit, but by 
the workings of Fate, which come into human affairs with the 
effect of justice done, for reasons not apparent to us." 

In 1913 he again aroused the enthusiasm and acclaim of the 
critics. This time with DAUBER that magnificent "spiritual 
vision of life." '' 'Dauber' is a great poem. Great because of its 
pictures of the storm, the sea-night, the ship entering the calm 
bay at day-dawn. But great also as a book of revelation; as a 
book of intense, terrible, pitiful heroic vision; as a sensitive 
record of the sea, full of the bright face of danger, the endurance 

[8] 




[9] 



of ships, the endurance of men." The poem tells of a painter 
whose heart's desire is to portray the sea as it really is. 

"It's not been done, the sea, not yet been done, 
From the inside by one who really knows 
I'd give up all if I could be the one." 

A fall from the masthead kills him before he fulfills his 
mission. Masefield tells us that the poem is based on fact, and 
"Thinking of him after many years, he seems to me to be typical 
of the artist, who in every age will obey the laws of his being 
and speak his message, in spite of every disadvantage, and in 
contempt of death." This poem, his famous "Biography," and 
other favorite verses were published in the United States in the 
volume THE STORY OF A ROUND HOUSE. 

THE DAFFODIL FIELDS, his next long narrative poem, re- 
counts a story of the tragic love of two men for the same woman. 
There are pages of particularly beautiful descriptions of the 
English countryside. "It always seems to me a most moving 
thing that natural beauty, the running water, the coming of the 
flowers of the spring, and the singing of birds should go on 
year after year with so little apparent change and with so little 
apparent passion while men change and do themselves such 
wrong in the same scene and subject to the same season," Mase- 
field says, in speaking of the poem which so beautifully portrays 
the contrast of man's turbulent spirit with the serene beauty 
of nature. 

PHILIP THE KING AND OTHER POEMS came in 1914. The 
bringing of the news of the ruin of the Armada to King Philip II 
of Spain is the theme of the short play, PHILIP THE KING. "It 
is one of the noblest expressions of refined patriotism in our 
literature, and along with 'The Wanderer,' 'Ships,' 'Biography,' 
it stands at the head of all the verse literature of the glory of 
ships." "August, 1914," that most memorable of war poems, is 
included in this volume. 

In 1915 THE FAITHFUL, a three-act tragedy, appeared. 
It is based on episodes in Japanese history at the beginning of 
the eighteenth century, which have been brought together into 

[10] 



a legend known as the forty-seven Ronin. Masefield keeps 
closely to the simple and dramatic situations of the original 
story. It is permeated with a heroic, Greek-like quality, and 
numerous critics consider it the best of Masefield's plays. 

GOOD FRIDAY, a dramatic poem telling of the Passion of 
Jesus, is characterized by dignity and simple beauty. The vol- 
ume containing this play includes also a number of his best loved 
sonnets. This one-act play has been presented annually for the 
past three years on Palm Sunday by members of the Union 
Congregational Church in Boston. It was published in 1916. 

The same year gave to the world the imperishable 
GALLIPOLI, that poignantly sad and so vividly realistic saga of 
the Dardanelles campaign "Not as a tragedy nor as a mistake, 
but as a great human effort, which came, more than once, very 



? - 

''jLur*> f -' --f\~''-- "'/'-*-'"-" 

'''' 




"Gallipoli 



near to triumph, achieved the impossible many times, and failed 
in the end, as many great deeds of arms have failed from some- 
thing which had nothing to do with arms nor with the men 
who bore them." The thirteenth edition of the book was 
published in 1925, which surely is an indication of the precious 
quality of this eloquent tribute to the 38,000 Englishmen who 

[11] 



lie buried in Gallipoli. "GALLIPOLI is a book to strike the 
critical faculty numb and hush the heart of the hearer. For an 
age aye, forever on the earth, so far as we can dream it 
it will be read and gloried in afresh, and heads will be bowed 
and tears of strong men shed at every telling. It is as yet too 
sacred for applause," wrote W. H. Hamilton. 

In THE OLD FRONT LINE (1917) he gives us a graphic 
account of the front as it was when the Battle of the Somme 
began. Through his active service with the Red Cross, 
Masefield came into direct contact with the realism of war, and 
his descriptions are vivid and gripping. The early days of the 
War can be relived through this book. As in GALLIPOLI, there 
are innumerable interesting illustrations. 

In the spring of 1918 John Masefield came to America as 
an emissary for his country, and two speeches delivered at that 
time are contained in THE WAR AND THE FUTURE one with 
that title and the other "St. George and the Dragon." Many 
anecdotes enliven the vivid descriptions of the war. In each 
he pleads for special cooperation between England and America. 

LOLLINGDOWN DOWNS (1918), a title given because most 
of the poems contained in it were written at that place, includes 
the famous series of lyrics and sonnets that many consider 
Masefield's profoundest work. 

With the close of the War, a new Masefield appeared. 
The year 1919 saw the publication of REYNARD THE Fox, that 
flashing record of a hunt which stirs the blood of every reader, 
whether he has ever ridden to the hounds or not. Here is 
England, her people, and her dearest sport, sung in swinging, 
almost perfect verse. "I wrote REYNARD THE Fox partly 
because the events of a fox hunt have been for some centuries 
the deepest pleasure in English country life, and partly because 
the fox hunt brings together on terms of equality all sorts and 
conditions of the English people. Hunting makes more people 
happy than anything I know." The quarto edition, with its 
colored plates and many line drawings, is a proud book in many 
collections. 

[12] 




From "Reynard the Fox." 

RIGHT ROYAL, a poem about a steeplechase, followed during 
the next year. It concerns the subtle relation between horse 
and rider which, in moments of excitement, in the race, the hunt, 
or even the panic, makes them curiously one. "Will he win?" 
The reader queries anxiously, as the poem keeps him fascinated 
from the beginning to the end. 

Right Royal went past him, half an inch, half a head, 
Half a neck, he was leading, for an instant he led 

From line to line the reader follows breathlessly. There is also 

[13] 



a special edition of this book, containing innumerable line draw- 
ings and several colored plates, which is a favorite with 
collectors. 




From "Right Royal" 

ENSLAVED AND OTHER POEMS, published in 1920, contains 
some of Masefield's most admired verse. ENSLAVED tells a 
romantic tale beginning 

All early in the April when daylight comes at five 

I went into the garden most glad to be alive 

The thrushes and the black birds were singing in the thorn 

The April flowers were singing for the joy of being born 

Then a swift turn to tragic events; the courageous lover 
willingly joining the galley slaves of the Algerian pirates to be 
near his captured beloved one ; his thrilling rescue of her from 
the Khalif 's harem ; and their return to England 

All early in the Maytime when daylight comes at four 
We blessed the hawthorne blossom that welcomed us ashore 
O beautiful in this living that passes like the foam 
It is to go with sorrow and come with beauty home. 

"The Hounds of Hell," that weird story of the saint who 
fought the powers of darkness; "Cap on Head," another strange 

[14] 



folk-tale of diabolical meddlings in human affairs; some more 
of his beautiful sonnets and short poems, among them the lovely 
"On Growing Old," are included in this volume. 

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 . . . 



So from this glittering world with all its fashion 
Its fire and play of men, its stir, its march, 
Let me have Wisdom, Beauty, Wisdom and Passion, 
Bread to the soul where the summers parch 
Give me but these, and though the darkness close 
Even the night will blossom as the rose. 

In 1921 came KING COLE, a delightful story of circus life 
in a poem of quiet beauty and singular charm. Masefield has 
the legendary King Cole return as a spiritual force to help a 
struggling circus folk. "In my poem I made him help a trav- 
elling circus, because I feel that the duty of Kingship is to 
encourage all the arts which add joy to life. In the circus, 
it seems to me that one finds all the elements of the noble arts, 
based, as they must be, on physical development, a lively sense 
of life, and a kindling, compelling quality of personality. Circus 
artists are true artists. They live apart in hardship and anxiety 
in order to do the artist's task, which is to awaken a sense of 
life in their fellows." 

THE DREAM AND OTHER POEMS ( 1922) contains the poet's 
beautiful tribute to his friend, the late Charles Daniel, for many 
years Provost of Worcester College, Oxford. The title poem, 
Masefield tells us, is based on an actual dream. 

Again Masefield returned to the field of drama, and during 
the next few years several plays, marked with his peculiar power 
of beautiful interpretation, were published. ESTHER and 
BERENICE two of these plays are based on Racine's immor- 
tal tragedies. "Here in the interpretation through the medium 
of an alien tongue of the music and ideals of one poet by another, 
we have that transformation which is the object but too often 

[15] 



the despair of translation. The result is two great plays," said 
the New York Times. 

Another poetic drama based on a biblical theme is A KING'S 
DAUGHTER, which tells the story of Jezebel, Queen of Samaria. 
It is written in blank verse of unusual effectiveness and vigor. 
The play was successfully performed by the Boar Hill Players 
at Oxford. 

MELLONEY HOLTSPUR, OR THE PANGS OF LOVE is a four- 
act drama built on the romantic plot "the sins of the father are 
visited on the children." A mystical intermingling of the 
ghosts of one generation with their living descendants makes the 
play one of absorbing interest. 

In 1924 was published THE TAKING OF HELEN, a story of 
Helen's flight with Paris, but uses Nireus, a friend of Paris 
who also is in love with Helen, as the central figure. It is 
written in prose of particular beauty. An essay on "Play 
Writing," in which he discusses dramatic composition, with 
special reference to the Greek play and the English play ; some 
passages from his letters and his essay on "Fox Hunting" are 
included in the volume. 

A SAILOR^S GARLAND, a most pleasing anthology of sea verse, 
which contains poems from Chaucer to the poets of today, was 
edited by Masefield. Many famous chanteys are included. 
Although published some time ago in England, the book was 
imported but recently. 

THE TRIAL OF JESUS (1925) is a three-act drama in which 
Masefield depicts the trial and condemnation of Jesus, opening 
in the garden of Gethsemane with the betrayal by Judas and 
closing with a description of Christ's death. "The sincerity of 
purpose, solemnity of tone, and majesty of movement manifest 
in his writing is well in keeping with the subject he has chosen. 
The choruses which begin the play and end each act are well 
calculated to raise the audience spiritually and place them in 
the proper mood for an acceptance of the divine origin and 
superhuman powers of Christ." 

In 1925 came Masefield's first novel in fourteen years. 

[16] 



A thrilling, romantic tale entitled SARD HARKER. Of this book 
the New York Times said: "It is written with verve and salt. 
It has the relish for rough life and the gusts of Smollet. Life 
has been poured into the pages of this book in beautiful prose, 
in which Masefield has caught up the clash of human passion 
and the loveliness and fierce beauty of nature." 




From "The Dream" 

The year 1926 brought another novel, an equally stirring 
story entitled ODTAA. "In his prose romances John Masefield 
has developed such a genre as never was on land or sea. Obscure 
fears one by one take form with the vividness, the swiftness, 
the continuity of a nightmare, the unseen fear in the forest, 
felt by horse and by rider, the fear of dead men coming back, 

[17] 



of being locked up when fire is approaching, of being caught 
all these fears shot through with the familiar dread of not 
getting to a place on time. ... So real in fact do the charac- 
ters, the scenes, the republic itself become that they seem to bear 
witness against the author's own signed statement : 'The persons 
and events described in this story are imaginary', " wrote the 
reviewer in the Chicago Daily News. 




John Masefield and his daughter Judith 

Whatever the future years may give us from the pen of 
John Masefield, lasting fame has already been won. Eloquent 

[18] 



evidence of this lies in the tributes which hailed the new collected 
edition of his POEMS AND PLAYS, in four volumes, published 
late in 1925. Some of these reviews are appended in this 
booklet. | - 

Since his marriage in 1903, Masefield has lived in England. 
His home is now at Boar's Hill, Oxford. He has one son, 
and one daughter Judith, who drew the illustrations for 
KING COLE and THE DREAM. A few years ago he built in his 
garden a little theatre which seats an audience of about one 
hundred. Here the Boar Hill Players stage their productions. 
The theatre is dedicated to poetic drama, the furthering of 
which is one of Masefield's special interests. Some of his own 
plays, among them THE TRIAL OF JESUS, have been performed 
there. 

Describing the poet, Mr. Gerald Cumberland wrote of him 
in 1918: "John Masefield has an invincible picturesqueness 
picturesqueness that stamps him at once as different from his 
fellows. He is tall, straight, and blue-eyed, with a complexion 
as clear as a child's. His eyes are amazingly shy ... his 
manner is shy. You feel his sensitiveness and you admire the 
dignity that is at once its outcome and protection. 

"There are many legends about Masefield he is the kind 
of figure that gives rise to legends and, as he is studiously 
reticent, some of the legends have persisted and have for many 
persons become true." 

But the facts of his life are surely sufficiently picturesque 
and his poem "Biography" he tells us what he would have us 
remember. 

Men do not heed the rungs by which men climb 
Those glittering steps, those milestones upon Time, 
Those tombstones of dead selves, those hours of birth, 
Those moments of the soul in years of earth 
They mark the height achieved, the main result, 
The power of freedom in the perished cult, 
The power of boredom in the dead man's deeds, 
Not the bright moments of the sprinkled seeds. 

(from "Biography") 
[19] 




From, "Salt Water Poems and Ballads' 



[20] 



IN BEHALF OF JOHN MASEFIELD 
By STUART SHERMAN 

John Masefield has a grave musical voice, and when, with 
sharp little gushes'of emotion, he reads "The West Wind" and 
makes one hear his lark singing "above the green wheat," 
I swear no sweeter song has been sung in my time or more 
soothing to a tired heart. Why should I not go on and say 
that I am not ready to sift him yet, because nearly all of his 
work, perhaps barring the adaptations from Racine, still seems 
alive ? 

This lean, sad-eyed master of song-craft, who has plowed 
Gloucestershire with oxen and the deep sea with ships, has given 
me more poetic pleasure than any other English poet living. 
Through his awakened personality I have felt mighty rhythms 
pulsing through forms of life that dissolve and decay; through 
waves that break, fields sown and harvested, foiled tragic lovers, 
hot races ending with blown steeds and fallen horsemen, and 
forlorn hopes ebbing out in blood-drenched, frost-bitten trenches 
by the Hellespont. His glorification of the invincible van- 
quished stirs me, I confess, profoundly. It is the inside story 
of human life. He tells it with swift, bright speed, and yet 
with a pathos which bites to the bone. 

Without going through any critical processes, I have but to 
glance at the fifteen volumes which preceded this collected 
edition to my shelves to see that in the long race of this last 
twenty-five years Masefield has now for a decade or more been 
in the lead. My favorites of the old time, Stephen Phillips and 
John Synge, fell long ago into the blind cave of night. Mase- 
field's immediacy and sincerity and fresh color are unfavorable 

to most of the others. 

* * * * 

Of course, I know that John Masefield has had his quarter- 
century of productivity and his decade of fame, and that it is 
high time now for him to be slipping off the stage and leaving 
elbow room for the critics to haul the ascending stars into 
heaven. I know what the voguish critics are saying that 
Masefield began W 7 ith echoes of Kipling and Synge; that he 

[21] 



spells Beauty with a capital letter; that the introduction of 
"closhy puts" and bar-room oaths into verse is no great feat 
once the trick has been suggested; that the tragedies are melo- 
dramatic through inadequate characterization; that the narra- 
tives are prolix ; that the verse is padded with moral platitudes ; 
that "lasted" is rhymed with "Bastard," as it is by many 
speakers; and that throughout the works there is a culpable 
indifference to the poetic uses of the file, just as there is in the 
works of the Master of all Makers. 

Some of this critical pawing is captious. Masefield's appren- 
tice debt to Kipling in SALT WATER BALLADS and to Synge in 
THE TRAGEDY OF NAN was soon stricken off the score. The 
mature Masefield is nobody's echo. He is a figure as inde- 
pendent and original as any man can be who works, as all the 
great English poets have done, for the vital continuation of an 
ancient and splendid tradition. Obviously, he learned his craft 
of the masters. For the forms and instruments of his music his 
debt is immense to Burns, Byron, Shakespeare, Spenser, and 
Chaucer. THE EVERLASTING MERCY is, if you please, an 
English Tarn O'Shanter; THE WIDOW IN THE BYE STREET, 
a modern Troilus and Cressida; REYNARD THE Fox, a resusci- 
tation of the Canterbury Pilgrims; DAUBER is Childe Harold 
or Don Juan gone on a fresh pilgrimage; and the chief sonnet 
sequence carries on the Elizabethan quest for the soul and the 
divine idea behind the shadows of things. But that a poet 
suggests such comparisons, while writing with sharp realism of 
his own times and out of his own experience, marks him not a 
slave but an heir. 

Some of these exceptions, however, are well taken, and Mr. 
Masefield himself would probably sustain them. In the heat of 
the race, he has not always avoided knocking the top-rail off 
the fence. In his brief introduction to this edition, glancing 
back over the performance of his generations, he says: "Often 
their work has been harsh, violent, and ill-considered." But 
their mission, he intimates, was not to gild the refined Tenny- 
sonian gold nor to paint the late Victorian lily white. Tennyson 
himself had kept an even balance between the native English 
tendency toward a robust rendering of life and the imported 
cult of artifice and technical finish. His imitators declined into 
a mere respectability, devoid of poetic courage or hope. The 
mission of Masefield's generation was to sally boldly into nature 
and restore vitality by reemphasizing the native qualities: 
"character-drawing, humor, liveliness, and truth." 

[22] 



Certainly the apologist for Masefield should frankly concede 
his flaws and foibles to Mr. Squire and other parodists. He 
should take positive ground and defend him for the passionate 
expression of his tragic realism, his strength, and his sincerity. 
An English critic, Dixon Scott, moved to comment by THE 
DAFFODIL FIELDS, began with a protest against the solemnity 
with which people take their poets. They, the poets, are just 
like other people, he would have us believe, not a race of "wilted 
priests," but "simple, jolly, frank, and friendly souls . . . 
engrossed in the grubby, glorious work of growing flowers." 
Well, a good many contemporary poets are like that. That is 
the trouble with their poetry. It is a kind of passionless flori- 
culture. But John Masefield stands out as not in the least like 
that. Poetry has been in the place of religion to him; and he 
has served it like a priest not with a linen ephod, but with 
Carlyle's "baphometic fire-baptism." 

In that interesting novel of his, MULTITUDE AND SOLITUDE, 
there are many cutting observations on contemporary literature, 
and, in Roger Naldrett, there is a portrait of the poet's mind 
which we may accept as strikingly similar to that of its author. 
Roger declares that the Celtic love of the beautiful is "all 
bunkum." He finds the distinctive quality of Irish verse "in 
that kind of windy impersonality which one hears in their talk." 
"I maintain," he says, "that the Irish have no imagination. 
Imagination is a moral quality." Before he settles down to a 
literary life, Roger wishes to get the whole of himself involved 
and incandescent in the flame of his imagination. "I begin to 
think that a writer without character, without high and austere 
character, in himself, and in the written image of himself, is a 
panderer, a bawd, a seller of Christ. . . . Good God, Hesel- 
tine, it seems to me that a man should not be permitted to 
write a play before he has risked his life for another, or for 
the state." 

Masefield's long narrative poem, DAUBER, is ordinarily 
praised as a superb picture of the sea. It is that, but it is more 
than that. It is a superb picture of artistic dedication. It illus- 
trates the author's sense of the means by which a moribund art 
may live again. Here is a man who desires to paint the "windy, 
green, unquiet sea," ships scudding before the wind, and the 
destinies of men whose ways are on the great deep. Nautical 
pictures he might make from models in his studio. To know 
the might and mystery of the sea, he must give himself to it as 
the saint gives himself to God. Three years before the mast, 

[23] 



he hopes, will teach his hand to paint the living truth when he 
shows the landlubber how billows break and a ships goes up 
the wave. From the fore-topgallant yard, the dedicated dauber 
tumbles too soon to his death. But such prices the gods exact 
of those who mimic the Creator's art. 

The point is that with Masefield literature ceases to be 
hypnotic, a dreamily recreative "escape from life." It becomes 
a probe to the quick of the spirit, stabbing us "broad awake." It 
becomes an exultant hymning and glorification of life, even while 
it rushes on catastrophe. I do not know whether he became a 
sailor in order to learn to sing, or whether he sang because he 
had been a sailor. But that fine poem about his great joys, 
"Biography," is proof enough that the prime sources of his passion 
were not "literary." He loves the taste of his own days, bitter 
and sweet, and his physical immersion in experience : swimming, 
racing, the first glimpse of strange mountains; but heavy labor, 
too, in quarry and mill, roads tramped in the rain, the rough 
talk of peasant and sailor, the long road westward through the 
springing wheat, the comradeship of hard-palmed men following 
the sea. 

Whose feet with mine wore many a bolt head bright 
Treading the decks beneath the riding light. 

The last line of this poem has been rather often quoted : 
"The days that make us happy make us wise." There is a good 
bit of Masefield in it. It is happiness, peace, and beauty which 
give a man new eyes and put "compassion" into his work. Yes, 
but reverse the saying and you have the other half of the poet's 
wisdom: "The days that make us wise make us happy." 

In this world, a wise man learns to derive a great part- of 
his happiness from discovering how much misery he can endure, 
how tough the human heart is, the blows it can take and still 
fight on, the wounds it can receive and still recover. I doubt 
whether any living poet save Thomas Hardy has meditated so 
deeply and so fruitfully on disastrous things as John Masefield. 

Among the tragic narratives I have a partiality for THE 
WIDOW IN THE BYE STREET, which many of the commentators 
rate below its deserts. It is notable for dramatic characteri- 
zation. The title suggests that the interest centers in the mother, 
a figure treated with overwhelming pathos, though at the same 
time with an impartial disclosure of the jealous self-preservative 
elements in her affection for her son. A case might be made 
out for the central interest of Anna, who abides with singular 

[24] 




Down Bye Street, in a little Shropshire town, 
There lived a widow with her only son : 
She had no wealth nor title to renown, 
Nor any joyous hours, never one. 



From "The Everlasting Mercy ttnd Th* Wim!oir in \he. Bye Street' 
[25] 



vividness in my memory, dropping her spray of scarlet hips 
as a signal to Ern, and holding the dazzling light so that he 
may see to bash in Jimmy's face. Jimmy himself is, to my 
thinking, a pretty striking piece of characterization. 

But there is a fifth person in this "sordid" affair, a fifth 
unnamed person, "exulting and eternal." She it was who made 
Jimmy desert his mother; she infatuated him with a harlot, 
she frenzied his arm to the murderous blow, she brought him 
to the hangman's noose, and among the ancients she was known 
as the divine Cytherea. Her defeat in the bloody squalor of 
these English circumstances was, I believe, for Mr. Masefield, 
one of the high interests of the occasion. Now many contrasted 
elements enter into the effect of this complete, symmetrical, and 
intense narrative mother-love, lust, jealousy, and murder; 
but the stinging beauty and terror of it depend, I believe, upon 
Masefield's vision of the authentic Cytherean casting her illusive 
radiance over a heartless drab. 

This is not Anna, whom he describes, hiding in the pastoral 
country after the execution of Jimmy though it has her shape 
and name. This is the Cytherean illusion: 

There, in the April in the garden close, 
One heard her in the morning singing sweet, 
Calling the birds from the unbudded rose, 
Offering her lips with grains for them to eat. 
The redbreasts come with little wiry feet, 
Sparrows and tits and all wild feathery things, 
Brushing her lifted face with quivering wings. 

As W. H. Hamilton has pertinently remarked, there is 
something "fundamental in our poet's insistence upon another 
than the easy popular verdict on the unsuccessful." In his little 
book on Shakespeare, Masefield observes the Elizabethan 
dramatist's brooding sympathy with tragical Kings, such as 
Richard II, who failed "because they did not conform to a type 
lower than themselves." Perhaps the idea is a little too subtle 
or too exalted for our common feeling that virtue resides with 
the victor and that the justice of a cause is to be gauged by its 
success. 

But this notion of a moral splendor in the dead and defeated, 
Mr. Masefield pursues through his tragedies: POMPEY THE 
GREAT, in which the hero has traits of resemblance to Woodrow 
Wilson; PHILIP THE KING, serene with religious faith after 
the destruction of the Armada, dismissing the tragic messenger 

[26] 



with the thought: "In bitter days the soul finds God, God us"; 
the tragedy in Oriental mask, called THE FAITHFUL; the noble 
tragic narrative of GALLIPOLI, in which fragments from the 
Song of Roland give the keynote; and so on through the two 
recent dramas dealing with the invincible "lost cause" of 
Christ. 

To Masefield I think that the most beautiful and exulting 
thing in the world the fairest form into which our transi- 
tory lives can flame, rushing into darkness is the courage of 
men who have been faithful unto death. The heroic thrills him 
to his heart's core. Yet for him the World War was a long 
overshadowing agony, lit only by the blazing glory of human 
endurance. He followed the Red Cross to one of the most 
desperate battlefields to share its perils and to alleviate its 
miseries. These lines remind us in what mood men of peace in 
those days bowed to doom and 

sadly rose and left the well loved Downs. 
And so by ship to sea; and knew no more 
The fields of home, the byres, the market towns, 
Nor the dear outline of the English shore. 

But knew the misery of the soaking trench, 
The freezing in the rigging, the despair 
In the revolting second of the wrench 
When the blind soul is flung upon the air. 

From that tragedy Masefield returned with an immense and 
desperate compassion for the animula God's waif, the human 
soul poor, thin, little tenant of this falling house of flesh, bewil- 
dered wanderer among his own juggernauts and thunders, along 
the roaring abysses of oblivion. The SONNETS dedicated "To 
My American Friends" in 1916 are an intensely realistic expres- 
sion of a bitter quest, ending in the impersonally consolatory 
thought that 

The sun wifl rise, the winds that ever move 
Will blow our dust, and boy and girl will love. 

Since the War Mr. Masefield has, I suspect, steadied 
himself by leaning heavily on the joy of people who do not think 
and feel deeply. In REYNARD THE Fox, RIGHT ROYAL and 
KING COLE outstanding narrative poems of these later years 
friendly critics have hailed a recovery of that fluent, 
exuberant, creative energy, objective, dramatic, and sensuous, 
which first astonished and delighted them in THE EVERLASTING 

[27] 



MERCY. Here are indeed high spirits and blithe scenes; sun- 
light and dew on English meadow and woodland ; the barking 
of dogs; the excitement of horses; the pungency of the stable 
and the reek of the groom's strong pipe on the morning air; 
jolly, beef-eating, red-coated huntsmen ; English girls with roses 
in their cheeks; jockeys, farmers, hucksters, peasantry all the 
countryside gayly assembling for the old English sports, the 
fox hunt, the horse race, the travelling circus. Here are the 
bright speed, the galloping rhythms, the brilliant colors, the 
odor and zest of ruddy life. 

One is tempted to say that the sensitive author of the sonnets 
and the lyrics, full of haunting cries and gushes of poignant 
sadness, has tossed his melancholy and the heartbreak of the 
animula into the west wind, and has voided the chamber of his 
personality in order to fill it with the ancient traditional emo- 
tions of the folk. It is one of many signs that John Masefield 
is a true poet of the taller sort, that he rises to a serene and 
joyous contemplation of the whole course of the "river of life" 
streaming down from Chaucer's time with the eternal rhythm, 
and the fleeing waters that sparkle and pass. After sharp hunger, 
passionate seeking, nostalgia of the spirit, and tragic illumi- 
nation, he has come to the clear high point from which Arnold 
described the full murmurous flowing of the Oxus to the sea. 
His personal feeling is discernible in the scene only in the 
softening of the light and in the almost inaudible undertone 
of compassion. 

Lean'd on his fate, he gazes tears 

Are in his eyes, and in his ears 

The murmur of a thousand years. 

Before him he sees life unroll, ^ 

A placid and continuous whole 

That general life, which does not cease . . . 

"Books" New York Herald Tribune 



[28] 



RULE BRITTANIA! 
By LAURENCE STALLINGS 

We learn from time to time that the Englishmen are all 
dead. Some fomenting soul hints darkly that Anglophiles are 
poring over English tripe at the reviewing stand. Bennett and 
Wells and Galsworthy are dead upon their feet; old age has 
overtaken Hardy; Kipling has pneumonia; and Joseph Conrad 
is home from the sea. 

We also learn that English poetry is now laid low. 
Housman has quit. Bridges never does anything, and the Sit- 
wells and Huxleys are rightly mad. The young men of England, 
so it is said, are vainly attempting to fit the glass slipper of Lord 
Alfred of Victoria upon their feet or wear the clog shoes 
of T. S. Eliot. And as for the theatre, Shaw alone maintains 
the tradition, and he an Irishman. The rest are so many 
Michael Arlens laid hat to hat. 

All this being the case, it is disconcerting for John Masefield 
to dump his collected works upon the unsuspecting and preening 
American self-esteem. We Americans, one hears everywhere, 
are on the up-grade in literachoor. We have a hey-nonny- 
nonny lilt of virility for new forms, new things, new gods. 
Then comes another collected edition from England, this time 
John Masefield 's. 

Whaddye mean, the English are all dead? Macmillan's 
sends the Masefield collection down to Park Row. Masefield 
dead ? Masefield isn't nearly through. He has simply collected 
four volumes of the things he wishes preserved. If it is newness 
of verse you seek, there's the volume containing THE WIDOW 
IN THE BYE STREET and THE EVERLASTING MERCY. If it is 
excellence in the classic style, you might read again "Be With 
Me, Beauty, for the Fire Is Dying." If it be drama or 
plays, you may have your choice between good plays in verse 
and good plays in prose. For narrative there is DAUBER and 
for the crude, uncut rhythms of verse you may again read 
RIGHT ROYAL or REYNARD THE Fox. 

Masefield has not yet included his prose in the collection. 
His study of GALLIPOLI is absent that long, straight flight of 

[29] 



writing which preserves forever still another crowd of bright 
and deathless figures on the beaches near Troy. One recalls 
fugitive other pieces. The English are all worn out and awry ? 
Just so many Cosmo Hamiltons running from WJZ? 
Ho! Ho! Ho! Stop me if you've heard this one. 

I wish to God we had one American who gave the promise 
of some day living, on a hill somewhere, comparable to Boar's 
Hill in Oxford, who might dump four volumes of Masefield's 
stuff down upon this desk. Then there would be another 
Anglo-phobe following the trail which Sinclair Lewis blazes 
anew whenever he returns from London, monocle in eye, stars 
and stripes forever. 

It seems to me that Masefield can take his own epitaph from 
a thought expressed in one of his own prefaces: "It is only by 
such vision that the multitude can be brought to the passionate 
knowledge of things exulting and eternal." His stuff is 
"exulting and eternal" in its essence. That icy climb of Dauber 
over the futtock shrouds, the flight of the boy in THE EVER- 
LASTING MERCY, the core of Masefield's shorter songs, the 
penetration in his play of THE FAITHFUL, these things are filled 
with exultation, and they possibly will survive as long as English 
is read. New York World 




[30] 



From "Right Royal" 



JOHN MASEFIELD'S PLACE IN ENGLISH POETRY 

Not until the publication of THE EVERLASTING MERCY in 
the English Review in 1911 did the critics prick their ears. No 
volume of poetry published in this century has made a stir 
comparable to the effect it produced. From that day poetry 
took a new lease of life. At the risk of being accused of uttering 
blasphemy, let it be set down here that this was an event fully 
as decisive as the publication of Lyrical Ballads a century before. 
THE EVERLASTING MERCY, whatever its defects, poured vitality 
back into English verse. Poetry was again the provoker of hot 
argument, not merely matter for languid appraisal. 

That event, in reality only a few years past, now seems far 
off. Many new voices have since been raised, both in America 
and in England. Of them all, to this reviewer, Masefield's is 
the fullest-toned, the deepest. He has remained sensitive to the 
tradition of English poetry, but he has never been circumscribed 
by it. His foundations rest unshakably upon it, but he has done 
his own building. None knows better than himself how much 
he owes to the great singers who have preceded him ; he does 
not pose as the beneficiary of a special dispensation. But what 
he has drawn from them he has made unmistakably his own. 

One can think of no other poet since Chaucer so purely 
English in derivation and in spirit. His intense nationalism has 
no doubt contributed to the marking down of his talents in some 
critical quarters, for nationalism nowadays receives a cold 
scrutiny. Masefield's is of the kind that will not be stared 
down. Its basis is spiritual, in 

. . . the heartfelt things past-speaking dear 
To unknown generations of dead men. 

Out of that nationalism of his came the noblest utterance in 
poetry that the War brought forth. If Masefield had written 
nothing else besides "August, 1914," his name would be remem- 
bered among the English poets. No blustering patriot, no facile 

[31] 



glorifier of war, wrote those lines. If men died for love of 
England they also 

. . . died (uncouthly, most) in foreign lands 

For some idea but dimly understood 

Of an English city never built by hands 

Which love of England prompted and made good. 

The mood in which Masefield watched the approach of war, 
as it is here recorded, is not the eager consecration to which 
young men like Rupert Brooke gave expression. Masefield's 
poem has lost nothing of its poignancy in the aftermath of 
disillusion, because it was written from an embracing vision. 
It does not ennoble war; it merely perceives it as the agency 
through which men reach down into 

The depths and sunken gold of being alive. 

Men will give of themselves again as they have before, to the 
last spurt of energy, to the last drop of blood. 

In the idealism of which human nature is capable, whether 
in blindly serving unworthy ends or not, one finds John Mase- 
field's sympathies always passionately enlisted. That is what 
gives meaning to his world. 

The faithful fool who follows the torn flag, 

The woman marching by the beaten man, 

Make with their truth atonement for the brag, 

And earn a pity for the too proud plan. 

For in disaster, in the ruined will, 

In the soiled shreds of what the brain conceived, 

Something above the wreck is steady still, 

Bright above all that cannot be retrieved. 

Grandeur of soul, a touching of the star 

That good days covered but by which we are. 

That is the conviction, this burning belief in the tortured 
nobility to which human nature can reach, which is at the core 
of tragedy in his plays, just as it runs through the poems. 
Whether it be Pompey the Great, going to his death on the 
shores of Pelusium in Egypt, or the Samurai of THE FAITHFUL 
laying down their lives out of loyalty, the informing spirit is 
the same. 

It is natural that a poet who is deeply sensitive to the poten- 
tial greatness in human nature should seek ardently for some 
assurance that man is not playing his part in a meaningless 
rigmarole. His sequence of sonnets picturing the flow and ebb 
of vanishing civilizations ends with these lines: 

[32] 



So shall we be; so will our cities lie, 

Unknown beneath the grasses of the Summer, 
Walls without roofs, naves open to the sky, 

Doors open to the wind, the only comer. 
And men will grub the ruins, eyes will peer 

Fingers will grope for pennies, brains will tire 
To chronicle the skills we practiced here, 

While still we breathed the wind and trod the mire. 
O, like the ghost at dawn scared by the cock 

Let us make haste, to let the spirit dive 
Deep in self's sea, until the deeps unlock 

The depths and sunken gold of being alive 
Till, though our Many pass, a something stands 

Aloft through Time that covers all with sands. 

Is there another poet in whose work there is combined the 
fruitful meditation which distinguishes Masefield's sonnets and 
the impelling flow and graphic sharpness of his narrative verse? 
He is an extraordinarily versatile poet. Where else among 
living writers of verse can one find the ancient ballad form 
recreated as in "The Hounds of Hell" and "Cap on Head," with 
no loss of the original freshness and dramatic sweep? "Dauber" 
stands as the best poem of the sea and as one of the 
best stories of the sea in the English tongue. And he has served 
the countryside, as well, in REYNARD THE Fox, THE DAFFODIL 
FIELDS and KING COLE. All the life of an English county stirs 
in REYNARD THE Fox, and that man's blood is sluggish indeed 
who can put down the poem without reading through to the 
finish of the hunt. Here is narrative that flies. 
* * * * 

Among all his contemporaries in poetry there is none who 
has a better chance of survival. If he had been less intelligible, 
those who complain now of his intellectual content would be 
better satisfied, but he has chosen to stand with the best poets 
in his tongue in that also; his simplicity is of the sort that helps 
to keep poetry remembered and alive. The poetry that springs 
from emotion, not the intellectual exercise. In that conception 
of his art John Masefield has been unswerving: the beauty of 
ships that has moved him, the sea's power, the soul of man 
fighting in the last ditch his emotional response to such as 
these has been finely tempered, of ringing honesty, and fired with 
the spark that brings a glow to the minds of other men. 

New York Times Book Review 

[33] 



"OF THE ELECT" 
By ARTHUR GUITERMAN 

The tumult and the shouting dies, the critics and their bards 
depart; John Masefield remains, one of the few who carry on 
the high tradition of English poetry, a great poet by virtue of a 
great soul. In his fiftieth year his poems and plays have been 
collected as THE COLLECTED WORKS OF JOHN MASEFIELD, in 
four volumes, making it easier to arrive at some estimate of the 
literary achievement of an unusually varied career. In these 
books there is nothing weak nor petty. We have the lyric vigor 
and rude mirth of the early SALT WATER BALLADS, with the 
sailor's yearning for the sea and the loveliness of tall ships; 
the plays and the tragic poems, with their deep feeling for 
struggling humanity; REYNARD THE Fox, with its rich Chau- 
cerian pictures of the English countryside; the later sonnets, 
with their definite philosophy and melodious charm; and always 
the understanding sympathy that drives out hatred and the 
passionate devotion of the seeker for 

that one beauty 
God put me here to find. 

Great poetry is essential truth revealed in beauty ; and poetry 
is not an exercise for the neurotic, the lazy, nor the mentally 
deficient. The mind of a true poet should be as logical as that 
of a mathematician and as clean, vigorous, and well-trained as 
the body of an athlete ; his observation and insight should be as 
unerring as that of a scientist; and his utterance, with all its 
graces of diction, should be as clear as that of a mountaineer 
or a wise child. The great poet, like the great scientist, deals 
not in "common sense," but in that uncommon sense of a better 
day. By these tests and more, John Masefield is surely of 
the elect. The Outlook 

"THE MOST SATISFYING POET" 
By JOHN FARRAR 

Upon the publication of the complete edition of his poems 
and plays, I find little new to say about John Masefield. He 
seems to me by far the most satisfying poet of our time. In its 
final essence, greatness in poetry, as far as current poets are 
concerned, is certainly a matter of personal preference. There 
are those who find, in some of Masefield, swinging rhythms that 

[34] 



mark him for them as "popular." Others belittle him on other 
grounds. The fact remains that for beauty of form and line, 
originality of conception, serenity of thought, John Masefield is 
supreme. He is a more vital poet than Hardy, a more thoughtful 
poet than Kipling, a more virile poet than Yeats. His great lines 
are many, and there are many great and memorable poems. 
As a dramatist, he possesses a quiet depth that is perhaps the 
mark also of the great poet rather than the dramatic genius; 
yet there are few finer modern plays than THE TRAGEDY OF 
NAN. The Bookman 




From "Salt Water Poems and Ballads" 
[35] 



AMERICAN BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1912 THE EVERLASTING MERCY and THE WIDOW IN THE 

BYE STREET. Illustrated edition 1919. 
THE STORY OF A ROUND HOUSE (published under title 
BALLADS AND POEMS in England). 

1913 THE DAFFODIL FIELDS. 

SALT WATER BALLADS. Illustrated edition 1916. 

Reissued 1926. 
A MAINSAIL HAUL. 

1914 TRAGEDY OF POMPEY THE GREAT. 
PHILIP THE KING. 

1915 JOHN M. SYNGE (out of print). 
THE FAITHFUL. 

GOOD FRIDAY AND OTHER POEMS. 

1916 SONNETS (special edition, autographed; out of print). 
CAPTAIN MARGARET. 

GALLIPOLI. 

THE TRAGEDY OF NAN. Illustrated edition 1921. 
THE LOCKED CHEST and THE SWEEPS OF NINETY- 
EIGHT. 
MULTITUDE AND SOLITUDE. 

1917 THE LOST ENDEAVOR. 

LOLLINGDOWN DOWNS AND OTHER POEMS. 

1918 ROSAS (special limited edition; out of print). 
THE WAR AND THE FUTURE. 

COLLECTED EDITION OF POEMS AND PLAYS (two vols., 
out of print). 

1919 REYNARD THE Fox. 

1920 ENSLAVED. 
RIGHT ROYAL. 

1921 KING COLE. 

[36] 



1922 ESTHER and BERENICE. 
MELLONEY HOLTSPUR. 

THE DREAM (limited autographed edition; out of print) 
THE DREAM AND OTHER POEMS. 

1923 SELECTED POEMS (limited autographed edition; out of 
print). 

A KING'S DAUGHTER. 

WORKS (Leather Pocket Edition, eight volumes). 

THE TAKING OF HELEN. 

1924 SARD HARKER. 

1925 THE TRIAL OF JESUS. 

1925 COLLECTED POEMS AND PLAYS (four volumes). 

1925 A SAILOR'S GARLAND (imported ; previously published in 

England ) . 

SEA LIFE IN NELSON'S TIME (imported; previously 
published in England). 

ON THE SPANISH MAIN (imported; previously pub- 
lished in England). 

1926 ODTAA. 



[37] 






CONTENTS OF VOLUMES IN 
COLLECTED WORKS 



VOLUME I. Poems 



SALT WATER BALLADS 

THE EVERLASTING MERCY 

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS 

THE WIDOW IN THE BYE STREET 

DAUBER 

THE DAFFODIL FIELDS 

SONNETS AND OTHER POEMS 

LOLLINGDON DOWNS AND OTHER POEMS 

ROSAS 

VOLUME II. Poems 

REYNARD THE Fox 

ENSLAVED 

THE HOUNDS OF HELL 

CAP ON HEAD 

SONNETS 

ON GROWING OLD 

LYRIC 

RIGHT ROYAL 

KING COLE 

THE DREAM 

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS 

VOLUME III. Prose Plays 

THE CAMPDEN WONDER 

MRS. HARRISON 

THE SWEEPS OF NINETY-EIGHT 

THE LOCKED CHEST 

THE TRAGEDY OF NAN 

THE. TRAGEDY OF POMPEY THE GREAT 

THE FAITHFUL 

MELLONEY HOLTSPUR 



VOLUME IV. 



Verse Plays 

GOOD FRIDAY 

PHILIP THE KING 

ESTHER 

BERENICE 

A KING'S DAUGHTER 



EACH VOLUME $3.00 
Sold separately 



PRICE LIST OF THE WORKS OF 
JOHN MASEFIELD 

CAPTAIN MARGARET $2.25 

COLLECTED WORKS. In 4 volumes each 3.00 

DREAM, THE, AND OTHER POEMS 1.25 

ENSLAVED, AND OTHER POEMS 2.00 

ESTHER AND BERENICE. Two Plays 2.00 

EVERLASTING MERCY, THE, and THE WIDOW IN THE BYE STREET 2.00 

FAITHFUL, THE 2.00 

GALLIPOLI. New Edition 2.50 

GOOD FRIDAY AND OTHER POEMS 1.75 

KING COLE 1-50 

KING'S DAUGHTER, A. A Tragedy in Verse 1.75 

LOCKED CHEST, THE, and THE SWEEPS OF NINETY-EIGHT . . . 1.50 

LOLLINCDON DOWNS AND OTHER POEMS 1-75 

LOST ENDEAVOR 2.00 

MAINSAIL HAUL, A 2.00 

MELLONEY HOLTSPUR, OR THE PANGS OF LOVE 1.50 

MULTITUDE AND SOLITUDE 2.00 

ODTAA . 2.50 

OLD FRONT LINE, THE 1.40 

ON THE SPANISH MAIN 2.50 

PHILIP THE KING AND OTHER POEMS 1.75 

REYNARD THE Fox, OR THE GHOST HEATH RUN 1.75 

Illustrated Edition with new Introduction 5.00 

RIGHT ROYAL 1.75 

Illustrated Edition 2.50 

SAILOR'S GARLAND, A. (Editor) 2.50 

SALT WATER POEMS AND BALLADS 2.50 

SARD HARKER 2.50 

SEA LIFE IN NELSON'S TIME 2.50 

SELECTED POEMS. (Masefield's Selections) 2.50 

SELECTED POEMS. (Edited by Canby, Pierce, and Durham) . 1.75 

STORY OF A ROUND-HOUSE, THE, AND OTHER POEMS .... 2.00 

TAKING OF HELEN, THE 1.60 

TRAGEDY OF NAN AND OTHER PLAYS, THE. New illustrated Ed. 2.00 

TRAGEDY OF POMPEY THE GREAT, THE 2.00 

TRIAL OF JESUS, THE 1.75 

WAR AND THE FUTURE, THE 1.50 

WORKS. Leather Pocket Edition. 8 Volumes. Price per set 12.50 
Vol. I. SALT WATER POEMS AND BALLADS 
Vol. II. THE EVERLASTING MERCY. THE WIDOW IN THE BYE 

STREET 

Vol. III. DAUBER. THE DAFFODIL FIELDS 
Vol. IV. PHILIP THE KING AND OTHER POEMS 
Vol. V. REYNARD THE Fox, OR THE GHOST HEATH RUN 
Vol. VI. ENSLAVED AND OTHER POEMS 
Vol. VII. RIGHT ROYAL 
Vol. VIII. KING COLE. THE DREAM AND OTHER POEMS 



These books by John Masefield are published by 
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 



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