Talk:John Masefield

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The following is not an encyclopedia article!

I must 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 sails's shaking, And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.


I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's w--Steve (talk) 07:24, 2 August 2010 (UTC)ay where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Sea Fever from Salt Water Ballads

I'm not sure who the above comment was from, but I agree: (1) I don't think that it is the job of an encyclopedia to archive poetry (however lovely) and (2) there is already a link to a page where the poems are archived, so no harm can come from not having them. I will take the liberty of removing the poems. --Adam Brink 12:19, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Various contributors are adding or taking away the "go" in "I must (go) down to the sea again...". In the original 1902 collection, an example of which I have on my bookshelf, there is no "go" in these lines. The phrase "I must down to the sea again..." is complete in itself, meaning "I must go back to sea". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
There are often various versions of poems in print. A ref is given for the version used. You can add in the footnotes that there are various versions if it bothers you. Span (talk) 20:22, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

cite check tag added[edit]

Most of the references go to the first page of an online biography. Something more reliable should be found, and, until it is, the cite should link to the actual page supporting the citation, NOT the first page. This would aid in verifying the information.--Vidkun 14:21, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

I've added the names and birthdates of Masefield's two children, and added a reference. How do you change the [1] thing that appears in the 'Notes' section? Nonagonal Spider 03:47, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Amendments to List of Works[edit]

I have tinkered with the list of works. There was a general list of works and then sub-headings of poetry, novels, plays etc with works in. I have moved the works around so that they are categorised.

In Constance Babington Smith's 'John Masefield: A Life', 1978 there is a fairly full biblography. I have used this as the source for the expanded list of novels. I propose to use this for further expansions of this section. I notice that other poets and authors have fairly extensive biblography details. Masefield was very prolific so it may take some time.

GraemeMoughan 13:16, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Who is Trilby?[edit]

While disambiguating the authors, I made a (reckless) assumption that Trilby was W. N. Ewer. If someone with more knowledge could verify that, it would be cool. -- Ccady 22:30, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Books by John Masefield[edit]

In the list of Jom Masefield's books 2 are omitted they are:

1."New Chum" which is his story of his first term aboard HMS Conway as a Cadet.

2. "The Conway" this is his history of HMS Conway and was first published in about 1931, and a second but up to date edition was published about 1952

Hope this helps David G Fletcher Rogers —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:45, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

They are mentioned. Span (talk) 22:02, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Popular culture and "Sea-Fever"[edit]

Personally I think this lovely article is rather spoilt by the final section. It's clear that Sea Fever is notable enough to warrant its own page where these details could sit, far more happily than they do at present. Anybody agree or disagree? almost-instinct 15:50, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

I would agree, yes. Also to bring up, the article's "Poetry" section needs to be reworked back into the article. I removed it because it was just an incomprehensible mess of writing. It needs to be condensed, sourced and worked on. Utan Vax (talk) 22:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Masefield looks like Hitler?[edit]

That complaint about the pub sign which gets a mention. Though it is not relevant to the content of the article but I cannot resist a comment on this. Masefield's moustache is different, for a start - just look - his face thinner and more intelligent-looking. The complainer is either joking, or needs an eye test, or has no idea what Adolf Hitler looks like if he can't tell the difference. Both have a left-hand quiff of hair and a moustache as do lots of people, that's about all. P0mbal (talk) 18:37, 15 May 2009 (UTC) Is it encyclopedic to include a comment on the appearance at all which may have been made by a someone with alcohol-dulled mind? Or because the comment made copy for an article that gained a few sales for a local paper? P0mbal (talk) 18:42, 15 May 2009 (UTC) I have not seen the sign - maybe it does look like Adolf, but Masefield doesn't. P0mbal (talk) 18:45, 15 May 2009 (UTC) Not-serious idea for a new Page: People Who Don't Look Like Hitler. P0mbal (talk) 18:47, 15 May 2009 (UTC)


This was added in 2006. I've added one source today and can probably add a few more. It seems to me that the content of this article is mostly good. I propose removing the Cite check tag. Any objections?--Plad2 (talk) 11:15, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I'd say this is a horrible, horrible article that's been fully lifted from a biography. It has almost no citations and the refs it gives mostly point to a blog. If you have any decent refs to books please DO add them in. More actual facts and details about his life would be great too. For a British poet laureate this is a pretty weak effort. So - go for it! Spanglej (talk) 01:00, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Salt-Water Ballads[edit]

The first collection of Masefield's verse, Salt-Water Ballads, was published in 1902. He made revisions for a second edition in 1913. I have a copy of this book in front of me - London, Elkin Matthews, Cork Street, MCMXIII. The second edition was also published in the United States. There may have been an edition in the US in 1916; in which case the work is out of copyright in the US but not in the UK.

Amazon is selling a facsimile: Originally published in 1916. This volume from the Cornell University Library's print collections was scanned on an APT BookScan and converted to JPG 2000 format by Kirtas ...​John-Masefield/dp/... - Cached

Masefield deserves a much better and more accurate article on Wikipedia. He suffers from having a few prettier poems set to music and fixed in school anthologies. Much of his verse is not children's literature. His best work was from before the Great War, in which he was too old to serve.

Steve (talk) 07:24, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

With respect, I'm not sure quite what you mean by "He suffers [my italics] from having a few prettier poems set to music..." Presumably, that the reputation of his overall opus has suffered? Some of the song settings are rather memorable, and Ireland's Sea Fever and Keel's Trade Winds, for example, were deservedly popular. Their success within the art-song repertory of the time is surely also a compliment to the musicality of Masefield's verse. Actually, I've been trying to find a discreet way of mentioning this aspect in the Masefield article and would be grateful if someone more familiar with this article than I am could do this.--MistyMorn (talk) 11:44, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
I find it odd that people get angry with WP articles, as if a central body is writing them. They are written by the volunteering public. If there are omissions, it's because no-one has written it yet. I guess the model takes a while to get one's head around. The texts I am looking at say that Salt-Water Ballads was first published in 1902 not 1901 as Steve suggests above. John Masefield published by Taylor & Francis p18, Modern British Poetry by Louis Untermeyer p125 and many others say 1902. I have added cites to the article. If Steve has another source then it would be good to cite it. It may be that there is a genuine issue to resolve. Misty, I would just go ahead and add in your point with cites. This article very rarely gets edited, there seems to be no main editor working on it over time. So I'd say go for it. Best wishes Span (talk) 20:57, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Going, going, gone (sort of...)--MistyMorn (talk) 19:33, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Masefield's Preface (copy typed from the edition in front of me)

"Some of this book was written in my boyhood, all of it in my youth; it is now re-issued, much as it was when first published nearly eleven years ago." "J. M. 9th June 1913"

Agreed, that suggests 1902. He completed the compilation in 1901 and the book came out a few months later.

--Steve (talk) 00:34, 21 November 2011 (UTC)


A number of sources suggest or state that Masefield was a Theosophist - e.g. Raymond Head in; and a number of Masefield's poems including The Road I made and A Creed are supposed to outline or reflect his beliefs in that area. But there's no mention of this here. Does anyone here have any information they could add to the article, or should I try to dig some up and add it myself? It may take a while... Alfietucker (talk) 14:24, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes it would help if we knew a bit more about Masefield's religious beliefs. ixo (talk) 09:37, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Shortlisted in 1913?[edit]

Is it true that Masefield was considered for the Laureateship in 1913? Valetude (talk) 15:51, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Father's death[edit]

I'm reading Alison Lurie's Boys and Girls Forever (London : Penguin Book, 2003). She wrote that Masefield's father died 6 years after Mrs Masefield.

« In January 1895 [Masefield’s] mother died after giving birth to her sixth child. Earlier writers reported that his father also died soon afterward. In fact, Mr. Masefield senior survived for more than six years, during which he became increasingly disturbed mentally ; he ended his life in a local hospital ». Alison LURIE. Boys and Girls Forever, p. 66.

Maybe it would be interesting to modify the biography, just a thought. I'm not an advanced user of Wikipedia and I'm not an English native speaker, that's why I can't modify it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

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