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Poet Laureate 1930 – 1967

English Poet English Poet Masefield

MASEFIELD: John 1878 – 1967 (Order of Merit)

Born: 1 June 1878, Ledbury, United Kingdom
Died: 12 May 1967, Abingdon, United Kingdom


In his teens, Masefield went to sea as a cadet. He jumped ship in New York and lived for several months as a vagrant. When he later became employed all his earnings went to feed his vociferous appetite for literature. He was an inspiring and very popular speaker and lecturer and received honorary Doctorates from both Harvard and Yale, followed by honorary degrees from various British Universities including a Doctorate from Oxford. He died from a gangrenous infection and his ashes were spread in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner after which this verse was found:

Let no religious rite be done or read
In any place for me when I am dead,
But burn my body into ash, and scatter
The ash in secret into running water,
Or on the windy down, and let none see;
And then thank God that there’s an end of me.


”Commonplace people dislike tragedy because they dare not suffer and cannot exult.”
“The days that make us happy make us wise.”
Selected Bibliography
Masefield produced about 45 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

* Sea Fever: I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
*Cargoes: Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
*On Growing Old: Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying; My dog and I are old, too old for roving.
*Beauty: I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills
*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
*The West Wind: It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds’ cries;
*Roadways: One road leads to London, One road leads to Wales, My road leads me seawards


Masefield wrote about 20 novels and 8 non-fiction/semi auto biographical books as well as a handful of plays

For children:

*The Midnight Folk
*The Box of Delights

For adults:

Stories of the sea:
*The Bird of Dawning
*Victorious Troy
Social Commentary:
*The Hawbucks
*The Square Peg


So many true Princesses have gone – set to music by Sir Edward Elgar and performed at the unveiling of a memorial to Queen Alexandra.