John Masefield's ashes are buried in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London,
lack of space, he was the last poet to be interred here.)
Burial Stone of John Masefield
Photograph by Kieran Smith
idyllic country childhood was shattered when he was orphaned
following the death of his mother in 1884. He was taken in by an unsympathetic aunt, who sent him to sea at
the age of thirteen to curtail his interest in literature. At the age of seventeen,
while on his second Atlantic crossing, he deserted ship in America and
lived for a while as a vagrant.
On returning to England he began his
literary career in earnest and over the years wrote poetry, plays,
novels, autobiography, criticism and children's stories.
|In 1902 he published Salt-Water Ballads
which contained his popular poem Sea Fever (I must go down to the
seas again, to the lonely sea and sky,/All I ask is a tall ship and a star
to steer her by). His other famous nautical poem Cargoes
appeared in his 1910 collection Ballads and Poems.
also remembered for his verse tale Reynard the Fox (1919).
the death of his wife (Constance de Cherois Crommelin) in 1960 Masefield
became a virtual recluse.
Masefield was appointed Poet Laureate in 1930
and awarded the Order of Merit in in 1935.
He died in Abingdon, Oxfordshire on 12 May, 1967 after contracting
gangrene following an injury to his leg.
|Quinquireme of Nineveh from
|Rowing home to haven in
|With a cargo of ivory,
|And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and
sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming
from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by
the palm-green shores,
|With a cargo of diamonds,
|Topazes, and cinnamon, and
|Dirty British Coaster with
a salt-caked smoke stack
|Butting through the Channel
in the mad March days,
|With a cargo of Tyne coal,
|Firewood, iron-ware, and
cheap tin trays.