John Masefield

(1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967 / Herefordshire / England)

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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,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
........................
........................
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Heinemann  

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John Masefield's Other Poems

  • Cargoes
  • On Growing Old
  • A Ballad of John Silver
  • A Creed
  • Beauty
  • A Wanderer's Song
  • The West Wind

Comments about this poem (Sea Fever by John Masefield )

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  • Thomas Vaughan Jones (1/19/2014 2:30:00 PM)

    A brilliant piece of writing. A sailor's poem by a sailor. A sailor who was a Poet Laureat.
    There's hope for us all yet. (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (1/19/2013 9:40:00 PM)

    Even though this poem could not be published because of Copyright laws, we have read this alluring poem so often, that it is written into memory heart and soul; we also have a tall ship and a star to steer her by. (Report) Reply

  • Sara Fielder (1/19/2012 12:23:00 PM)

    A must read for all sailors. This poem defines how we feel so perfectly. If you ARE a sailor please read Ode to Diana. (Report) Reply

  • Esmenio Galera (12/31/2011 1:30:00 AM)

    Well, I like the poem for its melody. I could feel the happiness of a sailor who goes to the sea because of a call of duty and love of sailing. (Report) Reply

  • Elisabeth Bowman (5/7/2010 11:28:00 AM)

    This is my favourite EVER poem! ! :)
    It was my great-grandfather's favourite too. He taught it to my gran and her siblings when she was a kid, and when he died they had the line 'and a quiet sleep and a sweet dream' engraved on his headstone. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Thoms (3/24/2010 8:53:00 PM)

    can anyone assist me and advise when my LP record of John Masefield reciting his poems would have been recorded, I suspect sometime in the late 50s, it is put out by caedmon records number TC1147. Mike (Report) Reply

  • Michael Thoms (3/21/2010 6:49:00 PM)

    I note with interest the comment that the wording of the opening stanza does not include the word GO, I have the good fortune to have J M's LP record put out by Caedmon literary series produced by Plilips NZ.
    Jm reads his own poems and I have just listened to it again and he clearly says' I must GO down'in every instance, this is as we taught at school also, it must be an old record, very clear, enunciation excellent, lovely to listen to, Michael Fiji (Report) Reply

  • John Howe (2/15/2010 1:44:00 PM)

    It reminds me of my boyhood and I can smell the sea and hear the gulls when I read it (Report) Reply

  • Jeanne Miner (2/6/2010 6:38:00 AM)

    This has a serious misquote. All stanzas begin, 'I must down to the seas again.'
    There's no 'go.' (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (1/19/2010 7:09:00 PM)

    I, too, can relate.
    There are places and experiences I remember that I long for full-heartedly. (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (1/19/2010 7:08:00 PM)

    I can relate so well.
    I, too, have my full-hearted longings for some places and experiences. (Report) Reply

  • Chris Diaz (1/19/2010 4:00:00 PM)

    this poem is great!
    keep up the work

    can everyone plz check out my work, much apreciated. (Report) Reply

  • Nadeem Ali (1/19/2010 1:41:00 PM)

    I guess the poet is seeking a natural resort in the sea to find relief Nature is freedom (Report) Reply

  • Diana Ferrer (1/19/2010 10:23:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem, I have one about the sea as well if youd ike to comment on... =)

    I feel you totally, my passion is the sea, and when your away from it for a while you MUST go back to her, its an incredible yearning isnt it? mine is called 'I miss you so (ode to the ocean' I think we can relate =) (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (1/19/2010 6:05:00 AM)

    A perfect poem? I love the wave motion in the rhythm (like Tennyson's horses running in 'Half a league, half a league, half a league onwards...') . (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (1/19/2010 1:23:00 AM)

    Night and day sea journey on a ship with wind, waves and birds all over is a dream of sea fever quite interesting to enjoy! Unlike the Ancient Mariner on the Arctic region where only ice and albatross as white as snow winter with supernatural element this sea fever is sunny as well as jolly to have a enthusiastic ride on the sea! (Report) Reply

  • Maria Dennett (6/12/2009 3:24:00 PM)

    This poem reminds me of my beloved Primary School Headmaster Mr Gaffney, of St Anthony of Padua, in Kirkby, Liverpool. He introduced me to John Masefield, together with Keats, Wordsworth and a huge many more, lesser known poets.
    He is to thank for my total love of poetry. He was a huge inspiration in my life, and a wonderful mentor. Pity there isn't more people in teaching, like him now. (Report) Reply

  • Ronald Addyman (5/22/2009 3:32:00 AM)

    Regarding Peter Kropholler`s comment. At school in Leeds, England, in the 1930s and 1940s we were taught the `I must down` version of the poem and told that verbs of motion, in this case `go` can be omitted after an auxiliary of mood, in this case `must`. I further recall the teacher telling us that the word `trick` in the last line of the poem relates to a seaman`s turn at the wheel in the same way that a (British) soldiers`s turn at sentry duty is/was called a `stag`. (Report) Reply

  • Roger White (3/3/2009 6:42:00 PM)

    Being an englishman; in exile these 30 odd years; with a yen to go home, this is one of 'those' that brings a tear to my eye when I read it & makes me realise that I'll be a Brit for ever. & thankfully so, (Report) Reply

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