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John Masefield Biography | Poet

Photo of John Masefield

John Masefield was a renowned English poet and writer, best known for his works such as "Sea Fever" and "The Everlasting Mercy." His life was full of struggles and hardships, but he persevered and became one of the most celebrated poets of his time. 

Early Life and Orphanage

John Masefield was born on June 1, 1878, in Ledbury, Herefordshire, England. His father died when he was only six years old, and his mother soon remarried and moved to the United States, leaving Masefield and his sister in the care of their aunt. However, their aunt was unable to take care of them, and they were sent to live in a workhouse, an institution for the poor. This experience had a profound impact on Masefield and influenced his writing in later years.

Love for the Sea

At the age of 13, Masefield ran away from the workhouse and joined the merchant navy. He spent several years at sea, traveling to different parts of the world and experiencing the harsh realities of life on a ship. This love for the sea and his experiences as a sailor would later become a recurring theme in his poetry.

Early Writing Career

Masefield's love for literature and writing began at a young age. He would often read books and write poetry during his time at sea. In 1895, he left the navy and returned to England, where he worked as a clerk and continued to write in his free time. In 1899, he published his first collection of poems, "Salt-Water Ballads," which received critical acclaim and established him as a promising young poet.

Success and Recognition

In the early 1900s, Masefield's writing career took off, and he published several successful works, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Dauber." In 1930, he was appointed as the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, a prestigious position that he held until his death in 1967. Masefield's works were widely read and admired, and he received numerous awards and honors throughout his career.

"Sea Fever"

One of Masefield's most famous poems is "Sea Fever," which was first published in 1902. This poem captures the longing and love for the sea that Masefield felt throughout his life. The opening lines, "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky," have become iconic and are often quoted by sailors and sea lovers.

Legacy and Influence

John Masefield's works continue to be read and admired by people all over the world. His love for the sea, his experiences as a sailor, and his struggles in life are reflected in his poetry, making it relatable and inspiring to many. His legacy lives on through his works, and he remains one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century.

Masefield's life is a testament to the power of perseverance and the ability to overcome adversity. From being an orphan to becoming the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, his journey is truly inspiring and continues to inspire generations of writers and poets.

John Masefield: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes

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