Sea-Fever

by John Masefield

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,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way 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.

 

 


Fitz Hugh Lane

Title:

Sea-Fever

Poet:

Masefield, John

Year of Publication:

1902

Age Appropriate:

12-13

Notes:

Sea life

Form:

Quatrain

Stanza:

3

Type:

Ballad or Sea Chantey

Lines:

12

Meter:

Spondaic and pyrrhic

Rhyme:

aabb

Literary Period:

Modern

Things to Discuss:

There are two themes in this poem identify them? Is this poem rich in imagery? Find the example of iambic alliteration in lines three and ten. Find examples of personification and metaphor. What is meant by "a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over"?

About the Poem:

This poem is in perfect spondaic and pyrrhic meter “x / ; x /; x x /; x / ” thus “I must go down to the seas again” and so forth. There is an adjustment needed in the final line which utilizes the technique of “hover” that is when a two syllable word must be spoken as a single stress: in this case the word is “quiet”. Other poets may use similar meter adjustments by using such words as “heaven”, “even” and others. In earlier times the apostrophe served this same purpose.