Back to the Museum

    Masefield's Poem

    The future Poet Laureate John Masefield’s career at Warwick School (1888–91) was short.  He ran away just after his 13th birthday, and never returned, joining instead the training ship Conway in Liverpool.  Ironically, although he was to be obsessed with the sea for the rest of his life, as the painting and poem now owned by Warwick School shows, he was a terrible sailor, and became extremely ill whenever he took to sea.  His most famous nautical poem of 1902 starts “I must go down to the seas again”.

    The painting, purchased and presented by a former member of staff, David Stooke, shows a full-rigged three-masted sailing ship, and the hand-written nursery rhyme on the back reads:

     

     

     

    A ship, a ship a-sailing,
    A-sailing on the sea,
    And it was deeply laden
    With pretty things for me;

    It is worth noting that the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester displays a fine model of such a ship, made by Masefield, and presented to his great friend Thomas Hardy.

    1. OB42 John Masefield's Poem - compressed