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.
I do not know if there can be a poem like this as John Masefield keeps alluring, enchanting with which is but a song of the navigator, the mariner, the shipman, the voyager, the fisher man, the navy merchant and such a joy only they can feel it who dream, dream with the sea, sea imagery, waves coming and washing the shores, waters splashing over the rocks, waves rising and falling and the ships sailing by. Man has always loved the imagery of the sea, seascapes, beaches and seashores and the ships sailing so is the case with the poet, but the ways he charms us with his sweet diction and imagery is splendid, superb as never have we read and seen such a lucid poetic expression in which the call of the sea has been eulogized. To read the poem is to feel if he was a mariner, what the reality is? But there is something hidden underneath that behind the behind of the surf and foam, there also lies a story of the call heard otherwise.
The poet feels an impulse within irresistible to shake off so easily, by averting it, as is so passionate about, emotions seem to be overpowering him and he hears the call of the sea, the ship calling him and he lured by the passion for sea life wanting to go, join the ship. It is really a splendid poem in which the poet is full of love for the sea and the ships sailing which none, but a voyager can feel it.
If he goes, he will come across the lonely sea and the sky. He will enjoy the beauty and mystery of the stars. Nothing but a tall ship with the star will do it. And after that, the wheel’s kick, the wind’s song and the white sail shaking, this is the scene and the sight. A grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking, he will come to mark it. He must go down to the seas. The wide sea is calling him, and he must go with the ship.
He must go to the seas as for the running tide, the wild call of it which cannot be denied. To be into the sea and if without them, it cannot be so. Tides will come and the ships have to take to the routes and recourses as the mariners have to decide and steer it across. What he wants is but a windy day with the white clouds flying, the far-flung spray, the spume blown and the seagulls crying. When we read the poem, go through the specific lines, we feel it within if the poetry can be so musical, so spontaneous and lyrical.
He must go the seas again for a vagrant gypsy life in the way as the gulls and the whales enjoy and live it. The wind is there like a whetted knife. What he asks is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick is over.
Sea Fever is about the frenzy and craze for dwelling on the seas. It expresses into poetic words the fever of passion, the fire of emotion, the magic of imagination, the fancy of dream. Sea life, how many of us know it? The life of the shipman? Sitting on the seashore, have you marked the ships sailing in the distant? First, see you then say you about it. How the life? How the feeling of theirs? Where the ships going? Where from are they coming? This none has striven to care for, to know it. How the shipman’s life?
Such a thing it is in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of The Ancient Mariner. When we read the poem, several things come upon the mind’s plane with regard to ships, their building, mechanism and types; the harbors, dockyards and geographical conditions; navigation routes, steering and toughness of the weather.
The life of a sailor, of a shipman, have we tried to know it, have we ever what it goes at the sea? Such a thing it is there in Riders to the Sea by J. M. Synge. Those who deal with the sea know the joys and sorrows of living by the seas.
Sea Fever is a call for a seafaring activity, a voyage to be taken; is all about an adventure in mind. The sea is calling and there lies the ship stationed and he has to go on duty. Though the poet has written romantically, describing the journey by ship and sailing on the unfathomable waters of the sea, but instead of it at the deeper lever it is a sad poem too in which there lie in the elements of nostalgia and homesickness. The call of nature, the love of nature has always lured man, enchanted with which but man cannot resist it. But where to go ultimately, what the goal of life? To read this poem is to be reminded of Walter de la Mare and Joseph Conrad. Masefield’s love for the sea and the ship is admirable no doubt. There is also some sense of duty which he must attend to.
What there in a vagabond’s life which but only a vagabond can during the tranquil moments of solace and contemplation? The vagaries of life so different from as reality do not leave it untouched which but a rambler, a wanderer will at the end. Gypsy bands too return to the bivouacs finally when the eve takes over as for shelter and refuge from rough weather and those who return it do not lose themselves for ever.
Again, he wants to go to the seas as is the impulse raking him inwardly and the call of the sea, he cannot resist it. The repetition of the word denotes it something, perhaps the call of duty which he must attend. A poem it talks about the joys of seafaring, voyaging through, but while on the other there stands the home somewhere on the seashore to be taken a notice of.