Mercy. Here are indeed high spirits and blithe scenes; sunlight and dew on English meadow and woodland; the barking of dogs; the excitement of horses; the pungency of the stable and the reek of the groom's strong pipe on the morning air; jolly, beef-eating, red-coated huntsmen; English girls with roses in their cheeks; jockeys, farmers, hucksters, peasantry—all the countryside—gayly assembling for the old English sports, the fox hunt, the horse race, the travelling circus. Here are the bright speed, the galloping rhythms, the brilliant colors, the odor and zest of ruddy life.
One is tempted to say that the sensitive author of the sonnets and the lyrics, full of haunting cries and gushes of poignant sadness, has tossed his melancholy and the heartbreak of the animula into the west wind, and has voided the chamber of his personality in order to fill it with the ancient traditional emotions of the folk. It is one of many signs that John Masefield is a true poet of the taller sort, that he rises to a serene and joyous contemplation of the whole course of the "river of life" streaming down from Chaucer's time—with the eternal rhythm, and the fleeing waters that sparkle and pass. After sharp hunger, passionate seeking, nostalgia of the spirit, and tragic illumination, he has come to the clear high point from which Arnold described the full murmurous flowing of the Oxus to the sea. His personal feeling is discernible in the scene only in the softening of the light and in the almost inaudible undertone of compassion.
Are in his eyes, and in his ears
The murmur of a thousand years.
Before him he sees life unroll,
A placid and continuous whole—
That general life, which does not cease. . .
"Books" New York Herald Tribune