Page:John Masefield.djvu/17

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folk-tale of diabolical meddlings in human affairs; some more of his beautiful sonnets and short poems, among them the lovely "On Growing Old," are included in this volume.

Be with me Beauty for the fire is dying,

My dog and I are old, too old for roving
Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying
Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving . . .


So from this glittering world with all its fashion

Its fire and play of men, its stir, its march,
Let me have Wisdom, Beauty, Wisdom and Passion,
Bread to the soul where the summers parch
Give me but these, and though the darkness close
Even the night will blossom as the rose.

In 1921 came King Cole, a delightful story of circus life in a poem of quiet beauty and singular charm. Masefield has the legendary King Cole return as a spiritual force to help a struggling circus folk. "In my poem I made him help a travelling circus, because I feel that the duty of Kingship is to encourage all the arts which add joy to life. In the circus, it seems to me that one finds all the elements of the noble arts, based, as they must be, on physical development, a lively sense of life, and a kindling, compelling quality of personality. Circus artists are true artists. They live apart in hardship and anxiety in order to do the artist's task, which is to awaken a sense of life in their fellows."

The Dream and Other Poems (1922) contains the poet's beautiful tribute to his friend, the late Charles Daniel, for many years Provost of Worcester College, Oxford. The title poem, Masefield tells us, is based on an actual dream.

Again Masefield returned to the field of drama, and during the next few years several plays, marked with his peculiar power of beautiful interpretation, were published. Esther and Berenice—two of these plays—are based on Racine's immortal tragedies. "Here in the interpretation through the medium of an alien tongue of the music and ideals of one poet by another, we have that transformation which is the object but too often