Sea Fever

John Masefield
John Masefield
Sea Fever
Sea Fever
Sea Fever
Sea Fever
Sea Song
Sea Song
The Fisherman's Song
The Fisherman’s Song
The Shells
The Shells
Sailing Ship in a Stormy Sea
Sailing Ship in a Stormy Sea
Storm Front!
Storm Front!
"Storm Front" sung by Billy Joel
“Storm Front” sung by Billy Joel
Billy Joel
Billy Joel
"The Lure of the Sea" by Alain Corbin
“The Lure of the Sea” by Alain Corbin
Alain Corbin
Alain Corbin


Sea Fever





Written by John Masefield

Poet, novelist, dramatist and journalist, John Masefield’s literary career was rich and varied, and although his reputation waned in later years, he is again being recognized for his wide range, encompassing ballads, nature poetry and mythological narrative, and for his attempt to make poetry a popular art. John Masefield (1878-1967) (English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967)



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.

Author Notes


John Masefield, published by the Maxmillan Co., NY, © 1913, p. 55; the poem was first published in SALT-WATER BALLADS, © 1902.


There has been much debate over the first line and it is indeed “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky;” “go down to the seas” was a poetic way of saying going sailing and did not refer to any specific body of water, similarly “the lonely sea” was simply talking about open water rather than a specific sea.


Masefield’s use of the word “trick” indicates a period of duty on a specific task such as handling the wheel or lookout.


The header graphic by Charles Pears was used to illustrate this poem in Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Co., New York, US, © 1944, facing p. 72.

Jim Saville

© John Masefield. All rights reserved




“Storm Front” – Billy Joel



Safe at harbor, everything is easy
Off to starboard, daylight comes up fast
Now I’m restless for the open water
Red flags are flying from the Coast Guard mast



They told me to stay, I heard all the information
I motored away and steered straight ahead
though the weatherman said



There’s a storm front coming (mood indigo)
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming (mood indigo)
Small craft warning on the radio



I’ve been sailing a long time on this ocean
Man gets lonesome, all those years at sea
I’ve got a woman, my life should be easy
Most men hunger for the life I lead



The morning was grey, but I had the motivation
I drifted away and ran into more
Heavy weather off shore



There’s a storm front coming (mood indigo)
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming (mood indigo)
Small craft warning on the radio



We’ve got a low pressure system and a northeast breeze
We’ve got a falling barometer and rising seas
We’ve got the cumulonimbus and a possible gale
We’ve got a force nine blowing on the Beaufont scale



I’m still restless for the open water
Though she gives me everything I need
She asked me to stay, but I’d done my navigation
I drove her away, but I should have known
To stay tied up at home



There’s a storm front coming (mood indigo)
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming (mood indigo)
Small craft warning on the radio




Billy Joel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


William Martin “Billy” Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American pianistsinger-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, “Piano Man,” in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States.[4] His compilation album Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 is the third best-selling album in the United States by discs shipped.[5]


Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner who has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards throughout his career. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.[6]


Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation’s highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts. With the exception of the 2007 songs “All My Life” and “Christmas in Fallujah,” Joel stopped writing and releasing pop/rock material after 1993’s River of Dreams. However, he continues to tour, and he plays songs from all eras of his solo career in his concerts.




The Lure of the Sea: The Discovery of the Seaside in The Western World, 1750 – 1840

From: Google Books


Alain Corbin

University of California Press, 1994 – History – 380 pages


Once seen as a dark and sinister force, the domain of monsters, the sea was associated with catastrophe and fear by many Europeans prior to the eighteenth century. Alain Corbin’s engaging book reveals how attitudes toward the ocean gradually began to shift from the negative to the positive, so that by the mid-1800s our present-day salubrious notion of the seashore had come into being.

Going back to ancient times, Corbin describes conceptions of the sea in relationship to how people thought and felt about their place in the world. He then shows how the Enlightenment and changing attitudes in science, literature, and art affected notions of the sea. Ocean bathing came to be seen as therapeutic, the sea was linked with the creation of life, and the shore became a locale for self-exploration and reverie. Discovery of the seaside had political, economic, and social effects, too. The shore as a place of pleasure led to the rapid growth of British coastal towns such as Brighton, followed by other resorts in Europe. All of this Corbin lays out in wonderful detail, blending history, theory, and anecdote into an absorbing whole.

The Lure of the Sea suggests the fashioning of a modern sensibility in the West’s discovery of the shore–one that is health-conscious and intent on regeneration through vigorous contact with nature. Written by one of today’s most literate and imaginative historians, it offers an inviting cultural excursion for scholars and general readers alike.







  1. 1.

the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating.

“people for whom gold holds no allure”

synonyms: attractionluredrawpullappealglamour, allurement, enticement,temptation, bewitchment, enchantmentcharmseductionpersuasion,fascinationmagnetism More



  1. 1.

powerfully attract or charm; tempt.

“Will sponsors really be allured by such opportunities?”

synonyms: attractlureenticetempt, appeal to, whet the appetite of, make someone’s mouth water, captivatedrawbeguilebewitchenchant,win over, charmseducepersuade, lead on, tantalize;


informal give the come-on to

“melody is the element with the most power to allure the listener”


enchantingbeguilingcharmingfascinatingintriguing, tantalizing,magnetic;


informal come-hither

“the old town offers alluring shops and restaurants”







  1. having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good reasons to do so.

“you’re a silly, stubborn old woman”

synonyms: obstinate, stubborn as a mule, mulishheadstrongwilfulstrong-willed,self-willedpig-headed, bull-headed, obdurateawkwarddifficultcontrary,perverserecalcitrantrefractory;

firmadamantresolutedoggedpersistentpertinaciousinflexibleiron-willeduncompromisinguncooperativeunaccommodatingintractable,unbendingunyielding, unmalleable, unadaptable;


informal stiff-necked;

informal bloody-minded;

informal balky;

archaic contumaciousfroward

“you’re too stubborn to admit it” 

o                                                  difficult to move, remove, or cure.

“the removal of stubborn screws”

synonyms: indeliblepermanentlingeringpersistenttenaciousfastresistant

“stubborn stains”







  1. stupidly obstinate.

“I was too pig-headed to listen”

synonyms: obstinatestubborn, stubborn as a mule, mulish, bull-headed, obdurate,headstrongself-willedwilfulperversecontraryrecalcitrantrefractory,stiff-necked;







“Storm Front” sung by Billy Joel tells the story of a young man who is so captivated and fascinated by the charm of the sea, that he cannot resist going out to sea even though there have been several impending storm warnings. This allure and temptation is so great that he ventures out to sea, even against his better judgment. He hears the warnings of the Coast Guard and pays no heed whatsoever; he loves the woman who sleeps with him in the same bed at night, yet he pretends not to hear her pleas to remain on shore where safety and comfort beckons. This is not just a stubborn man; this is a classic example of pig-headness and stupid obstinacy.



A stubborn person tends to be resolute and dogged, to the extent of being mulish and thoroughly adamant. Being stubborn has its faults, it is true – but it can also be valuable in itself. Stubborn people are obdurate enough not to give up on anything easily; if they do give up, it is only because all the avenues open to them have already been intricately explored and nothing of importance made itself visible. Being pig-headed, however, speaks of a certain inflexibility; an uncompromising stance and an unpersuasive and unyielding attitude.



Being stubborn is not necessarily a virtue; but falling easy prey to pig-headedness definitely falls into the category of vices. Everything in Life has its limitations and shortcomings; the trick is to know where and when to draw the line. Once one realizes that total Freedom is a Fallacy, one can become a better person. In turn, if each person thought and behaved likewise, the world would become a better place to live in.


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