Sea Feaver

By John Masefield (1878 – 1967)

I must down to the sea 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 sails shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey down breaking.

I must 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.

“The sea is not only a place, it is a state of mind, a condition of the soul”.

Carrying Nelson Home

Ease the bow spring,
Gently set the foresheets on the windward side.
Let go fore and aft and as she turns,
Sail her full-and-bye to catch the evening tide.

Shake out those topsails,
Feel the seas roll under that she knows so well.
Find a star to guide her to-o-o the dawn,
And then let her greet the long Atlantic swell.

(Chorus)Sing me a shanty,
Canta del cabo San Vincente.
Chantez des ma-rins du Ni-le,
Sing a hymn of Trafalgar.

Stream the log now,
For she’s heeling with a land breeze to inspire.
Orange scented from the groves of Andaluccia,
And within my mind Cadiz still gleams with fire.

Give her sea room,
Put Saint Vincent well astern by break of day.
Then you shorten sail and harden up those sheets,
And close-hauled we’ll make the northings slip away.


One point to leeward,
For the rolling seas are getting shorter now.
They remind me of the lights of far Hieras,
And they tell me Biscay’s on the starboard bow.

Shake o-u-t your reefs,
For carried on the breeze that’s setting fair –
Are spices from the quays of Lorreal,
You can sail her free to weather Finnisterre.


Ease your main sheets,
For it’s soon we’ll see the harbour lights of home.
Anchor, make good every she-e-e-et and halyard
Remembering just who you have on board.

Pipe me ashore,
Gently hoist aloft your keg of brandy wine.
Make ready to receive the Admiral’s barge,
Low’r me easy now, I’m going ashore one last time.

(2 * Chorus)