There are many legends about Masefield; he is the kind of figure that gives rise to legends. And, as he is curiously reticent about his early life, some of the most extravagant of these legends have persisted and have, for many people, become true. But the bare facts of his life are interesting enough. As a young man he grew sick of life, of the kind of life he was living, and went to sea as a sailor before the mast. He had neither money nor friends; or, if he had, he relinquished both. The necessity to earn a living drove him into many adventures, and 75I am told that for a time he was pot-boy in a New York drink-den. Here his work must have been utterly distasteful, but the observing eye and the impressionable brain of the poet were at work the whole time, and one can see clearly in some of Masefield’s long narrative poems many evidences of those bitter New York days. How Masefield came to London and settled in Bloomsbury, becoming the friend of J. M. Synge, I do not know. For six months he was in Manchester, editing the column entitled Miscellany in The Manchester Guardian, and writing occasional theatrical notices. I have been told by several of his colleagues on that paper that Masefield’s reserve was invulnerable; he quickly secured the respect of his fellow-workers, but not one of them became intimate with him. He lived in dingy lodgings, he worked hard and, at the end of six months, withdrew to London on the plea that he found it impossible to do literary work at night.
The impression which I got of modern Hungary at Fiume was confirmed by what I saw a few days later at Budapest, the capital. There was the same air of newness and novelty, as if the city had been erected overnight, and the people had not yet grown used to it.
It was not easy to be a mind in a body again, McCray discovered. Time had stopped for him. He had been soaring the star-lanes in his released mind for hours; but while his mind had been liberated, his body, back on Hatcher's "planet," had continued its slow metabolism, its steady devouring of its tissues, its inevitable progress toward death. When he had returned to it he found its pulse erratic and its breathing ragged. A grinding knot of hunger seethed in its stomach. Its muscles ached.
On their way back to their bungalow there was silence between the Coventrys. They were driving in the cab of the country, a rough vehicle that resembled a palanquin on wheels, with venetian shutters instead of windows, and the noise it made would have rendered even the most amiable of conversations impossible. The air outside was warm and still, and the rattle of the wheels and the
Cimon had turned away and with another soldier sought the platform where beautiful women, many of them Greeks, stood exposed to the rude gaze of the soldiery. Zopyrus’ eyes followed the retreating form of Cimon and a question arose to his lips which was anticipated by the quiet Polygnotus who said: “You wonder at Cimon’s interest in the women and I can assure you his motives are pure. He is searching for the girl he loves who was taken captive by one of the Persian leaders and confined in his harem.”
directed to stay where he was, come what may.
My speech was offensive: it was meant to be. But offensive though I knew it to be, I did not know how offensive it really was. I mentioned the name of Wagner and, as I did so, I saw Dr Walford Davies shudder most violently. Though I attacked the Church for her unimaginative attitude to music, though I stamped on hymns and hymn tunes, though I slanged the microscopic brains of many organists, though I said that nearly all Cathedral music was to me anathema maranatha, nobody except Bishop Welldon appeared to care in the least, and he did not care half so much as poor, virginal Walford Davies, who, at the name of Wagner, shuddered and put his glass aside.
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