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.
- John Masefield
John Masefield (1878–1967) was an English Poet and writer. He was appointed poet laureate of the United Kingdom in 1930.
Star to steer - the north star is the pole star which tells the sailor where North is and thus they can steer the ship correctly
flung - threw
spume - sea foam
vagrant - wandering
whetted - sharpened
yarn - A long or rambling story especially one that is impossible
flurried - worried
rover - wanderer
trick - a period of stay on the ship after the voyage
Choose the best answer.
1. The title of the poem ‘Sea Fever’ means ______________________.
a) flu fever
b) the poet’s deep wish to be at sea
c) the poet’s fear of the sea
Ans: b) the poet’s deep wish to be at sea
2. The poet asks for ___________________.
a) a fishing net
b) a big boat
c) a tall ship
Ans: c) a tall ship
3. The poet wants to lead a life at sea like __________________.
a) the gulls and whales
b) the penguins and sharks
c) the pelicans and dolphins
Ans: a) the gulls and whales
Read the lines and answer the questions.
1. I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
Where does the poet want to go?
Ans: The poet wants to go to the lonely sea and the sky.
2. And the wheel’s kick and the winds song and the white sail’s shaking
What according to the poet are the pleasures of sailing?
Ans: According to the poet, hearing the wheel’s kick, hearing the wind’s song and feeling the white sail’s shaking are the pleasures of sailing.
3. And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying
Why does the poet ask for a windy day?
Ans: The poet asks for a windy day with the white clouds flying, spume is blown and the sea-gulls crying. This will make the poet to enjoy sailing the sea.
4. And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover.
What kind of human company does the poet want?
Ans: The poet wants to hear a merry, imaginary story from a fellow wanderer.
5. And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over
What does the poet want to do after his voyage is over?
Ans: The poet wants to have a quite sleep and sweet dream when the voyage is over.
1. Fill in the blanks with correct rhyming words from the poem.
Sky - by, knife - life, rover - over
2. Quote the line that has been repeated in the poem.
Ans: I must go down to the seas again
3. Write the poetic device which is used in the line below.
And a grey mist on the sea’s face ………………………
4. What poetic device is used for the comparison in the below line?
………….where the wind’s like a whetted life:
The poem has many visual and sound images. Complete the table with examples from the poem. The first one has been done for you.
Visual images - Sound images
Wheel’s kick - Wind’s song
whetted knife - sea gulls crying
white cloud flying - call of the running tide
blown spume - laughing of the fellow rover