Many chronicles have been written about life at sea, but few, if any, can compare with John Masefield's masterpiece, On The Spanish Main. It can be found on countless lists of the finest literary works of all time, and is one of his major achievements.
Masefield's familiar association with sailors had given him a deep insight into their lives, and it was as their laureate that he began his career of letters. Salt Water Ballads opens with a "A Consecration," in which he announces himself as champion of "the dust and the scum of the earth."
"Theirs be the music, the colour, the glory, the gold,
Mine be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mould
Of the maimed, of the halt and the blind in the rain and the cold
Of these shall my songs be fashioned, my tales be told."
On The Spanish Main, his tale of buccaneers and scoundrels on the high seas remains as transcendent as ever in this beautifully realized 21st century digital edition; as relevant today as when it was first published nearly a century ago.
JOHN MASEFIELD (1878-1967) was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He was a master prose stylist who brought a distinct sensibility to all his works. He is best remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, nineteen other novels (including Captain Margaret, Multitude and Solitude and Sard Harker), and many memorable poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever", from his anthology Saltwater Ballads.