|Title:||The Widow in the Bye Street|
|Publisher:||Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd.|
Closely following The Everlasting Mercy came The Widow in the Bye Street, written in much the same iconoclastic manner. It tells a tragic tale of Widow Gurney, whose son, Jimmy, is hanged for murder, causing her to lose her reason. Of these two remarkable poems Masefield tells us: "In The Everlasting Mercy a violent man is made happy; in The Widow in the Bye Street a good woman is made unhappy. In neither case does the event fall by merit or demerit, but by the workings of Fate, which come into human affairs with the effect of justice done, for reasons not apparent to us."
—Wikisource [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Masefield, John
John Masefield (June 1, 1878—May 12, 1967) was an English poet, writer and the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until 1967.
He is best known for his poems of the sea, Salt-Water Ballads (1902, including "Sea Fever" and "Cargoes"), and for his long narrative poems, such as The Everlasting Mercy (1911), which shocked literary orthodoxy with its phrases of a colloquial coarseness hitherto unknown in 20th-century English verse.
Masefield was born in Ledbury, Herefordshire, England. After his father's death he was looked after by an uncle. Young Masefield wanted to be a merchant marine officer. At 13 he boarded the training ship Conway moored in the river Mersey. After two and a half years on the school ship he was apprenticed aboard a sailing ship that was bound for Chile by way of Cape Horn. In Chile he became ill and had to return to England by steamer. He left the sea and spent several years living in the United States, working chiefly in a carpet factory. At one time, in 1895, he worked for a few months as a sort of third assistant bar-keeper and dish-washer in Luke O'Connor's saloon, the Columbia Hotel, in New York City. He later wrote about that period of his life in an autobiographical work, 'In the Mill', published in 1941.
In 1897 he returned to England determined to succeed as a writer. He worked on newspapers at first. But he never forgot his days at sea. He returned to them again and again in his poems and stories. He wrote about the land too, about typically English things like fox hunting, racing, and outdoor life. In 1902 Masefield published his first volume of poems, 'Salt-Water Ballads'. After that he wrote steadily poems, stories, and plays.
After his appointment as Poet Laureate, Masefield was awarded the Order of Merit by King George V and many honorary degrees from British universities, in 1937 being elected as President of the Society of Authors. Masefield encouraged the continued development of English literature and poetry, and began the annual awarding of the Royal Medals for Poetry for a first or second published edition of poetry by a poet under the age of 35.
Among his best-known children's novels are The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights. Other writings include Masefield's long narrative poem Dauber (1913), which concerns the eternal struggle of the visionary against ignorance and materialism, and Reynard the Fox (1919), which deals with many aspects of rural life in England. He also wrote novels of adventure—Sard Harker (1924), Odtaa (1926), The Taking of the Gry (1934) and Basilissa (1940). His other works include the poetic dramas The Tragedy of Nan (1909) and The Tragedy of Pompey the Great (1910), as well as a further autobiographical volume, So Long to Learn (1952).
Sources: Britannica.com and famouspoetsandpoems.com
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