john masefield book, Clans & Tartans of Scotland: it is that of the MacKenzies. The war-cry was given as ‘Tulach Ard’, which fascinated Masefield. He repeated it over and over.
Dec. 9. Masefield also remarked on the true greatness of Jude the Obscure. I have remembered, too, that Masefield said that the theme of Dauber was that the artist is compelled to obey the law of his own being, no matter if death or disaster ensues.
Dec. 9. (evening). I have just remembered more things about my visit to Masefield. 1) He began by asking me if I had a good journey, and had I much trouble getting from my home to Paddington. 2) He admires Peacock’s poems, especially mentioning ‘The Three Wise Men’ and ‘War Song’. 3) Re. ‘Dead Ned’ – he said he had a special interest in the Coast of Dead Ned, about which it is said,
Beware, beware, the Bight of Benin, Few come out, though many go in.
4) He said that recently he had been reading some of Tom Moore’s poems, and found some of them surprisingly good, though, he said ‘We used to mock them.’ 5) He spoke about the suitability of the apron-stage to Elizabethan drama. He wondered why the Roman theatre at Verulamium had not been used for theatre purposes – for some open-air drama. Why not a circus – ‘Bertram Mills at the Roman Theatre,’ he said half-humorously. 6) When I told him I sometimes take a part-time job he said, ‘All experience is good for an artist.’ I felt flattered – about the ‘artist’ bit.
I wrote to thank the Masefields for their kindness. Masefield replied with the letter from which I have quoted on pp. 43–4, reiterating the effect of Rossetti and Swinburne on a young poet like himself. He ended the letter hoping that the cry of ‘Tulach Ard!’ would continue to echo up the Old Brompton Road. Masefield was born in 1878. He was 72 when I met him, at that time recovering from a serious illness. But he always found time to reply to my queries and to make helpful suggestions. When my book was finally completed I know he was pleased with it:
Please let me thank you for the patient care with which you have