[Sept. 1951]

Dear L.W.:

What a grand affair from 1 to 5:30 under the canopy on the lawn! And now I am content about John Masefield. I always loved that man and his work. His Everlasting Mercy in the English Review was my introduction and I think I read everything he wrote right up to the present. Dauber, Reynard the Fox, Good Friday, his numerous ballads are still on my shelves together with the finest piece of English writing that came out of the first World War, Gallipoli. The critics agree on that. My brother Art (a sergeant in the Newfoundland Regiment) was with the rearguard in the battle and years after the War referred to the authenticity of Masefield's account and the power of its expression.

I had the temerity to send him an early poem of mine (the Cachalot) and I shall never forget the kindness of his reply and the fruitful suggestion that I expand the conclusion by a few lines to deepen the thunder of the whale's forehead against the side of the ship. Masefield's phrase was 'before death blurs the edges.'

I had the honour of meeting him three times – at Hart House with Malcolm Wallace, at Macmillans with Hugh Eayrs, and after his lecture in Massey Hall.

If you are writing him please extend my regards and admiration. Tell him too that I have read 'Consecration' and Aug. 1914 to thousands of students over the thirty years of my teaching at the University of Toronto.

Yours affectionately,
Ned.

Perhaps Mr Masefield might be interested in a recent Newfoundland poem, one of a nostalgic scene of my homeland. I can still hear the sea gulls screaming.


grand affair
Leonard W. Brockington was a friend and correspondent of the English poet. He had written Pratt an account of a recent visit he had paid Masefield at his home in Oxfordshire.

'Consecration'
The prologue to Masefield's early book, Salt-Water Ballads (1902).

Aug. 1914
'August, 1914,' a poem in Masefield's Sonnets and Other Poems.

Newfoundland poem
Probably 'Newfoundland Seamen' written in 1949.