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                              A Parody on the Poem ‘Cargoes’ by John Masefield


From the Garton Archive: Item of Interest No 7

A Parody on the Poem Cargoes by John Masefield


In July 2012, I published ‘Item of Interest No 3 from the Garton Archive. This was a parody on the poem Jaberwocky, written by a 15 year-old pupil at Lincoln Christ’s Hospital Girls High School (LHS), and published in the Christmas 1900 edition of the School Magazine.

Both the Lincoln School and LHS magazines contain many examples of original writing, in several different styles. The above ‘poem’ was written by two boys from Lincoln School, and is a parody on the well-known poem ‘Cargoes’ by John Masefield. It was published as an ‘original contribution’ in the July 1961 edition of The Lincolnian.

In the poem by Masefield, published in the early 1990s, the poet’s purpose was to make a stark contrast between three different cargoes transported by a ‘quinquireme of Nineveh’, a ‘stately Spanish galleon’ and a ‘dirty British coaster’.

Perhaps the parody on Masefield’s poem does not signal the arrival of a couple of budding poets, but it might present a challenge to other pupils to see if they can do better! For me the poem evokes happy memories of boating on Boultham Park, although I regret that there was a distinct absence of ‘fair wenches’ on board. “Come in number 5, your time is up”, was the cry from the side of the lake when the half-hour’s rent of the boat had expired! I can’t remember what it cost in the 1950s; a shilling/half a crown perhaps? I understand that there are plans to restore Boultham Park, including its boating lake, to its former glory.

The second stanza refers to the Mary Gordon pleasure boat that used to ply between the Brayford Pool and the Pyewipe Inn. It was a fine vessel, and an iconic feature on the Fosse Dyke. Its rotting skeleton now lies in the grounds of the Pyewipe Inn, optimistically awaiting its promised reconstruction.

If the Mary Gordon does ‘dip through the water’ again in ‘sprightly fashion’, it will be in competition with the Brayford Belle, which currently plies its summer passage to the Pyewipe and back.

No doubt some readers will remember having to learn the Masefield poem by heart either at primary school or in the early years of secondary school. It pains me that my good friend and former class-mate ’Dusty’ Miller can still recite it verbatim to this day, whereas I can only recall a few memorable lines!

Peter Harrod

Archive Assistant

November 2012


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