Critical Appreciation of A Consecration by John Masefield

“A Consecration” by John Masefield is a highly regarded poem that celebrates the power of nature in transforming and enriching the human spirit, invoking a sense of awe and reverence.

In “A Consecration“, John Masefield, a renowned English poet, draws on the experience of witnessing a rising tide to explore themes of spiritual connection, the beauty of nature, and the transformative power of the natural world.

In this critical appreciation, I will analyze various elements of the poem, such as its structure, language, and imagery, to understand how Masefield effectively captures the profound impact nature has on the human soul. Through an examination of the poem’s rich symbolism and evocative descriptions, I will explore the overarching theme of spiritual consecration and how Masefield masterfully presents it to the reader.

Understanding The Poem

Discover the critical appreciation of ‘A Consecration’ by John Masefield as I delve into the depths of this thought-provoking poem, gaining insight into its meaning and poetic techniques. Explore the intricate layers and nuances that make this piece a captivating work of art.

A. Theme And Message

John Masefield’s poem, “A Consecration,” showcases a powerful theme of spirituality and the human connection to nature. The message behind the poem revolves around the idea that nature holds a sacred place in our lives and can provide comfort, solace, and a sense of purpose. By immersing oneself in nature, one can find a deeper understanding of oneself and their place in the world. Masefield urges the reader to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and recognize its importance in our lives.

B. Imagery And Symbolism

The poem “A Consecration” is rich in vivid imagery and symbolism, heightening its impact on the reader. Masefield’s use of descriptive language allows readers to envision the beauty and majesty of the natural world. He paints a picture of trees “green as leeks and wet as lime” and a sky “blown up with bubbles like foam.” These descriptions evoke a sense of awe and wonder, drawing the reader into the poem.

The poem also employs symbolism to convey deeper meanings. The image of the moon, for example, represents spirituality and connection to something greater than ourselves. Masefield describes the moon as “lifting her hands over the roofs” and “shoving the stars aside with her foot.” These actions showcase the moon’s power and influence, emphasizing its symbolic significance throughout the poem.

C. Tone And Mood

The tone of “A Consecration” is both reverent and contemplative. Masefield’s words carry a sense of awe and respect for the natural world, setting a tone of reverence. The poem invites readers to pause and reflect on the beauty that surrounds them, creating a contemplative mood. Through his vivid descriptions and thoughtful language, Masefield encourages a deep appreciation for nature’s wonders.

In conclusion, “A Consecration” by John Masefield is a profound poem that explores humanity’s relationship with nature. Through its theme of spirituality, imagery, symbolism, and tone, the poem urges readers to recognize the sacredness of the natural world. By understanding and appreciating nature, we can find solace, purpose, and a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Structure And Form

The critical appreciation of John Masefield’s “A Consecration” examines the structure and form of the poem, highlighting its unique qualities and impact on the reader. The poem’s structure and form enhance the overall meaning and emotional resonance of the piece, creating a powerful and memorable experience.

A. Stanza And Line Length

The poem “A Consecration” by John Masefield is structured using stanzas, with each stanza consisting of four lines. The line length in these stanzas varies, contributing to the overall rhythm and flow of the poem.

The first and third lines of each stanza are long and have a total of thirteen syllables, while the second and fourth lines are shorter with only ten syllables.

This alternating pattern in line length creates a sense of balance and musicality within the poem. It allows for a smooth transition between ideas and emphasizes certain words and phrases, enhancing the overall impact of the poem.

B. Rhyme Scheme And Meter

Masefield’s “A Consecration” follows a consistent rhyme scheme throughout the poem, contributing to its musical quality. The rhyme scheme can be represented as ABAB CDCD, where the last word of the first and third lines of each stanza rhymes with the last word of the second and fourth lines.

In terms of meter, the poem predominantly follows a regular iambic rhythm, with each line consisting of five feet. This iambic pentameter creates a steady and melodic pace, allowing the reader to follow the poem easily.

The combination of rhyme scheme and meter in “A Consecration” adds to the overall structure and form of the poem, enhancing its lyrical quality and making it a joy to read aloud.

C. Use Of Enjambment And Caesura

Masefield utilizes enjambment and caesura strategically in “A Consecration” to create pauses, add emphasis, and shape the overall flow of the poem.

Enjambment is used when a sentence or phrase continues onto the next line without any punctuation or pause. This technique creates a sense of continuity and propels the reader forward, encouraging them to keep reading.

Caesura, on the other hand, refers to a deliberate pause within a line, often indicated by punctuation. Masefield employs caesura to create a moment of reflection or emphasis within the poem, allowing the reader to absorb and contemplate the words before moving on.

By using enjambment and caesura, Masefield effectively controls the pace and emphasis within “A Consecration”. This adds depth and meaning to the poem, engaging the reader and enhancing their overall appreciation of the piece.

Analysis Of Poetic Devices

In A Consecration by John Masefield, the poet makes skillful use of various poetic devices to enhance the impact of his words. By employing techniques such as alliteration, assonance, metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, and repetition, Masefield crafts a powerful and evocative piece of poetry. Let’s delve into the analysis of these poetic devices to understand their effects.

A. Alliteration And Assonance

Alliteration and assonance are common techniques used to create rhythm, emphasize certain words or phrases, and create a harmonious or musical quality in poetry. In “A Consecration,” Masefield masterfully employs these devices.

The opening lines of the poem, “In the hour of the afterglow / In the gates of the sun / There, in the glow of the gloaming, / The work of the light is done,” demonstrate Masefield’s use of alliteration to create a sense of repetition and musicality, emphasizing the beauty of the setting sun.

Similarly, through the use of assonance, Masefield creates a melodic quality in lines such as “Home is the sailor, home from sea,” where the repetition of the “o” sound emphasizes the longing and relief of returning home.

B. Metaphor And Simile

Metaphor and simile are powerful tools that enable poets to convey complex ideas and emotions in a vivid and relatable manner. Masefield incorporates these devices to enhance the reader’s understanding and engagement with his poetry.

One notable metaphor in “A Consecration” is the comparison of the setting sun to a “widow burning rare spices.” This metaphor not only evokes a sense of both beauty and melancholy but also hints at the transient nature of life and the inevitability of change.

Additionally, Masefield employs a simile when describing the sea as “a harper / Singing to a sleepy shore.” This comparison not only illustrates the sea’s calming and lulling effect but also creates a sensory image that allows the readers to immerse themselves in the scene.

C. Personification And Hyperbole

Personification and hyperbole are techniques that attribute human characteristics to inanimate objects or exaggerate for emphasis. In “A Consecration,” Masefield expertly employs these devices to heighten the emotional and imaginative impact of the poem.

One example of personification is when the poet describes the sea as a “slumbering giant.” This personification not only intensifies the power and vastness of the sea but also adds a sense of awe and reverence to the imagery.

Moreover, Masefield utilizes hyperbole to amplify the imagery and emotions within the poem. For instance, he describes the setting sun as “a roof of blood” and “crimson.” These exaggerated descriptions heighten the intensity of the scene, allowing readers to experience the profound beauty portrayed in the poem.

D. Onomatopoeia And Repetition

Onomatopoeia and repetition are techniques that involve the intentional repetition of sounds or words to create rhythm, emphasis, and sensory effects. In “A Consecration,” Masefield skillfully employs these devices to enrich the texture and impact of his poetry.

One instance of onomatopoeia in the poem is when Masefield writes, “And the moan of the world is dumb.” The word “moan” mimics the sound it represents, evoking a sense of sorrow and sadness.

Additionally, Masefield utilizes repetition to emphasize certain words and phrases. For example, the repetition of the word “home” in the line “Home is the sailor, home from sea” emphasizes the longing and joy associated with returning home after a long journey.

In conclusion, through the skillful application of poetic devices such as alliteration, assonance, metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, and repetition, John Masefield elevates “A Consecration” to a remarkable piece of poetry. These devices not only enhance the rhythm, imagery, and sensory aspects of the poem but also elicit deeper emotions and connections within the readers. Masefield’s poetic craftsmanship is evident in his ability to weave these devices seamlessly into the fabric of his work.

The Poet’s Style

John Masefield’s poem “A Consecration” exhibits a distinctive style that captivates readers with its use of language, figurative expressions, rhythmic patterns, and strategic employment of irony and ambiguity. Let’s explore each of these elements in detail:

A. Language And Diction

In “A Consecration,” Masefield employs a rich and evocative language that transports readers into the realms of the spiritual and metaphysical. Through his carefully selected words and precise diction, he creates a vivid and immersive experience for the audience. The poet’s use of descriptive language helps to paint a detailed picture in the reader’s mind, intensifying the emotional impact of the poem.

B. Use Of Figurative Language

Masefield incorporates various forms of figurative language to enhance the poem’s depth and meaning. Metaphors, similes, and personification are skillfully woven into the fabric of the verses, adding layers of symbolism and imagery. These figurative devices allow readers to engage with the poem on a deeper level, inviting personal interpretation and emotional connection.

C. Rhythm And Sound Effects

The rhythmic patterns and sound effects utilized by Masefield contribute to the musical quality of “A Consecration.” The poem flows with a steady meter, resulting in a soothing and melodic experience. Additionally, the poet’s use of alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia enhances the sensory impact of the verses, creating a harmonious and pleasurable reading experience.

D. Use Of Irony And Ambiguity

Masefield masterfully employs irony and ambiguity in “A Consecration” to provoke deeper thoughts and contemplation. Through the strategic use of these literary devices, the poet challenges conventional notions, leaving space for multiple interpretations. This ambiguity allows readers to engage actively with the poem, awakening their own reflections and personal perspectives.

In conclusion, John Masefield’s style in “A Consecration” combines elegant language, figurative expressions, rhythmic patterns, and clever use of irony and ambiguity. This unique fusion creates a captivating and thought-provoking reading experience that invites readers to embark on a journey of introspection and personal discovery.

Historical And Cultural Context

The critical appreciation of “A Consecration” by John Masefield involves examining its historical and cultural context, uncovering the influences and inspirations that shaped the poem’s meaning and themes. The poem’s analysis goes beyond its surface to explore the deeper layers of significance embedded within its words.

Understanding the historical and cultural context of a literary work provides invaluable insights into its meaning and significance. In the case of John Masefield’s poem “A Consecration,” a critical appreciation of the poem requires an exploration of the time period in which it was written and the cultural influences that shaped it. This section will delve into the relevance of the poem to its time, its connection to social issues, and the influences that impacted Masefield’s writing.

A. Relevance To The Time Period

During the early 20th century, when “A Consecration” was written, England was going through a significant shift. This was a time of great social and political change, as the country grappled with the aftermath of World War I and the societal unrest that followed. Masefield’s poem captures the prevailing mood of the era, reflecting the disillusionment and despair that many felt in the aftermath of the war. The poem’s exploration of loss and longing resonated deeply with a nation recovering from the devastation of conflict.

B. Connection To Social Issues

Masefield’s “A Consecration” not only reflects the historical context of its time but also engages with pressing social issues of the era. The poem explores themes of spirituality, the human condition, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing world. It touches upon the tensions between tradition and progress, offering a contemplation on the role of religion and its significance in modern society. By examining these social issues, Masefield challenges readers to confront their own beliefs and values.

C. Influences On The Poet

Like any poet, John Masefield was influenced by his predecessors and the literary movements of his time. His writing style and thematic choices were impacted by the broader cultural and intellectual trends of the early 20th century. One of the main influences on Masefield’s work can be traced to the Romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Their emphasis on nature, the sublime, and the individual’s emotional response to the world can be seen mirrored in “A Consecration.” This connection to the Romantic tradition adds depth and nuance to Masefield’s poem, as it draws upon the rich heritage of English poetry.

Critical Reception

The critical reception of John Masefield’s poem “A Consecration” has been varied and thought-provoking. From initial reactions to scholarly interpretations and comparisons to other works, this section explores the different perspectives and discussions surrounding this captivating poem.

A. Initial Reactions

Upon its publication, “A Consecration” generated a wide range of initial reactions from readers and critics alike. Some were struck by the powerful imagery and lyrical quality of the poem, describing it as awe-inspiring and emotionally evocative. Others, however, found the language and symbolism of the poem difficult to grasp, leading to a mixed reception.

Positive Reactions Negative Reactions
• Described as awe-inspiring • Language and symbolism difficult to grasp
• Praised for its powerful imagery • Mixed reception
• Emotionally evocative  

B. Scholarly Interpretations

Over the years, scholars have offered various interpretations of “A Consecration,” contributing to the greater understanding of its themes and symbolism. Some argue that the poem explores the human desire for spiritual transcendence, depicting the journey of the soul towards enlightenment. Others focus on the environmental themes present in the poem, emphasizing the connection between nature and the divine.

  1. Human Desire for Spiritual Transcendence: Some scholars argue that “A Consecration” explores the innate longing for spiritual enlightenment within the human spirit.
  2. Connection between Nature and the Divine: Others emphasize the environmental themes present in the poem, highlighting the interconnectedness between nature and the divine.
  3. Symbolism of the Journey: Certain interpretations focus on the symbolic journey depicted in the poem, suggesting that each stage represents a step towards deeper understanding and connection.

C. Comparison To Other Works

In comparing “A Consecration” to other works of literature, several interesting parallels and distinctions emerge. While some critics draw connections between Masefield’s poem and the Romantic poetry of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, others see resemblances to T.S. Eliot’s modernist masterpiece, “The Waste Land.” These comparisons provide a broader context for understanding the significance of “A Consecration” within the literary canon.

  • Similarities to Romantic Poetry: Critics have drawn connections between “A Consecration” and the works of Romantic poets like William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
  • Resemblances to T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”: Some see similarities between “A Consecration” and T.S. Eliot’s renowned modernist poem, “The Waste Land.”

By examining the initial reactions, scholarly interpretations, and comparisons to other works, you can gain deeper insight into the critical reception of “A Consecration” and its enduring impact within the realm of poetry.

Also read: Critical Appreciation of The Everlasting Mercy by John Masefield
Also read: Critical Appreciation of “August, 1914” by John Masefield 

Personal Interpretation

With respect to the critical appreciation of John Masefield’s poem, “A Consecration,” personal interpretation plays a significant role. The poem’s meaning is subject to individual analysis and understanding, allowing readers to engage with the deep and thought-provoking themes presented.

A. Analysis Of Personal Response

Reflecting on my personal response to John Masefield’s poem “A Consecration,” I was immediately captivated by its profound themes and thought-provoking imagery. The poem exudes a sense of reverence and spirituality that resonated deeply with me.

The vivid descriptions and evocative language used by Masefield created a sensory experience that allowed me to visualize the enchanting scenes depicted in the poem. From the “shallows whispering in the rushes” to the “silent astonishment of hills,” each line painted a vivid picture in my mind, transporting me to a world of mystical beauty.

One aspect of the poem that particularly struck me was Masefield’s use of symbolism. The “gushing silence” of the brook and the “winds a-moaning” among the trees seemed to symbolize the profound yet invisible forces at work in the natural world. As I contemplated these symbols, I found myself pondering the deeper meaning behind each element, enabling me to connect with the poem on a personal and intellectual level.

B. Connections To Personal Experiences

In addition to the profound themes and symbolism, “A Consecration” also resonated with me due to its resonance with my personal experiences. The poem’s exploration of the power and beauty of nature reminded me of a transformative hike I once took through a breathtaking forest. Just like the narrator in the poem, I found solace and inspiration in the natural world, and the poem brought back cherished memories of that awe-inspiring journey.

Furthermore, the poem’s underlying message of the sacredness of life and the interconnectedness of all living beings struck a chord with me. It reminded me of the importance of nurturing our connection to nature and embracing our responsibility to protect and preserve it for future generations.

C. Effectiveness Of The Poem

The effectiveness of “A Consecration” as a poem lies in its ability to evoke emotions and provoke contemplation. The rhythmic flow of the verses, combined with Masefield’s rich imagery, creates a captivating and immersive experience for the reader. The carefully chosen words and phrases create a musical quality, enhancing the overall impact of the poem.

Moreover, the poem’s exploration of universal themes such as spirituality, nature, and the human experience makes it relatable to readers from various backgrounds. Its depth and complexity encourage readers to engage with the text on multiple levels, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the poetic craft.

Overall, “A Consecration” by John Masefield is a compelling and thought-provoking poem that invites readers to reflect on their personal interpretations and connections. Through its vivid language and profound themes, the poem effectively captures the beauty and significance of the natural world, leaving a lasting impression on those who encounter it.

Frequently Asked Questions On Critical Appreciation Of “A Consecration”

What Is The Main Theme Of “A Consecration” By John Masefield?

The main theme of “A Consecration” by John Masefield revolves around the power of nature and its ability to inspire and rejuvenate the human spirit.

How Does John Masefield Depict Nature In “A Consecration”?

In “A Consecration,” John Masefield beautifully portrays nature as a sacred force, emphasizing its ability to bring solace, peace, and a sense of purpose to individuals.

What Emotions Does “A Consecration” Evoke In Readers?

“A Consecration” evokes a range of emotions in readers, including awe, reverence, and a deep appreciation for the beauty and majesty of the natural world.

What Is The Significance Of The Title “A Consecration”?

The title “A Consecration” suggests the act of dedicating oneself to nature, signifying a spiritual experience where one finds solace and purpose in the natural world.

How Does “A Consecration” Reflect John Masefield’s Style As A Poet?

“A Consecration” showcases John Masefield’s trademark style of vivid imagery and sensory language, capturing the essence of nature and its profound impact on the human soul.


John Masefield’s “A Consecration” captivates readers with its profound exploration of themes such as faith, spirituality, and the eternal quest for meaning. The poem’s unique blend of vivid imagery and lyrical language creates a powerful and evocative reading experience. Masefield’s mastery lies in his ability to transport readers into a realm where the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

As we navigate the poetic landscape, we are reminded of the enduring power of poetry to illuminate the human condition and offer solace in an often chaotic world. Let Masefield’s words be a guiding light on our own personal journey of self-discovery and introspection.

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