Masefield Changed Line in Verse to Avoid Slur on Jews
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Masefield Changed Line in Verse to Avoid Slur on Jews

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In an editorial in its current issue the “Jewish Exponent” commends heartily the change of a line in the popular ballad “London Town” by John Masefield, recently appointed Poet Laureate of England.

“Lovers of poetry,” the editorial declares, “the world over heartily endorsed the appointment of John Masefield to the distinguished position of England’s Poet Laureate. Indeed, it is questionable whether the choice would have been different had it been left to a group of his peers to make the selection. A man of liberal views with a fine sense of imagery he has won a permanent place for himself in the history of English letters.

“It is especially interesting to note that the questionable reference to the Jewish people orginally contained in his ballad “London Town,” has been changed in the next edition of his works. It was in this city, at a meeting of the Contemporary Club, since eight or ten years ago, that the matter was brought to the notice of the distinguished poet by David Werner Amram, our esteemed fellow townsman. The line referred to originally read:

“‘And craftly fares the knave there, and wickedly fares the Jew.’

“In the new edition of the poet’s work this has been changed to read:

“‘But wretchedly fare the most there and merrily fare the few.’

“A change that is decidedly to the good, and shows that the heart of the poet is in the right place.”

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