In poem "Cargoes", by John Masefield, the goods that were traded had a purpose of their own. How does the list of goods mentioned describe the class of people they catered to and also the desires...

In poem "Cargoes", by John Masefield, the goods that were traded had a purpose of their own. How does the list of goods mentioned describe the class of people they catered to and also the desires which they catered to?

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beateach | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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“Cargoes” by John Mansfield describes three different ships and what treasures they carried. The time frame spans centuries and explains that both royalty and commoners have benefitted from the shipping trade.

In the first stanza, Mansfield describes the quinquiremes, boats that in ancient times were powered by rowers plying the oars. These boats carried ivory, sandalwood, and cedar wood that were used in the palace of King Solomon. They also delivered exotic animals for the pleasure of King Solomon and his court, the privileged nobility.

In the second stanza, written about the Age of Exploration, the cargo is for the upper classes. The galleons, which were sailing vessels, carried their cargo from the Americans to countries such as Spain. The spoils of these voyages, diamonds, emeralds, amethysts, gold, and spices benefitted the upper classes. This cargo enhanced the lives of the royalty and the nobility although often it was obtained through the exploitation of native peoples.

The third stanza talks of British steamships during the early twentieth century that hauled goods for the commoners such as “Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.” These steamships carried coal and wood for home and industrial usage. In addition, they provided the goods necessary to support another form of transportation as they delivered the items needed for building the railroads.

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