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About this poet

Jessie Pope was born in 1868 in Leicester, England. She studied at the North London Collegiate School for Girls. She began writing articles and light, often humorous verse for Punch magazine and other popular publications. She is best known for her poetry of World War I, published in Jessie Pope’s War Poems (G. Richards, 1915) and More War Poems (G. Richards, 1915). Though Pope was widely read during the war, she is often vilified now for her poetry’s light-hearted, pro-war sentiments, especially in comparison to contemporaries such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. She died on December 14, 1941, in Devon, England.

The Zeppelin Armada

To-day, since Zeppelins are in the air,
    And folks glance skywards as they go their ways,
Let us hark back a bit to an affair
    That happened in Queen Bess’s sturdy days,
When the Armada, backed by Spanish lust—
    A fleet that floating palaces resembled—
Sailed proudly forth to crush us in the dust,
    While all the tremulous in England trembled.

What was the fate of those unwieldy craft?
    Our little frigates made of British oak
Harassed the mighty galleons fore and aft,
    Handy to strike and shun the counterstroke.
The Great Invasion ended in defeat.
    No more could Philip play the part of mocker,
The rout of the Armada was complete,
    And down it went to Davy Jones’s locker.

What frigates did in 1558
    May be repeated in the air to-day,
When clumsy Zeppelins may meet their fate
    From aeroplanes that sting and dart away.
A well-equipped and handy air patrol
    Would circumvent an aerial attack.
If London is to be the Zeppes’ goal,
    It’s up to us to see they don’t go back!

This poem is in the public domain.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

Jessie Pope

Jessie Pope was born in 1868 in Leicester, England. She is best known for her poetry of World War I, published in Jessie Pope’s War Poems (G. Richards, 1915) and More War Poems (G. Richards, 1915). Pope died in 1941 in Devon, England.

by this poet

poem
In heaven, a pale uncertain star,
    Through sullen vapour peeps,
On earth, extended wide and far,
In all the symmetry of war,
    A weary army sleeps.

The heavy-hearted pall of night
    Obliterates the lines,
Save where a dying camp-fire’s light
Leaps up and flares, a moment bright,
    Then once again
poem
The dying sunset’s slanting rays
    Incarnadine the soldier’s deed,
His sturdy countenance betrays
               The bull-dog breed.

Not his to shun the stubborn fight,
    The struggle against cruel odds.
Alone, unaided—'tis a sight
                For men and gods.

And now his back is bowed and bent,
poem
Not theirs the popular uniform
That takes the feminine heart by storm,
And wins soft glances, shy or warm,
        The perquisites of pluck.
But theirs the commonplace city kit,
With a blue and white stripe round the sleeve of it,
And a stout little truncheon to do the trick,
         If ever they have the luck