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Jessie Pope

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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.

by this poet

Goliath was a giant, the bully of his side,
His coat of mail was brazen, his face was fierce with pride;
And when a shepherd stripling to challenge him was fain,
Eleven-foot Goliath ignored him in disdain.

But David didn’t trouble, his heart was cool and glad,
Though a sling and rounded pebbles were the only
Leonidas of Sparta, years gone by,
    With but a bare three hundred of his braves,
In the ravine of famed Thermopylæ
    Held up the Persian army’s endless waves.
Smiling, among the forest of his spears,
    “Lay down your arms,” the haughty Xerxes cried.
The Spartan’s answer echoes down the years,
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