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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

poem
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,
    “Come
poem
Darkness—expectant, discreet—
    Only a lamp here and there,
Gloom in the clattering street,
    Stygian black in the square;
Dazzling fascias and fronts,
    Scintillant sky-scrapers banished,
Snuffed and shut down are the spangles of Town.
            London has vanished.

Only a few months ago
    London woke
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,