Leicester-born Jessie Pope was a poet, writer and journalist who remains best known for her patriotic poems during the First World War. Before the war she wrote light verse and humorous articles for Punch and various newspapers. When war came, as George Simmers points out, ‘she was faced with a problem that must have troubled all writers of the lightly comic. What do you do with your talent when the times are dark and tragic? Jessie Pope went with the times, adapting her skill with light verse to the patriotic mood of 1914.’

Pope’s war poetry was originally published in The Daily Mail and largely consisted of simple rhythms and rhyme schemes with extensive use of rhetorical questions to persuade young men to join the war, leading Wilfred Owen to direct his 1917 poem Dulce et Decorum est to her.

Who’s for the fame, the biggest that’s played,
The red crashing game of a fight?
Who’ll grip and tackle the job unafraid?
And who thinks he’d rather sit tight?

Jessie Pope’s Poems

Resources for Jessie Pope

Poor Old Jessie Pope, George Simmers