Jessie Pope was a British poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred Owen wrote his 1917 poem Dulce et Decorum est to …
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Famous Jessie Pope Poems
Little And Good
Young Thompson was a bit too short,
But hard as nails and level-headed,
And in his soul the proper sort
Of dogged pluck was deeply bedded ;
To join the ranks he almost ran,
But saw the weedy supersede him ;
Though he was every inch a man,
His country didn’t need him.
He read each passionate appeal
On wall and window, cab and cart ;
How impotent they made him feel !
He tried once more, though sick at heart.
In vain ! He saw the sergeants smirk ;
He argued, but they would not heed him ;
So sullenly trudged back to work
His country didn’t need him.
But, now the standard height’s curtailed,
Again he goes to join the ranks ;
Though yesterday he tried and failed
To-day they welcome him with thanks.
Apparently, he’s just as small,
But since his size no more impedes him,
In spirit he is six foot tall
Because his country needs him.
A Royal Cracksman
When the housebreaking business is slack
And cracksmen are finding it slow
For all the sea-siders are back
And a great many more didn’t go
Here’s excellent news from the front
And joy in ;
Things are looking up since
The German Crown Prince
Has been giving a fillip to trade.
His methods are quite up-to-date,
Displaying adroitness and dash ;
What he wants he collects in a crate,
What he doesn’t he’s careful to smash.
An historical chateau in France
With Imperial ardour he loots,
Annexing the best
And erasing the rest
With the heels of his soldierly boots.
Sikes reads the report with applause,
It’s quite an inspiring affair ;
But a sudden idea gives him pause
The Germans must stop over there !
So he flutters a Union Jack
To help to keep Englishmen steady,
Remarking, ‘ His nibs
Mustn’t crack English cribs,
The profession is crowded already.’
‘There’s the girl who clips your ticket for the train,
And the girl who speeds the lift from floor to floor,
There’s the girl who does a milk-round in the rain,
And the girl who calls for orders at your door.
Strong, sensible, and fit,
They’re out to show their grit,
And tackle jobs with energy and knack.
No longer caged and penned up,
They’re going to keep their end up
‘Til the khaki soldier boys come marching back.
There’s the motor girl who drives a heavy van,
There’s the butcher girl who brings your joint of meat,
There’s the girl who calls ‘All fares please!’ like a man,
And the girl who whistles taxi’s up the street.
Beneath each uniform
Beats a heart that’s soft and warm,
Though of canny mother-wit they show no lack;
But a solemn statement this is,
They’ve no time for love and kisses
Till the khaki soldier boys come marching back.
When I asked my dear Edwin to shave
I’d never a thought of denial;
He’d been such an absolute slave,
I put his devotion on trial.
But his eye threw a sinister dart,
His features grew dogged and grave ;
Still I hardly expected to part
When I asked him to shave.
He refused, and seemed eager to jest,
Till he saw my determined expression.
A moustache, he said, suited him best,
And helped in his budding profession.
‘ What! Like yours’ I replied with a sneer.
He smiled when my temper grew hot,
And when I indulged in a tear
He said, ‘ Certainly not.’
‘Twas enough, and I said what I felt,
Indignant and adamant-hearted,
On some of his drawbacks I dwelt
He took up his hat and departed.
I waited and waited in vain.
Disconsolate, haggard and white,
I wrestled each day with my pain
Till Saturday night.
Then I wrote and confessed I was wrong,
My hand with emotion was shaking,
I prayed him to come before long
To the heart that was his and was breaking.
Three terrible hours did I wait ;
He came and my reason was saved.
Then I saw what had made him so late
My Edwin had shaved.
A little curly-headed god
Through asphodel came creeping,
Found Mother Juno on the nod,
And safely slipped her keeping.
Away he frolicked, full of mirth,
Until he glanced in pity
Upon the muddiness of earth,
The squalour of the city.
His flashing pinions forth he spread,
And flew with dart and quiver
To a celestial garden bed
Beside a sapphire river.
To deck the dingy world down there
He stripped each dazzling flower,
And flung through the cerulean air
The petals in a shower.
His treasured blossoms fluttered down,
He watched them softly falling,
Until, alas! they reached the town
Where men and carts were crawling.
Before the city’s fevered fumes
They sank in helpless flutter,
And men came out with spades and brooms
And swept them in the gutter.
Love In A Mist
Beneath an Ilfracombe machine,
While thunderstorms were raging,
Strephon and Chloe found the scene
Though Mother Earth reproached the skies
With flinging pailfuls at her,
When Strephon looked in Chloe’s eyes
The weather didn’t matter.
When ‘Arry up on ‘Ampstead ‘Eath
Performed a double shuffle,
The rain above, the mud beneath,
His spirits failed to ruffle;
For ‘Arriet was by his side
In maddened mazes whirling
And little cared his promised bride
To see her plumes uncurling.
For one resplendent Summer morn
Young Edwin fondly waited,
Till Angelina grew forlorn
And quite emaciated.
When Hampton Court was like a sponge,
With mists their way beguiling,
He seized her hand and took the plunge,
And came up wet and smiling.
Crumbs Of Comfort
When Gladys comes a whisper wakes,
A sudden thrill prevails,
She holds the eyes of men, and takes
The wind out of our sails.
In spite of every art we use,
Their bosoms she transfixes,
And yet I’m glad to know her shoes
Are unromantic sixes.
The frocks that Leonora wears
Are absolutely sweet,
She practices such Frenchy airs
It’s hopeless to compete.
Her lace is fine, her silks are thick,
Her sables make one sicken ;
And yet, though Leonora’s chic,
She’s certainly no chicken.
Diana has a sporting bent
And not a little side,
She’s hot upon a screamin’ scent
And knows the way to ride.
Her doggy tendencies would please
A print like Mr. Strachey’s,
But, though she drops her final
Three Jolly Huntsmen
Three jolly, old huntsmen, Joe, Jerry, Jim,
Took lunch at ‘The Three Cornered Hat’;
Now Jerry was lanky, but Joe wasn’t slim,
And Jim was delightfully fat.
They sat at the table and worked with a will
At all the good things spread about them ;
They munched and they crunched and they gobbled, until
The hunt started gaily without them.
Joe cried ‘Hoity Toity! Alack! and Confound!’
Jim moaned, ‘ Let’s complain to the Police! ‘
But Jerry remarked ‘I’ve an old basset hound,
And you chaps have a puppy a-piece;
‘A hunt on our own is our only resource!’
With rapture the hounds started yelping.
While each huntsman proceeded to climb on his horse,
The ostlers and stable-boys helping.
The basset hound soon found a scent to his taste;
He gave tongue and was off like a shot,
Behind him the pups and the hunting men raced,
For the pace was exceedingly hot.
But a garden of flower-beds, all bordered with box,
Put an end to their sporting excursion;
For the riotous pack was not hunting a fox.
But Lady Polpero’s pet Persian.
Jim and Jerry leaped back to the road whence they came,
Joe lingered to whip off the hounds;
Then he tried to escape from the furious dame,
But lost his way out of the grounds.
She made her men seek him with furious shout ;
But he finally managed to thwart her.
By crouching, with only his nose sticking out.
In a water-butt, brimful of water.
Now Jim on his dappled mare sturdily sat,
And trotted once more down the street,
And he said, ‘Well, there’s this about hunting a cat.
It makes me want something to eat!’
He bought half a chicken to gnaw on the way.
And filled up his flask with brown sherry.
Then, lighting a weed, without further de-lay.
He cantered away after Jerry.
This flask he was taking a leisurely pull,
When he heard a loud roar in the rear,
And, turning, discovered a brisk looking bull
Drawing most disconcertingly near.
His Dapple was munching a tuft of sweet grass,
And when urged to ‘gee hup!’ she refused to;
So Joe had to run on his own legs, alas!
At a pace that they’d never been used to.
Why,’ whimpered Jim, ‘am I hunting in pink?
It is a colour these savage brutes love!’
And he prayed as he raced, through the ground he might sink
And leave his pursuer above.
Two yokels ran up and showed wonderful sense
In using their forks as a lever,
And hooked the stout runaway over the fence,
While the bull took it out of his beaver.
Now Jerry till sundown continued the chase,
With his basset hound working a line
Which led them at last to a desolate place.
Thank goodness the weather was fine!
Beneath a gnarled oak tree they came to halt,
For there crouched a furry white Madam;
Which proved that their hunting once more was at fault.
And again had the Persian cat ‘had ’em’.
Puss swore with such spite, they were glad to retire,
By a pony track over the moor;
But what with the boulders, the gorse, and the mire.
Their progress was painfully poor.
Till Jerry, half-famished, endeavoured to jog
Down a track that grew thinner and thinner.
And finally, taking a toss in a bog.
Had a mouthful of mud for his dinner.
E’d never been quite so unlucky before,
To the best of his honest belief,
And still he’d another adventure in store;
For some rustics were chasing a thief.
In the dusk they were quite convinced Jerry was he,
And captured the horse he was riding.
While the huntsman crouched down by the stump of a tree
To secure and escape from a hiding.
That night in the bar of ‘The Three Cornered Hat’
He ran his two cronies to earth,
And his plight was so mournful and woe-begone, that
The rafters resounded with mirth.
Then, snug by the fire, with their toddy at hand.
While the Landlady mended their tatters.
They declared, one and all, that the sport had been grand
And, after all, nothing else matters!
To A Taube
Above the valley, rich and fair,
On flashing pinions, glittering, gay,
You hover in the upper air,
A bird of prey.
Snarling across the empty blue
You curve and skim, you dip and soar,
A dove in flight and shape and hue
The dove of war.
Above the soldier and the slain,
An armoured bird, you hang on high,
Directed by a human brain,
A human eye.
A thirsty hunter out for blood
Drinking adventure to the dregs
Where hidden camps the country stud
You drop your eggs.
Thus, man, who reasons and invents,
Has inconsistently designed
The conquest of the elements
To kill his kind.
Last week we started out in glee,
The boys and Bertha, Aunt and me,
Across the village green to see
Some people really must be blind,
Or only give it half their mind,
It isn’t difficult to find
Far from it.
Jack found one in ‘ The Lady’s Chair,’
And Bertha, with her nose in air,
Described a couple in ‘ The Bear ‘
I backed her;
While Auntie, dazzled by the view,
Stepped in the ditch before she knew,
It took us twenty minutes to
With stars and comets on the brain
Two figures vanished up the lane,
A better view of course to gain,
It was that Auntie missed her sleep
Or found the lane a trifle steep,
She sulked, because we would not keep
We found the others looking black,
But though they made a joint attack,
Their thrusts we managed back to back-
They voted finding comets slow,
I found the time too short, I know,
Too short, and much too sweet, and so
A Close Finish
The race of the season is over ;
I’ve lost and Diana has won ;
She’s feasting on Broadacres’ clover,
And I am right out of the fun.
Though Di was the one to begin it,
She soon found me making the pace ;
I thought all along I should win it,
And only backed her for a place.
At Ascot Diana was leading,
At Henley I spurted ahead ;
At Cowes side by side we were speeding;
At Trouville I fancy I led.
Neck to neck we ran, shoulder to shoulder,
The pack was too killing to last
(If the weather had only been colder!)
I flagged, and Diana shot past.
My heart’s not by any means broken;
I hope I’m not wanting in pluck ;
A tear or two, low be it spoken,
Then I kissed her and wished her good luck.
Di won the race fairly as stated;
But when her attractions are reckoned,
My own must not be underrated
I finished a very good second!
WHEN the beagles are running like steam,
When the plough is as sticky as glue,
When the scent is an absolute scream,
And there’s wire in the fence to get through
Who waits to look after his pal ?
Hung up? then he’s out of the fun.
Torn, muddy, and blown, every man on his own
That’s the time-honoured rule of the run.
There’s wire in the fences of France.
There are bullets that whistle and spit.
The word goes along to advance,
And the wire clutches somebody’s kit.
‘ Hold hard ! I’ll unhook you, old chap.
No hurry. Oh, rubbish What rot!’
Shots patter and thud, shells burst in the mud.
‘ Don’t pull ! Now, you’re clear no, you’re not!’
Well, that is how the business is done.
A sportsman will brook no delay,
With hounds it’s life and death run,
He’s out for himself all the way.
But when black Eternity gapes
There’s time and there’s patience enough.
A case of ‘ware wire, and a pal under fire
‘ No hurry ‘ that’s British-made stuff !
They were “cobbers,” that’s Anzac for chum.
But it means rather more than we mean –
A friendship that will not succumb,
Though distance or death intervene.
Adventure, success, and mishap
In boyhood they’d shared, so no wonder
They jumped at the chance of a scrap
And booked with the crowd from ”down under.”
In a narrow Gallipoli trench
They chanced upon glimpses of hell,
And a thirst there was nothing to quench
But a deluging downpour of shell;
Perpetual ridges they took,
They charged and they cursed and they shouted,
But nothing their recklessness shook
Till one of the “cobbers” got “outed.”
The other one came back at night,
Exhausted in body and brain,
And groped round the scene of the fight,
But sought for his “cobber” in vain.
His spirit was heavy with grief,
His outlook was sombre and blotted,
But his bayonet brought him relief
Next, morning— and that’s when he “got it.”
Scene: Midday,Victoria street,
An Anzac (in blue) on each side –
A coo-ee, wild, ringing, and sweet –
The taxicabs swerve and divide.
For traffic they don’t care a toss,
There, right in the middle, they’re meeting;
Stay, let’s draw a curtain across
Where the two long-lost “cobbers” are greeting.
The Longest Odds
Leonidas of Sparta, years gone by,
With but a bare three hundred of his braves,
In the ravine of famed Thermopylae
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 here and take them !’ So they fought, and died.
Horatius the odds grow longer now
With two bold friends, Lars Porsena defied.
That dauntless trio registered a vow
To hold the bridge that stemmed the Tiber’s tide.
Their deed of valour makes our bosoms glow,
A deed which poets and chroniclers relate.
Three heroes held in check a bitter foe
And saved their city from a cruel fate.
One Highlander the longest odds of all
One man alone, when all the rest were slain,
Carried the Maxim through the bullet squall,
And set it spitting at the foe again.
Under its hail the Germans broke, they fled.
One man, one gun, and yet they would not stay !
Riddled with shot, his comrades found him dead.
Dead? No! That Hieland laddie lives for aye.
To A Stout Shepherdess
Dear lady, are you open to a hint
As down our sober pavement you display
A costume reminiscent of a print
Of Valenciennes and shepherdesses gay?
When Watteau, master of Rococo art,
Depicted nymphs in pastoral disguises,
His cunning pencil only could impart
A charm to graceful shapes and slender sizes.
That saucy Watteau hat where rosebuds twine
Is not the sort a florid dame should wear.
Although tip-tilted at the proper line
Upon your own, or someone else’s, hair.
Those panniers of Pompadour brocade,
That scanty skirt, although no doubt de rigueur,
That corsage laced, with ruffles overlaid,
Are not, I think, intended for your figure.
Go home, dear lady, lay your gauds aside,
Afflict no more your feet with Louis heels,
Wear ample garments, flowing, full and wide
Take my advice, and see how nice it feels.
Accommodate your features with a veil,
And let your hat be quietly trimmed, and shady:
Then, though as shepherdess you frankly fail,
You may be more successful as a lady.