Jessie Pope, “The Call” (1915)

The following poem is perhaps the best-known example of Jessie Pope’s jingoistic war poems, exhorting young men to enlist and save England, or be labeled cowards. Her reputation was such that Wilfred Owen originally entitled “Dulce et Decorum Est” as “To Jessie Pope.”

 

Who’s for the trench—
Are you, my laddie?
Who’ll follow French—
Will you, my laddie?
Who’s fretting to begin,
Who’s going out to win?
And who wants to save his skin—
Do you, my laddie?

Who’s for the khaki suit—
Are you, my laddie?
Who longs to charge and shoot—
Do you, my laddie?
Who’s keen on getting fit,
Who means to show his grit,
And who’d rather wait a bit—
Would you, my laddie?

Who’ll earn the Empire’s thanks—
Will you, my laddie?
Who’ll swell the victor’s ranks—
Will you, my laddie?
When that procession comes,
Banners and rolling drums—
Who’ll stand and bite his thumbs—
Will you, my laddie?

 

 

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