Play The Game
By Jessie Pope
Twenty-two stalwarts in stripes and shorts
Kicking a ball along,
Set in a square of leather-lunged sports
Twenty-two thousand strong,
Some of them shabby, some of them spruce,
Savagely clamorous all,
Hurling endearments, advice or abuse,
At the muscular boys on the ball.
Stark and stiff ’neath a stranger’s sky
A few hundred miles away,
War-worn, khaki-clad figures lie,
Their faces rigid and grey—
Stagger and drop where the bullets swarm,
Where the shrapnel is bursting loud,
Die, to keep England safe and warm—
For a vigorous football crowd!
Football’s a sport, and a rare sport too,
Don’t make it a source of shame.
To-day there are worthier things to do.
Englishmen, play the game!
A truce to the League, a truce to the Cup,
Get to work with a gun.
When our country’s at war, we must all back up—
It’s the only thing to be done!