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A War Song to Englishmen

1918: Representation of the People Act

Author: William Blake (1757-1827)

Publication: The Suffragette

Published: 11 June 1915

Place of publication: Scotswomen's Publishing Society, 27 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication type: Newspaper/Periodical

Featured individuals:
King Alfred
King Edward I
King Richard I
King William I

No full copy of this poem is available.

Archive/Library: National Library of Scotland
Classmark(s): Q.121
Pages(s): 135

This poem appears in one of the issues of The Suffragette that was published in Edinburgh in 1915, when the newspaper took a pro-war stance.  Obviously, Blake's poem (about England preparing for war) is not directly a pro-suffragette poem but it can indirectly be linked to the suffragette campaigns in two ways.  First, it could be a call for women's freedom or (more likely) it is a call for Britain to rally behind the war effort.  This latter issue is linked to the suffragette campaigns, as Mrs Pankhurst put it herself: ‘if the unthinkable thing happened, and Germany were to win, the women’s movement, as we know it in Europe, would be put back fifty years at least’.  So a possible explanation for the inclusion of this pro-war poem is that will help support the war effort which will, in the long run, benefit votes for women.