The Lost Generation : World War I Poetry : Lady Margaret Sackville

Cover of Lady Margaret Sackville's Selected Poems.


Lady Margaret Sackville was a British poet born on 24 December 1881 in Mayfair, London. Her talents appeared early on her life: at six she wrote in verse and at sixteen she performed on the stage.

The book’s history of ownership is revealed through a bookplate and a signature on the front endsheet. The bookplate bears the name of the first owner, William Marchbank, while the signature reveals the second owner Donald Thomas. The book is bound with light brown cloth on the spine over dark brown boards, and is printed on handmade woven paper, something that is quite unusual in 1919.  Physically, the book is in excellent condition, and it does not appear that its first owner actually read the book: the leaves remain uncut, meaning that the pages are joined together at the top as they were when the large sheet of paper was folded to make the individual gatherings of the book.

Sackville divided her book into three sections, forging the first two about home and peace, while the third communicates how civilians at home depict the warfare. The poems in the first section portray nature in highly metaphorical language which lends a dreamlike quality to the poems. By contrast, the poems in the second section are written in dramatic style using stage directions and character tags. In the third section, Sackville begins with short poems that use themes of courage, bravery and patriotism, but the section concludes with poems on the theme of death and massacres which dominate the war. Sackville’s volume thus implicitly advocates for peace even as it accedes to the patriotic view of war. 

Find Selected Poems in the UNT Library Catalog.