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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

As I have not yet completed another book to review, I would like to bring you all a wonderful poem written by one of my favorite Victorian poets, Alfred Lord Tennyson.  He was poet laureate of England and was prolific in his work.  The Charge of the Light Brigade is a poem that Tennyson himself called a ballad.  He wrote it in 1854, just shortly after hearing about the Battle of Balaclava, a battle of the Crimean War.  Something had gone terribly wrong in that battle.  Instructions were confused and sent 600 cavalry troops charging into a valley filled with Russian artillery.  Of the 600 mounted cavalry, only 150 made it out of the valley.   Something about this poem has always stuck me.  I hope you also enjoy it.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

By Alfred Lord Tennyson

1

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


2

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

3

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

4
Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter’d & sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.


5

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

6

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

As a random side note…Tennyson himself recorded this poem on wax cylinder in 1890.  You can hear a the recoding here.

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