10 August 2009

The Charge Of The Light Brigade

A mentioned in a post recently Tennyson recently, in one of her posts. I came across him by accident almost (not having studied him at school). One of my visits to my Nan co-incided with a bun-fight (jumble sale) at her sheltered accommodation, I was searching through the books (even at 11 I was always into books) and saw a battered 1897 copy of Tennyson's poems. I spent the princely sum of 10p for this treasure only to see my Mum roll her eyes at my purchase. I enjoyed reading some of the poems more than others, but my particular favourite was :

Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854
Written 1854 Alfred, Lord Tennyson (illustration by Richard Caton Woodville 1825-1855)

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


dickiebo said...

Gosh! Seeing that sure takes me back - to a class in our Junior school in 1948! My mate, Dudley, memorised the thing for an 'exam'and then had to recite it. He did so - at about 100 mph!!!! Once he had started, he daren't stop or pause, in case he 'lost the drift'! Mind you, not bad for a 10 year old! lol.

Anonymous said...

I love the Charge of the Light Brigade too. I don't think we studied it at school, in fact I'm sure we didn't, but some of the words do stick. It was probably considered too warlike for girls, but my father had no such qualms.


Janet said...

That is indeed a treasure. I had to memorize that poem in 6th or 7th grade. It's great fun to recite.


Greetings from Sydney, Australia. You may like to see two stories I've written about the six Barons Tennyson.

They've been posted in Britain's daily literary web magazine "Open Writing":



Cheers, Eric.

[Eric Shackle is a retired Australian journalist whose hobby is searching the Internet and writing about it. He is copy editor of Anu Garg's Seattle-based A Word A Day http://wordsmith.org newsletter, which is e-mailed five days a week to more than 750,000 wordlovers in 200 countries]

Relax Max said...

I like that poem. :) What was his other big one? - Idylls of the King? Something like that.

Relax Max said...

Poems about King Arthur, whatever the series was called. I liked everything about King Arthur when I was growing up. (Even Tennyson, which I didn't really understand. :)