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Thank You Mr. Tennyson: The Charge of the Light Brigade

Updated: Nov 15, 2019


Charge of the Light Brigade

Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death. Rode the six hundred.


I remember many a trying time as new soldier in the army that when I felt down and out or even just a little homesick, there was always one poem that came to mind and helped sustain me through the hardest of times. With this poem in mind, I knew I would make it through, no matter what. If those 600 gallant soldiers could make an open ground charge at those guns on horseback in the face of certain death at the Battle of Balaclava, I knew I could face anything the Army could throw at me, and I did.


It is my hope that this poem will have the same effect on you as it has for me over the years.


Thank you, Mr. Tennyson, I owe you a drink when we meet.


Charge of the Light Brigade

By: Alfred Lord Tennyson

I

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.

II

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

Someone had blundered.

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

III

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volleyed and thundered;

Stormed at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of hell

Rode the six hundred.

IV

Flashed all their sabres bare,

Flashed as they turned in air

Sabring the gunners there,

Charging an army, while

All the world wondered.

Plunged in the battery-smoke

Right through the line they broke;

Cossack and Russian

Reeled from the sabre stroke

Shattered and sundered.

Then they rode back, but not

Not the six hundred.

V

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volleyed and thundered;

Stormed at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell.

They that had fought so well

Came through the jaws of Death,

Back from the mouth of hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.

VI

When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honour the charge they made!

Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!


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