The Charge of the Light Brigade

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Melody - John Blockley, 1853
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Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1853; note that the poem has additional lines of verse

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?
No tho' the soldier knew,
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs but to do or 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 and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the Jaws of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Sab'ring the gunners there,
Charging an army,
While all the world wonder'd;
Plung'd in the batt'ry smoke,
Right thro' the line they broke,
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 hore and hero fell,
All that was left of them
Left of six hundred.

When shall their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd;
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade!
Honour the Light Brigade!
Noble six hundred!


The Charge of the Light Brigade was written immediately after the Battle of Balaclava, and first appeared in the Examiner under the initials A.T. It was afterwards printed on a sheet with this note:

"Having heard that the brave soldiers before Sebastopol, whom I am proud to call my countrymen, have a liking for my Ballad on the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, I have ordered a thousand copies of it to be printed for them - No writing of mine can add to the glory they have acquired in the Crimea; but if what I have heard be true, they will not be displeased to receive these copies of the Ballad from me, and to know that those who sit at home love and honour them."

8th August, 1853.

Alfred Tennyson

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