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Selina Pascale

Selina Pascale


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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!

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The Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the narrative poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ in 1854 in memory of the suicidal charge of the Light Brigade by British soldiers in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) during the Crimean War (1854 – 1856). A staggering 247 of the 637 men who took part in the charge were either wounded or killed. The Crimean war was fought by Russia against Turkey, France and Britain for the control of the Dardanelles, which was of particular interest to Britain’s sea routes. The war is best known due to the heroic figure of Florence Nightingale, who helped cure the wounded during the war, but is also known as an early example of the work of modern war correspondents.


Alfred Lord Tennyson was the Poet Laureate of the UK when writing this poem, which means he was appointed by the monarch to write poems for special occasions. The poet praises the brigade with words of admiration e.g. “When can their glory fade?” whilst mourning upon the tragic ending of the charge e.g. “That no soldier knew / Someone had blunder’d”. The poem became an instant hit, reaching even the troops in Crimea where it was then spread in the form of pamphlets. Each and every stanza narrates a new piece of the story with a mixture of nobility and horror as the poet supports his country yet cannot hide from the true brutalities of the march, e.g. “Cannon to right of them, / Cannon to left of them, / Cannon behind them, / Volley’d and thunder’d”. The authors makes clever references to religious solemnity e.g. with “into the valley of Death” the poet refers to the valley of the Shadow of Death in Psalm 23 which is a frequent verse red at funerals; however, Tennyson strips the words of their tranquillity by adding vividly frightful terms such as “into the jaws of Death” and “into the mouth of hell”. After the chaotic charge, the poet’s final words are reflective and filled with sorrow as he narrates that “Then they rode back, but not / Not the six hundred”.


The Charge of the Light Brigade


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

 Someone had blunder'd:

 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.


 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,

 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 and Russian

 Reel'd from the sabre stroke

 Shatter'd and 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 and 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 wondered.

 Honour the charge they made,

 Honour the Light Brigade,

 Noble six hundred.



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