By Alfred Lord Tennyson
I think the meaning and motive for this poem is self-explanatory. The six hundred horsemen were sent on a suicidal charge toward a valley, where they knew they stood no chance, yet they did it anyway. The actual order was a misunderstanding, and the horsemen, not knowing this, went forward anyway, perhaps thinking that they would be a sacrificial distraction for a different group of soldiers. Tennyson wanted to capture their heroic sacrifice and record it forever in this poem.
I personally love the poem for the courage it displays. It’s not a “glorification of war” poem, but rather a glorying in the willingness of people to sacrifice themselves for what they deem to be a noble and good cause. And their sacrifice should never be forgotten.
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!
(Photo: Mohamed Nohassi)

Writer. College student. Focused. Blessed. Adventurer. Musician. Professional over thinker. I'm pretty busy with college, but sometimes I write. It clears my head and reminds me of the impact I want to have on the world, which is why I'll never stop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: