Charge of the Light Brigade

I was having an early o’clock meeting this morning, and for some reason this poem came to mind. My eldest brother Derek had to learn this by heart in school, and so he would come home and recite out loud each verse. Of course I also memorized it in the process 🙂

This poem was written to memorialize a suicidal charge by light cavalry over open terrain by British forces in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) in the Crimean War (1854-56). 247 men of the 637 in the charge were killed or wounded.

When I thought about it this morning though I was thinking about the effect the words had on me back then particularly the first and last two verses. Whenever I heard it I would feel this immense sense of power – of resolve – that I could do it – despite the risks – that I could get through whatever I was ‘charging’ towards. I was probably about 7 years old at the time.

I have always felt that you could never control someone’s interpretation of your work. When you write something, how you feel then, the world may never TRULY know.

Today I am grateful that my brother had me as an audience to practice, and I am happy for the memory of this poem. I am also thankful of course to Alfred Lord Tennyson for writing it way back in 1854.

Today I charge forth, enjoying each moment as I wage my brand of excellence on the world. I may lose some things along the way, but one thing I’m sure of in this moment – I will never lose my fight!


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!

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