Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
October 25
The Charge of the Light Brigade
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
          During the battle of Balaklava in the Crimean War, by some mistake an order was given for the Light Brigade of cavalry to charge the Russian artillery at the extremity of the valley. With a battery in front of them and one on each side the Light Brigade hewed its way past the guns in front and routed the enemy’s cavalry. Very few survived this famous charge which occurred on Oct. 25, 1854.

HALF a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!        5
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?        10
No tho’ the soldier knew
  Some one had blunder’d;
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die        15
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them        20
  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        25
  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        30
  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        35
  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,        40
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        45
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.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
  Noble six hundred!        55
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