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Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892

"The Charge of the Light Brigade"
from Maud and Other Poems (London: Edward Moxon, 1855).


                      1.

 HALF a league, half a league,
   Half a league onward,
 All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
 "Charge," was the captain's cry;
 Their's not to reason why,
 Their's not to make reply,
 Their's but to do and die,
 Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.                                      10


                      2.

 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.


                      3.

 Flash'd all their sabres bare,                               20
 Flash'd all at once in air,
 Sabring the gunners there,
 Charging an army, while
   All the world wonder'd:
 Plunged in the battery-smoke
 Fiercely the line they broke;
 Strong was the sabre-stroke:
 Making an army reel
   Shaken and sundere'd.
 Then they rode back, but not,                                30
 Not the six hundred.


                      4.

 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,
 They that had struck so well
 Rode thro' the jaws of Death,
 Half a league back again,
 Up from the mouth of Hell,                                   40
 All that was left of them,
   Left of six hundred.


                      5.

 Honour the brave and bold!
 Long shall the tale be told,
 Yea, when our babes are old--
   How they rode onward.


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Updated 2 August 1999 by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Copyright © 1999, the University of South Carolina.
URL: http://www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/britlit/tenn/charge.html