Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
III. War
Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
 
[October 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 dismayed?        10
Not though the soldier knew
  Some one had blundered:
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
  Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed 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.
 
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while        30
  All the world wondered:
Plunged in the battery-smoke,
Right through the line they broke:
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre-stroke,        35
  Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not—
  Not the six hundred.
 
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,        40
Cannon behind them
  Volleyed and thundered:
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well        45
Came through 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?        50
O the wild charge they made!
  All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
  Noble six hundred!        55
 
 
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