'The Charge of the Light Brigade'
A poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), first published in The Examiner in 1854. Tennyson became Poet Laureate in 1850, and part of his function was to commemorate major national events. In 1854, during the Crimean War, a disastrous military engagement took place at Balaclava. The poem pays tribute to a brigade of valiant British soldiers, who obeyed their commander’s instructions to attack Russian troops. Unfortunately Lord Raglan’s orders were misinterpreted: the men were sent in the wrong direction, into ‘the jaws of Death’ and ‘the mouth of Hell’, resulting in a massacre. Tennyson’s pounding, relentless verse celebrates the soldiers' heroism, and conveys the dramatic pace and sound of battle.