First draft of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Tennyson

Description

This is the first draft of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', written in response to the events of the Crimean War in October 1854 where many British troops were killed and injured, and hundreds of horses lost. 

The poem went through several drafts until it was first published in the Examiner magazine on 9 December 1854. Although the insistent rhythms of the poem are present in this draft, this manuscript reveals substantial differences to the published text. The famous phrase 'Into the valley of Death', for example, was part of Tennyson's original wording, although we can see that he toyed with altering 'valley' to 'jaws'.

Full title:
First draft of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'
Created:
1854
Format:
Manuscript / Draft
Creator:
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Held by:
Tennyson Research Centre (Lincolnshire County Council)
Copyright:
© Tennyson Research Centre (Lincolnshire County Council)

Related articles

An introduction to 'In Memoriam A.H.H.'

Article by:
Holly Furneaux
Theme:
Victorian poetry

Tennyson wrote 'In Memoriam A.H.H.' as a tribute to his beloved friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died aged 22. Dr Holly Furneaux explores how the poem uses individual bereavement to grapple with broader questions of faith, meaning and nature.

Tennyson’s rise and fall

Article by:
Stephanie Forward
Theme:
Victorian poetry

When Tennyson died in 1892, 11,000 people applied for tickets to his funeral in Westminster Abbey. Dr Stephanie Forward considers the poet's huge popularity in the second half of the 19th century, and the decline of his reputation in the 20th.

'In Memoriam A.H.H.': composition and reception

Article by:
Stephanie Forward
Theme:
Victorian poetry

'In Memoriam A.H.H.', a tribute to Tennyson’s beloved friend Arthur Henry Hallam, was a defining poem of the Victorian period. Dr Stephanie Forward explores Tennyson’s composition process, and considers how the poem was received during Tennyson’s lifetime and into the 20th century.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

Created by: Alfred Lord Tennyson

A poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), first published in The Examiner in 1854. Tennyson became Poet Laureate ...