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The first three stanzas - the Light Brigade is approaching the guns.

Art, including poetry can help us to think about what war is and what it means. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is a serious classic, one of the most famous war poems of all time. That means that generations of people have turned to this poem as a way to celebrate heroism. At the same time, this poem helps us to confront the horror of war. Just like other more recent works of art like , , and , this poem gives us a way to grapple with the mixed emotions of war, and just maybe to understand it a little better. We think that definitely makes it worth your time.

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Carroll Naish, Walter Holbrook, Charles Sedgwick, , George Regas, Helen Sanborn, Lumsden Hare, Princess Baigum (Princess Baba), Colin Kenny, Gordon Hart, George David.

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The poem has a strong rhythm. For example two light beats followed by a heavy beat expresses the sound of the horses galloping.

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Six hundred men in the Light Brigade ride through the valley, pushing half a league ahead. Their leader called them to charge for the enemy’s guns. It was a death mission; someone had made a mistake. But the men simply obey; “Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die.”

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They are surrounded by cannons, but the six hundred men ride on with courage into “the jaws of Death,” the “mouth of Hell.” They flash their sabers and slash at the gunners, six hundred men charging an entire army while the rest of the world wonders at their deeds. They plunge right through the smoke and through the battle line, forcing the Cossacks and Russians back.

Discover more about Alfred, Lord Tennyson on the BBC Poetry Season website.

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The Crimean War was a conflict between the Russian Empire and the forces of the British Empire, French Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Kingdom of Sardinia. It spanned three years, from 1853 to 1856, and was largely concerned with the territories of the Ottoman Empire, which by this time was in decline. The famous charge of the British light cavalry took place at the Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854. This brigade was supposed to pursue a Russian artillery train but, due to miscommunication, was instead sent into a frontal assault against heavily fortified Russian defenses. The British were valorous but were cut to pieces and retreated with immense casualties (some estimates say 247 of the 637 died).

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You have keen ears, Karen. Very well done and thank you.

I found it impressive as well. Tennyson must have been doing public readings of his poetry for decades by the time of his recording, and yet, Florence Nightingale deliberate pacing and crisp enunciation is significantly easier to follow. She also sounds so warm and genuine. What a remarkable woman she was.

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There are six numbered , as if each stanza is a memorial stone to 100 of the 600 cavalrymen. The length of the stanzas reflect the structure of the story.