The Last of the Light Brigade

The Last Of The Light Brigade

The Last of the Light Brigade

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"The Last of the Light Brigade" is a poem written in 1890 by Rudyard Kipling echoing – forty years after the event – Alfred Tennyson's famous poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. Employing synecdoche, Kipling uses his poem to expose the terrible hardship faced in old age by veterans of the Crimean War, as exemplified by the cavalry men of the light brigade who charged at the Battle of Balaclava.


Unlike Tennyson's poem, and like first-person accounts of the Light Brigade, Kipling's poem was largely ignored.


The Last of the Light Brigade
~Rudyard Kipling

There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file......

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