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Half a league, half a league,
When can their glory fade? Half a league onward,
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder 'd.
Honour the charge they made! “Forward the Light Brigade!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Voble six hundred!
THE CAPTAIN “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
10 Was there a man dismay'd ?
A LEGEND OF THE NAVY
He that only rules by terror
Doeth grievous wrong.
Deep as hell I count his error. Theirs not to reason why,
Let him hear my song. Theirs but to do and die.
Brave the captain was;
the seamen Into the valley of Death
Made a gallant crew,
Gallant sons of English freemen,
Sailors bold and true. Cannon to right of them,
But they hated his oppression; Cannon to left of them,
Stern he was and rash, Cannon in front of them
So for every light transgression
Doom'd them to the lash.
Day by day more harsh and cruel Boldly they rode and well,
Seem'd the Captain's mood. Into the jaws of Death,
Secret wrath like smother'd fuel
Burnt in each man's blood.
Yet he hoped to purchase glory,
Hoped to make the name Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Of his vessel great in story, Flash 'd as they turn 'd in air
Wheresoe 'er he came. Sabring the gunners there,
So they past by capes and islands,
30 Charging an army, while
Many a harbour-mouth,
Sailing under palmy highlands
Far within the South. Right thro' the line they broke;
On a day when they were going
O'er the lone expanse, *This fatal charge, due to a misunderstanding of
orders, was made at Balaklava, in the Crimea, In the north, her canvas flowing,
Rose a ship of France.
Then the Captain's colour heightened,
Then sware Lord Thomas Howard: Joyful came his speech;
God I am no coward; But a cloudy gladness lighten'd
But I cannot meet them here, for my ships are In the eyes of each.
out of gear, “Chase,” he said; the ship flew forward, And the half my men are sick. I must fly, but And the wind did blow;
follow quick. Stately, lightly, went she norward,
We are six ships of the line;† can we fight Till she near 'd the foe.
with fifty-three?" Then they look ʼd at him they hated,
Had what they desired;
40 Then spake Sir Richard Grenville: "I know But they heard the foeman's thunder
you are no coward; Roaring out their doom;
You fly them for a moment to fight with them All the air was torn in sunder,
again. Crashing went the boom,
But I've ninety men and more that are lying Spars were splinter’d. decks were shatter'd,
10 Bullets fell like rain;
I should count myself the coward if I left Over mast and deck were scatter'd
them, my Lord Howard, Blood and brains of men.
To these Inquisition dogs and the devildoms Spars were splinter'ı; decks were broken;
of Spain." Every mother's son
50 Down they dropt-no word was spokenEach beside his gun.
So Lord Howard past away with five ships of On the decks as they were lying,
war that day, Were their faces grim.
Till he melted like a cloud in the silent summer In their blood, as they lay dying,
heaven; Did they smile on him.
But Sir Richard bore in hand all his sick men Those in whom he had reliance
from the land For his noble name
Very carefully and slow, With one smile of still defiance
Men of Bideford in Devon, Sold him unto shame.
60 And we laid them on the ballast down below: Shame and wrath his heart confounded, For we brought them all aboard, Pale he turn 'd and red,
And they blest him in their pain, that they Till himself was deadly wounded
were not left to Spain,
20 Falling on the deal.
To the thumb-screw and the stake, for the Dismal error! fearful slaughter!
glory of the Lord. Years have wandered by; Side by side beneath the water
Crew and Captain lie; There the sunlit ocean tosses
He had only a hundred seamen to work the ()'er them mouldering,
ship and to fight And the lonely seabird crosses
And he sailed away from Flores till the SpanWith one waft of the wing.
iard came in sight, With his huge sea-castles heaving upon the
weather bow. THE REVENGE*
““Shall we fight or shall we fly? A BALLAD OF THE FLEET
Good Sir Richard, tell us now,
For to fight is but to die!
There'll be little of us left by the time this At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville
sun be set." lay,
And Sir Richard said again: “We be all And a pinnace, like a flutter'd bird, came
good English men. flying from far away;
Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children "Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted
of the devil,
† 1. e.. ships of the fighting line, the old term for * Soe Sir Walter Raleigh's account, p. 208.
For I never turn'd my back upon Don or devil | Ship after ship, the whole night long, their yet.”
high-built galleons came, Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her
battle-thunder and flame: Sir Richard spoke and he laughed, and
Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew roar 'd a hurrah, and so
back with her dead and her shame. The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe,
For some were sunk and many were shatter'd,
and so could fight no more With her hundred fighters on deck, and her
God of battles, was ever a battle like this in ninety sick below;
the world before? For half of their feet to the right and half to the left were seen,
For he said, “Fight on! fight on!”
And it chanced that, when half of the short Thousands of their soldiers look'd down from
summer night was gone, their decks and laugh'd,
With a grisly wound to be drest he had left
the deck, Thousands of their seamen made mock at the
But a bullet struck him that was dressing it mad little craft Running on and on, till delay'd
suddenly dead, By their mountain-like San Philip that, of And himself he was wounded again in the side
and the head, fifteen hundred tons, And up-shadowing high above us with her And he said, “Fight on! fight on!” yawning tiers of guns,
XI Took the breath from our sails, and we stay'd.
And the night went down, and the sun smiled out far over the summer sea,
70 And while now the great San Philip hung And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay abore us like a cloud
round us all in a ring; Whence the thunderbolt will fall
But they dared not touch us again, for they Long and loud,
fear'd that we still could sting, Four galleons drew away
So they watch'd what the end would be. From the Spanish fleet that day,
And we had not fought them in vain, And two upon the larboard and two upon the But in perilous plight were we, starboard lay,
Seeing forty of our poor hundred were slain, And the battle-thunder broke from them all.
And half of the rest of us maim'd for life
And the sick men down in the hold were most But anon the great San Philip, she bethought
of them stark and cold, herself and went,
And the pikes were all broken or bent, and the Having that within her womb that had left her
powder was all of it spent; ill content;
And the masts and the rigging were lying over And the rest they came aboard us, and they
the side; fought us hand to hand,
But Sir Richard cried in his English pride: For a dozen times they came with their pikes “We have fought such a fight for a day and and musqueteers,
a night And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog As may never be fought again! that shakes his ears
We have won great glory, my men!
And a day less or more
We die-does it matter when ? And the sun went down, and the stars came Sink me the ship, Master Gunner-sink her, out far over the summer sea,
split her in twain! But never a moment ceased the fight of the Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands one and the fifty-three.
NORTHERN FARMER* And the gunner said, “Ay, ay," but the sea.
OLD STYLE men made reply: “We have children, we have wives,
I And the Lord hath spared our lives.
Wheer 'asta beän saw long and meä liggin' We will make the Spaniard promise, if we
'ere aloän? yield, to let us go;
Noorse thoort nowt o' a noorse; whoy, DoeWe shall live to fight again and to strike an
tor 's abeän an' agoän; other blow."
Says that I moänt 'a naw moor aäle, but I And the lion there lay dying, and they yielded beänt a fool; to the foe.
Git ma my aäle, fur I beänt a-gawin' to breäk XIII And the stately Spanish men to their flagship bore him then,
Doctors, they knaws nowt, fur a says what is Where they laid him by the mast, old Sir
nawways true; Richard caught at last,
Naw soort o' koind o' use to saäy the things And they praised him to his face with their that a do. courtly foreign grace;
I 've 'ed my point o' aäle ivry noight sin' I But he rose upon their decks, and he cried : 100 beän 'ere. “I have fought for Queen and Faith like a An' I've 'ed my quart ivry market-noight for valiant man and true;
foorty year. I have only done my duty as a man is bound to do.
Parson 's a beän loikewoise, an' a sittin' ere With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville die!"
o' my bed. And he fell upon their decks, and he died.
"The Amoighty 's a taäkin o' you? to 'issén,
my friend,', a said, XIV
An'a towd ma my sins, an' 's toithe were due, And they stared at the dead that had been so
an' I gied it in hond; valiant and true, I done moy duty boy 'um, as I 'a done boy
12 And had holden the power and glory of Spain
IV. so cheap That he dared her with one little ship and his Larn’d a ma' beii.
I reckons I annot sa English few;
mooch to larn. Was he devil or man? He was devil for aught But a cast oop, thot a did, 'bout Bessy Mar. they knew,
ris's barne, But they sank his body with honour down into Thaw a knaws hallus voäted wi’ Squoire an' the deep.
choorch an' staäte, And they mann'd the Revenge with a swarthier An' i' the woost o' toimes I wur niver agin alien crew,
16 And away she sail'd with her loss and long'd
V for her own;
An' I hallus coom'd to 's choorch afoor moy When a wind from the lands they had ruinid
Sally wur deäd, awoke from sleep,
An' 'eärd 'um a bummin' awaäy loike a buzAnd the water began to heave and the weather
zard-clock? ower my 'eäd, to moan, And or ever that evening ended a great gale 1 ou as in hour
2 cockchafer blew,
* Note that in this dialect poem an a pronounced
very lightly represents thou, as in “'asta" And a wave like the wave that is raised by an (hast thou), or he, as in “a says"; or it is a earthquake grew,
mere prefix to a participle, as in "a beän,'
"a sittin'”; or, pronounced broadly, it may Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and
stand for hare, as in "as I 'a done.' Further, their masts and their flags,
toitne= tithe ; barne = bairn; raäte= churchrate,
tax; 'siver = howsoever; stubbed = And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot.
grubbed; boggle = bogle (ghost) ; raä ved and shatter'd navy of Spain,
rembled = tore out and removed ; 'soize = as
sizes : yows = ewes ; 'aäpoth = half-penny. And the little Revenge herself went down by
worth ; sewer-loy = surely ; atta=art thou; the island crags
hallus i' the owd taäle= always urging the
same thing. The numbered notes are Tenny. To be lost evermore in the main.
An' I niver knaw'd whot a meän 'd but I Done it ta-year I meän'd, an' rupa'd plow thowt a 'ad summut to saäy,
thruff it an' all, An' I thowt a said whot a owt to 'a said, an' If Godamoighty an' parson 'ud nobbut let ma I coom'd awaäy.
aloän, Meä, wi' haäte hoonderd haäcre o' Squoire's, an lond o' my oän.
44 Bessy Marris 's barne! tha knaws she laäid it
to meä. Mowt a beän, mayhap, for she wur a bad un, Do Godamoighty knaw what a 's doing a-taäkin' sheä.
o' meä? 'Siver, I kep 'um, I kep 'um, my lass, tha mun I beänt wonn as saws 'ere a beän an yonder a
understond; I done moy duty boy 'um, as I 'a done boy the An’ Squoire ’ull be sa mad an all-a' dear, lond.
And I 'a managed for Squoire coom MichaelBut Parson a cooms an' a goäs, an'a says it mas thutty year.
easy an' freä: “The Amoighty 's a taäkin o' you to 'issén,
XIII my friend,' says 'eä.
A mowt 'a taäen owd Joänes, as 'ant not a I weänt saüy men be loiars, thaw summun said
'aäpoth o' sense, it in 'aäste;
Or a mowt a' taäen young Robins--a niver But 'e reäds wonn sarmin a weeäk, an I 'a
mended a fence;
an' Thurnaby D' ya moind the waäste, my lass? naw, naw,
boälms to plow!
52 tha was not born then; Theer wur a boggle in it, I often 'eärd 'um
mysén; Moäst loike a butter-bump,3 fur l 'eärd 'um Looök 'ow quoloty smoiles when they seeäs about an' about,
ma a passin' boy, But I stubb'd ’um oop wi’ the lot, an' raäved | Says to thessén, naw doubt, “What a man a an' rembled 'um out.
beä sewer-loy!” Fur they knaws what I beän to Squoire sin'
fust a coom'd to the 'All; Keäper's it wur; fo' they fun 'um theer a-laäid I done moy duty by Squoire an' I done moy of 'is faäce
duty boy ball. Down i' tbe woild 'enemiest afoor I coom'd to
the plaäce. Noäks or Thimbleby-toäneri 'ed shot ’um as Squoire 's i' Lunnon, an' summun I reckons deäd as a naäil.
’ull 'a to wroite, Noäks wur 'ang'd for it oop at 'soize--but git For whoä 's to howd the loud ater meä thot ma my aäle.
muddles ma quoit;
Sartin-sewer I beï tbot a weänt niver give it Dubbut looök at the waäste; theer warn't not
to Joänes, feeäd for a cow;
Naw, nor a moänt to Robins-a niver rembles Nowt at all but bracken an' fuzz, an' looök at
60 it nowWarn't worth nowt a haäcre, an' now theer 's
XVI lots o' feeäd,
But summun 'ull come ater meä mayhap wi' 'is Fourscoor yowg1 upon it, an' some on it down kittle o' steam i' seeäd.c
40 | Huzzin' an'maäzin' the blessed feälds wi’ the
divil's oän teäm. Yobbut a bit on it 's left, an' I meän'd to 'a | Sin' I mun doy I mun doy, thaw loife they stubb'd it at fall,
says is sweet,
But sin' I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn 3 littern 5 one or other abeär to see it,