The Charge of the Light Brigade

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Semper Fi, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Semper Fi
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    Semper Fi VIP Member

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    I read this after reading that the Iron Maiden song, "The Trooper," was inspired by it. Any thoughts or interpretations?

     
  2. maineman
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    my father made me memorize that poem, amongst others, when I was 11 years old. Back then, it was just a chore and a string of words...now it is a sad and poignant allegory....

    military professionals will always throw themselves headlong into any mission they are sent on.

    "Forward, the Light Brigade!"
    Was there a man dismay'd?
    Not tho' the soldier knew
    Someone had blunder'd:
    Their's not to make reply,
    Their's not to reason why,
    Their's but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred."


    even today, it is not the military that blunders, but they always pay the ultimate price for those who do.
     
  3. RetiredGySgt
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    I am afraid it was a "military" blunder that the charge occurred. I suppose you could argue it was politics that put them in the Crimea.
     
  4. maineman
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    both. the point I was making was that military professionals have historically saluted and gone off to do whatever their chain of command asks them to do. Iraq is no different.

    I grow tired of people here and elsewhere attempting to mischaracterize my opposition to this administration's foreign policy as some sort of denigration of the military that is doing their best to implement it.
     
  5. Diuretic
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  6. RetiredGySgt
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    You mean because there were more than 600? The charge was through a valley with guns in front and on both flanks. The Charge did reach the front guns and then the men returned through the valley.

    Explain what is inaccurate please?
     
  7. Diuretic
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    C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.

    I'm not getting stuck into Tennyson, I rather like him, "nature red in tooth and claw" and all that. But he did write it from newspaper reports.

    Now I'm not going to start picking the poem apart. It's a poem, not a documentary. It was written, I think, as a paen to celebrate the courage of the troopers who fought and probably to obfuscate the stupidity of their officers.

    It's a great poem but it's first and foremost a poem. It's pretty right but there are some historical inaccuracies that even Tennyson himself acknowledged.

    "Six is much better than seven hundred (as I think) metrically so keep it."

    He needed to keep the galloping meter in that part of the poem.

    Anyway, just some thoughts.
     
  8. RetiredGySgt
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    In other words because he didn't mention every cavalryman it was inaccurate. The poem is pretty damn accurate from historical stand point.
     
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    I don't know where this is going RGS but it's interesting. Why does the poem have to be historically accurate? Poems generally aren't. Le Chanson de Roland, which I have admired since I was a kid (in translation, I don't speak French) is a great poem but not accurate, militarily speaking. But it does capture the bravery of Ronald of Roncesvalles. Whoever composed it wasn't at Ronceveaux, but so what? The spirit of the battle lies in the poetry.

    Poetry is an art form, it has many purposes and they depend on context. Exact accuracy isn't required. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" has historical innacuracies. Not that they matter. It did its job.
     
  10. RetiredGySgt
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    Plural again, what else is inaccurate? For a poem it is very accurate.
     

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