Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tennyson remembered


Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson was the longest serving Poet Laureate (1850-1892), and was the immediate successor of William Wordsworth. The BBC have a recording of Tennyson, from 1890, reciting "The Charge of the Light Brigade." You can listen to it here. Tennyson died in the same year as Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Read more about him here.

Lady Catherwood tells a story about a conversation she and her father, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, had about Tennyson's poem "Crossing the Bar." Beautiful poetry it may have been:
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea
It did not carry that note of certainty with which a Christian should approach death. Lloyd-Jones found that sentiment better expressed by Charles Wesley:

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

The Charge of the Light Brigade


Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade !
Charge for the guns ! ’ he said :
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade ! ’
Was there a main dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one 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.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d ;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d :
Plunged in the battery smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke ;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d ;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade ?
O the wild charge they made !
All the world wonder’d,
Honour the charge they made !
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred !

1 comment:

David said...

What a Welsh Romantic you are !