On this date in 1854, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” was published in England.

In January, 1860, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow released “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” and in 1906, yet another English Alfred, Alfred Noyes, added “The Highwayman” to list of often maligned and parodied poems.

Of course, it’s far easier to made a rhyme with Revere than Brigade, but the powerful hoofbeat cadence of both “The Charge” and “The Highwayman” make them equally fun to read aloud.

Judging from the lengthy poems they chose to memorize for extra credit, my seventh grade students preferred “The Charge.” And I know why. It’s that third stanza that sucked them in—an unreproved opportunity for my little dramatists in training to shout the word HELL in class:


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.


For my money, the whole poem sounds a lot like my recent shopping trip to the mall:


Sales to the right of me,

Sales to the left of me,

Sales in front of me

Lured me and beckoned

Credit cards are wearing out

My smiling face is now a pout

Half my list could do without

Or so I reckoned


Only 15 more shopping days before Christmas! Why are you still sitting there, reading my blog?! Get out there and CHARGE! CHARGE! CHARGE with the Light Brigade!