Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
When can their glory fade?
- Now the poem swings into high gear. We're watching Tennyson turn the soldiers of the Light Brigade into legends.
- This line – "When can their glory fade?" – bursts in like the sound of a trumpet.
- The job of this poem is to make the courage of these British soldiers immortal. You know what? So far it seems to have worked. You're reading this poem, right? Which means the bravery of the Light Brigade has been remembered for over 150 years. This is an example of poetry having a real effect on how we remember history.
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
- It is the Light Brigade's desperate, "wild" charge that the speaker wants us to remember.
- Line 52 is a repeat of line 31, and a reminder that this is a story meant to amaze the entire world. This poem is spreading the word, telling us all that we should "wonder" at this incredible display of bravery.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!
- The poem ends with a couple of commands. The speaker orders us, as if he was a general, to "Honour the Light Brigade."
- This is a really public poem with a single purpose and Tennyson doesn't have time to be subtle at the end. He tells us, point blank, to respect and remember these noble war heroes.