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   xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jun 20 01:34 AM

June 20, 2008: Balaclava

From Old Picture of the Day blog.

Not the hat/ski mask, the battle at.
The battle at Balaclava, during the Crimean war, is remembered as, "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 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.

This is an actual photograph, taken in 1854, of one of those 600 cavalry men, prior to the charge.

Undertoad  Friday Jun 20 08:18 AM

I love that Greek pastry too, filo dough and honey, de-lish!

spudcon  Friday Jun 20 08:58 AM

I'd like to eat the horse too.

TheMercenary  Friday Jun 20 09:03 AM

Cool pic. I love those old historical photographs.

el fantastico  Friday Jun 20 09:05 AM

and here i was expecting to see one of these:

dar512  Friday Jun 20 09:54 AM

I was confusing my foreign words when I read the title for this thread. I was expecting something like this from "Back in the USSR".

Cloud  Friday Jun 20 10:02 AM

It's good to remember the Crimean War. It was a nasty war, and we got a lot of good culture from it.

In addition to the referenced poem, we have Florence Nightingale. And Sherlock Holmes (okay, Watson); and The Little Princess. and Black Beauty.

Diaphone Jim  Friday Jun 20 11:42 AM

I hope everyone remembers that the Charge was actually led by Sir Harry Flashman.

glatt  Friday Jun 20 11:46 AM

I don't mean to dash your hopes, but I didn't remember that. "Remember" is probably the wrong word, because I don't think I ever knew that in the first place. In fact, I never studied the Crimean war, and I was a history minor in college. The only thing I know about it is the name, that poem, and what I read on Wikipedia today.

xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jun 20 11:56 AM

Exactly. The Crimean war is just some vague ancient history, like the War of the Roses, or the Crusades, unless you're a history buff. Tennyson's poem is probably the only connection most people have to that war, and quite possibly, most people don't even make that connection. That's why I was surprised a photograph actually exists of it.

Aw crap, what happened to the date? Can you fix that, Tony?

footfootfoot  Friday Jun 20 01:27 PM

Kipling wrote a post script to the charge condemning Britain's treatment of its Crimean war veterans.

There were thirty million English who talked of England's might, There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night. They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade; They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long, That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song. They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door; And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey; Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they; And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong, To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song; And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed, A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back; They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack; With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed, They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said, "You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead. An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell; For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight? We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how? You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn. And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn." And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame, Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
O thirty million English that babble of England's might, Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night; Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - " And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

Cloud  Friday Jun 20 01:42 PM

hah! good for you; I thought there was an association with Kipling, but couldn't find it

Imigo Jones  Friday Jun 20 05:08 PM

Originally Posted by glatt View Post
In fact, I never studied the Crimean war, and I was a history minor in college.
Bruce wrote:
Exactly. The Crimean war is just some vague ancient history, like the War of the Roses, or the Crusades, unless you're a history buff.

Or, Bruce, unless your house had a deck of the Authors card game. It's like Fish, but you are trying to collect all four literary works of a given author, instead of all four suits of a given number or face card. Tennyson was one of the 13 authors. Here one of his cards is seen:

I didn't realize he was from Idaho! Tennyson's four works are
Crossing the Bar
Idylls of the King
Charge of the Light Brigade
The Brook

So, because of the kids' game, you'd notice whenever the historical Charge of the Light Brigade was mentioned, wherever that might be, and take an extra interest in this Crimean War, providing some context for the Charge. Okay: that is, if "you're a history buff."

spudcon  Saturday Jun 21 12:30 AM

That's where I knew about Tennyson from also, Imigo. I also recently discovered he wrote "The Lady Of Shalot." A very strange poem.

Cloud  Saturday Jun 21 02:04 AM

strange? no stranger than other Victorian poetry, shirley.

. . .

okay, okay! I won't call you Shirley!

regular.joe  Saturday Jun 21 03:06 AM

Wow, what a coincidence. I had in my hand not three hours ago the movie "Airplane". The don't call me Shirley edition.

Are you a witch?

xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jun 21 04:07 AM

Yes, she is.

Cloud  Saturday Jun 21 08:03 AM

(cackles wildly)

tombstone  Saturday Jun 21 11:51 AM

Sspeaking of Tennyson's "The Brook", did you know you can sing it to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"? Seriously, I am delighted to see Kipling's response to that idiot charge, 40 years after the fact. My father introduced me to Tennyson's poem some 50 or more years ago, remarking how incredibly stupid that charge was. I am trying to find out if any of the original 600 survived.

xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jun 21 12:23 PM

Wiki says, "The British suffered a total of 360 casualties".

Imigo Jones  Monday Jun 23 03:16 PM

"Survivor: Balaclava"

I am trying to find out if any of the original 600 survived.
Wiki says, "The British suffered a total of 360 casualties".
tombstone and Bruce, if it's any consolation, the 360 figure represents British casualties in the entire Battle of Balaclava. The British seem to have been involved in three major actions during this inconclusive battle. The Charge of the Light Brigade was certainly the most costly of these actions, with 245 casualties to an advancing force of about 670. This represents 68% of the day's total British casualties.

"Officers and men of the 13th Light Dragoons, survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade, a few months after the battle."

Lieutenant General the Earl of Lucan "instructed Cardigan to lead 673 (some sources state 661) cavalry men straight into the valley between the Fedyukhin Heights and the Causeway Heights, famously dubbed the 'Valley of Death' by the poet Tennyson. The opposing Russian forces were commanded by Pavel Liprandi and included approximately 20 battalions of infantry supported by over 50 artillery pieces. These forces were deployed on both sides and at the opposite end of the valley. . . .

"The brigade was not completely destroyed, but did suffer terribly, with 118 men killed, 127 wounded. After regrouping, only 195 men were still with horses." From our friends at Wikipedia.

Going with the upper figure of 673 charging,
the death rate was 17.5%.
Wounded 19.0%.
Total casualties 245 = 36.5%.
With this map it is easy to see how:

"Charge timeline"

Imigo Jones  Monday Jun 23 04:01 PM

Tennyson's "The Brook"

tombstone, I have looked up "The Brook" and sung it to "Yankee Doodle"! It does work, especially if you don't try to jam a verse of the poem to the song's chorus. I mean you have to cram syllables together. The syllables all fit almost perfectly to the melody and rhythm of the song's basic verse, not so perfectly to the chorus--although it's doable.

In terms of the poem's overall structure, there are 13 verses, and every 3rd or 4th verse, there is that repeated theme:
[Something something la la la]
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

So, you could consider this the chorus of "The Brook," but you aren't singing it every other verse. With the chorus of "Yankee Doodle," you are ("A" = verse, "B" = chorus with different melody):
AB AB AB AB . . .

Here's the overall structure of "The Brook," where
"A" represents a 4-line verse with new imagery, and
"B" is a 4-line verse that always has that same theme on lines 2-4
(and again, "B" really has the same "melody" as "A"):

Your reply here?

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