Into the mouth of hell”
This suggests that they are to be swallowed up by death or hell which is a very successful metaphor. It suggests the men are literally to be swallowed by “Death and Hell”, which is a good use of personification.
In the fourth verse, it is described how the light brigade had swords against guns and how they brandished their swords in the air and how even amazingly some men had some success. He also uses repetition with the word “Flashed”. This is at the start to the verse which engages you straight away.
“Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in the air
Sabring the gunners there,”
In this verse it also becomes clear what opinion Tennyson has. He believes their bravery had some success, although Tennyson adopts a biased, patriotic attitude. His sympathies lie with the soldiers.
“Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre-stroke”
There is a use of repetition at the end, like in the whole of the poem where the poet writes “Rode the six hundred” or “Not the six hundred” which makes the poem run smoothly. At the end of this verse He writes
Not the six hundred.”
He repeats not for emphasis that many had died. The fifth verse starts the same as the third verse which portrays the battle mostly as hopeless and dangerous. Tennyson copies the beginning of this verse to add effect to the bravery and obedience of the Light Brigade,
“While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well,
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell”
Tennyson repeats the exact same personification as in verse three to remind the reader of the dangers and death involved. As Tennyson states they came back through the mouth of hell and jaws of death this raises the theme of victory as some came back from the certain death.
The last verse of the Light Brigade poem concentrates completely of the celebration in honour for the Light Brigade,
“When can their glory fade?”
“Honour the Light Brigade”
This states they should always be praised and never forgotten. The mystery line is given again:
“All the world wondered why”
This reminds the reader once again of how dangerous and stupid the charge had been. The last few lines are positioned at the end to keep the reader’s mind on how brave and wonderful the Light Brigade were.
“Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred”
I personally think this poem is very well written to portray the many themes Tennyson wanted to express and the short lines helps the reader to read quickly to how it should be read. I think it does deserve a place in a collection dedicated to war poetry because it portrays heroes of war and the fears of war, which I believe are the main themes of war. Tennyson’s view of war is an honourable one. I think he believes men who have fought and died in wars should never be forgotten because they have died so their children and wives can live. This view is probably a very common view in his generation in which you are expected if you are between the ages of eighteen and forty to go and fight for your country.
“The Destruction of Sennacherib” poem tells the story of the powerful army of Assyria who died in their sleeps just before they were going to invade the town of Galilee and destroy the palace of Sennacherib. The most peculiar aspect of the story is how the great army of thousands of Assyrians died and remains a mystery. Lord Byron wrote a poem about the lost palace of Sennacherib and it was published in 1815.
The two poets, Lord Alfred Tennyson and Lord Byron have similarities and contrasts in their attitudes to war as shown in their poems, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and The Destruction of Sennacherib. As a theme was shown in Tennyson’s poem of heroism, the Destruction of Sennacherib has the theme of power.
“And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold”
Power and kingship is shown here on the army of the king of Assyria as the colours purple and gold are signs of power and true kingship because Gold is rare and purple used to be a very difficult dye to make.
“And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea”
This is a simile used by Byron stating there were many soldiers which suggests power as well. This is also successful because he is describing something horrible-the soldiers coming to destroy Galilee and something beautiful, stars on the sea, all in the same sentence.
“The Destruction of Sennacherib” compares well to “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “The drum” as all three includes death.
“Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green”
“Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown”
This contrast of the similes, describing the soldiers from feeling alive in summer and by saying summer is green it makes you think of youth and tenderness which is then compared to feeling dead in autumn with the leaves from the trees falling and the flowers and plants beginning to die. The simile “autumn” is used because of how the leaves fall and die from their trees as are the same for the soldiers.
“That host on the morrow lay wither’d and strown”
The host represents the soldiers and they lie “wither’d and strown” suggesting they are dead and motionless.
A comparison between the “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “The Destruction of Sennacherib” (Not “The Drum”) is also given as they both personify death as images, as shown in “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.
“Into the jaws of Death”
And shown in the Destruction of Sennacherib,
“For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast”
Death is personified as an angel that kills all as it spreads it’s wings making the deaths happen at an instant.
Byron raises a theme of mystery, which is used in Tennyson’s poem as to no one knew why the Light Brigade charged, as in the Destruction of Sennacherib as no one ever knew what exactly happened to the great army.
A contrast between the two poems is shown by the short excited paced verses of the Charge of the Light Brigade and the long sad verses of the Destruction of Sennacherib. The Charge of the Light Brigade has many short lines and less description than Byron’s poem which makes the poem easier to read quickly as the reader is reading more about the actions happening rather than the atmosphere, which the Destruction of Sennacherib does more of as it’s lines are much longer and more descriptive making the reader read more slowly and able to imagine the atmosphere in their minds more vividly than in the Charge of the Light Brigade.
The main contrast between the two poems is that the Destruction of Sennacherib’s battle never started as all because the soldiers all died in their sleeps, but the Charge of the Light Brigade poem starts at the beginning of the battle,
“All in the valley of Death, Rode the six hundred” this quote is from the Charge of the Light Brigade, which starts at the very beginning of the battle.
“The lances uplifted, the trumpet unblown” this quote is from the Destruction of Sennacherib. The trumpet was unblown because the order to advance was never made.
There is a contrast between the celebrations to the soldiers from the Charge of the Light Brigade for battling heroically,
“Honour the charge they made” and the sorrows from the people of Ashur (an ancient city of Assyria) because of all the men dead before the battle took place,
“Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord” most people believed the army died from the praying to the god of the town of Galilee which was where the army was planning to invade. This quote means the soldiers died as the god looked upon them.
In my personal opinion, both of these poems deserve a place in war poetry because of their accuracy in their relation of events and their common war themes such as death and sorrow. I do like how the Charge of the Light Brigade is so fast paced and full of short and bright verses to symbolise the glorious outcome, although Tennyson makes clear their sacrifice was avoidable and pointless, where as the Destruction of Sennacherib has long and descriptive lines making it sound more melancholy. Lord Byron also writes of pointless avoidable sacrifice as Sennacherib’s army is killed as they sleep, but the outcome is not depicted as glorious, but simply as tragic.