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Reading Poetry: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

In this worksheet, students read the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Then they answer some questions to develop their understanding of the poet's use of language, form and structure.

'Reading Poetry: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Read a Wide Range of High-Quality Texts

Difficulty level:  

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Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In this worksheet you will read the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, before answering the questions that follow it.

 

If you need to look at the poem again, you can do so at any time by pressing the 'Help' button.
 

 
This poem is based on a battle that took place during the Crimean War. Tennyson read a newspaper report about how the commanding officer of the Light Brigade gave the order for his cavalry (soldiers on horseback) to ride into a valley surrounded by Russian soldiers armed with guns. The Light Brigade had only swords and as such could not defend themselves against the Russians. Many of them died.

 

 

******************


The Charge of the Light Brigade
 
1


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.
 
 
2


'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
 
 
3


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd & 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.
 
 
4


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 & Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter'd & sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
 
 
5


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 & 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.
 
 
6


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!

 

******************

Reread stanza 1. What metaphor taken from the Bible is used in this stanza to suggest that the soldiers are not going to survive this battle?

Half a league

Charge! for the guns

valley of Death

Reread stanza 2. What command from the commanding officer is repeated from the first stanza? Which word tells the reader that this command was a mistake?

 

Choose two answers.

Forward the Light Brigade!

Rode the six hundred

knew

blundered

Reread stanza 3 and match the following quotations with their explanations.

 

Hover your mouse over the boxes to read the explanations in full.

Column A

Column B

Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, C...
Tennyson admires the bravery of the soldiers
Volley'd and thunder'd
The use of alliteration emphasises the sense of am...
shot and shell
Tennyson uses powerful verbs to suggest the power ...
Boldly they rode and well
The repetition emphasises that the soldiers are su...
Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell
Tennyson uses imagery to personify death and hell,...

Reread stanza 4. Which phrases does Tennyson use to remind the reader that the cavalry were defenceless against the Russians because they only had swords?

 

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

 

(Hint: A Sabre is a kind of sword)

Flash'd all their sabres bare

Sabring the gunners there

Charging an army

Right thro' the line they broke

Cossack and Russian

Reel'd from the sabre stroke

Then they rode back

Reread stanza 5. This stanza begins in the same way as stanza 3 but then there is a change.

 

Complete the quotation in the box below that shows that the soldiers are losing the battle: You should write the quotation out in full.

 

While______________fell

Reread the final stanza. Select the words which sum up how Tennyson wants the cavalry to all be remembered as heroes.

 

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

glory

wild

wonder'd

honour

noble

charge

How is this poem narrated to make it sound like a story?

in the first person

in the second person

in the third person

In this poem Tennyson creates a very strong rhythm which is present throughout the poem. What are the three effects of this?

To make all the stanzas the same

To mirror the sound of the horses galloping into battle

To suggest the cavalry moving forward at a fast pace

To suggest the energy of the battle

Reread the final lines of each stanza. What is the effect of the repetition of the words 'six hundred'?

The repetition emphasises the fact that the death of all these soldiers is inevitable and reinforces the sense of the scale of the battle

The repetition emphasises the fact that all the stages of the battle were the same

Thinking about the poem as a whole, match the feelings and attitudes of the poet with the explanations.

 

Hover your mouse over the boxes to read the explanations in full.

Column A

Column B

Respect
Tennyson clearly admires the bravery of the soldie...
Horror
Tennyson seems to express disbelief at the stupidi...
Shock
Tennyson tried to communicate how terrifying and v...
  • Question 1

Reread stanza 1. What metaphor taken from the Bible is used in this stanza to suggest that the soldiers are not going to survive this battle?

CORRECT ANSWER
valley of Death
EDDIE SAYS
"Valley of Death" is the correct answer. It is a phrase taken from the Old Testament of The Bible
  • Question 2

Reread stanza 2. What command from the commanding officer is repeated from the first stanza? Which word tells the reader that this command was a mistake?

 

Choose two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
Forward the Light Brigade!
blundered
EDDIE SAYS
The command given by the Commanding Officer is "Forward the Light Brigade".
  • Question 3

Reread stanza 3 and match the following quotations with their explanations.

 

Hover your mouse over the boxes to read the explanations in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Cannon to right of them, Cannon t...
The repetition emphasises that th...
Volley'd and thunder'd
Tennyson uses powerful verbs to s...
shot and shell
The use of alliteration emphasise...
Boldly they rode and well
Tennyson admires the bravery of t...
Into the jaws of Death, Into the...
Tennyson uses imagery to personif...
EDDIE SAYS
1. "Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them". The repetition emphasises that the soldiers are surrounded by enemy weapons and have little chance of surviving.

2. "Volley'd and thunder'd". Tennyson uses powerful verbs to suggest the power of the cannons.

3. "shot and shell". The use of alliteration emphasises the sense of ammunition flying at the soldiers.

4. "Boldly they rode and well". Tennyson admires the bravery of the soldiers shown through the words 'Boldly' and 'well'.

5 "Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell". Tennyson uses imagery to personify death and hell, suggesting that the soldiers cannot escape it.

  • Question 4

Reread stanza 4. Which phrases does Tennyson use to remind the reader that the cavalry were defenceless against the Russians because they only had swords?

 

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

 

(Hint: A Sabre is a kind of sword)

CORRECT ANSWER
Flash'd all their sabres bare
Sabring the gunners there
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
EDDIE SAYS
The correct answers are:

"Flash'd all their sabres bare"

"Sabring the gunners there"

"Reel'd from the sabre stroke"

They all contain the word 'sabre', meaning sword.

  • Question 5

Reread stanza 5. This stanza begins in the same way as stanza 3 but then there is a change.

 

Complete the quotation in the box below that shows that the soldiers are losing the battle: You should write the quotation out in full.

 

While______________fell

CORRECT ANSWER
While horse and hero fell
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation that changes the tone of this stanza is: "While horse and hero fell". It shows how the Cavalry are starting to lose the battle.
  • Question 6

Reread the final stanza. Select the words which sum up how Tennyson wants the cavalry to all be remembered as heroes.

 

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

CORRECT ANSWER
glory
honour
noble
EDDIE SAYS
The words that show the soldiers to be heroes are 'glory', 'honour' and 'noble'.
  • Question 7

How is this poem narrated to make it sound like a story?

CORRECT ANSWER
in the third person
EDDIE SAYS
The poem is narrated in the third person which makes it sound like a story, reflecting the fact that the poet used a newspaper report as his basis for the poem.
  • Question 8

In this poem Tennyson creates a very strong rhythm which is present throughout the poem. What are the three effects of this?

CORRECT ANSWER
To mirror the sound of the horses galloping into battle
To suggest the cavalry moving forward at a fast pace
To suggest the energy of the battle
EDDIE SAYS
The three effects of the poem's strong rhythm are:

1. To mirror the sound of the horses galloping into battle.

2. To suggest the cavalry moving forward at a fast pace.

3. To suggest the energy of the battle.

  • Question 9

Reread the final lines of each stanza. What is the effect of the repetition of the words 'six hundred'?

CORRECT ANSWER
The repetition emphasises the fact that the death of all these soldiers is inevitable and reinforces the sense of the scale of the battle
EDDIE SAYS
The repetition of the words 'six hundred' emphasises the fact that the death of all these soldiers is inevitable and reinforces the sense of the scale of the battle.
  • Question 10

Thinking about the poem as a whole, match the feelings and attitudes of the poet with the explanations.

 

Hover your mouse over the boxes to read the explanations in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Respect
Tennyson clearly admires the brav...
Horror
Tennyson tried to communicate how...
Shock
Tennyson seems to express disbeli...
EDDIE SAYS
The correct answers are:

1. Respect: Tennyson clearly admires the bravery of the soldiers in the face of adversity knowing their deaths were imminent.

2. Horror: Tennyson tried to communicate how terrifying and violent this battle was.

3. Shock: Tennyson seems to express disbelief at the stupidity of the commanding officer's order which sent so many soldiers to their death.

---- OR ----

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