THE CHARGE                                THE CHARGE
by Alfred Lord Tennyson                  by Nachum Schoffman

Half a league, half a league,                     
Avidly, avidly,
Half a league onward,                                Avidly inward,
All in the valley of Death                          All for a little death
     Rode the six hundred                                 Priced at one hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!               "Forward! you've got it made!
Charge for the guns!" he said                  Charged for your fun," he said,
Into the valley of Death                            "Charged for a little death
     Rode the six hundred.                               Only one hundred."
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"                
"Forward, don't let it fade!"
Was there a man dismayed?                    But he was quite dismayed
Not though the soldier knew                   When his expenses grew
     Some one had blundered:                        Another hundred.
Theirs not to make reply,                         "There's not a ground," he cried,
Theirs not to reason why,                        "There's not an alibi,
Theirs but to do and die:                          There's not a reason why
Into the valley of Death                            This time my little death
     Rode the six hundred.                               Cost me two hundred."

Cannon to right of them,                         
Ponces to right of him,
Cannon to left of them,                             Ponces to left of him,
Cannon in front of them                           Ponces in front of him,
     Volleyed and thundered;                         Sharks by the hundred
Stormed at with shot and shell,               Mark up the goods they sell,
Boldly they rode and well,                       Indifferent to his yell:
Into the jaws of Death,                             "My God! The little death
Into the mouth of Hell                               Is overpriced. Oh hell!
     Rode the six hundred.                               Now it's three hundred."

Flashed all their sabers bare,                   
He bawled, "It isn't fair!
Flashed as they turned in air               Thieves! Would you strip me bare?
Sab'ring the gunners there,                      One cannot live on air!"
Charging an army, while                           They were unruffled while,
     All the world wondered:                           Wild-eyed, he thundered:
Plunged in the battery-smoke                  "I'm not  a wealthy bloke,
Right through the line they broke;          Indeed, I'm almost broke."
Cossack and Russian                                Answered the villain:
Reeled from the saber-stroke                   "Really, it's not a joke.
     Shattered and sundered.                          Y
ou've not been plundered.
Then they rode back, but not,                We'll make a deal, but not
     Not the six hundred.
                         Less than four hundred."

Cannon to right of them,                         
Ponces to right of him,
Cannon to left of them,                     Ponces to left of him,
Cannon behind them                        Ponces behind him,
     Volleyed and thundered;                         Sharks by the hundred
Stormed at with shot and shell,               Mark up the goods they sell.
While horse and hero fell,                       Then, like a passing bell,
They that had fought so well             Rang in his ears the knell:
Came through the jaws of Death            As through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,                  As from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,                         Shouted the pander then:
     Left of six hundred.                                   "Cough up five hundred."

When can their glory fade?                    
Extortion rules the trade,
O the wild charge they made!                  Oh, the wild charges made!
     All the world wondered.                           Patrons are plundered,
Honor the charge they made!                  Bankrupted, fleeced, and flayed!
Honor the Light Brigade,                          Only last week he paid
     Noble six hundred!                                    Fully six hundred!