Thirty million the population of England was some 27 million in 1891, and - with Scotland and Wales - some 33 million.
troopers in this context cavalrymen under the rank of non-commissioned officer, the equivalent of private soldiers in the infantry.
life was fleeting …. art was long an echo of the Latin translation of an aphorism by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates: Ars longa, vita brevis, usually translated in English as 'art is long, life is short'. The full text in Latin is: .
Ars longa,It should be noted that ars does not signify fine art but the art of some skilled activity – in this context, the art of medicine
they lived in deathless song the Charge of the Light Brigade was celebrated in prose and verse, most memorably in Tennyson's poem
to keep the wolf from the door to ward off starvation.
the man who writes Lord Tennyson – see above
colours the Regimental Colours – the regimental flags which used to be carried into battle. See “The Mutiny of the Mavericks” in Life’s Handicap, page 223, line 19.
ten-file strong Twenty men in two ranks, one behind the other as in a battalion on parade. Each pair formed a 'file' and the strength of a unit was measured in the number of files on parade. (See 'Danny Deever', The Military Setting)
Master-singer a highly-accomplished singer; an echo of "The Mastertersingers of Nuremberg" by the German opera composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Here it is a reference to Alftred, Lord Tennyson, who was Poet Laureate from 1850 until his death in 1892, and wrote “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
stand to attention Stand upright, with the head up, the back straight, the chin in, and the hands down by the sides. See “The Debt” in Limits and Renewals p. 209 line 21.
the mouth of hell an echo of Verse 4 of Tennyson's “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
workhouse The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 provided that no able-bodied person could get poor relief unless they went to live in special workhouses, where they had to work, often in very harsh conditions, for their food and accommodation. They were greatly feared by the poor and old.
someone has blundered an echo of the first verse of Tennyson's “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
“the scorn of scorn” an echo the first verse of Tennyson’s “The Poet”:
The poet in a golden clime was born,he wrote for them wonderful verses We have not yet been able to trace further verses by Tennyson supporting the appeal, as Kipling suggests. Any information from readers will be appreciated.
[Verse 9 in the original version]
The following verse of Kipling’s poem appears in the St. James’ Gazette but is not collected.
They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;The New York Times of November 2nd 1913, on the occasion of the death of Sir George Wombwell, the last surviving officer who had been in the charge, reported contributions from a Liberal Party fund to convicted Irish rebels (the felon ... from an Irish bog), and to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (spavined cab-horse ... homeless dog) , with only the balance going to the survivors from the Light Brigade. This seems to be the rationale for Kipling's poem.
The New York Times, of course, may have simply taken Kipling's lines at their face value. We have not been able to verify these points from contemporary accounts.
The NYT also reported that Tennyson then wrote some further verses to encourage popular support for the survivors, and that this resulted in some more substantial contributions. We have not, however, yet traced these lines.
Spavin is a complaint affecting the legs of a horse.
[Verse 9 - as collected]
“honour the charge they made” an echo of verse 6 of Tennyson's poem.
the charge of the Light Brigade a pun on charge – in this context meaning to look after.
The poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was published in The Examiner on 9 December, 1854:
Half a league, half a league,See The Poems of Tennyson edited by Christopher Ricks, (Longmans Green & Co Ltd,1969, p. 1034) for a note listing variants, and explaining how Tennyson wrote his first version in a few minutes after reading the report in The Times.
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