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Do or Die

April 8, 2008 |


Post to the Host:
In a recent column you cite Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" and quote the line, "theirs but to do or die". Not right. It actually says "but to do AND die". Small difference in words, but a HUGE difference in meaning, when you think about it. Makes the poem even more poignant.

Fred P.
Salem, SC

You are so right, Fred. Interesting how the line got corrupted in my memory by getting tangled with the phrase "do or die".

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

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