November 11th Remembrance Sunday.
It is important to remember that great heroes have lives that matter beyond their valorous deeds.
There was another poem regarding the nobility of the British soldier in the Crimean War, apart from the incredible and world renown "Charge of the Light Brigade", it is a lot less famous, but likely more important than the first, which was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson, but this time it was written by Rudyard Kipling ;
"The Last of the Light Brigade" (April 28, 1890, St. James’ Gazette)
There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might, There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade; They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long, That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door; And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey; Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they; And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites".
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong, To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song; And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed, A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back; They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack; With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed, They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, "and Beggin your pardon", he said, "You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead. An it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin the mouth of hell; For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an, we thought we’d call an’ tell.
No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write 'A sort of, to be continued, and see next page o’ the fight.'
We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell em how, You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn. And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with the scorn of scorn. And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame, Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
"O thirty million English that babble of England’s might, Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night; Our children’s children are lisping to honour the charge they made- And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!." .
It is believed by some today that Rudyard Kipling was a relic of Empire, but by ten thousand times more he is remembered as one of Britain's greatest writers,... but, in our opinion, he was far more important that just that. The picture in the gallery is of a British soldier in the Boer War by Caton Woodville from another great poem by Kipling, 'The Absent-Minded Beggar', of 1899. It was written to help raise money for the dependents of soldiers fighting in the Boer War (1899-1902). The fund, known as the 'Absent Minded Beggar Relief Corps', eventually raised about £250,000.