I love this poem. I’ll admit the section where McCaulay goes on about the “good old days where everyone was great” is a bit… idyllic… but this poem evoked in epic form heroism in the face of impossible odds. 

The poem also vividly, and graphically displays how brutal and unsettling warfare could be.

Due to its length, the poem itself is after the jump.

Prelude (to Departmental Ditties)

Even the introductions to his collections of poetry are works of art.  Prelude (To “The Departmental Ditties”) by Rudyard Kipling I have eaten your bread and salt. I have drunk your water and wine. The deaths ye died I have watched beside, And the lives ye led were mine. Was there aught that I did …