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THE boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.

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1 Casabianca (Ka-sa-be-an'ka): There are several versions of the story of Casabianca, no one of which can be said to be capable of historical proof, yet all probably have some common foundation in fact.

The usual account represents him as a lad of ten, the son of Admiral Brueys, commander of the French man-of-war L'Orient.

At the battle of the Nile between Nelson and Napoleon in 1798, Admiral Brueys was mortally wounded, and left to die on the deck of his ship. Shortly after nightfall the vessel was discovered to be in flames, and a number of English sailors went at Nelson's orders to rescue the officers and crew.

All left the doomed ship but Casabianca. He refused, saying that his father, who was now dead, had told him not to leave his post, and that he would not disobey him.

There was no time for delay; the boat put off, and in a few minutes later the French frigate blew up. Whether Casabianca lost his life in the explosion or whether, as some suppose, he leaped overboard just before it occurred in the attempt to swim ashore with his father's corpse, is unknown; but in either case the brave boy perished.

That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud 66

Say, father, say,

If yet my task is done?"

He knew not that the chieftain lay


Unconscious of his son.

Speak, father!" once again he cried,
"If I may yet be gone!"

And but the booming shots 1 replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,

And looked from that lone post of death

In still, yet brave despair.

And shouted but once more aloud,

"My father! must I stay?"

While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,2
The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapt the ship in splendor wild,

They caught the flag on high,

And streamed above the gallant child,

Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound 3

The boy

oh! where was he?

1 Booming shots: the heat of the flames discharged the loaded cannon

of L'Orient.

2 Shroud: a large rope supporting a mast.

3 Thunder sound: the explosion of the magazine.

Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea!-

With mast, and helm, and pennon1 fair
That well had borne their part-
But the noblest thing that perished there
Was that young, faithful heart!


1 Pennon: a long, pointed flag, or streamer.


By the flow of the inland river,

Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,

Waiting the judgment-day;

Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.

These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the laurel, the Blue,

Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours

The desolate mourners go,

Lovingly laden with flowers

Alike for the friend and the foe:

1 A poem suggested, it is said, by the fact that when on Decoration Day the women of Columbus, Miss., placed flowers on the graves of those who fell in the war, they remembered the Union soldiers as well as the Confederates.

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day ;
Under the roses, the Blue,
Under the lilies, the Gray.

So with an equal splendor
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day ;
Broidered with gold, the Blue,
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Wet with the rain, the Blue,
Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly, but not with upbraiding,

The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading,
No braver battle was won:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the blossoms, the Blue,
Under the garlands, the Gray.

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