« ZurückWeiter »
THE boy stood on the burning deck
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,
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,
And but the booming shots 1 replied,
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
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
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
oh! where was he?
1 Booming shots: the heat of the flames discharged the loaded cannon
2 Shroud: a large rope supporting a mast.
3 Thunder sound: the explosion of the magazine.
Ask of the winds that far around
With mast, and helm, and pennon1 fair
FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS.
1 Pennon: a long, pointed flag, or streamer.
THE BLUE AND THE GRAY.1
By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
These in the robings of glory,
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,
So with an equal splendor
So, when the summer calleth,
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done,
Under the sod and the dew,