The Age of George III

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by Felicia Hemans

Young Giocante Casabianca, a 12-year old boy, was the son of Luce Julien Joseph Casabianca. Casabianca was the commander of Admiral de Brueys' flagship, l'Orient at the Battle of the Nile. Casabianca and his son were on board the flagship during the battle. Casabianca remained at his post during the battle, even after the ship had caught fire and all the guns had been abandoned. The boy refused to save himself and both he and his father died when the ship exploded after the flames reached the powder.

  1. 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.
  1. 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,
  1. Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
    As born to rule the storm;
    A creature of heroic blood,
    A proud though childlike form.
  1. And shouted but once more aloud,
    "My father! must I stay?"
    While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
    The wreathing fires made way.
  1. The flames rolled on; he would not go
    Without his father's word;
    That father, faint in death below,
    His voice no longer heard.
  1. They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
    They caught the flag on high,
    And streamed above the gallant child,
    Like banners in the sky.
  1. He called aloud, "Say, Father, say,
    If yet my task be done!"
    He knew not that the chieftain lay
    Unconscious of his son.
  1. There came a burst of thunder sound;
    The boy, - Oh! where was he?
    Ask of the winds, that far around
    With fragments strewed the sea,-
  1. "Speak, Father!" once again he cried,
    "If I may yet be gone!"
    And but the booming shots replied,
    And fast the flames rolled on.
  1. With shroud and mast and pennon fair,
    That well had home their part,-
    But the noblest thing that perished there
    Was that young, faithful heart.

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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