Зображення сторінки


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.

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,

As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,

A proud, though child-like form.

The flames rolld on—he would not go,

Without his father's word;

* Young Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old, son to the admiral of the Orient, remained at his post (in the battle of the Nile), after the ship had taken fire, and all the guns had been abandoned ; and perished in the explosion of the vessel, when the flames had reached the powder

That father, faint in death below,

His voice no longer heard.

He call'd aloud—“ 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 replied,

And fast the flames roll’d on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,

And in his waving hair ;
And look'd 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,

The wreathing fires made way.

They wrapt the ship in splendor wild,

They caught the fag on high,

And stream'd above the gallant child,

Like banners in the sky.

There came a burst of thunder sound

The boy-oh! where was he? -Ask of the winds that far around

With fragments strew'd the sea !

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,

That well had borne their partBut the noblest thing that perish'd there,

Was that young faithful heart.


“Why wouldst thou leave me, oh! gentle child ?
Thy home on the mountain is bleak and wild,
A straw-roof'd cabin with lowly wall-
Mine is a fair and a pillar'd hall,
Where many an image of marble gleams,
And the sunshine of picture for ever streams."

“Oh! green is the turf where my brothers play,
Through the long bright hours of the summer-day,
They find the red cup-moss where they climb,
And they chase the bee o'er the scented thyme ;
And the rocks where the heath-flower blooms they know-
Lady, kind lady! oh! let me go.”

“ Content thee, boy ! in my bower to dwell,
Here are sweet sounds which thou lovest well ;
Flutes on the air in the stilly noon,
Harps which the wandering breezes tune ;
And the silvery wood-note of many a bird,
Whose voice was ne'er in thy mountains heard.”

My mother sings, at the twilight's fall,

of the hills far more sweet than all ;
She sings it under our own green tree,
To the babe half slumbering on her knee ;
I dreamt last night of that music low-
Lady, kind lady! oh! let me go.”

“Thy mother is gone from her cares to rest,
She hath taken the babe on her quiet breast;
Thou wouldst meet her footstep, my boy, no more,
Nor hear her song at the cabin door.
-Come thou with me to the vineyards nigh,
And we'll pluck the grapes of the richest dye.”

“ Is my mother gone from her home away ?
-But I know that my brothers are there at play.
I know they are gathering the fox-glove's bell,
Or the long fern-leaves by the sparkling well,
Or they launch their boats where the bright streams flow-
Lady, kind lady ! oh! let me go.”

“Fair child ! thy brothers are wanderers now,
They sport no more on the mountain's brow,
They have left the fern by the spring's green side,
And the streams where the fairy barks were tried.

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