hamayel Feb 15th, 2020 82 Never
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- THERE was a great battle at sea. One could hear nothing but the roar of
- the big guns. The air was filled with black smoke. The water was strewn
- with broken masts and pieces of timber which the cannon balls had
- knocked from the ships. Many men had been killed, and many more had
- been wounded.
- The flagship had taken fire. The flames were breaking out from below.
- The deck was all ablaze. The men who were left alive made haste to
- launch a small boat. They leaped into it, and rowed swiftly away. Any
- other place was safer now than on board of that burning ship. There was
- powder in the hold.
- But the captain's son, young Casabianca, still stood upon the deck. The
- flames were almost all around him now; but he would not stir from his
- post. His father had bidden him stand there, and he had been taught
- always to obey. He trusted in his father's word, and believed that when
- the right time came he would tell him to go.
- He saw the men leap into the boat. He heard them call to him to come.
- He shook his head.
- "When father bids me, I will go," he said.
- And now the flames were leaping up the masts. The sails were all ablaze.
- The fire blew hot upon his cheek. It scorched his hair. It was before him,
- behind him, all around him.
- "O father!" he cried, "may I not go now? The men have all left the ship. Is
- it not time that we too should leave it?"
- He did not know that his father was lying in the burning cabin below,
- that a cannon ball had struck him dead at the very beginning of the
- fight. He listened to hear his answer.
- "Speak louder, father!" he cried. "I cannot hear what you say."
- Above the roaring of the flames, above the crashing of the falling spars,
- above the booming of the gulls, he fancied that his father's voice came
- faintly to him through the scorching air.
- "I am here, father! Speak once again!" he gasped.
- But what is that?
- A great flash of light fills the air; clouds of smoke shoot quickly upward
- to the sky; and—
- Oh, what a terrific sound! Louder than thunder, louder than the roar of
- all the guns! The air quivers; the sea itself trembles; the sky is black.
- The blazing ship is seen no more.
- There was powder in the hold!
- A long time ago a lady, whose name was Mrs. Hemans, wrote a poem
- about this brave boy Casabianca. It is not a very well written poem, and
- yet everybody has read it, and thousands of people have learned it by
- heart. I doubt not but that some day you too will read it. It begins in this
- "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 childlike form."
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