English Poems Index
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.
The flames rolled on-he would not go
Without his father's word.
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He called 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 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,
The wreathing fires made way.
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!
By Felicia Dorothea Hemans
Words to Know :
Whence : from where
Wreck : (here) a ship that has been damaged at sea
Heroic : having brave qualities
Fast the flames rolled : the fire spread quickly
Shroud : (here) the ropes from the mast to the ship's sides
Wreathing fires : fire that surrounded/encircled everything
Strewed : covered
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