King's Own Royal Regiment Museum
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THE BOY STOOD ON THE BURNING DECK....
Captain Alfred Hemans
Alfred Hemans joined the King’s Own as a Lieutenant on 24th October 1799 becoming a Captain on 3rd March 1803. He retired in 1810. Regimental History sadly does not record any more of his career. However, of interest is the fact that he married Felicia Hemans née Browne (1793-1835) who was one of the best-known poetesses of her age. Famous in America as the author of ‘The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers’, which is traditionally recited on Thanksgiving Day, she is remembered in Britain for just one line: ‘The boy stood on the burning deck.....’ from her poem ‘Casabianca. Born in Duke Street, Liverpool, in 1793, Mrs Hemans moved from Abergele in North Wales to 17 High Street, Wavertree at the height of her fame, but moved away to Dublin after only three years.
by Felicia Hemans
stood on the burning deck
beautiful and bright he stood,
flames rolled on–he would not go
called aloud–’say, Father, say
father!’ once again he cried,
brow he felt their breath,
shouted but once more aloud,
wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
came a burst of thunder sound–
mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
Young Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old, son of the admiral of L'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.
© 2005 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum