The story of the boy of Casabianca is shrouded in mystery. There's not enough attention paid to it in classrooms in America. I know it was written across the pond in the U.K. but it has strong literary value. This poem was memorized and recited by school children in England up till the 1930s. Proper homage should be paid.
But first, I'm going to tell you a little about the poet herself, and she had a love of literature at young age just as I did. After a very minimal amount of research, I learned I've got a lot in common with Felicia Dorothea Hemans.
|Felicia Dorothea Hemans|
Felicia Dorothea Hemans, Bio
- Born in Liverpool, England
- Romantic era poet
- Daughter of a merchant and granddaughter of the consul
- Her family relocated to Wales in 1800 due to financial difficulty.
- Felicia was an early and voracious reader.
- She made full use of the family library and her mother tutored her in several languages.
- Hemans spent two winters in London and was captivated by classical art there.
- She published her first set of poems in 1808 at the age of 14.
- Felicia married Captain Alfred Hemans in 1812, and their union produced five children.
- Her husband didn't return from a trip to Italy in 1818, so she was left to support herself and her children with the income from her poetry.
- Hemans was very influenced by William Wordsworth and Lord Byron, and produced 19 Volumes of poetry including: The Domestic Affections and Other Poems (1812), Records of Woman: with other Poems (1828), and Siege of Valencia (1823).
by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
|Painting George Arnald|
- Poem is from her book, "Homes of England."
- Most scholars believe it's based on a real event.
- The ship was in the Battle of the Nile that was fought between Napoleon and the English on August 1, 1798.
- Nelson was in command of the English fleet, and won one of his greatest victories.
- French Admiral Brueys was left mortally wounded on his ship.
- At night, the ship was ablaze and most of the crew fled except the boy Casabianca.
- The boy wouldn't disobey his father's orders, and perished in the fire.
- Although it can't be said positively that the poem is about the Battle of Nile, a boy did die in the same circumstances in that battle.
Laurie Epps is a recent graduate of Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere.