Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

“The Destruction of the L’Orient at the Battle of the Nile, 1st August 1798” by the English painter George Arnald (1766-1841)


The poem which begins “The boy stood on the burning deck” was inspired by an incident during that battle when the French flagship L’Orient exploded. The admiral of the ship was Louis de Casabianca and the story concerns his son Giocante whose age could have been anything between 10 and 13.

This is the complete poem “Casabianca” by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835)

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he 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 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 yet 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 splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed 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 strewed the sea!

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well hath borne their part -
But the noblest thing that perished there
Was that young faithful heart.


A few weeks ago I bought a tenor recorder and I’m determined to master it. I’ve just found this clip of “Greensleeves“ where the performer produces a lovely sound on what I think is a treble recorder.


I came home last Friday night, having spent 8 days in hospital. Those words by George Bernard Shaw really appeal -

“I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes illnesses worth while.”


In the 1920s and 30s Jack Payne was a well-known dance band leader. Born in 1899, it was while he was leading a 6-piece band in a London hotel that the BBC appointed him Director of Dance Music, and he held that post from 1928 till 1932 when he was succeeded by Henry Hall.

He continued to broadcast and in 1941 he was again put in charge of dance music by the BBC. In 1946 he gave up band work becoming a disc jockey. He died in 1969.

“Ain’t that the way it goes?” was recorded in 1931. The vocalist is Billy Scott Coomber.


I’m making no comment on those words by Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998)

"Relish love in your old age! Aged love is like aged wine - it becomes more satisfying, more refreshing, more valuable, more appreciated and more intoxicating!"


No comments: