THIS MONTH’S PARODY (August) Casabianca (‘The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck’)

CASABIANCA was written by Felicia Hemans in 1826 and first published in the August edition of the New Monthly Magazine that year. It is supposed to relate the events of a real incident during the Battle of the Nile in 1798 aboard the French ship Orient when Giocante, the young son of the commander Louis de Casabianca, refused to leave his post – with such tragic results. Generations of schoolchildren learned the original poem by heart, but undoubtedly preferred any one of the numerous parodies it inspired. Here, below Hemans’s immortal original, are some of them.

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 but 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 had borne their part
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.

 

Martin Gardner
The boy stood on the burning deck,
The flames ’round him did roar;
He found a bar of Ivory Soap
And washed himself ashore.

Anon.
The boy stood on the burning deck
And wished he hadn’t been born.
His mother said he wouldn’t have been
If the johnny hadn’t torn.

Anon.
The boy stood on the burning deck,
His feet were covered in blisters.
He had no trousers of his own [or His trousers burnt right off his legs]
And so he wore his sister’s.

Only Fools and Horses
The boy stood on the burning deck
His pockets full of crackers
One slipped down his trouser-leg
And burnt off both his… kneecaps!

Colin Thompson
The boy stood on the burning duck
A stupid thing to do
Because the duck was roasting
On the barbecue.

Casabazonka
Spike Milligan
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled –
The twit!

Anon.
The boy stood on the burning deck
Smoke billowing through the air
‘I can’t stand it any more!’ he cried,
And sat down on a chair

Anon.
The boy stood on the burning deck
Eating a thre’penny Walls,
Till a bit fell down his trouser leg
And paralysed his kneecap.

The boy stood on the burning deck
His lips were all a-quiver
He gave a cough, his leg fell off
And floated down the river.

The boy stood on the burning deck,
Picking his nose like mad.
He rolled it into little balls
And flicked them at his dad.

The boy stood on the burning deck
His head was in a whirl.
He put his head between his legs
And wished he was a girl.   (submitted by Dave Stewart)

The following two kindly submitted by Dauvit:

The boy stood on the burning deck.
Alas, he is no more
For what he thought was H2O
Was H2S04.

The boy stood on the burning deck
Playing a game of cricket.
The ball ran up his trouser leg
And hit his middle wicket.

This one from Seyom Derf submitted October 2015

The boy stood on the burning deck,
Shouting to passing ducks.
“I wish I’d joined the RAF
This being a sailor sucks!”

And finally – if you can bear it (if not, avert your eyes) – a particularly unpleasant one (by Anon.) submitted by Mr R Plummer.

The boy stood on the burning decks
Approached by Gary Glitter
Who then took off his naval kecks
And woofed him up the shutter.

28 Comments

  • Wyman Barnes wrote:

    My uncle was quite a wag and came up with:
    The boy stood on the burning deck;
    His mind was all a-whirl;
    His hair and eyes were full of smoke;
    His arms were full of girl.

  • Eric Morcambe wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    His lips were all a-quiver
    He gave a cough, his leg fell off
    And floated down the river.

  • Glenn wrote:

    I recall a childhood version:
    The boy stood on the burning deck,
    Picking his nose like mad.
    He rolled it into little balls
    And flicked them at his dad.

  • dave stewart wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    His head was in a whirl
    He put his head between his legs
    And wished he was a girl

  • Thanks Andrew but this one is already there – albeit with a slightly altered last line!

  • Dauvit wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    playing a game of cricket
    the ball ran up his trouser leg
    and hit his middle wicket

  • Dauvit wrote:

    the boy stood on the burning deck
    alas, he is no more
    for what he thought was H2O
    was H2S04

  • S whitehead wrote:

    My dad, a Lancastrian, taught me..

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    Eating peas… A penny a peck.
    Did he wash his dirty neck?
    Did ‘e eck!

  • bunty wrote:

    My Dad used to recite:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    his feet were covered in blisters
    His trousers burnt right off his legs
    and now he wears his sisters.

  • Lawrence Hollandsworth wrote:

    Little boy stood on the burning deck.
    Eating peanuts by the peck
    Along came a little girl dressed in blue
    Asked if she could have a peck or two.

  • Phillip Sydney-Jones wrote:

    My father loved this version:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    His pant were made of cotton
    The fire crept up his hairy legs
    And burnt his big white bottom

  • terry wrote:

    the boy stood on the burning deck
    his face as black as charcoal
    he put his head between his legs
    and whistled up his arsehole.

  • Irv Schneider wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck,
    His feet were full of blisters,He was Eating peanuts by the peck,While the win Blew through his whiskers.

    My Dad taught me this version,in the 1940’s,when I was 8 or 9! Have never forgotten it!!

  • The boy stood on the burning deck,
    Shouting to passing ducks.
    “I wish I’d joined the RAF
    This being a sailor sucks!”

  • Tim Beaumontp wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    His back was to the mast;
    He would not face the other way
    until the mate had passed.

  • Not mine: heard it at school y5 years ago.

    TBSOTBD / His back against the mast / He wouldn’t leave the fiery wreck / ‘Til Oscar Wilde had passed / But Oscar was a wily bird; / He threw the lad a fritter / And as he bent to pick it up / Whoomph ! Right up his shitter.

  • TBSOTBD / Eating an ice from Walls /
    A ‘lectric shock / Ran up his sock / & paralysed his , yes, kneecaps then.

  • Steve Kovacs wrote:

    Back in the ’50’s my grandfather would recite:
    The boy stood on the burning deck,
    His feet were full of blisters.
    He did not care about shoes
    Because they were his sister’s.

  • Helen wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck;
    He was a cunning nipper.
    He filled his arse (or mouth) with broken glass
    And circumcised his skipper.

    Told to me by one of my elderly residents at my care facility.

  • Chris Keating wrote:

    I seem to recall Benny Hill doing a version:

    The boy stood on the burning deck
    The flames rose up his legs
    And now he hates fried sausages
    And he cannot stand boiled eggs

  • Ralph Lane wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck.
    He thought of war and D-day.
    A flame shot up his trouser-leg
    So he sat down in the bidet.

  • Ralph Lane wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck.
    They sailed towards Namibia.
    A flame shot up his trouser-leg
    And melted half his tibia.

  • Ralph Lane wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck.
    He thought about Il Duce.
    A flame shot up his trouser-leg.
    A voice above cried “Touchee!”

  • Ralph Lane wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck.
    The fire did flash and flicker.
    A flame shot up his trouser-leg
    And left ‘im wiv ‘arf a nicker.

  • Ralph Lane wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck.
    His mood was most cantankerous.
    He cursed the mate. He cursed the crew.
    Tomorrow he’ll be jankerous.

  • Ralph Lane wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck.
    The ship was far from buoyant.
    A flame shot up his trouser-leg.
    Now he’s no longer croyant.

  • D. Biggs wrote:

    The boy stood on the burning deck,
    Whence all but he had fled.
    For he was busy making toast
    With twos core slice of bread.

  • D. Biggs wrote:

    Sorry, last line should read “two score” slice of bread, my bad!

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