Casabianca

was the name of the captain of the French man-of-war, L'Orient. At the battle of Aboukir, having first secured the safety of his crew, he blew up his ship, to prevent it falling into the hands of the English. His little son, refusing to leave him, perished with his father. Mrs. Hemans has made a ballad, Casabianca, on this subject, modifying the incident. The French poets Lebrun and Chénier have also celebrated the occurrence.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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