Horatio Nelson

This poem for kids about Horatio Nelson was submitted to history-for-kids by reader Lesley Stobbs.

Horatio Nelson was a great English military leader who played a decisive role in the Napoleonic Wars.

This poem does not actually tell the story of the great man himself, but of a young boy who also happens to be called Horatio Nelson, and who's life strangely echoes the famous Vice Admiral's: The English against the Frog, "England expects...", one arm, turning a blind eye, and The Victory.

We hope you find this poem fun, and we hope that you will use it as part of a discussion about the real Nelson. There are some facts at the bottom of this page that you might find helpful in this.

Horatio Nelson
A poem for kids

Long ago there lived a boy, Horatio was his name.
He sailed his boat on a lake it was his favourite game
He even had a dream that one day he'd go to sea
And be a famous admiral with a famous Victory.

He had brothers and sisters, seven altogether.
They played games with their boats when they had nice weather.
One boat belonged to Horatio, and one to his brother;
'The England' was Horatio's, 'The Frog' was the other.

One sunny morning they were all out having fun,
Playing English against the Frogs, the battle had begun.
Horatio's speech to his crew, was a thing of beauty,
‘England expects that every man will do his duty’.

The English rowed towards the Frogs, there would be no mistake
Then crashed into the enemy and tipped them in the Lake.
The Frogs were soaking wet, there was nothing they could do.
"Hip Hip Hooray for Horatio!" said the English crew.

Horatio was pleased and said "I'm really very clever,
Those Frogs will never beat me, never ever ever.
I could even beat them with my arm behind my back.
I'll even close one eye, and still win the attack!"

Just then there was a voice, shouting in the distance.
"Dinner time, come home now kids!" it was spoken with insistence.
Horatio heard the voice - his mother's, he supposed.
He put a telescope to the eye he had just closed.
"I can't see anyone, perhaps we imagined the call"
But then he felt quite hungry, so went home after all.

Horatio laughed at his brother during dinner.
He wanted everyone to know England had been the winner.
"We won" said Horatio, "it's really plain to see.
In fact, I am going to rename my boat- The Victory!"

That night when Horatio fell asleep, he had a vivid dream
That he was fully grown up and an admiral supreme.
He had a ship called Victory and he was the commander
He was sailing off to battle, to a place called Trafalgar.

He thought about his dream next morning when he woke.
He wanted to be a hero, adored by common folk.
One day he would be famous for his genius and flair,
And honoured with a massive statue, in Trafalgar Square.

Horatio Nelson Facts

  • Horatio Nelson was one of England's greatest ever military commanders. He was an admiral at the time of the wars against Napoleon's France.

  • It is true that Nelson did come from a big family, but the events of the story above ("English vs Frogs") did not really happen. Some of the details of the story though, do have counterparts in real life.

  • Nelson had lost an eye and an arm in combat, and one time he famously ignored an order to retreat by putting the telescope to his blind eye, and claiming he could not see the signal.

  • It is true that Nelson was vain and attention-seeking, but he was also brave, inspirational, and tactically brilliant.

  • He won many battles for the English in the Napoleonic wars, but it was the battle of Trafalgar, in which he was killed, that was perhaps the most comprehensive and important English victory of all time, and a massive setback to Napoleon.

  • "England expects that every man will do his duty" was the signal Nelson put out (using flags) to his fleet just before the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • A statue of Horatio Nelson stands over 50m high in Trafalgar Square, in London, to this day.

The English and the Frog

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