A Thought of the Nile

A Thought of the Nile

There are a few rivers in the world that inspire people to write about. The river Nile is one of these rivers. It’s not that strange, since you consider that this is the world’s longest river. The river inspired James Leigh Hunt to write a poem about this river: “A Thought of the Nile.”

The Nile

The Nile

This river is the longest in the world. It’s even longer than rivers like the Amazon or the Yellow River.

The Nile played an important role in history. In ancient Egypt this the border between where people lived and where people were buried. Kings came and went, but the river remained. Until today!

This river is considered to be the longest river in the world. Well, according to some. Others believe that the Amazone is, in fact, the longest river in the world. In ancient times, the Nile was considered to be the longest and mightiest. A whole civilization was built on these rivers. Kings came and went, but the river remained. Until today!

David Livingstone

David Livingstone
Image source: Wikipedia

David Livingstone and James Leigh Hunt

David Livingstone was determined to search fort he source of the Nile. Livingstone didn’t start his last great expedition when James Leigh Hunt was born (19 October 1784). Livingstone wasn’t even born yet. So, what’s Livingstone doing in this poem?

Well, Hunt wasn’t the only one who was impressed by this river. Hunt was also moved by this river. Livingstone didn’t discover the source of the river.

So, why is it important to mention David Livingstone in an article about a poem written by James Leigh Hunt?

To cut it short: it’s not important at all. It shows that this river is inspiring in different ways. Scientific and literary.

James Leigh Hunt

James Henry Leigh Hunt
Image source: Wikipedia

James Henry Leigh Hunt

His official name: James Henry Leigh Hunt. Often refered to as Leigh Hunt or James Leigh Hunt (in this article)

He was born on 19 October 1784 in London and would grow out to be a critic, essayist and – let’s not forget – poet. Furthermore, he was the co-founder of The Examiner (1808 – 1886), a weekly paper. The confusion starts when people refer to him as Leigh Hunt. People think that it’s a different person. It’s not.

His parents moved from the United States to England before he was born. If they wouldn’t have, what would have happened? It was all because of the War of Independence, why his parents moved.

It was one of his passions; writing. He wrote for several newspapers and started writing poems around 1816. Writing itself never did bring him much wealth or prosperity. His worst years financially were between 1834 and 1840. His friends had to help him out. Amongst his friends was Mary Shelley. Another close friend of him was John Keats.

James Leigh Hunt died on 28 August 1859. The official cause of death was “exhaustion.” He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

A Thought of the Nile

A Thought of the Nile

It flows through old hushed Egypt and its sands,
Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream,
And times and things, as in that vision, seem
Keeping along it their eternal stands,–
Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
That roamed through the young world, the glory extreme
Of high Sesostris, and that southern beam,
The laughing queen that caught the world’s great hands.
Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong,
As of a world left empty of its throng,
And the void weighs on us; and then we wake,
And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along
‘Twixt villages, and think how we shall take
Our own calm journey on for human sake.

— James Leigh Hunt

Free Promotion

Subscribe to the newsletters

Subscribing to the newsletters of The Ministry of Poetic Affairs is always free. You can ubsubscribe at any moment.