The Nile

The Nile

This river has been flowing for ages and inspiring so many. Cultures were built on the flow of this river. This is the river Nile. It inspired James Leigh Hunt to write the poem The Nile about this.

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 this rivers. Kings came and went, but the river remained. Until today!

About the poet

At the time James Leigh Hunt was born (19 October 1784), there was no indication that there would be a expedition organized by no other than David Livingstone. Livingstone wasn’t even born yet. He would be leading the famous expedition to find the source of the river in 1866. An unsuccessful expedition. That being said, Hunt was not alive to read about the news about this expedition. He died in 1859.

You might know another writer / poet named Hunt. That is right: Leigh Hunt. They are the same person. Hunt was also a critic and essayist.

In 1784 born in London, where his parents moved to after they moved from the United States. If it wasn’t for the American War of Independence, the Hunt family would probably have never moved to Great Britain. But, then again, the world would look totally different.

Writing was a passion of Hunt. He wrote for several newspapers, including The Examiner. Around 1816 he started writing poetry. Writing never brought him much prosperity as it comes to finance. Between 1834 and 1840, he was in desperate need of money. His friends were forced to help him out financially. This included no other than Mary Shelley and her son.

The Nile

By James Leigh Hunt

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.


Photo: Harm Jagerman

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