A Thought of the Nile

Original Text: 
Leigh Hunt, Foliage; or, Poems Original and translated (London: C. & J. Ollier, 1818). B-11 3716 Fisher Rare Book Library
2    Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream,
3    And times and things, as in that vision, seem
4Keeping along it their eternal stands,--
5Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
6    That roamed through the young world, the glory extreme
8The laughing queen that caught the world's great hands.
9Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong,
10As of a world left empty of its throng,
11    And the void weighs on us; and then we wake,
12And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along
13    Twixt villages, and think how we shall take
14    Our own calm journey on for human sake.


1] First published with the title "The Nile." This is considered to be the sonnet on the Nile written in friendly competition with Keats and Shelley. Back to Line
7] Sesostris: Rameses II, king of Egypt ca. 1300 B.C..
that southern beam: Cleopatra. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP.2.155; RPO 1996-2000.