The Nile Song
Exploration, Discovery, Nationalism, Comparative Philology, Travel, Heroism
The subtitle explains that the song was sung at a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society 'when it was announced that "the Nile was Settled"'. The song opens by hailing John H Speke and James A Grant, whose 'trophy' of the 'Head of the Nile [...] Brightens the name of our Tight Little Isle', and who communicated 'what the Ages have thirsted to know' to Roderick I Murchison and the society. Describes the harsh conditions of their journey, including their 'Perilous tracks' 'Far in the desert-sand', and notes Murchison's reminder that the explorer's 'Line's the Equator'—a reference to the equatorial line on which the source of the Nile (Lake Nyanza) is situated. Goes on to boast about the explorers' observations of Uganda and Kragwè, and the fact that Edward Stanford will have to put the explorers' names on his maps. Ends by calling on the 'buffers' of the society to praise the 'Lake on the Line' and by claiming a lasting reputation for the explorers.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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