POETRY & LITERATURE about AFRICA


 

William Shakespeare

(from "King Henry IV")

I speak of Africa and golden joys...  

 

 

The Old Africa

(by John A. Hunter)

I am one of the last of the old time hunters.

Both the game and the native tribes as I knew them are gone.

No one will ever again see the great elephant herds led by the old bulls

with 150lb of ivory in each tusk.

Never again will be heard the yodelling war cries of the Maasai

as they swept the bush after cattle-killing lions.

Few indeed will be able to say they have set foot in country never before seen by a white man.

No, the old Africa has gone… and I saw it go.

 

 

Marico Moon

(by Herman Charles Bosman)

I have seen the moon in other places besides the Marico. But it is not the same there. 

It does strange things to you, the Marico moon, and in your heart are wild and fragrant fancies, and your thoughts go very far away.

 

 

In Exile VIII (Red)

(by Charles Ould)

Hibiscus was red

(It grew by my window),

And salvia,

Poinsettia,

The spikes of aloes,

And the kaffirboom

In flaring splendour.

 

Here there are flowers,

Frail lives of loveliest name,

Daffodils, primroses, daisies,

Fritillaries, buttercups,

But nowhere in England

That pagan colour,

Nowhere that red

That flamed by my window.

 

 

Brave Days of Old

A Tribute to John Posselt

(by Martin Fick)

Come, Sir, let's sit together tonight:
Let me hear the stories of old;
Forget this world's plight.
Bring out your whisky, let's be bold.
I see your finger is battered,
From trigger guards tattered.
Let me hear the sounds and cries.
Of the wilderness that lies in the mists gone by.

Bring your old dog near the fire
And let's hear the secrets of your mind.
Tell me of a buffalo's fearsome fight;
Of a kudu bull with no sight;
Show me your rifle -the old 9.3
Let me feel, let me see.

Tell me of days when you stood your ground
Of a horse that bolted when it heard the sound
Of your rifle's whipcrack
And left you to back-track
To a campfire far away.

Show me your boots, still full of clay;
Bring your sweat-polished saddle
Still scratched with thorn;
Tell me of sunsets and golden rivers,
And dusks, and dawn.

Bring out the photographs of old,
That fondly show your friends, now cold,
That you hold dear to your heart:
Of frilly dresses and an ox-span's cart;
Of men that never smiled at all
But wore knee-breeches and stood so tall.

Let's go back into the mists of time,
Recall memories, oh so fine:
That I may learn from you
And be a person to be remembered too.

 

 

Before Dawn

Rhodesian Rhymes 1909

(by Cullen Gouldsbury)

Still was the camp—so deathly still
That dry twigs snapped like the Whip of Doom,
And a pale, green moon climbed up the hill,
And the shadows lay, so cold, so chill,

Shimmering shreds of gloom.

Never a sound where the men were laid
Stretched and swathed on the earthy floor,
Save for a sigh when, half afraid,
A sleeper moved, at his dream dismayed,
And sank to his sleep once more.

The moon climbed up, and she poised on high,
And looked awhile in a cold disdain,
Flashed her searchlights athwart the sky,
Lit the river that rumbled by
And took her path again.

Still was the camp—so cold, so still
In the dim dead hours before the dawn,
When a cry rang out to the far-off hill,
And marrow and bones went cold and chill,

And slumber was foresworn.

For a lion slunk in the deeper shade,
And his footfall thudded low—so low—
Over the grass of a tiny glade;
Hardly a sound—but the die was played,
And he took a man from the row.

 

 

His Last Will and Testament

By Cullen Gouldsbury

Bury me deep, and dig me in—it’s all that you have to do,

And set a stone that’ll save my skin from the slinking jackal crew:

Plant me out where the paths divide, up on the edge of the thorn,

And tuck the rifle down at my side (the barrels are badly worn).

 

I reckon it may be good to know, when the worms have had their fill,

That the dear old ’phunts still come and go over the hump of the hill—

Dead as a nail, I’ll bet I hear their thumping feet go by,

And the flogging tail, and the flapping ear between my bones and the sky.

 

Lonely, you think? A rum idea? That’s for a man to say!

I’ve known this country many a year, and I came out here to stay;

I’d rather be planted fair and free, with a beast or two around

Than in an urban cemetery, next to the Underground.

 

‘Twont be so lonely, for a lot of natives are bound to pass

Chasing a buck, as like as not, skidding along in the grass—

You know the place that I’ve got in view? Just where the paths divide,

And one goes east to the Little Lovu, and one to the Congo side.

 

‘Tisnt as if I’d much to lose! You’d better grab my kit,

There isn’t enough to pick and choose, and I’ve sold the best of it.

One or two decent heads. Perhaps—the roan goes thirty, full,

A pair of fairly useful straps, and the tusks of that last old bull.

 

You reckon you’ll feel it? Not a damn! A week at the wide outside,

You may be wondering where I am, and then you’ll let it slide!

The dog’ll be hit the worst, I bet—for dogs are built that way,

And a dog can’t swear, though he don’t forget, and he can’t flop down and pray.

 

Anything else before I go?... I reckon I’m nearly due…

… No! Not painful… but devilish slow…

Sort of feel bent askew…

Dig it deep… and moderate wide… shove my head to the dawn…

… Don’t forget… Where the paths divide, just on the edge of the thorn…

 

 

The Place Where the Elephants Die

(by Cullen Gouldsbury)

Hidden away from the haunts of men, west of a widespread lake

Out of the scope of human ken, in tangled thicket and brake,

‘Mid arching trees where a foetid breeze ruffles the ragged sky,

Is the sombre place where the vanishing race of the Elephants come to die.

 

Many a mighty Lord of Herd, massive of tusk and limb,

Has crept away at the whispered word that signified death to him—

Driven by doom to the murky gloom where the wheeling vultures fly,

Through buffet and blast he has come at last to the Place where the elephants die.

 

Pile upon pile of bleaching bone, and a foul, miasmic breath

With now and again a mighty moan to break on the hush of death—

Sluggish streams, and the silver beams of a silent moon on high—

God forfend I should meet my end in the Place where the elephants die!

 

Once, they say, in the olden days a venturesome man set forth,

Threaded path by devious ways, westward and south and north,

Dallied with Death at every breath while many a moon went by

Till he found the brake by the Silent Lake where the elephants come to die.

 

Tusk upon tusk lay whitely there, under a twisted tree,

Wealth of the world, bleached stark and bare—and he gazed upon his fee

Dreaming the dream of a mighty scheme—and ambition fluttered high

Till he sank, and slept—and the rumour crept through the place where the elephants die.

 

But the elephant clan were close at heel—for the place was theirs to hold,

Sacrosanct to the common weal, out of the mists of old—

And the word went forth from south to north, and the herds came thundering by

To kill the man who had braved the clan in the Place where they came to die.

 

Only a native tale, you say, laughing in light disdain?

Maybe so—but of what avail to jest when the facts are plain?

Let him has found on his camping ground or under an open sky

One elephant dead then shake his head at “The Place where the Elephants die!”

 

 

The Magic Plains

(by Cullen Gouldsbury)

When the world is out of gear,

When our Gods have gone astray,

When the ghosts of yester-year

Rise to taunt the coming day,

In the lull before the rains

Hie we to the Magic Plains.

 

Tapestries of tender green,

Screens of grass like cloth of gold,

Belts of bushland in between

Where the pinky buds unfold,

Whisps of smoke from heathen fires

On the Plain of our Desires.

 

Red-rimmed sun and lacy cloud,

Hazy mists that hover low,

Russet trees with branches bowed,

Silent, sluggish streams that flow,

Almost halt, yet never tire,

Through the Plain of my Desire.

 

Shadow shapes with sweeping horns

Glinting in the level rays,

Shapes that through a thousand dawns

Feed along the meadow ways,

Roan and eland and the rest

Grazing toward the golden West.

 

Or, when twilight shadows fall,

And the catlike creatures prowl,

Blending with hyaena call

Come the cries of waterfowl—

Thus the shadows creep again

Out across the magic plain.

 

 

The Call of the Veld

(by T.V. Vyvyan)

Tho’ I wandered far from home

In a land of strange delight,

Sail where tropic waters foam

Sapphire blue and pearly white—

Wher’er I go, what’er I see,

The veld is ever calling me.

 

Tho’ I scale the highest peak

In a land of shimmering snow,

Watch the setting sunbeams streak

Golden pathways as they go—

Yet those very sunbeams tell

Of the veld I love so well.

 

Sun-baked earth and russet grass,

Bush, and thorn, and boulder bare,

In the winter what of these?

T’is the veld I love is there.

 

Summer rains in glory bring

All the myriad flowers that lie

Waiting the cloud’s opening

‘Neath the earth, erstwhile so dry,

 

So though all my life may be

Lived ‘neath grey celestial dome,

I in thought and fancy see

Those dear grassy miles of home.

 

 

Afar in the Desert

(by Thomas Pringle)

Afar in the desert I love to ride,

With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side:

When the sorrows of life the soul o’ercast,

And, sick of the Present, I cling to the Past;

When the eye is suffused with regretful tears,

From the fond recollections of former years;

And shadows of things that have long since fled

Flit over the brain, like the ghosts of the dead:

Bright visions of glory--that vanish too soon;
Day-dreams—that departed ere manhood's noon;
Attachments—by fate or by falsehood reft;
Companions of early days—lost or left;
And my Native Land—whose magical name
Thrills to the heart like electric flame;
The home of my childhood; the haunts of my prime;
All the passions and scenes of that rapturous time
When the feelings were young and the world was new,
Like the fresh bowers of Eden unfolding to view;
All—all now forsaken—forgotten—foregone!
And I -- a lone exile remembered of none --
My high aims abandoned,—my good acts undone,—
—Aweary of all that is under the sun,—
With that sadness of heart which no stranger may scan,
I fly to the Desert afar from man!

Afar in the Desert I love to ride,
With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side:
When the wild turmoil of this wearisome life,
With its scenes of oppression, corruption, and strife—
The proud man's frown, and the base man's fear,—
The scorner's laugh, and the sufferer's tear—
And malice, and meanness, and falsehood, and folly,
Dispose me to musing and dark melancholy;
When my bosom is full, and my thoughts are high,
And my soul is sick with the bondman's sigh—
Oh! then there is freedom, and joy, and pride,
Afar in the Desert alone to ride!
There is rapture to vault on the champing steed,
And to bound away with the eagle's speed,
With the death-fraught firelock in my hand—
The only law of the Desert Land!

Afar in the Desert I love to ride,
With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side:
Away—away from the dwellings of men,
By the wild deer's haunt, by the buffalo's glen;
By valleys remote where the oribi plays,
Where the gnu, the gazelle, and the hartèbeest graze,
And the kùdù and eland unhunted recline
By the skirts of grey forests o'erhung with wild-vine;
Where the elephant browses at peace in his wood,
And the river-horse gambols unscared in the flood,
And the mighty rhinoceros wallows at will
In the fen where the wild-ass is drinking his fill.

Afar in the Desert I love to ride,
With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side:
O'er the brown Karroo, where the bleating cry
Of the springbok's fawn sounds plaintively;
And the timorous quagga's shrill whistling neigh
Is heard by the fountain at twilight grey;
Where the zebra wantonly tosses his mane,
With wild hoof scouring the desolate plain;
And the fleet-footed ostrich over the waste
Speeds like a horseman who travels in haste,
Hying away to the home of her rest,
Where she and her mate have scooped their nest,
Far hid from the pitiless plunderer's view
In the pathless depths of the parched Karroo.

Afar in the Desert I love to ride,
With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side:
Away—away—in the Wilderness vast,
Where the White Man's foot hath never passed,
And the quivered Coránna or Bechuán
Hath rarely crossed with his roving clan:
A region of emptiness, howling and drear,
Which Man hath abandoned from famine and fear;
Which the snake and the lizard inhabit alone,
With the twilight bat from the yawning stone;
Where grass, nor herb, nor shrub takes root,
Save poisonous thorns that pierce the foot;
And the bitter-melon, for food and drink,
Is the pilgrim's fare by the salt lake's brink:
A region of drought, where no river glides,
Nor rippling brook with osiered sides;
Where sedgy pool, nor bubbling fount,
Nor tree, nor cloud, nor misty mount,
Appears, to refresh the aching eye:
But the barren earth, and the burning sky,
And the black horizon, round and round,
Spread—void of living sight or sound.

And here, while the night-winds round me sigh,
And the stars burn bright in the midnight sky,
As I sit apart by the desert stone,
Like Elijah at Horeb's cave alone,


'A still small voice' comes through the wild
(Like a Father consoling his fretful Child),
Which banishes bitterness, wrath, and fear,—
Saying—MAN IS DISTANT, BUT GOD IS NEAR!

 

 

Song of the Wild Bushman

(by Thomas Pringle)

Let the proud White Man boast his flocks,
And fields of foodful grain;
My home is 'mid the mountain rocks,
The Desert my domain.
I plant no herbs nor pleasant fruits,
I toil not for my cheer;
The Desert yields me juicy roots,
And herds of bounding deer.

The countless springboks are my flock,
Spread o'er the unbounded plain;
The buffalo bendeth to my yoke,
The wild-horse to my rein;
My yoke is the quivering assagai,
My rein the tough bow-string;
My bridle curb is a slender barb—
Yet it quells the forest-king.

The crested adder honoureth me,
And yields at my command
His poison-bag, like the honey-bee,
When I seize him on the sand.
Yea, even the wasting locusts' swarm,
Which mighty nations dread,
To me nor terror brings nor harm—
For I make of them my bread.

Thus I am lord of the Desert Land,
And I will not leave my bounds,
To crouch beneath the Christian's hand,
And kennel with his hounds:
To be a hound, and watch the flocks,
For the cruel White Man's gain—
No! the brown Serpent of the Rocks
His den doth yet retain;
And none who there his sting provokes,
Shall find its poison vain!

 

 

The Bushman

(by Thomas Pringle)

The Bushman sleeps within his black-browed den,
In the lone wilderness. Around him lie
His wife and little ones unfearingly—
For they are far away from 'Christian Men.'
No herds, loud lowing, call him down the glen:
He fears no foe but famine; and may try
To wear away the hot noon slumberingly;
Then rise to search for roots—and dance again.
But he shall dance no more! His secret lair,
Surrounded, echoes to the thundering gun,
And the wild shriek of anguish and despair!
He dies—yet, ere life's ebbing sands are run,
Leaves to his sons a curse, should they be friends
With the proud 'Christian-Men'—for they are fiends!

 

 

The Lion Hunt

(by Thomas Pringle)

Mount—mount for the hunting—with musket and spear!
Call our friends to the field—for the Lion is near!
Call Arend and Ekhard and Groepe to the spoor;
Call Muller and Coetzer and Lucas Van Vuur.

Ride up Eildon-Cleugh, and blow loudly the bugle:
Call Slinger and Allie and Dikkop and Dugal;
And George with the elephant-gun on his shoulder—
In a perilous pinch none is better or bolder.

In the gorge of the glen lie the bones of my steed,
And the hoofs of a heifer of fatherland's breed:
But mount, my brave boys! if our rifles prove true,
We'll soon make the spoiler his ravages rue.

Ho! the Hottentot lads have discovered the track—
To his den in the desert we'll follow him back;
But tighten your girths, and look well to your flints,
For heavy and fresh are the villain's foot-prints.

Through the rough rocky kloof into grey Huntly-Glen,
Past the wild-olive clump where the wolf has his den,
By the black-eagle's rock at the foot of the fell,
We have tracked him at length to the buffalo's well.

Now mark yonder brake where the blood-hounds are howling;
And hark that hoarse sound—like the deep thunder growling;
'Tis his lair—‘tis
  his voice!—from your saddles alight;
He's at bay in the brushwood preparing for fight.

Leave the horses behind—and be still every man:
Let the Mullers and Rennies advance in the van:
Keep fast in your ranks;—by the yell of yon hound,
The savage, I guess, will be out—with a bound.

He comes! the tall jungle before him loud crashing,
His mane bristled fiercely, his fiery eyes flashing;
With a roar of disdain, he leaps forth in his wrath,
To challenge the foe that dare 'leaguer his path.

He couches—ay now we'll see mischief, I dread:
Quick—level your rifles—and aim at his head:
Thrust forward the spears, and unsheath every knife—
St. George! he's upon us!—Now, fire, lads, for life!

He's wounded—but yet he'll draw blood ere he falls—
Ha! under his paw see Bezuidenhout sprawls—
Now Diederik! Christian! right in the brain
Plant each man his bullet—Hurra! he is slain!

Bezuidenhout—up man!—‘tis  only a scratch—
(You were always a scamp, and have met with your match!)
What a glorious lion!—what sinews—what claws—
And seven-feet-ten from the rump to the jaws!

His hide, with the paws and the bones of his skull,
With the spoils of the leopard and buffalo bull,
We'll send to Sir Walter.—Now, boys, let us dine,
And talk of our deeds o'er a flask of old wine.

 

 

African Game Trails

(by Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt)

I speak of Africa and golden joys;

the joy of wandering through lonely lands;

the joy of hunting the mighty and terrible lords of the wilderness,

the cunning, the wary, and the grim.

There are mountain peaks whose snows are dazzling under the equatorial sun;

swamps where the slime oozes and bubbles and festers in the steaming heat;

lakes like seas, skies that burn above deserts

where the iron desolation is shrouded from view by the wavering mockery of the mirage

vast grassy plains where palms and thorn-trees fringe the dwindling streams;

mighty rivers rushing out of the heart of the continent through the sadness of endless marshes;

forests of gorgeous beauty, where death broods in the dark and silent depths.

These things can be told.

 

There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness,

That can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm…

The large tropic moons, and the splendour of the new stars…

Where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset

In the wide spaces of the Earth, unworn of man,

And changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.

 

 

  Out of Africa

Exerpts

(by Karen Blixen)

If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a colour that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?

I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.

The geographical position and the height Of the land combined to create a landscape that had not its like in all the world. There was no fat on it and no luxuriance anywhere; it was Africa distilled up through six thousand feet. like the strong and refined essence of a continent. The colours were dry and burnt. like the colours in pottery. The trees had a light delicate foliage, the structure of which was different from that of the trees in Europe; it did not grow in bows or cupolas, but in horizontal layers, and the formation gave to the tall solitary trees a likeness to the palms, or a heroic and romantic air like full-rigged ships with their sails furled, and to the edge of a wood a strange appearance as if the whole wood were faintly vibrating. Upon the grass of the great plains the crooked bare old thorn trees were scattered, and the grass was spiced like thyme and bog-myrtles; in some places the scent was so strong that it smarted in the nostrils. All the flowers that you found or plains, or upon the creepers and liana in the native forest, were diminutive like flowers of the downs - only just in the beginning of the long rains a number of big, massive heavy-scented lilies sprang out on the plains. The views were immensely wide. Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequaled nobility.

The chief feature of the landscape, and of your life in it, was the air. Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air. The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever-changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has a blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue. In the middle of the day the air was alive over the land, like a flame burning; it scintillated, waved and shone like running water, mirrored and doubled all objects, and created great Fata Morgana. Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.

There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive. One only feels really free when one can go in whatever direction one pleases over the plains, to get to the river at sundown and pitch one's camp, with the knowledge that one can fall asleep beneath other trees, with another view before one, the next night. I had not sat by a camp fire for three years, and so sitting there again listening to the lions far out in the darkness was like returning to the really true world again, where I probably once lived 10,000 years ago…

Out on the Safaris, I had seen a herd of buffalo, one hundred and twenty nine of them, come out of the morning mist under a copper sky, one by one, as if the dark and massive, iron like animals with the mighty horizontally swung horns were not approaching, but were being created before my eyes and sent out as they were finished. I had seen a herd of elephant travelling through dense native forest, where the sunlight is strewn down between the thick creepers in small spots and patches, pacing along as if they had an appointment at the end of the world.

It was, in giant size, the border of a very old, infinitely precious Persian carpet, in the dyes of green, yellow and black brown. I had time after time watched the progression across the plain of the giraffe, in their queer, inimitable, vegetative gracefulness, as if it were not a herd of animals but a family of rare, long stemmed, speckled gigantic flowers slowly advancing. I had followed two rhinos on their morning promenade, when they were sniffing and snorting in the air of the dawn, which is so cold that it hurts in the nose, and looked like two very big angular stones rollicking in the long valley and enjoying life together. I had seen the royal lion, before sunrise, below a waning moon, crossing the grey plain on his way home from the kill, drawing a dark wake in the silvery grass, his face still red up to the ears, or during the midday siesta, when he reposed contentedly in the midst of his family on the short grass and in the delicate, spring like shade of the broad acacia trees of his park of Africa.

The natives have, far less than the white people, the sense of risks in life. Sometimes on a Safari, or on the farm, in a moment of extreme tension, I have met the eyes of my Native companions, and have felt that we were at a great distance from one another, and that they were wondering at my apprehension of our risk. It made me reflect that perhaps they were, in life itself, within their own element, such as we can never be, like fishes in deep water which for the life of them cannot understand our fear of drowning. This assurance, this art of swimming, they had, I thought, because they had preserved a knowledge that was lost to us by our first parents; Africa, amongst the continents, will teach it to you: that God and the Devil are one, the majesty co-eternal, not two uncreated but one uncreated, and the Natives neither confounded the persons nor divided the substance.

The natives were Africa in flesh and blood. The tall extinct volcano of Longonot that rises above the Rift Valley, the broad mimosa trees along the rivers, the elephant and the giraffe, were not more truly Africa than the Natives were, small figures in an immense scenery. All were different expressions of one idea, variations upon the same theme. It was not a congenial upheaping of heterogeneous atoms, but a heterogeneous upheaping of congenial atoms, as in the case of the oakleaf and the acorn and the object made from oak. We ourselves, in boots, and in our constant great hurry, often jar with the landscape. The natives are in accordance with it, and when the tall, slim, dark, and dark eyed people travel, always one by one, so that even the great Native veins of traffic are narrow footpaths, or work the soil, or herd their cattle, or hold their big dances, or tell you a tale, it is Africa wandering, dancing and entertaining you. In the highlands you remember the Poet’s words: Noble found I ever the native, and insipid the immigrant.

There was a place in the hills, on the first ridge in the game reserve, that I myself at the time when I thought that I was to live and die in Africa, had pointed out to Denys as my future burial-place. In the evening, while we sat and looked at the hills, from my house, he remarked that then he would like to be buried there himself as well. Since then, sometimes when we drove out in the hills, Denys had said: “Let us drive as far as our graves.” Once when we were camped in the hills to look for buffalo, we had in the afternoon walked over to the slope to have a closer look at it. There was an infinitely great view from there; in the light of the sunset we saw both Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.

Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.

Here in the early afternoon they brought out Denys from Nairobi, following his old Safari-track to Tanganyika, and driving slowly on the wet road. When they came to the last steep slope, they lifted out, and carried the narrow coffin, that was covered with the flag. As it was placed in the grave, the country changed and became the setting for it, as still as itself, the hills stood up gravely, they knew and understood what we were doing in them; after a little while they themselves took charge of the ceremony, it was an action between them and him, and the people present became a party of very small lookers-on in the landscape.

Denys had watched and followed all the ways of the African Highlands, and better than any other white man, he had known their soil and seasons, the vegetation and the wild animals, the winds and smells. He had observed the changes of weather in them, their people, clouds, the stars at night. Here in the hills, I had seen him only a short time ago, standing bare-headed in the afternoon sun, gazing out over the land, and lifting his field-glasses to find out everything about it. He had taken in the country, and in his eyes and his mind it had been changed, marked by his own individuality, and made part of him. Now Africa received him, and would change him, and make him one with herself.

After I had left Africa, Gustav Mohr wrote to me of a strange thing that had happened by Denys’ grave, the like of which I have never heard. “The Masai,” he wrote, “have reported to the District Commissioner at Ngong, that many times, at sunrise and sunset, they have seen lions on Finch-Hatton’s grave in the Hills. A lion and a lioness have come there, and stood, or lain, on the grave for a long time. Some of the Indians who have passed the place in their lorries on the way to Kajado have also seen them. After you went away, the ground round the grave was levelled out, into a sort of big terrace, I suppose that the level place makes a good site for the lions, from there they can have a view over the plain, and the cattle and game on it.”

It was fit and decorous that the lions should come to Denys’s grave and make him an African monument. Lord Nelson himself, I have reflected, in Trafalgar Square, has his lions made only out of stone.

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