Leading an expedition of approximately 200 men, Henry Morton Stanley headed into the interior of Africa from its  eastern shore on March 21, 1871. After nearly eight months he found David Livingstone in Ujiji, a small village on the shore of Lake Tanganyika on November 10, 1871. According to H. Stanley ‘I did not know how he would receive me; so I did what cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing, – walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”‘

The following is my sort of poetic re-imagining of the encounter.


The sun is shining. The march is on.

I see him coming; the quest is won.

(Dr. Livingstone approaches.)

Shall we put on a show to acknowledge?

That he is the one coming over yonder ledge?

(Dr. Livingstone approaches.)


For many years we have searched this forest,

While malaria and mosquitoes have given us no rest

(Dr. Livingstone approaches.)

Our lives and future hung in the balance,

For this one moment we have given years of this weary dance.

(Dr. Livingstone is before me.)


By what thunderclap shall I record this glorious moment?

Shall I be remembered when my life is spent?

(Dr. Livingstone is before me.)

Thousands may make merry- that is not my way.

I hope I will be remembered as I say.

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”



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