Thursday, November 07, 2013


He is a God and More

John Leicester Warren (1835-1895), excerpt from "Ode to Pan," The Collected Poems of Lord De Tabley (London: Chapman & Hall Limited, 1903), pp. 148-149:
Pan is no cloudy ruler in dim haze,
No king of air-belts delicate afar,
But in the ripening slips and tangled ways
Of the blue cork-woods where the goat-herds are.
And we may find him by the bulrush pits,
Where the hot oxen chin-deep soaking lie;
Or in the mulberry orchard grass he sits
With milky kex and marrowy hemlocks nigh;
Where silken floating under-darnels tie
And mat the herbage of the summer floor.
A god he is, this Pan, content to dwell
Among us, nor disdains the damp and hot wood-smell.
He is a god and more.

He loves the flaky boles of peeling pines
Brown as the sand; he loves the languid vines,
As the fruit darkens in their drooping leaves;
The crumpled poppies garnered among sheaves
Soften his eyes with colour as of dreams.
The first few crisping leaf-falls on his ear
Herald the wasting year.
He feels the ivies push their stem-feet up
Against the beech-bole all in seams between,
And broaden downwards many a rounded cup
In orbed tops of mealy buds white-green.
Pan too will watch in open glare unseen
The quiet locust seething in the blaze
Upon the vine-leaves of the quarry ways.

By broken margins seated of the main
The dog-troop's sour sharp yelping he will hear,
As they go flushing up gull, heron, crane,
And noisy at some stranded carcase tear.
Pan sees some maiden bloom with shining hair
Descending slowly from a temple porch,
Her sandals come in flashes like a torch,
Bound on some service to the image there;
Leaning she holds the myrtle bushes near,
And rinses from the lowest marble stair
Her sacrificial urn in currents clear.
Ay, and this Pan will watch the tillage yield,
The mastich coppice and the millet field.
The brown rough-bearded bondsman sits thereby
To hasten with long goad and urgent cry
The oxen treading barley round and round.
He scoops with eager finger for his meat
A pulpy-headed gourd, and to the ground
Tosses the rind, and watchful from his seat
Cries to his oxen lest they slacken pace.
These sights doth Pan consider, and all ways
Of human toil, all doings, all desire;
Whereby the new gods bend men to obey,
And give them hands of lead and brains of fire;
And crush them with the heel of iron sway,
And weaken them with labour, lest they rise,
In Titan fashion proud against the skies.

Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901), Pan im Schilf

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