Poems and Ballads (third series)/Pan and Thalassius

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PAN AND THALASSIUS.

a lyrical idyl.

THALASSIUS.

Pan!


PAN.

O sea-stray, seed of Apollo,

What word wouldst thou have with me?
My ways thou wast fain to follow
Or ever the years hailed thee
Man.

Now
If August brood on the valleys,
If satyrs laugh on the lawns,
What part in the wildwood alleys
Hast thou with the fleet-foot fauns—
Thou?

See!
Thy feet are a man's—not cloven
Like these, not light as a boy's:
The tresses and tendrils inwoven
That lure us, the lure of them cloys
Thee.

Us
The joy of the wild woods never
Leaves free of the thirst it slakes:
The wild love throbs in us ever
That burns in the dense hot brakes
Thus.

Life,
Eternal, passionate, awless,
Insatiable, mutable, dear,
Makes all men's law for us lawless:
We strive not: how should we fear
Strife?

We,
The birds and the bright winds know not
Such joys as are ours in the mild
Warm woodland; joys such as grow not
In waste green fields of the wild
Sea.

No;
Long since, in the world's wind veering,
Thy heart was estranged from me:
Sweet Echo shall yield thee not hearing:
What have we to do with thee?
Go.

THALASSIUS.

Ay!

Such wrath on thy nostril quivers
As once in Sicilian heat
Bade herdsmen quail, and the rivers
Shrank, leaving a path for thy feet
Dry?

Nay,
Low down in the hot soft hollow
Too snakelike hisses thy spleen:
'O sea-stray, seed of Apollo!'
What ill hast thou heard or seen?
Say.

Man
Knows well, if he hears beside him
The snarl of thy wrath at noon,
What evil may soon betide him,
Or late, if thou smite not soon,
Pan.

Me
The sound of thy flute, that flatters
The woods as they smile and sigh,
Charmed fast as it charms thy satyrs,
Can charm no faster than I
Thee.

Fast
Thy music may charm the splendid
Wide woodland silence to sleep
With sounds and dreams of thee blended
And whispers of waters that creep
Past.

Here
The spell of thee breathes and passes
And bids the heart in me pause,
Hushed soft as the leaves and the grasses
Are hushed if the storm's foot draws
Near.

Yet
The panic that strikes down strangers
Transgressing thy ways unaware
Affrights not me nor endangers
Through dread of thy secret snare
Set.

PAN.

Whence

May man find heart to deride me?
Who made his face as a star
To shine as a God's beside me?
Nay, get thee away from us, far
Hence.

THALASSIUS.

Then

Shall no man's heart, as he raises
A hymn to thy secret head,
Wax great with the godhead he praises:
Thou, God, shalt be like unto dead
Men.

PAN.

Grace

I take not of men's thanksgiving,
I crave not of lips that live;

They die, and behold, I am living,
While they and their dead Gods give
Place.

THALASSIUS.

Yea:

Too lightly the words were spoken
That mourned or mocked at thee dead:
But whose was the word, the token,
The song that answered and said
Nay?

PAN.

Whose

But mine, in the midnight hidden,
Clothed round with the strength of night
And mysteries of things forbidden
For all but the one most bright
Muse?

THALASSIUS.

Hers

Or thine, O Pan, was the token
That gave back empire to thee
When power in thy hands lay broken
As reeds that quake if a bee
Stirs?

PAN.

Whom

Have I in my wide woods need of?
Urania's limitless eyes
Behold not mine end, though they read of
A word that shall speak to the skies
Doom.

THALASSIUS.

She

Gave back to thee kingdom and glory,
And grace that was thine of yore,

And life to thy leaves, late hoary
As weeds cast up from the hoar
Sea.

Song
Can bid faith shine as the morning
Though light in the world be none:
Death shrinks if her tongue sound warning,
Night quails, and beholds the sun
Strong.

PAN.

Night

Bare rule over men for ages
Whose worship wist not of me
And gat but sorrows for wages,
And hardly for tears could see
Light.

Call
No more on the starry presence
Whose light through the long dark swam:

Hold fast to the green world's pleasance:
For I that am lord of it am
All.

THALASSIUS.

God,

God Pan, from the glad wood's portal
The breaths of thy song blow sweet:
But woods may be walked in of mortal
Man's thought, where never thy feet
Trod.

Thine
All secrets of growth and of birth are,
All glories of flower and of tree,
Wheresoever the wonders of earth are;
The words of the spell of the sea
Mine.