The Passing of Pan

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Laughter, velvet-lipped, runs ringing
        All along the woodland ways,
While a strange, bewitching singing
        Fills the glad Arcadian[2] days;
Ripple-rocked, the slender naiads
        Rush-fringed shores expectant scan
For attendant hamadryads,[3]
        Heralding the path of Pan.

Through the swaying bushes sliding,
        Dark-eyed nymphs[4] before him trip,
And the god, with stately striding,
        Follows, laughter on his lip;
While the wild bird-hearts that love him
        In the haunts untrod by man,
Riot rapturously above him,
        Heralding the path of Pan.

From the yellow beds of mallows
        Gleams the glint of golden hair,
Nereids[5] from the shorewise shallows
        Fling a greeting on the air;
Slim white limbs, divinely fashioned,
        Of the fair immortal clan
Sway to harmonies impassioned,
        Heralding the path of Pan.

Round his brow a wreath he tosses,
        Twined with Asphodel and rose,
As triumphant o’er the mosses,
        Song-saluted on he goes;
Frail wood-maidens who adore him,
        When he rests his temples fan—
When he rises, run before him,
        Heralding the path of Pan !

New York, 1896.

  1. Pan is a god of nature in Greek mythology.
  2. Arcadia is a wooded region of ancient Greece, and is often used as a name for a utopian vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature.
  3. A hamadryad is a tree-dwelling spirit in Greek mythology.
  4. A nymph is a minor female nature deity in Greek mythology.
  5. A nereid is a sea nymph in Greek mythology.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.