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(2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States)

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Pan liveth

They told me once that Pan was dead,
And so, in sooth, I thought him;
For vainly where the streamlets led
Through flowery meads I sought him--
Nor in his dewy pasture bed
Nor in the grove I caught him.
"Tell me," 'twas so my clamor ran--
"Tell me, oh, where is Pan?"

But, once, as on my pipe I played
A requiem sad and tender,
Lo, thither came a shepherd-maid--
Full comely she and slender!
I were indeed a churlish blade
With wailings to offend 'er--
For, surely, wooing's sweeter than
A mourning over Pan!

So, presently, whiles I did scan
That shepherd-maiden pretty,
And heard her accents, I began
To pipe a cheerful ditty;
And so, betimes, forgot old Pan
Whose death had waked my pity;
So--so did Love undo the man
Who sought and pined for Pan!

He was not dead! I found him there--
The Pan that I was after!
Caught in that maiden's tangling hair,
Drunk with her song and laughter!
I doubt if there be otherwhere
A merrier god or dafter--
Nay, nor a mortal kindlier than
Is this same dear old Pan!

Beside me, as my pipe I play,
My shepherdess is lying,
While here and there her lambkins stray
As sunny hours go flying;
They look like me--those lambs--they say,
And that I'm not denying!
And for that sturdy, romping clan,
All glory be to Pan!

Pan is not dead, O sweetheart mine!
It is to hear his voices
In every note and every line
Wherein the heart rejoices!
He liveth in that sacred shrine
That Love's first, holiest choice is!
So pipe, my pipe, while still you can,
Sweet songs in praise of Pan!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004


Read poems about / on: laughter, sad, song, hair, death, god, running

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