Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

Pan - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

'Pan is not dead, he lives for ever!
Mere and mountain, forest, seas,
Ocean, thunder, rippling, river,
All are living Presences;
Yea, though alien language sever,
We hold communion with these!
Hail! ever young and fair Apollo!
Large-hearted, earth-enrapturing Sun!
Navigating night's blue hollow,
Cynthia, Artemis, O Moon,
Lady Earth you meekly follow,
Till your radiant race be run;
Pan is not dead!

'Earth, Cybele, the crowned with towers,
Lion-haled, with many a breast,
Mother-Earth, dispensing powers
To every creature, doth invest
With life and strength, engendering showers
Health, wealth, beauty, or withholds;
Till at length she gently folds
Every child, and lays to rest!
Pan is not dead!

'Hearken! rhythmic ocean-thunder!
Wind, wild anthem in the pines!
When the lightning rends asunder
Heavens, to open gleaming mines,
Vasty tones with mountains under
Talk where ashy cloud inclines
Over hoar brows of the heights;
Ware the swiftly flaming lights!
Pan is not dead!

'Whence the 'innumerable laughter,'
All the dancing, all the glees
Of blithely buoyant billowed seas,
If it be not a sweet wafture
From joy of Oceanides?
Whence the dancing and the glees,
In the boughs of woodland trees,
When they clap their hands together,
Hold up flowers in the warm weather?
Gentle elfins of the fur,
Flowers, Venus' stomacher,
Grey doves who belong to her,
Singing birds, or peeping bud,
Lucid lives in limpid flood,
Fishes, shells, a rainbow brood,
If Pan be dead?

'Naiads of the willowy water!
Sylvans in the warbling wood!
Oreads, many a mountain daughter
Of the shadowy solitude!
Whence the silence of green leaves,
Where young zephyr only heaves
Sighs in a luxurious mood,
Or a delicate whisper fell
From light lips of Ariel,
If Pan be dead?

'Wave-illumined ocean palaces,
Musically waterpaven,
Whose are walls enchased like chalices,
Gemmed with living gems, a haven
For foamy, wandering emerald,
Where the waterlights are called
To mazy play upon the ceiling,
Thrills of some delicious feeling!
Sylph-like wonders here lie hid
In dim dome of Nereid;
Tender tinted, richly hued,
Fair sea-flowers disclose their feelers
With a pearly morn imbued,
While to bather's open lid
Water fairies float, revealers
Of all the marvels in the flood,
And Pan not dead!

'We are nourished upon science;
Will ye pay yourselves with words?
Gladly will we yield affiance
To what grand order she affords
For use, for wonder; yet she knows
No whit whence all the vision flows!
Ah! sister, brother, poets, ye
Thrill to a low minstrelsy,
Never any worldling heard,
Ye who cherish the password,
Allowing you, with babes, to go
Within the Presence-chamber so
Familiarly to meet your queen;
For she is of your kith and kin!
Ye are like him of old who heard
In convent garden the white bird;
A hundred years flew over him
Unheeding! All the world was dim;
At length, unknown, he homeward came
To brethren, now no more the same;
Then, at evening of that day,
Two white birds heavenward flew away;
Pan is not dead!

'Spirit only talks with spirit,
Converse with the ordered whole,
However alien language blur it,
May only be of soul with soul.
In our image-moulding sense
We order varied influence
From the World-Intelligence;
And if Nature feed our frame,
She may nourish pride or shame,
Holy, or unholy flame;
Real forms the maniac sees,
Whom he cherisheth, or flees;
Real souls the sleeper kens
In dreamland's eerie shadowed glens.
Pan is not dead!

'Every star and every planet
Feed the fire of Destiny;
Or for good, or evil fan it,
Herè, Hermes, Hecate;
By ruling bias, and career,
To all hath been assigned a sphere,
In realms invisible and here,
Obedience, administration
For individual or nation.
Ceres, Pluto, Prosperine
Are the years' youth, and decline,
Seasonable oil or wine,
Phantasmagory yours or mine;
And if sense be fed by Nature,
With ne'er a show of usurpature
She may feed our spirit too,
And with hers our own imbue,
Ruling influence from her,
Tallied with our character;
Dionysus, Fauns may move
To revel, or the lower love,
Unrisen Ariel control,
Undine of yet unopened soul,
Fallen ghost invite to fall;
Or she, who is the heart of all,
Uranian Aphrodite, whom
The world laid in a Syrian tomb
Under the name of Jesus, She
May dominate victoriously,
And Pan be dead!

'Whence are plague, fog, famine, fevers,
Blighting winds, and 'weather harms'?
Are sorceries malign the weavers,
Through inaudible ill charms?
Disease, confusion, haunting sadness,
Lust, delirium, murder, madness,
Cyclone, grim earthquake, accident,
In some witch-cauldron brewed and blent?
Now I see the open pit;
Abaddon flameth forth from it!
Like lurid smoke the fiends are hurled
Abroad now to confound the world!
Disordered minds
Howl, shriek, wail in the wailing winds!
Pan is not dead!

'Whence the gentle thought unbidden,
Resolve benign, heroic, just,
Lovely image of one hidden,
Higher cherished, lower chidden,
Self down-trodden in the dust?
Silent hand of consolation
On the brows of our vexation,
On the burning brows of sorrow?
Much of all, be sure, we borrow
For that Profound of ours within
From our holy kith and kin!
Pan is not dead!

'Warmth and light from shielding, sheeny
Wings of angels, or Athene,
Call the Guardian what you will,
Impelling, or consoling still!
While if to Christ, or Virgin mother,
Hate, greed, offer prayer, no other
Than Belial, Mammon, Ashtaroth
Draw nigh to hear, and answer both:
When lurid-eyed priest waves the cross
For slaughter, gain that is but loss
Demons contemptuously toss!
What though ye name the evil clan
Typhon, Satan, Ahriman,
Pan is not dead!

'Their bodies are the shows of nature,
Their spirits far withdrawn from ours;
We vary in our nomenclature
For the Demiurgic Powers,
To whom high duties are assigned
In our economy of mind,
As in our mortal order; they
Lead souls upon their endless way;
From whom the tender, sweet suggestion
Arrives uncalled, unheralded,
Illumination, haunting question,
Approval, blame for some one hid,
Perchance from one we count as dead;
Our eyes are holden; they are near,
Who oftenwhile may see and hear!
By the auroral gate of birth,
In the youthful morning mirth,
At the portal of dim death
Their guardianship continueth;
Pan is not dead! . . .

'Ah! why then shrilled in the Egæan
The choral wail, the loud lament,
Confusion of the gods Idæan,
Dire defeat, and banishment?
When the lowly young Judæan
Dying head on cross had bent,
'Great Pan is dead!'

'Sun, and Moon, and Earth, and Stars,
Serene behind our cloudy bars,
With the Magi from the East,
Yield glad homage to the Least,
Offer myrrh, and gold, and gem
Before the Babe of Bethlehem,
Now Pan is dead!

'Yea, before the wondrous story
Of loving, self-surrendering Man
Paled the world's inferior glory,
Knelt the proud Olympian;
Then the darkness of the cross
Enthroned supreme Love's utter loss;
Then Ambition, Pride, and Lust
Into nether hell were thrust,
And Pan was dead!
The loveliness of Aphrodite
Waned before a lovelier far,
Fainting in the rays more mighty
Of the bright and Morning Star;
(Lovely will to give and bless
Maketh form and feature less)
Young-eyed Eros will sustain
His triumph, following in His train;
Kings conquered by One more Divine
In the courts imperial shine,
Thralls owing fealty to Him,
Who dying left their glory dim;
Feudatories, ranged in splendour,
Sworn high services to render,
With lions, leopards, fawning mild,
And drawn swords round a Little Child!
Pan, Pan is dead!

'For while the dawn expands, and heightens,
Greater gods arrive to reign,
Jupiter dethrones the Titans,
Osiris rules the world again,
But in a more majestic guise;
Sinai thunders not, nor lightens,
Eagle, sun-confronting eyes
Veils before mild mysteries!
Balder, Gautama, full-fain
Pay humble tribute while they wane;
All the earlier Beauty prone is
Before a lovelier than Adonis!
Till even the Person of our Lord,
In yonder daylight of the Spirit,
On all the people to be poured
By the dear influence of His merit,
Will fade in the full summer-shine
Of all grown Human, and Divine,
And every mode of worship fall,
Eternal God be all in all;
Pan lives, though dead!'


Comments about Pan by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

  • (4/1/2014 12:41:00 PM)


    A fitting tribute to Great God Pan and the spirit of the Universe. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (4/1/2014 12:41:00 PM)


    A fitting tribute to Great God Pan and the spirit of the Universe. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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