Charles G.D. Roberts
by Tracy Ware
PIPES OF PAN
with the flocking of hills, within shepherding watch
Tempe, vale of the gods, lies in green quiet withdrawn,—
Tempe, vale of the gods, deep-couched amid woodland
Threaded with amber of brooks, mirrored in azure
All day drowsed with the sun, charm-drunken with
moonlight at midnight,
from the world forever under a vapor of dreams,—
Hid by the shadows of dreams, not found by the curious
Sacred and sweet forever, Tempe, vale of the gods.
How, through the cleft of its bosom, goes sweetly
the water Penëus!
How by Penëus the sward breaks into saffron
the long slope-floored beech-glades mount to the
Where, through flame-berried ash, troop the hoofed
Centaurs at morn!
Nowhere greens a copse but the eye-beams of Artemis
Breathes no laurel her balm but Phoebus’ fingers
Springs no bed of wild blossom but limbs of dryad
have pressed it.
the nymphs, and the brooks chime with shy laughter
Here is a nook. Two rivulets fall to mix with
Loiter a space, and sleep, checked and choked
by the reeds.
Long grass waves in the windless water, strown
with the lote-leaf.
Twist thro’ dripping soil great alder roots,
and the air
with the dripping tangle of leaf-thick branches,
Keeps in the strange-coiled stems, ferns, and wet-loving
Hither comes Pan, to this pregnant earthy spot,
when his piping
Flags; and his pipes outworn breaking and casting
Fits new reeds to his mouth with the weird earth-melody
alive with a life able to mix with the god’s.
Then, as he blows, and the searching sequence delights
him, the goat-feet
Furtive withdraw; and a bird stirs and flutes in
Answering. Float with the stream the outworn pipes,
with a whisper,—
“What the god breathes on, the god never can
lurks in each fragment forever. Dispersed by Penëus
Wandering, caught in the ripples, wind-blown hither
Over the whole green earth and globe of sea they
Coming to secret spots, where in a visible form
Comes not the god, though he comes declared in his
in cool of morn, or bodeful hasting at eve,
Or in the depths of noonday plunged to shadiest
Spy them, and set to their lips; blow, and fling
Ay, they fling them away,—but never wholly!
Creeps strange fire in their veins, murmur strange
tongues in their brain,
evasive; a secret madness takes them,—a charm-struck
Passion for woods and wild life, the solitude of
Therefore they fly the heedless throngs and traffic
Haunt mossed caverns, and wells bubbling ice-cool;
and their souls
Gather a magical gleam of the secret of life, and
the god’s voice
to them, not from afar, teaching them wonderful