display | more...

To Pan

Muse, tell me about Pan, the dear son of Hermes,
with his goat's feet and two horns --a lover of merry
noise. Through wooded glades he wanders with
dancing nymphs who foot it on some sheer cliff's
edge, calling upon Pan, the shepherd-god, long-
haired, unkempt. He has every snowy crest and the
mountain peaks and rocky crests for his domain;
hither and thither he goes through the close thickets,
now lured by soft streams, and now he presses on
amongst towering crags and climbs up to the
highest peak that overlooks the flocks. Often he
courses through the glistening high mountains, and
often on the shouldered hills he speeds along slaying
wild beasts, this keen-eyed god. Only at evening,
as he returns from the chase, he sounds his note,
playing sweet and low on his pipes of reed: not even
she could excel him in melody -that bird who in
flower-laden spring pouring forth her lament utters
honey-voiced song amid the leaves. At that hour
the clear-voiced nymphs are with him and move
with nimble feet, singing by some spring of dark
water, while Echo wails about the mountain-top,
and the god on this side or on that of the choirs,
or at times sidling into the midst, plies it nimbly
with his feet. On his back he wears a spotted
lynx-pelt, and he delights in high-pitched songs
in a soft meadow where crocuses and sweet-smelling
hyacinths bloom at random in the grass.

They sing of the blessed gods and high Olympus
and choose to tell of such an one as luck-bringing
Hermes above the rest, how he is the swift messenger
of all the gods, and how he came to Arcadia, the land
of many springs and mother of flocks, there where his
sacred place is as god of Cyllene. For there, though
a god, he used to tend curly-fleeced sheep in the
service of a mortal man, because there fell on him
and waxed strong melting desire to wed the rich-
tressed daughter of Dryops, and there he brought
about the merry marriage. And in the house she
bare Hermes a dear son who from his birth was
marvellous to look upon, with goat's feet and two
horns -a noisy, merry-laughing child. But when
the nurse saw his uncouth face and full beard, she
was afraid and sprang up and fled and left the
child. Then luck-bringing Hermes received him
and took him in his arms: very glad in his heart
was the god. And he went quickly to the abodes
of the deathless gods, carrying his son wrapped in
warm skins of mountain hares, and set him down
beside Zeus and showed him to the rest of the
gods. Then all the immortals were glad in heart
and Bacchic Dionysus in especial; and they called
the boy Pan because he delighted all their hearts.

And so hail to you, lord! I seek your favor with
a song. And now I will remember you and another
song also.

The name Pan is derived from the word pantes "all," (Pan "delighted all their hearts).

Loeb translation

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.