The New Pan
Pan shall now returnèd be
Past his former majesty —
Healthy, holy, honest Pan,
Broad’ning out the life of man!
This with drugs has so been sated,
Narrow, lean, and constipated
It is found; and passing dumb
The Open Mystery has become.
Pan, those myths shall be destroyed
That about thee were employed:
Whether riding in the cloud,
Or decaying ’neath the shroud,
Whether pulsing through mankind
(In the wise and eke the blind),
Man shall know thee one with all —
In the mighty, in the small!
Who has said that Pan is dead?
That his friends are lapped in lead?
From this foliage teeming round me,
From these wooded hills that bound me,
From the earth, the sky, the sea,
Hark! a spirit calls to me;
And it thrills me deep and deep
Where the holies dwelling keep!
Know! there’s not a beast on earth
Man, when sunk in moral dearth,
Is less vile than; the Divine
Through his being, too, doth shine:
Man is all that man may be —
Nature shall his next decree
In good time; then prove that man
Shall nobly fill a noble plan!
Horns and hair and cloven hoof
Pan must ever show, in proof
That he doth comprise the god
Of the mind, the limb, the clod,
Of the members one and all,
Of the sky and things that crawl —
God of virtue, god of lust,
God of intellect and dust!
Listen to this brooklet’s song
As it bubbling skips along!
Canst thou hear no voice therein
Praising virtue, blaming sin?
Look! its waters, clean and pure,
Preach a sermon. Then, be sure,
Pan’s as holy, fair, and wise
On the earth as in the skies.
Pan, thy spirit steals upon us,
And thy mantle now is on us —
Rather say that both had being
While the knowing and the seeing
In material mists were bound.
But thy presence now is found:
Pan, thou shalt returnèd be
Past thy former majesty!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, pp. 4-6
broad’ning = (vernacular) broadening
brooklet = a small brook (i.e. a small creek)
canst = (archaic) can (second person singular present of “can”)
dearth = lack, scarcity
the Divine = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God
doth = (archaic) does
lapped in lead = surrounded by lead (“lapped” meaning wrapped, enfolded, enclosed, enveloped, or surrounded), being a reference to people being buried enwrapped in lead (an anthropoid lead coffin, shaped around the body) or, more commonly, buried in lead-lined coffins (such coffins can slow the process of decay, and seal in odours)
See: Vanessa Harding, The Dead and the Living in Paris and London, 1500-1670, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 143-145
’neath = (vernacular) beneath
Pan = in Greek mythology, Pan was the god of shepherds, hunting, and music
sated = (archaic) satisfied
shalt = (archaic) shall
shroud = a layer of material which covers, surrounds, or enwraps something; in the context of death, a burial shroud (a cloth or garment used for wrapping a corpse)
thee = (archaic) you
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your