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Short poem

William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)

Pan the Fallen

              1He wandered into the market
              2     With pipes and goatish hoof;
              3He wandered in a grotesque shape,
              4     And no one stood aloof.
              5For the children crowded round him,
              6     The wives and greybeards, too,
              7To crack their jokes and have their mirth,
              8     And see what Pan would do.

              9The Pan he was they knew him,
            10     Part man, but mostly beast,
            11Who drank, and lied, and snatched what bones
            12     Men threw him from their feast;
            13Who seemed in sin so merry,
            14     So careless in his woe,
            15That men despised, scarce pitied him,
            16     And still would have it so.

            17He swelled his pipes and thrilled them,
            18     And drew the silent tear;
            19He made the gravest clack with mirth
            20     By his sardonic leer.
            21He blew his pipes full sweetly
            22     At their amused demands,
            23And caught the scornful, earth-flung pence
            24     That fell from careless hands.

            25He saw the mob's derision,
            26     And took it kindly, too,
            27And when an epithet was flung,
            28     A coarser back he threw;
            29But under all the masking
            30     Of a brute, unseemly part,
            31I looked, and saw a wounded soul,
            32     And a god-like, breaking heart.

            33And back of the elfin music,
            34     The burlesque, clownish play,
            35I knew a wail that the weird pipes made,
            36     A look that was far away,
            37A gaze into some far heaven
            38     Whence a soul had fallen down;
            39But the mob only saw the grotesque beast
            40     And the antics of the clown.

            41For scant-flung pence he paid them
            42     With mirth and elfin play,
            43Till, tired for a time of his antics queer,
            44     They passed and went their way;
            45Then there in the empty market
            46     He ate his scanty crust,
            47And, tired face turned to heaven, down
            48     He laid him in the dust.

            49And over his wild, strange features
            50     A softer light there fell,
            51And on his worn, earth-driven heart
            52     A peace ineffable.
            53And the moon rose over the market,
            54     But Pan the beast was dead;
            55While Pan the god lay silent there,
            56     With his strange, distorted head.

            57And the people, when they found him,
            58     Stood still with awesome fear.
            59No more they saw the beast's rude hoof,
            60     The furtive, clownish leer;
            61But the lightest in that audience
            62     Went silent from the place,
            63For they knew the look of a god released
            64     That shone from his dead face.


1] Pan is the Greek pastoral god of the (pan)pipes.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Wilfred Campbell, The Dread Voyage: Poems (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893), pp. 91-94. B-10 5840 Fisher Library.
First publication date: December 1890
Publication date note: Published in Atlantic Monthly.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/17

Composition date: 1890
Composition date note: ca. 1890
Rhyme: abcbdefe (some variations)

Other poems by William Wilfred Campbell