Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A Musical Instrument
What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.
He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
Ere he brought it out of the river.
High on the shore sat the great god Pan
While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.
He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
(How tall it stood in the river!)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
In holes, as he sat by the river.
'This is the way,' laughed the great god Pan
(Laughed while he sat by the river),
'The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed.'
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.
Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.
Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, --
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Musical Instrument by Elizabeth Barrett Browning )
(22 March 1941 -)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
- Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes, Billy Collins
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- A Smile To Remember, Charles Bukowski
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Poem of the Day
- If You Were Here Today, Serena Blackinton
- Uncle Trevor's Solution, rohan bendre
- Trapped Inside, Pamela Carroll
- Two Green Points: Art Print by Wassily K.., Frank Avon
- Winter Twilight Haiku, Chenou Liu
- The Season of His Birth, Frank Avon
- The Man Who Cut His Left Leg, Sergi Dutronc
- Back agin, Rodney R. Cooper
- Science Vs Spirituality, Tushar Ray
- Everlasting silence, Mario,Lucien,Rene Odekerken