Narrative and Lyric Poems (first series) for use in the Lower School eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 179 pages of information about Narrative and Lyric Poems (first series) for use in the Lower School.


  High on the shore sat the great god Pan,
    While turbidly flowed the river,
  And hacked and hewed as a great god can, 15
  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!) 20
  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, 25
    (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. 30


  Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan! 
    Piercing sweet by the river! 
  Blinding sweet, O great god Pan! 
  The sun on the lull forgot to die,
  And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly 35
    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[2] sigh for the cost and pain,—­ 40
  For the reed which grows nevermore again
    As a reed with the reeds in the river.

      —­Mrs. Browning.

[1] Pan.  In Greek mythology, the god of pastures, forests and flocks.  He was represented as half-man, half-goat, in appearance.  He was the inventor of the shepherd’s flute.

[2] Pan was not one of the gods of Olympus, and was literally “half a beast.”


  Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
    But we build the ladder by which we rise
    From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
  And we mount to the summit round by round.

  I count this thing to be grandly true, 5
    That a noble deed is a step toward God—­
    Lifting the soul from the common sod[2]
  To a purer air and a broader view.

  We rise by things that are under our feet;[3]
    By what we have mastered of good and gain; 10
    By the pride deposed and the passion slain,
  And the vanquished ills that we hourly meet.

  We hope, we aspire, we resolve, we trust,
    When the morning calls us to life and light;
    But our hearts grow weary, and ere the night, 15
  Our lives are trailing the sordid[4] dust.

  We hope, we resolve, we aspire, we pray,
    And we think that we mount the air on wings
    Beyond the recall of sensual things,
  While our feet still cling to the heavy clay. 20

  Wings for the angels, but feet for the men![5]
    We may borrow the wings to find the way—­
    We may hope, and resolve, and aspire, arid pray. 
  But our feet must rise, or we fall again.

Project Gutenberg
Narrative and Lyric Poems (first series) for use in the Lower School from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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