If I Could Glimpse Him

A poem by John Charles McNeill

When in the Scorpion circles low
The sun with fainter, dreamier light,
And at a far-off hint of snow
The giddy swallows take to flight,
And droning insects sadly know
That cooler falls the autumn night;

When airs breathe drowsily and sweet,
Charming the woods to colors gay,
And distant pastures send the bleat
Of hungry lambs at break of day,
Old Hermes' wings grow on my feet,
And, good-by, home! I'm called away!

There on the hills should I behold,
Sitting upon an old gray stone
That humps its back up through the mold,
And piping in a monotone,
Pan, as he sat in days of old,
My joy would bid surprise begone!

Dear Pan! 'Tis he that calls me out;
He, lying in some hazel copse,
Where lazily he turns about
And munches each nut as it drops,
Well pleased to see me swamped in doubt
At sound of his much-changing stops.

If I could glimpse him by the vine
Where purple fox-grapes hang their store,
I'd tell him, in his leafy shrine,
How poets say he lives no more.
He'd laugh, and pluck a muscadine,
And fall to piping, as of yore!

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