A poem by Matthew Arnold

CALLICLES (from below)

As the sky-brightening south-wind clears the day,
And makes the mass’d clouds roll,
The music of the lyre blows away
The clouds that wrap the soul.

Oh, that Fate had let me see
That triumph of the sweet persuasive lyre!
That famous, final victory
When jealous Pan with Marsyas did conspire!

When, from far Parnassus’ side,
Young Apollo, all the pride
Of the Phrygian flutes to tame,
To the Phrygian highlands came!
Where the long green reed-beds sway
In the rippled waters grey
Of that solitary lake
Where Maeander’s springs are born;
Where the ridg’d pine-wooded roots
Of Messogis westward break,
Mounting westward, high and higher.
There was held the famous strife;
There the Phrygian brought his flutes,
And Apollo brought his lyre;
And, when now the westering sun
Touch’d the hills, the strife was done,
And the attentive Muses said
‘Marsyas! thou art vanquishèd.’
Then Apollo’s minister
Hang’d upon a branching fir
Marsyas, that unhappy Faun,
And began to whet his knife.
But the Maenads, who were there,
Left their friend, and with robes flowing
In the wind, and loose dark hair
O’er their polish’d bosoms blowing,
Each her ribbon’d tambourine
Flinging on the mountain sod,
With a lovely frighten’d mien
Came about the youthful God.
But he turn’d his beauteous face
Haughtily another way,
From the grassy sun-warm’d place,
Where in proud repose he lay,
With one arm over his head,
Watching how the whetting sped.

But aloof on the lake strand,
Did the young Olympus stand,
Weeping at his master’s end;
For the Faun had been his friend.
For he taught him how to sing.
And he taught him flute-playing.
Many a morning had they gone
To the glimmering mountain lakes,
And had torn up by the roots
The tall crested water-reeds
With long plumes, and soft brown seeds,
And had carved them into flutes,
Sitting on a tabled stone
Where the shoreward ripple breaks.
And he taught him how to please
The red-snooded Phrygian girls,
Whom the summer evening sees
Flashing in the dance’s whirls
Underneath the starlit trees
In the mountain villages.
Therefore now Olympus stands,
At his master’s piteous cries
Pressing fast with both his hands
His white garment to his eyes,
Not to see Apollo’s scorn;
Ah, poor Faun, poor Faun! ah, poor Faun!

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