Friday, April 25, 2014

Pan & Apollo

While Pan was boasting there to mountain nymphs
of his great skill in music, and while he
was warbling a gay tune upon the reeds,
cemented with soft wax, in his conceit
he dared to boast to them how he despised
Apollo's music when compared with his--.
At last to prove it, he agreed to stand
against Apollo in a contest which
it was agreed should be decided by
Tmolus as their umpire.

This old god
sat down on his own mountain, and first eased
his ears of many mountain growing trees,
oak leaves were wreathed upon his azure hair
and acorns from his hollow temples hung.

First to the Shepherd-god Tmolus spoke:
"My judgment shall be yours with no delay.
Pan made some rustic sounds on his rough reeds,
delighting Midas with his uncouth notes;
for Midas chanced to be there when he played.
When Pan had ceased, divine Tmolus turned
to Phoebus, and the forest likewise turned
just as he moved. Apollo's golden locks
were richly wreathed with fresh Parnassian laurel;
his robe of Tyrian purple swept the ground;
his left hand held his lyre, adorned with gems
and Indian ivory. His right hand held
the plectrum--as an artist he stood there
before Tmolus, while his skilful thumb
touching the strings made charming melody.

Delighted with Apollo's artful touch,
Tmolus ordered Pan to hold his reeds
excelled by beauty of Apollo's lyre.
That judgment of the sacred mountain god
pleased all those present, all but Midas, who
blaming Tmolus called the award unjust."

-Ovid Metamorphoses

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