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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Middle States: New York, the City, N. Y.

Pan in Wall Street

By Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)

(See full text.)

JUST where the Treasury’s marble front

Looks over Wall Street’s mingled nations;

Where Jews and Gentiles most are wont

To throng for trade and last quotations;

Where, hour by hour, the rates of gold

Outrival, in the ears of people,

The quarter-chimes, serenely tolled

From Trinity’s undaunted steeple,—

Even there I heard a strange, wild strain

Sound high above the modern clamor,

Above the cries of greed and gain,

The curbstone war, the auction’s hammer;

And swift, on Music’s misty ways,

It led, from all this strife for millions,

To ancient, sweet-do-nothing days

Among the kirtle-robed Sicilians.

And as it stilled the multitude,

And yet more joyous rose, and shriller,

I saw the minstrel, where he stood

At ease against a Doric pillar:

One hand a droning organ played,

The other held a Pan’s-pipe (fashioned

Like those of old) to lips that made

The reeds give out that strain impassioned.

’T was Pan himself had wandered here

A-strolling through this sordid city,

And piping to the civic ear

The prelude of some pastoral ditty!

The demigod had crossed the seas,—

From haunts of shepherd, nymph, and satyr,

And Syracusan times,—to these

Far shores and twenty centuries later.

A ragged cap was on his head;

But—hidden thus—there was no doubting

That, all with crispy locks o’erspread,

His gnarléd horns were somewhere sprouting;

His club-feet, cased in rusty shoes,

Were crossed, as on some frieze you see them,

And trousers, patched of divers hues,

Concealed his crooked shanks beneath them.

He filled the quivering reeds with sound,

And o’er his mouth their changes shifted,

And with his goat’s-eyes looked around

Where’er the passing current drifted;

And soon, as on Trinacrian hills

The nymphs and herdsmen ran to hear him,

Even now the tradesmen from their tills,

With clerks and porters, crowded near him.


O heart of Nature, beating still

With throbs her vernal passion taught her,—

Even here, as on the vine-clad hill,

Or by the Arethusan water!

New forms may fold the speech, new lands

Arise within these ocean-portals,

But Music waves eternal wands,—

Enchantress of the souls of mortals!

So thought I,—but among us trod

A man in blue, with legal baton,

And scoffed the vagrant demigod,

And pushed him from the step I sat on.

Doubting I mused upon the cry,

“Great Pan is dead!”—and all the people

Went on their ways:—and clear and high

The quarter sounded from the steeple.