The Musical Duel of Apollo and Pan

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Pan’s Song

Your rule has lapsed Apollo, all narrative is dead,
You said true form is timeless, but they chose me instead,
My pipe has no rhythm, but is easy on the ear,
A great tumult rise in ecstasy, precisely as you feared,
It’s true you had your time,
But as samples, your’s is mine,
The young are running in the wood,
Arm and arm, as they should,
That measure gave no pleasure,
And with rhyme we divine,
The inkwell has run dry,
Dance along with your lyre.

Lyre lyre lyre lyre lyre lyre lyre

Why endeavour to fix what is beyond repair?
The dancer knows it, but does not despair.
Such concepts as justice permit, the mighty to inflict,
Pain and suffering, so desist, with your rule of the fist!

Virtue hardly nurtures,
Such beauty as you speak.
We must dance Now,
Not ask ourselves How.
Nature is our calling,
All cities are appalling;
Let us grow our hair,
To show we don’t care,
For our time on earth is short,
Let us shed blood as we ought,
Laugh, love and lustre,
Not your cerebral bluster,
Intuition is my mission, and tradition,
I have no time for your addition;
I trust in the Earth,
And embrace the dirt.

Apollo’s Song

I now appeal to all who wish to learn,
The crafts which make of life a pleasurable span,
Or seek refuge from the beasts of prey,
In glistening cities of men who sing my name,
And communicate in tongues glorious refrain,
As without laws to curb the passion’s rule,
Their lives are spent in dreadful misery;
Instead I pray they last the course and take,
Such lessons only I may give as these.

Oh Pan you fool your passions rule your wits;
The muck of earth becomes a curse to those,
Who call civilisation their home.
To Pythagoras I brought my gift the lyre,
And from my precious instrument there came,
A lesson mathematical giving,
To all who wished to build, precious insight;
Even the stars above obeyed my rule.

And yet I shed these tears as well you see,
For man is not a worthy pupil still,
He lies and cheats and shapes belief to suit,
Vainglorious aims, intrigues and stratagems;
His wiles would make a god despair;
A time of expertise is passed indeed,
And shallow intellects run wild and mock,
The light of knowledge that I handed down.

And Pan you should recall the contest when,
Old Timulus adjudged my song above,
Your playful lute. Alone was Midas struck,
He swooned with crass desire and came unstuck,
And grew a pair of ass’s ears to show,
To those who may assume your song superior,
A fate unkind for foolish thoughts as these;
To all I urge be careful what you wish.

Feature Image: Jacob Jordaens: Apollo as Victor over Pan (1637).

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About Author

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Frank Armstrong graduated with a BA (International) from UCD majoring in history, during which time he spent a year at the University of Amsterdam on an Erasmus scholarship. He later earned a barrister-at-law degree at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, and gained a Masters in Islamic Societies and Cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, before taking a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education. Prior to setting up Cassandra Voices his writing was published in the Irish Times, the London Magazine, the Dublin Review of Books, Village Magazine, and the Law Society Gazette, among others. He is the editor-in-chief of Cassandra Voices.

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