The Pipes of Pan

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Pipes of Pan song by Elgar 1900 cover.jpg

"The Pipes of Pan" is a poem by Adrian Ross set to music by the English composer Edward Elgar,[1] being completed on 5 June 1899.

The song was published by Boosey in 1900.[2] The first performance was by 'Miss Blouvelt'[3] at the Crystal Palace on 30 April 1900.[2][4] Elgar also arranged the song accompaniment for orchestra,[5] which was first sung by Andrew Black at the Queen's Hall on 12 May 1900.[2]

Early editions of the vocal score are inscribed 'Sung by Mr. Ivor Foster'; Foster was a popular opera and, particularly, concert singer of the day whose credits included participating in Boosey's series of ballad concerts.[6]



When the woods are gay in the time of June
With the Chestnut flow’r and fan,
And the birds are still in the hush of noon, -
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
He plays on the reed that once was a maid
Who broke from his arms and ran,
And her soul goes out to the list’ning glade -
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
Though you hear, come not near,
Fearing the wood-god’s ban ;
Soft and sweet, in the dim retreat,
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
When the sun goes down and the stars are out,
He gathers his goat-foot clan,
And the Dryads dance with the Satyr rout ;
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
For he pipes the dance of the happy Earth
Ere ever the gods began,
When the woods were merry and mad with mirth -
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
Come not nigh, pass them by,
Woe to the eyes that scan !
Wild and loud to the leaping crowd,
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
When the armies meet on the battle field,
And the fight is man to man,
With the gride of sword and the clash of shield -
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
Thro’ the madden’d shriek of the flying rear,
Thro’ the roar of the charging van,
There skirls the tune of the God of Fear -
Hark to the pipes of Pan !
Ours the fray – on and slay,
Let him escape that can !
Ringing out in the battle shout,
Hark to the pipes of Pan !




  1. ^ Moore, p. 270
  2. ^ a b c Kennedy, p. 345
  3. ^ Certainly American soprano Lillian Blauvelt who was performing in Queen's Hall concerts at the time
  4. ^ Banfield, p. 441
  5. ^ Moore, p. 376n
  6. ^ Welsh Biography: Ivor Foster