In the wild papyrus swamps of Egypt
Antinous went hunting for boar one day.
He met Pan of the Mountains playing his syrinx
and was startled, turn, and began to run.
“Do not flee so quickly, boy!” the god called,
and instantly Antinous’ heart rate lowered.
“Come to me, turn, let me see your face.”
The bashful Bithynian slowly shifted, eyes downcast.
The goat-footed god laughed, “If the gods were pleased
at seeing my face, how much more pleased would they have been
had I been you and had a face such as yours!”
The boy had no idea what to say or do at such words.
“Come, do you play the pipes” the god asked.
“Only the double flute, and not too well…”
“Perhaps another time, we shall play
two flutes together–but not today.”
The noon hour was approaching with its sloth,
and Pan looked to the lion-sun overhead,
yawned, and looked back at the boy hunter.
“I have sleep ahead of me, but I shall dream of you.”
Antinous turned to leave, but stopped
when he heard Pan shout “WAIT!”
“What would you have of me?” Antinous asked.
The goat-god laughed and danced a wild reel.
“Your blood is the same as my own,
sprung from Antinoë’s hearth in Mantineia,
and your mother Mantinoë gave it to you
just as it was given to me. But we look
nothing alike, therefore I ask of you:
give me your beauty that I may approach
any mortal without panic following my appearance.
Your visage will not be improved by horns,
therefore carry my pedum as a gentle shepherd.”
Antinous, thinking nothing of these words,
not knowing what Egypt’s Nile would have in store
nor how the gods would use it and his fate,
nodded and agreed to the goat-god’s request
though he understood little of its meaning.
The goat-god laughed and retreated into the rushes,
leaving Antinous alone, no boars in sight.
Khaire Pan! Khaire Khaire Antinoe!