Syrinx, 1892, Arthur Hacker, Manchester City Art Gallery.
Syrinx was a beautiful, gamesome wood Nymph from Arcadia. She was famous for her strong passion for hunting.
One day, the Greek satyr Pan spotted Syrinx in the backwoods on her way to hunt. Delighted from what he saw, Pan decided to approach her lustfully. Syrinx, however, was a very proud Nymph who didn’t wish to be loved- so she ran away to avoid the satyr.
But Pan took off in pursuit.
Suddenly, the Nymph’s path became cut by the river Ladon. Desperately, Syrinx appealed to the river god to rescue her, until finally her prayers were heard and the river god turned Syrinx into a reed plant.
Soon enough, Pan managed to reach Syrinx and spread his arms to fondle and embrace her- but all he found inside his arms was a plain tuft of reeds. Pan sighed out desperately… a sigh so deep that it sounded through the reeds, producing a melody!
Charmed by this melody, Pan bunched up small pieces of reed and produced a pan pipe, which he named “Syrinx" to honor the Nymph. Everywhere he went, Pan took his beloved Syrinx with him, delighting deities with its harmonious sounds.