THE MUSES.Ques. Who were the Muses?
Ans. They were the daughters of Jupiter and Mnemo´syne, and were supposed to preside over the liberal arts and sciences.
Ques. How many Muses were there?
Ans. They were nine in number, and each presided over some particular department of literature, art or science. Their names were:
Calli´ope, who was the Muse of epic poetry, she holds in her hand a roll of parchment, or a trumpet.
Clio presided over history. She holds a half opened scroll.
Melpo´mene was the Muse of tragedy. She leans on a club, and holds a tragic mask.
Euter´pe was the patroness of music. She holds two flutes.
Er´ato inspired those who wrote of love. She plays on a nine-stringed lyre.
Terpsich´ore presided over choral dance and song. She appears dancing, and holds a seven-stringed lyre.
Ura´nia, the Muse of astronomy, holds a globe, and traces mathematical figures with a wand.
Thalia, the Muse of comedy, holds in one hand a comic mask, in the other a crooked staff.
Polyhym´nia presided over eloquence. She holds her fore-finger to her lips, or carries a scroll.
The Muses are sometimes represented as crowned with palms, and seated in the shade of an arbor, playing upon different instruments; or again, as dancing in a circle with joined hands, while Apollo is seated in their midst.
Ques. How have some writers accounted for the number of Muses?
Ans. They say that in ancient times there were but three Muses. The citizens of Sicyon employed three sculptors to execute statues of these goddesses, promising to choose from among the nine images, those which they should consider the most beautiful. When the statues were finished, they were found to be so skillfully wrought, that it was impossible to make a choice. They were all placed in the temple, and the poet Hesiod afterwards assigned them names and attributes.
Ques. What punishment did the Muses inflict on the nine daughters of Pierus, king of Æmathia?
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Smiles & Good Reading,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915
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