Hesiodus, Theogonia, 1-104:
Let us begin our song from the Heliconian Muses, who live on the great and holy mountain of Helicon, and dance with their tender feet around the violet-coloured spring and the altar of the mighty son of Cronos. When they have washed their soft bodies in Permessus, or in the Spring of the Horse, or in sacred Olmeius, they begin to make their beautiful, lovely dances on the top of Helicon, stepping strongly with their feet. From there they fly up, covered in a thick mist, [10] and go about in the night, singing with most beautiful voices, hymning Zeus the aegis-bearer and noble Argive Hera who walks on golden sandals, and grey-eyed Athena, daughter of the aegis-bearing Zeus, and Phoebus Apollo and Artemis who delights in arrows, and Poseidon who holds and shakes the earth, and revered Themis, and Aphrodite with her curling glances, and golden-wreathed Hebe and beautiful Dione, and Leto and Iapetus and Cronos the subtle counsellor, and Eos and great Helios and bright Selene, [20] and Earth and great Oceanus and black Night, and the holy race of all the other everlasting immortals.
It was the Muses who once taught Hesiod beautiful song, while he was shepherding his lambs under holy Helicon. The first word spoken to me by the goddesses, the Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus, was this:
'Shepherds of the wild, shameful creatures, nothing but bellies, we know how to speak many false things as if they were true, and we know, when we wish, how to utter true things as well.'
So spoke the ready-voiced daughters of the great Zeus. [30] And they picked and gave me a rod, a shoot of flourishing laurel, a wonderful thing; and they breathed into me a heavenly voice, so I might celebrate things to come and things past. They commanded me to hymn the race of blessed everlasting gods, and always to sing of themselves, the Muses, both first and last. But why should I tell all this about oak or rock?
Come then, let us begin from the Muses, whose hymns delight the great heart of Zeus their father in Olympus, speaking of what is, what will be, and what has been, agreeing with their voices. Their sweet sound flows tireless [40] from their mouths, and the home of their father, Zeus the loud thunderer, rejoices at the goddesses' lily-like voice as it is scattered. The peaks of snuwy Olympus and the homes of the gods resound. Uttering their immortal voice they praise first in song the revered race of gods from the beginning, the gods whose parents were Earth and broad Heaven, and the gods who were born from them, givers of good gifts. Next, as they begin and as they end their song, they hymn Zeus, father of gods and men, saying how much he is the greatest and strongest of the gods. [50] And then they hymn the race of men and strong Giants, and delight the heart of Zeus in Olympus, they, the Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus.
It was Memory, who rules the hills of Eleuther, who bore them of her union with the father, the son of Cronos, as a way of forgetting evils and an intermission of sufferings. Nine times, at night, wise Zeus mingled with her, going into her holy bed far away from the immortal gods. But when a year had passed, and the season came round as the months waned, and many days were accomplished, [60] she bore nine daughters, all of like mind, the concern of whose hearts is song, and whose spirit is free of care, a little way from the highest peak of snowy Olympus. There are their gleaming dance-places and beautiful homes. With them the Graces and Desire live in joyous festivities. And uttering through their mouths a lovely voice, they sing in praise of the customs of all and the noble practices of the immortals, uttering a most lovely sound. Then they went to Olympus, rejoicing in their beautiful voice, with undying song and dance: the dark earth rang about them [70] as they sang their hymn, and a lovely clamour rose from beneath their feet as they went to their father. He it is that reigns in heaven, holding the lightning and the glittering thunderbolt, having conquered his father Cronos by his strength. And he distributed everything fairly to each of the immortals and announced their prerogatives.
Of these things, then, the Muses sang, the Muses who live on Olympus, the nine daughters begotten by great Zeus -- Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polhymnia, Ourania and Calliope: she is the most eminent of them all, [80] for she ministers to revered kings. Any of the god-nourished kings whom daughters of great Zeus honour, and look upon at his birth, upon his tongue they put a sweet dew, and from his mouth flow gentle words. All the people look to him as he apportions judgements with righteous justice; and with sure speech he quickly puts an end, with understanding, to even a great quarrel. That is why kings are wise-minded, for when the people in their assemblies fall into error, they turns things to right again [90] with ease, persuading the people with soft words. As he goes through an assembly they greet him with gentle reverence, like a god, and he is pre-eminent among the company. Such is the sacred gift of the Muses to men. For it is through the Muses and far-shooting Apollo that there are singers and players of the kithara upon the earth, and through Zeus that there are kings. He whom the Muses love is happy, for a sweet voice flows from his mouth. For if someone has grief in his new-troubled spirit, and is in fear, distressed in his heart, still, when a singer [100] servant of the Muses, hymns the glories of men of the past and of the blessed gods who live on Olympus, at once he forgets his miseries and remembers his troubles no more: the gifts of the goddesses swiftly turn him another way.
Hail, chidren of Zeus! Give me a lovely song.

(Barker 1984: 34-36.)

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