Calling The Muse
of Crete, a Greek lyric poet, lived during the 2nd century. He was a
freedman and court musician to the emperor Hadrian (reigned 117-138
CE). Among many other works, he composed a Hymn to the Muse,
Unfortunately for those of us who research ancient music, very little
of the ancient Greek written music survives and most of the oldest surviving
examples date to the third century BC, and they are, for the most part,
only fragments. Most of the works with music notation complete enough
for performance were composed in the Greco-Roman period by Mesomedes.
On this page we have included MIDI transcriptions of the Hymn To
The Muse and two other works by Mesomedes as well as translations
of the poems (concerning the translations, we do
not know for sure who created these translations, if you by chance know,
please tell us.).
Hymn To The Muse
Sing, Muse, dear
to me, and prelude my own song,
let a breeze, come forth from your groves,
make my soul tremble
Oh wise Calliope who directs the gracious muses
and you whose wisdom initiates the mysteries,
Son of Latona, Delian, Paean,
help me with your favor.
Hymn To Helios
Let the heavens be silent,
the earth, the sea, the winds.
Mountains, valleys, echoes
and the sons of birds, keep silent!
Phoebus of the long and beauteous hair is coming.
Father of the dawn, with eye of dazzling white,
you, with the glorious golden tresses,
lead your rosy chariot along the limitless roads of the sky,
following the winged footprints of the steeds,
intertwining your curling rays,
surrounding the whole earth with your resplendent light.
Your rivers of immortal fire give life to the smiling day.
For your, the imperturbable chorus of stars dances on Olympus
accompanying their free melody on Phoebus' lyre;
and in front, the pale Moon leads the rhythmic times
of the seasons by the cadenced movement of white calves.
Your benevolent spirit rejoices in turning the myriad-robed earth.
Winged Nemesis, turner of the scales of life,
blue-eyed goddess, daughter of justice,
who, with your unbending bridle,
dominate the vain arrogance of men and,
loathing man's fatal vanity, obliterate black envy;
beneath your wheel unstable and leaving no imprint,
the fate of men is tossed; you who come unnoticed,
in an instant, to subdue the insolent head.
life with your hand,
and with frowning brows, hold the yoke.
We glorify you, Nemesis, immortal goddess,
Victory of the unfurled wings, powerful, infallible,
who shares the altar of justice and, furious at human pride,
casts man into the abyss of Tartarus.
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