Hesiod's Theogony (lines 1-74)

With the Heliconian Muses let us begin our song,
with them who dwell on Helicon, high and sacred mountain.
They dance soft-footed around the violet-colored spring
and around the altar of Cronus' mighty son.
And after washing their soft skin in the Permessus
or the Horse's Spring or the sacred Olmeius,
they perform their beautiful, alluring dances
on Helicon's peak. Nimbly they move their feet.
From there they set out, concealed in thick mist,
and travel by night, sending forth their beautiful voices,
praising in hymns aegis-bearing Zeus and Hera,
the Lady of Argos who walks in golden sandals,
and the aegis-bearing daughter of Zeus, gray-eyed Athena,
and Phoebus Apollo with the arrow-shooter Artemis;
also Poseidon who holds the earth, the Earthshaker,
and revered Themis and quick-glancing Aphrodite,
and golden-crowned Hebe and lovely Dione;
Leto, Iapetus and Cronus the sneaky-minded;
Eos, great Helius and shining Selene;
Gaia, great Oceanus and dark Nyx;
and the holy race of the other immortals who exist forever.
It was the Muses who once taught Hesiod lovely song
when he was herding his sheep beneath sacred Helicon.
This is the first thing the goddesses told me,
the Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus:
"Country shepherds, miserable nuisances, nothing but bellies,
we know how to say many false things that seem true,
but, when we want to, we know how to speak the truth."
So said the eloquent daughters of great Zeus
and gave me a staff--a marvelous thing, a branch they plucked
from a flowering laurel. They breathed into me inspired song,
so that I might celebrate what will be and what has been.
They bid me hymn the race of the blessed who exist forever,
and always to sing about themselves first and last.
But why am I going on about oak and rock?
Come, let us begin with the Muses, who hymn Father Zeus
and please his great heart on Olympus,
speaking with joined voices of what is, what will be
and what has been. The sweet song flows without pause
from their mouths and the house of Father Zeus the Thunderer
sounds with laughter at the voice of the goddesses as it spreads,
soft as a lily. The peak of snowy Olympus and the homes of the
immortals echo. The Muses send forth their immortal voices
and first celebrate in song the revered race of the gods
from the beginning, the ones Gaia and broad Uranus produced
and those gods born from them, dispensers of blessings.
Second, they then sing of Zeus, father of gods and men,
both when they begin the hymn and when they end their song,
telling by how much he is best of the gods and greatest in power.
Then they please Zeus' heart on Olympus,
a hymn of the race of men and the mighty Giants they sing,
the Olympian Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Zeus.
In Pieria, after laying with Father Zeus, she bore them,
Mnemosyne, who rules the hills of Eleutherai,
and they are forgetfulness of ills and rest from troubles.
For Zeus the Counselor lay with her for nine nights
mounting her holy bed far from the immortals.
And when her time came, the seasons came round
with the waning months and the long days were done,
she bore nine like-minded daughters—song is fostered
in their hearts and their spirit is carefree—
not far from the highest summit of snowy Olympus.
There are their smooth dance floors and beautiful homes.
Near them the Graces and Himerus happily have their houses.
Sending forth a lovely voice from their mouths
they celebrate the laws of all and, as they sing the good customs
of the immortals, they send forth a lovely sound.
Then they went to Olympus delighting in sweet sound,
in divine song. Dark Gaia resounded around them as they sang
their hymn; from beneath their feet a lovely stamping rose
as they went to their father. He reigns in heaven,
he himself holds the thunder and glowing lightning,
after defeating his father Cronus in strength. And he has
distributed everything equally to the immortals, given privileges.
















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