Calliope is the writer’s muse, so when I made my requisite author’s blog CalliopesWritingTablet I dedicated it to her because it too is dedicated to learning — my learning the ropes as an author. Where did these ancient women of high esteem and achievement come from?
When Uranus the god of the vast sky melded his essence with Gaia the earth and mother of all life, the Titans were born. Sometime later, Mnemosyne who was considered to be the personification of memory, lay with her nephew Zeus for nine consecutive nights. The nine Muses came out of that union.
These nine women were long considered the source of knowledge. Places dedicated to learning, were dedicated to them — hence the name Museum. As a child growing up in Chicago, a city known world-wide for its museums, I used to stare at those Greek statues standing here and there outside the Museum of Science and Industry, and wonder. I wondered, if Zeus had only nine Muse daughters, then why did the Museum of Science and Industry have far more than nine Muses holding up the roof? I discovered they weren’t Muses, but architectural caryatids – decorative statues of women, their sole purpose to support the roof-line on their heads.
The Field Museum of Natural History on the other hand, has the real deal. The famed nine Muses of the ancient world, statues as large as their Titaness mother, look down on the main floor. I found these statues rather curious. I couldn’t imagine what they had to do with stuffed and mounted animals, mummies, and dinosaurs, and years passed before I figured it out. Each one held something, a clue as to who and what they represented and while some made perfect sense to me as a child, others were confusing.
• Calliope – Muse of Epic Poetry carries a writing tablet
• Clio – Muse of History carries a scroll
• Erato – Muse of Love Poetry carries a Cithara – sort of a lyre
• Euterpe – Muse of Music carries a flute
• Melpomene – Muse of Tragedy carries a Tragic mask
• Polyhymnia – Muse of Hymns carries a veil
• Terpsichore – Muse of Dance carries a lyre
• Thalia – Muse of Comedy carries a Comic mask
• Urania – Muse of Astronomy carries a globe and compass
I understand now as representatives of poetry, the arts and science, they’re there to be a symbol of the very best in the many cultures depicted in the vast museum collections. For centuries writers made a habit of dedicating to the muses. I’ve found these examples:
William Shakespeare, Henry V:
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Charles Baudelaire, The Venal Muse:
O muse of my heart, lover of palaces,
Will you bring, when January lets loose its sleet
And its black evenings without solace,
An ember to warm my violet feet?
What will revive your bruised shoulders,
The nocturnal rays that pierce the shutters?
When you cannot feel your palace, just your empty billfold,
How will you harvest the gold of azure vaults and gutters?
You should, to earn your bread today
Like a choir boy with a censer to wave,
Sings hymns with feeling but without belief.
Or, a starving rip-off artist, selling your charm
And your laughter shades the tears so no one sees the harm
In bringing to bloom an ordinary rat, a vulgar thief.
John Milton, Paradise Lost:
Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse…
Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!
Emily Dickinson Awake ye muses nine:
Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,
Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!
The Aeneid by Virgil:
O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok’d, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav’n began
To persecute so brave, so just a man…
Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus:
O lady myn, that called art Cleo,
Thow be my speed fro this forth, and my Muse,
To ryme wel this book til I haue do…
Thomas Moore, While History’s Muse:
While History’s Muse the memorial was keeping
Of all that the dark hand of Destiny weaves,
Beside her the Genius of Erin stood weeping,
For hers was the story that blotted the leaves.
But oh! how the tear in her eyelids grew bright,
When, after whole pages of sorrow and shame,
She saw History write,
With a pencil of light
That illumed the whole volume, her Wellington’s name.
Mary Darby Robinson, Ode to the Muse:
While softly o’er the pearl-deck’d plain,
Cold Dian leads the sylvan train;
In mazy dance and sportive glee,
SWEET MUSE, I’ll fondly turn to thee;
And thou shalt deck my couch with flow’rs,
And wing with joy my silent hours.
William Blake, To the Muses:
Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
Beneath the bosom of the sea
Wand’ring in many a coral grove,
Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry!
How have you left the ancient love
That bards of old enjoy’d in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move!
The sound is forc’d, the notes are few!
There shall thy tongue in heav’nly murmurs flows,
And there my muse with heav’nly transport glow:
No more to tell of Damon’s tender sighs,
Or rising radiance of Aurora’s eyes,
For nobler themes demand a nobler strain,
And purer language on th’ ethereal plain.
Cease, gentle muse! the solemn gloom of night
Now seals the fair creation from my sight.
And so, have them for yourself, whatever kind of book it is,
and whatever sort, oh patron Muselet it last for more than one generation, eternally.
Wow. Those are inspiring. Today with the sun shining, the geese calling overhead, and the seasons changing right before my eyes, I’ll dedicate my writing efforts to all the muses and see what happens.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with the characters in a romance novel that thoughts of them linger long after the last page is turned? Have you ever been so completely immersed in a love scene that you’d swear you’ve just been kissed or more? Meet Rose Anderson’s strong, confident heroines and be seduced by compelling heroes you’ll wish were there beside you. Come see how their lives intertwine and through their stories discover love profound. From her current novels Hermes Online and Dreamscape, to the passionate stories that follow, this new author will sweep you away on a sensual tide of memorable story-telling.
People ask how I came to write romance stories of the sort. As I didn’t start out with this genre in mind, I’ve asked myself that very thing! I’ve several reasons actually, too many to list all of them here. First of all, I like seduction. That’s the reason I enjoy reading my favorite romance authors. Written seduction in a romance novel is a mind game, a ring-side seat to observe the psychological metamorphosis of the characters. Secondly, I like the physics of it. There comes a point where the connection between characters ignites into something neither has any control over–a 451° point of complete surrender that leads to total combustion. Lastly, because seduction is a cerebral thing, I find erotic romance to be the natural progression of the romance story.
I hope my imagery transports the reader to a time and place where, through the magic and power of words, they’re able to be inside the mind of the characters. Often from this intimate vantage point, the reader experiences the seductive transformation that will eventually send the hero and heroine hurtling toward the precipice. Come be the voyeur to their printed lives.
Open yourself and allow my words to take you there. Draw close as coals ignite and feel the climax build as if you yourself are there being plied with firm hands and soft kisses. And when all is absorbed and endured and nerves are strung bow tight, release this most cerebral orgasm and free fall to earth.
I hope you enjoy the flights of fancy I’ve created. When the last page is turned and the lovers roll into each others’ arms truly spent, know that I just may have another ember tucked away to warm your senses.