Ancient Hymns and Poetry for the Mousai

Homeric Hymn 25. To Apollo and the Muses

I will begin with the Muses and Apollo and Zeus.
For it is through the Muses and Apollo
that there are singers upon the earth and players upon the lyre;
but kings are from Zeus.
Happy is he whom the Muses love:
sweet flows speech from his lips.
Hail, children of Zeus!
Give honour to my song!
And now I will remember you and another song also.

Hymns of Proclus 2. To the Muses

A sacred light I sing, which leads on high
Zeus’ nine famed daughters, ruler of the sky,
Whose splendours beaming o’er this sea of life,
On souls hard struggling with its storms of strife,
Through mystic rites perfective and refined,
(From books which stimulate the sluggish mind)
From earth’s dire evils leads them to that shore,
Where grief and labour can infest no more;
And well instructs them how, with ardent wing,
From Lethe’s deep, wide-spreading flood to spring,
And how once more their kindred stars to gain,
And ancient seats in truth’s immortal plain,
From whence they wand’ring fell, thro’ mad desire
Of matter’s regions and allotments dire.
In me this rage repress, illustrious Nine!
And fill my mental eye with light divine.
Oh may the doctrines of the wise inspire
My soul with sacred Bacchanalian fire,
Lest men, with filthy piety replete,
From paths of beauteous light divert my feet.
Conduct my erring soul to sacred light,
From wand’ring generation’s stormy night:
Wise thro’ your volumes hence, the task be mine,
To sing in praise of eloquence divine,
Whose soothing power can charm the troubled soul,
And throbbing anguish and despair control.
Hear, splendid goddesses, of bounteous mind,
To whom the helm of wisdom is assigned,
And who the soul with all-attractive flame
Lead to the blest immortals whence she came,
From night profound enabling her to rise,
Forsake dull earth, and gain her native skies,
And with unclouded splendour fill the mind,
By rites ineffable of hymns refin’d.
Hear, mighty saviours! and with holy light,
While reading works divine illume my sight,
And dissipate these mists, that I may learn
Immortal gods from mortals to discern;
Lest, plunged in drowsy Lethe’s black abyss,
Some baneful daemon keep my soul from bliss;
And lest deep merged in Hyle’s stormy mire,
Her powers reluctant suffer tortures dire,
And some chill Fury with her freezing chain,
In ling’ring lethargy my life detain.
All-radiant governors of wisdom’s light,
To me now hast’ning from the realms of night,
And ardent panting for the coast of day,
Thro’ sacred rites benignant point the way,
And mystic knowledge of my view disclose,
Since this for ever from your nature flows.