Calliope (Calliopeia), the “Fair Voiced” and the eldest Muse, is the muse of epic poetry and is seen holding a writing tablet in hand, sometimes seen with a roll of paper or a book, and crowned in gold.
Calliope is known for taking a fancy to Achilles and taught him how to cheer his friends by singing at banquets. She also was called by Zeus to mediate the quarrel between Aphrodite and Persephone over possession of Adonis.
She settled the dispute by giving them equal time, providing Adonis some sorely needed free time to himself. By Apollo, she bore Linus, who was slain by Hercules, and Orpheus.
But when, Calliope, thy loud harp rang
In Epic grandeur rose the lofty strain;
The clash of arms, the trumpet’s awful clang
Mixed with the roar of conflict on the plain;
The ardent warrior bade his coursers wheel,
Trampling in dust the feeble and the brave,
Destruction flashed upon his glittering steel,
While round his brow encrimsoned laurels waved,
And o’er him shrilly shrieked the demon of the grave.
Clio the “Proclaimer” is the muse of history and is often seen sitting with a scroll and accompanied by a chest of books. She has been credited with introducing the Phoenician alphabet into Greece.
Clio had teased Aphrodite’s love of Adonis, and in consequence of her wrath, Clio fell in love with Pierius, the son of Magnes and the king of Macedonia. By Pierus, she bore Hyacinth.
Majestic Clio touched her silver wire,
And through time’s lengthened vista moved a train,
In dignity sublime; – the patriot’s fire
Kindled its torch in heaven’s resplendent ray,
And ‘mid contention rose to Heaven again.
Erato the “Lovely” is the muse of love poetry and mimicry, and is seen with a lyre and sometimes wears a crown of roses.
But when Erato brushed her flowery lute,
What strains of sweetness whispered in the wind!
Soft as at evening when the shepherd’s flute
To tones of melting love alone resigned,
Breathes through the windings of the silent vale;
Complaining accents tremble on the gale,
Or notes of ecstacy serenely roll.
So when the smiling muse of Cupid sung,
Her melody sighed out the sorrowing soul,
Or o’er her silken chords sweet notes of gladness rung.