There is a land in which no tree groweth, and where the warbling of the birds is as a forgotten dream. There is a land of dust and desolation, where no river floweth, and where no cloud riseth from the plains to shade men’s eyes from the sand and the scorching sun. Many are they who stray therein, for all live upon the threshold of misery who inhabit the House of joy.
such is the holy gift of the Muses to men. For it is through the Muses and far-shooting Apollo that there are singers and harpers upon the earth; but princes are of Zeus, and happy is he whom the Muses love: sweet flows speech from his mouth. For though a man have sorrow and grief in his newly-troubled soul and live in dread because his heart is distressed, yet, when a singer, the servant of the Muses, chants the glorious deeds of men of old and the blessed gods who inhabit Olympus, at once he forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all; but the gifts of the goddesses soon turn him away from these.