Kiss of the Muse

kissOfTheMuse  Painting by Paul Cezanne

Plato’s “Phaedrus” Socrates explains the power of the Muses:

« Come, O ye Muses, melodious, as ye are called, whether you have received this name from the character of your strains, or because the Melians are a musical race, help, O help me in the tale which my good friend here desires me to rehearse, in order that his friend whom he always deemed wise may seem to him to be wiser than ever. »

Further on in “Phaedrus”, Socrates describes how the Muses give “an inspired madness which was a noble thing”:

« The third kind is the madness of those who are possessed by the Muses; which taking hold of a delicate and virgin soul, and there inspiring frenzy, awakens lyrical and all other numbers; with these adorning the myriad actions of ancient heroes for the instruction of posterity. »

Socrates goes on to say that the man « who, having no touch of the Muses’ madness in his soul, comes to the door and thinks that he will get into the temple by the help of art–he, I say, and his poetry are not admitted; the sane man disappears and is nowhere when he enters into rivalry with the madman. »