Orpheus Descending by Jenny Dooley

Orpheus Descending by Jenny Dooley

This book tells us about the myth of Orpheus – the legendary singer and musician of ancient Greece. He was the son of Calliope – muse of the epic poetry and king Oeagrus. When Orpheus was born, his parents made a great celebration. All their relatives and friends came to congratulate the happy family with the gifts. The most welcome guest was Apollo – god of music and light. He prepared something special for the newborn. Apollo gave Orpheus the most valuable thing he had – his lyre. The god of music also predicted Orpheus’ future. Kissing Orpheus’ forehead, Apollo filled the baby’s body by special power. This power gave the opportunity to combine father’s music and mother’s poetry. And the lyre would open people’s hearts and exalt their souls. The masterpiece is adopted poetically and the narration will give real pleasure to the readers.

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Orpheus Descending by Jenny Dooley

After Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry, gave birth to her first and only child, she and her husband, King Oeagus, held a celebration in honour of their newborn son. Calliope wore a violet-coloured wreath on her head and a long white robe. The only sign that her son, Orpheus, was with her was a small bundle of blue-white silk held carefully in her arms.

They were in an open area among the mountains of Thrace where everyone could sing and dance, but Calliope’s high-backed stone chair was kept in the shade of the trees to protect the child from the midday sun. King Oeagus stood next to his wife while relatives and friends came and laid gifts at their feet, wishing them and their child everlasting happiness.

The other eight Muses came, each bringing a gift from the art or science they had influence over. When they had left their gifts with the others, they all sat beside Calliope and Oeagus to wait for Apollo, the god of music and light. He, of all the gods, could tell men their futures. Yet he spoke through the Muses, and they were like children to him. His arrival would be the highlight of the celebration.

Orpheus Descending by Jenny Dooley

A light music came through the movement of the trees leaves. It was so light that it could hardly be heard, yet everyone heard it and stopped what they were doing. A wind began to blow and with it, the music was carried closer to people’s ears. It passed through their ears and filled their bodies, making them feel that the earth below their feet and everything about them was moving to the same beautiful rhythm.

Apollo walked from the forest into the open area where the celebration was taking place, and they saw it was he who was playing this music on a lyre he held in his hands. He walked through the crowd of people up to Calliope, where he placed the lyre at her feet.

“Calliope, my Muse of epic poetry, you have brought a son into this world with Oeagus, a man of Thrace. Because of your influence over the art of poetry, and because the Thracians are the most musical of people in Greece, I give your son the instrument which is closest to my heart. With it. he will be able to combine the poetry you have given him. with the music his father has given him, to create songs no other human on earth will be able to match. This is what will define your son. He will be able to go places no other man can go because of his music. He will give men strength in times of despair; heroes will be led on in their journey because of his playing; and he will experience both love and loss, and his joy and sorrow will be heard through the sound of his lyre. And when he is taken from this earth, he and his lyre will he placed together so that all men will be able to see and remember where music and poetry combined…

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