When, now, the dances and songs and all the ceremonies had come to an end and the heavenly company sat down, Musa was taken to a table where the nine Muses were being served. They sat huddled together half scared, glancing about with their fiery black or dark blue eyes. The busy Martha, of the Gospels was caring for them in person.
She had on her finest kitchen apron and a tiny little smudge on her white chin and was pressing all manner of good things on the Muses in the friendliest possible way, but when Musa and Saint Cecilia and some other artistic women arrived and greeted the shy Pierians cheerfully, and joined their company, they began to thaw, grew confidential, and the feminine circle became quite pleasant and happy. Musa sat beside Terpsichore, and Cecilia between Polyhymnia and Euterpe, and all took one another’s hands.
Next came the little minstrel urchins and made up to the beautiful women with an eye to the bright fruit which shone on the ambrosial table. King David himself came and brought a golden cup, out of which all drank, so that gracious joy warmed them. He went round the table, not omitting as he passed to chuck pretty Erato under the chin. While things were going on so favorably at the Muses’ table, Our Gracious Lady herself appeared in all her beauty and goodness, sat down a few minutes beside the Muses, and kissed the august Urania with the starry coronet tenderly upon the lips, when she took her departure, whispering to her that she would not rest until the Muses could remain in Paradise forever.
Gratitude for Kindness
But that never came about. To declare their gratitude for the kindness and friendliness which had been shown them, and to prove their goodwill, the Muses took counsel together and practised a hymn of praise in a retired corner of the Underworld. They tried to give it the form of the solemn chorals which were the fashion in Heaven. They arranged it in two parts of four voices each, with a sort of principal part, which Urania took, and they thus produced a remarkable piece of vocal music.
The next time a feast day was celebrated in Heaven, and the Muses again rendered their assistance, they seized what appeared to be a favorable moment for their purpose, took their places, and began their song. It began softly, but soon swelled out mightily, but in those regions it sounded so dismal, almost defiant and harsh, yet so wistful and mournful that first of all a horrified silence prevailed, and next I hear whole assembly was seized with a sad longing for earth and home, and broke into universal weeping.
A sigh without end throbbed throughout Heaven. All the Elders and Prophets started up in dismay while the Muses, with the best of intentions, sang louder and more mournfully, and all Paradise, with the Patriarchs and Elders and Prophets and all who ever walked or lay in green pastures, lost all command of themselves. Until at last, the High and Mighty Trinity Himself came to put things right, and reduced the too zealous Muses to silence with a long reverberating peal of thunder.
Then quiet and composure were restored to Heaven, but the poor nine Sisters had to depart and never dared enter it again from that day onward.