To PROFESSOR JAMES MAYOR, Toronto University.
THE ELETHIAN MUSE.
After chaperoning into Fleet Street the eleventh Muse, the rather Batavian lady who is not to be found in that Greek peerage, Lempriere’s Dictionary, an obliging correspondent from Edinburgh (an eminent writer to the Signet in our northern Thebes) inquired if there were any more muses who had escaped the students of comparative mythology. It is in response to his letter that I now present, as Mr. Charles Frohman would say, the thirteenth, the Elethian Muse.
Yet I can fancy people asking, Where is the twelfth, and over what art or science does she preside? According to Apollodorus (in a recently recovered fragment from Oxyrynchus), Jupiter, suffering from the chronic headaches consequent on his acrimonious conversations with Athena, decided to consult Vulcan, AEsculapius having come to be regarded as a quack. Mulciber (as we must now call him, having used the name Vulcan once), suggested an extraordinary remedy, one of the earliest records of a homoeopathic expedient. He prescribed that the king of gods and men should keep his ambrosial tongue in the side of his cheek for half an hour three times a day. The operation produced violent retching in the Capitoline stomach. And on the ninth day, from his mouth, quite unarmed, sprang the twelfth muse. The other goddesses were very disgusted; and even the gods declined to have any communication with the new arrival. Apollo, however, was more tolerant, and offered her an asylum on the top shelf of the celestial library.