Hesiod on the good king

Here’s an awesome passage from Theogony (82-104), I wish the rest of it were as nice.

When the daughters of great Zeus will honor a lord

Whose lineage is divine, and look upon his birth,

They distill a sweet dew upon his tongue,

And from his mouth words flow like honey. The people

All look to him as he arbitrates settlements

With judgement straight. He speaks out in sure tones

And soon puts an end even to bitter disputes.

A sound-minded ruler, when someone is wronged,

Sets things to rights in the public assembly,

Conciliating both sides with ease.

He comes to meeting place propitiated as a god,

Treated with respect, preeminent in the crowd.

Such is the Muses’ sacred gift to men.

For though it is singers and lyre players

That come from the Muses and far-shooting Apollo

And kings come from Zeus, happy is the man

Whom the Muses love. Sweet flows the voice from his mouth.

For if anyone is grieved, if his heart is sore

With fresh sorrow, if he is troubled, and a singer

Who serves the Muses chants the deeds of past men

Or the blessed gods who have their homes on Olympos,

He soon forgets his heartache, and of all his cares

He remembers none: the goddesses’ gifts turn them aside.

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