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Metamorphoses
Ovid

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Bk V:294-331 The contest between the Pierides and the Muses.

The Muse was speaking: wings sounded in the air, and voices in greeting came out of the high branches. The daughter of Jupiter looked up, and questioned where the sound came from, that was so much like mouths speaking, and thought it human, though it was birdsong. Nine of them, magpies, that imitate everything, had settled in the branches, bemoaning their fate. While she wondered, the other began speaking, goddess to goddess, "Defeated in a contest, they have been added only recently to the flocks of birds. Pierus of Pella, rich in fields, was their father, and Paeonian Euippe was their mother. Nine times, while giving birth, she called, nine times, to powerful Lucina. Swollen with pride in their numbers, this crowd of foolish sisters came here, to us, through the many cities of Achaia and Haemonia, and challenged us to a singing competition, saying, 'Stop cheating the untutored masses with your empty sweetness. If you have faith in yourselves, contend with us, you goddesses of Thespiae. We cannot be outdone in voice or art, and we are your equals in numbers. If you want, if you are defeated, you can grant us the Heliconian fountains, Hippocrene, of Medusa's offspring, and Boeotian Aganippe. Or we will grant you the Emathian plains as far as snow-covered Paeonia! Let the nymphs decide the outcome.'
     
It was shameful to compete with them, but it seemed more shameful to concede. The nymphs were elected, and swore on their streams to judge fairly, and sat on platforms of natural rock. Then, without drawing lots, the one who had first declared the contest sang, of the war with the gods, granting false honours to the giants, and diminishing the actions of the mighty deities. How Typhoeus, issued forth from his abode in the depths of the earth, filling the heavenly gods with fear, and how they all turned their backs in flight, until Egypt received them, and the Nile with its seven mouths. She told how earth-born Typhoeus  came there as well, and the gods concealed themselves in disguised forms. 'Jupiter' she said, 'turned himself into a ram, the head of the flock, and even now Libyan Ammon is shown with curving horns. Delian Apollo hid as a crow, Bacchus, Semele's child, as a goat, Diana, the sister of Phoebus, a cat, Saturnian Juno a white cow, Venus a fish, and Cyllenian Mercury the winged ibis.'  
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