Son of Thracian King Oeagrus|
And the Muse Calliope
Taught to play the lyre by Muses
He made move the rocks and trees.
'Twas Apollo gave him the lyre|
He used to enchant wild beasts
His music drew like a pyre
Ancient oaks like bees to feasts.
Orpheus joined the Argonauts|
With whom he sailed to Colchis
His music freed them from tight spots
Proving where real power is.
When back he married Eurydice|
Settling among savages
Near Tempe she meets Aristaeus
Who her attempts to ravage.
She trod a serpent as she fled|
And died of its poisonous bite
To Tartarus Orpheus sped
The clutch of Hades to spite.
With lyre he raced to Thesprotis|
Using the passage at Aornum
There he charmed the dog Cerberus
So too the ferryman Charon.
Winning three Judges of the Dead|
With music sweet and plaintive
Tortures of the damned suspended
That sweet Eurydice might live.
These with music he won over|
Taught to him by the Muses
To return his love to clover
All that remained was Hades.
The music his savage heart soothed|
Upper World would go Eurydice
But one condition must be smoothed
For him to gain her release.
Only when she was safely back|
Under the light of the sun
Could he then turn himself to track
The progress of his loved one.
Up the dark passage she followed|
Guided by sounds of his lyre
If any care for her he showed
Consequences would be dire.
Only when he reached the sunlight|
Did he turn to check her there
In this way after his long plight
He lost his love forever.
When Dionysus invaded Thrace|
Orpheus failed to honor him
Teaching other things to his race
Than matched the god's darkest whim.
He preached other sacred mysteries|
Against rites sacrificial
He proclaimed his god Helius
Called Apollo, best of all.
Overcome by his vexation|
Dionysus set the Maenads
On him for cruel execution
They knew to make roll the heads.
In Macedonia at Deium|
The temple of Apollo
Where Orpheus makes delirium
Preaching of the high and low.
Maenads letting husbands enter|
Seize the weapons stacked outside
Bursting madly into center
Commit holy genocide.
These crazed, fanatic womenfolk|
Followers the god of wine
Through their veins happily let soak
Drug of mushrooms on which they dine.
Hallucinations, massive strength|
Senseless rioting, energy
These the results from the whole length
Of dosage, a drugged synergy.
As such they would do Orpheus|
As Hera had done without meds
When newly-born Dionysus
The Titans had torn to shreds.
Murdering the husbands forthwith|
They tore limb-from-limb Orpheus
Then, to fulfill the gruesome myth
His head they tossed into Hebrus.
Severed, his head flowed the river|
Singing all the way to Lesbos
So treated, this music-giver
Outraged those on Olympus.
His limbs gathered the sad Muses|
As Leibethra buried them
There the nightingale refuses
To sing naught but his anthem.
At the river named Helicorn|
Sought to cleanse themselves the Maenads
They hoped they could escape the scorn
Heaped by the Olympiads.
But the River-god dived under|
And disappeared for four miles
Thus he tore their plans asunder
Escaping guilt through his wiles.
'Twas Maenad promiscuity|
Condemned most by Orpheus
But what angered Aphrodite
Dealt not with Dionysus.
Much like any good musician|
Or poet, for that matter
Orpheus took the position
On love that her role shattered.
But, her fellow Olympians|
His murder could not justify
Dionysus turned his minions
To oak trees so they'd survive.
Meanwhile a Lemnian serpent|
Jealous, attacked Orpheus' head
Apollo flashed that instant
Converting the snake to stone--Dead!
His head at Antissa they laid|
In cave sacred to Dionysus
In this way for his crime he paid
Hosting the head of Orpheus.
There it prophesied day and night|
Stealing Apollo's business
From the oracle at Delphi
As well Gryneium and Clarus.
With these oracles deserted|
Apollo flew to the cave
Over the head he exhorted
"Cease singing, my business to save!"
Thereupon the head fell silent|
But his lyre would survive him
Drifting also to the island
It would strum celestial hymns.
Up in a Lesbos temple laid|
Where to Apollo they pray
The greatest honor to be paid
Let the lyre forever play.
With the blessings of Olympus|
On Muses' intercession
Apollo honored Orpheus
Making his lyre a constellation.