Mnemosyne (nee MAHS ih nee) was a goddess in Greek mythology. She was one of the Titans, one of the sons and daughters of Uranus and Gaea. After the defeat of the Titans by the Olympian gods, Zeus visited Pieria and he spent nine hot sweaty nights with Mnemosyne. She gave birth to the nine Muses, the nine patron goddesses of the arts.

She was the goddess of memory. Her name means memory in Greek, which is where we get words like "mnemonic". I recently came across an interesting note on the significance of Mnemosyne. "The Greeks, who understood the artistic process very well, were apt at describing it as springing from a union between creative thrusting nature and fertile memory." (Bernard Evslin, Gods, Demigods, and Demons, 1975)




Trumbull Stickney (1874-1904)

It’s autumn in the country I remember.

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

It's cold abroad the country I remember.

The swallows veering skimmed the golden grain
At midday with a wing aslant and limber;
And yellow cattle browsed upon the plain.

It's empty down the country I remember.

I had a sister lovely in my sight:
Her hair was dark, her eyes were very sombre;
We sang together in the woods at night.

It's lonely in the country I remember.

The babble of our children fills my ears,
And on our hearth I stare the perished ember
To flames that show all starry thro' my tears.

It's dark about the country I remember.

There are the mountains where I lived. The path
Is slushed with cattle-tracks and fallen timber,
The stumps are twisted by the tempests' wrath.

But that I knew these places are my own,
I'd ask how came such wretchedness to cumber
The earth, and I to people it alone.

It rains across the country I remember.

Mne*mos"y*ne (?), n. [L., fr. Gr. remembrance, memory, and the goddess of memory. See Mnemonic.] Class Myth.

The goddess of memory and the mother of the Muses.

 

© Webster 1913.

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