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[534b] in certain gardens and glades of the Muses—like the bees, and winging the air as these do.1 And what they tell is true. For a poet is a light and winged and sacred thing, and is unable ever to indite until he has been inspired and put out of his senses, and his mind is no longer in him: every man, whilst he retains possession of that, is powerless to indite a verse or chant an oracle. Seeing then that it is not by art that they compose and utter so many fine things about the deeds of men—


1 A beginning of this comparison appears in Aristophanes' praise of the early tragedian Phrynichus—“he sipped the fruits of ambrosial lays, ever bringing away sweet song.” Aristoph. Birds 750f.

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