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The Golden Asse by Lucius Apuleius

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shape, and become Lucius againe. Feare not (quoth she) for my
mistres hath taught me the way to bring that to passe, neither thinke
you that she did it for any good will and favour, but to the end that I
might help her, and minister some remedy when she returneth

Consider I pray you with your selfe, with what frivolous trifles so
marvellous a thing is wrought : for by Hercules I swear I give her
nothing else save a little Dill and Lawrell leaves, in Well water, the
which she drinketh and washeth her selfe withall. Which when she
had spoken she went into the chamber and took a box out of the
coffer, which I first kissed and embraced, and prayed that I might
[have] good successe in my purpose. And then I put off all my
garments, and greedily thrust my hand into the box, and took out a
good deale of oyntment and rubbed my selfe withall.


How Apuleius thinking to be turned into a Bird, was turned into an
Asse, and how he was led away by Theves.

After that I had well rubbed every part and member of my body, I
hovered with myne armes, and moved my selfe, looking still when I
should bee changed into a Bird as Pamphiles was, and behold
neither feathers nor appearance of feathers did burgen out, but
verily my haire did turne in ruggednesse, and my tender skin waxed
tough and hard, my fingers and toes losing the number of five,
changed into hoofes, and out of myne arse grew a great taile, now
my face became monstrous, my nosthrils wide, my lips hanging
downe, and myne eares rugged with haire : neither could I see any
comfort of my transformation, for my members encreased likewise,
and so without all helpe (viewing every part of my poore body) I
perceived that I was no bird, but a plaine Asse.

The I though to blame Fotis, but being deprived as wel of language
as of humane shape, I looked upon her with my hanging lips and
watery eyes. Who as soon as shee espied me in such sort, cried
out, Alas poore wretch that I am, I am utterly cast away. The
feare I was in, and my haste hath beguiled me, but especially the
mistaking of the box, hath deceived me. But it forceth not much, in
regard a sooner medicine may be gotten for this than for any other
thing. For if thou couldst get a rose and eat it, thou shouldst be
delivered from the shape of an Asse, and become my Lucius
againe. And would to God I had gathered some garlands this
evening past, according to my custome, then thou shouldst not
continue an Asse one nights space, but in the morning I shall seek
some remedy. Thus Fotis lamented in pittifull sort, but I that was
now a perfect asse, and for Lucius a brute beast, did yet retaine the
sence and understanding of a man. And did devise a good space
with my selfe, whether it were best for me to teare this
mischievous and wicked harlot with my mouth, or to kicke and kill
her with my heels. But a better thought reduced me from so rash a
purpose : for I feared lest by the death of Fotis I should be deprived
of all remedy and help. Then shaking myne head, and dissembling
myne ire, and taking my adversity in good part, I went into the
stable to my owne horse, where I found another asse of Milos,
somtime my host, and I did verily think that mine owne horse (if
there were any natural conscience or knowledge in brute beasts)
would take pitty on me, and profer me lodging for that night : but it
chanced far otherwise. For see, my horse and the asse as it were
consented together to work my harm, and fearing lest I should eat
up their provender, would in no wise suffer me to come nigh the
manger, but kicked me with their heels from their meat, which I my
self gave them the night before. Then I being thus handled by
them, and driven away, got me into a corner of the stable, where
while I remembred their uncurtesie, and how on the morrow I
should return to Lucius by the help of a Rose, when as I thought to
revenge my selfe of myne owne horse, I fortuned to espy in the
middle of a pillar sustaining the rafters of the stable the image of
the goddesse Hippone, which was garnished and decked round
about with faire and fresh roses : then in hope of present remedy, I
leaped up with my fore feet as high as I could, stretching out my
neck, and with my lips coveting to snatch some roses. But in an
evill houre I did go about that enterprise, for behold the boy to
whom I gave charge of my horse, came presently in, and finding
me climbing upon the pillar, ranne fretting towards me and said,
How long shall wee suffer this wild Asse, that doth not onely eat up
his fellowes meat, but also would spoyl the images of the gods?
Why doe I not kill this lame theefe and weake wretch. And
therewithall looking about for some cudgel, hee espied where lay a
fagot of wood, and chusing out a crabbed truncheon of the biggest
hee could finde, did never cease beating of mee poore wretch, until
such time as by great noyse and rumbling, hee heard the doores of
the house burst open, and the neighbours crying in most lamentable
sort, which enforced him being stricken in feare, to fly his way.
And by and by a troupe of theeves entred in, and kept every part
and corner of the house with weapons. And as men resorted to aid
and help them which were within the doores, the theeves resisted
and kept them back, for every man was armed with a sword and
target in his hand, the glimpses whereof did yeeld out such light as
if it had bin day. Then they brake open a great chest with double
locks and bolts, wherein was layd all the treasure of Milo, and
ransackt the same : which when they had done they packed it up
and gave every man a portion to carry : but when they had more
than they could beare away, yet were they loth to leave any behind,
but came into the stable, and took us two poore asses and my
horse, and laded us with greater trusses than wee were able to
beare. And when we were out of the house, they followed us with
great staves, and willed one of their fellows to tarry behind, and
bring them tydings what was done concerning the robbery : and so
they beat us forward over great hils out of the way. But I, what
with my heavy burden and long journy, did nothing differ from a
dead asse : wherfore I determined with my self to seek some civil
remedy, and by invocation of the name of the prince of the country
to be delivered from so many miseries : and on a time I passed
through a great faire, I came among a multitude of Greeks, and I
thought to call upon the renowned name of the Emperor and say, O
Cesar, and cried out aloud O, but Cesar I could in no wise
pronounce. The Theeves little regarding my crying, did lay me on
and beat my wretched skinne in such sort, that after it was neither
apt nor meet to make Sives or Sarces. Howbeit at last Jupiter
administred to me an unhoped remedy. For when we had passed
through many townes and villages, I fortuned to espy a pleasant
garden, wherein beside many other flowers of delectable hiew,
were new and fresh roses : and being very joyful, and desirous to
catch some as I passed by, I drew neerer and neerer : and while
my lips watered upon them, I thought of a better advice more
profitable for me, lest if from an asse I should become a man, I
might fall into the hands of the theeves, and either by suspition that
I were some witch, or for feare that I should utter their theft, I
should be slaine, wherefore I abstained for that time from eating of
Roses, and enduring my present adversity, I did eat hay as other
Asses did.



How Apuleius thinking to eat Roses, was cruelly beaten by a
Gardener, and chased by dogs

When noone was come, that the broyling heate of the sunne had
most power, we turned into a village to certaine of the theeves
acquaintance and friends, for verily their meeting and embracing
together did give me, poore asse, cause to deeme the same, and
they tooke the trusse from my backe, and gave them part of the
Treasure which was in it, and they seemed to whisper and tell them
that it was stollen goods, and after that we were unladen of our
burthens, they let us loose in a medow to pasture, but myne own
horse and Miloes Asse would not suffer me to feed there with
them, but I must seeke my dinner in some other place.

Wherefore I leaped into a garden which was behinde the stable,
and being well nigh perished with hunger, although I could find
nothing there but raw and green fallets, yet I filled my hungry guts
therwithall abundantly, and praying unto all the gods, I looked about
in every place if I could espy any red roses in the gardens by, and
my solitary being alone did put me in good hope, that if I could find
any remedy, I should presently of an Asse be changed into Lucius
out of every mans sight. And while I considered these things, I
loked about, and behold I saw a farre off a shadowed valley
adjoyning nigh unto a wood, where amongst divers other hearbes
and pleasant verdures, me thought I saw bright flourishing Roses of
bright damaske colour; and said within my bestaill minde, Verily
that place is the place of Venus and the Graces, where secretly
glistereth the royall hew, of so lively and delectable a floure. Then
I desiring the help of the guide of my good fortune, ranne lustily
towards the wood, insomuch that I felt myself that I was no more
an Asse, but a swift coursing horse : but my agility and quicknes
could not prevent the cruelty of my fortune, for when I came to the
place I perceived that they were no roses, neither tender nor
pleasant, neither moystened with the heavenly drops of dew, nor
celestial liquor, which grew out of the thicket and thornes there.
Neither did I perceive that there was any valley at all, but onely the
bank of the river, environed with great thick trees, which had long
branches like unto lawrell, and bearing a flour without any manner
of sent, and the common people call them by the name of Lawrel
roses, which be very poyson to all manner of beasts. Then was I
so intangled with unhappy fortune that I little esteemed mine own
danger, and went willingly to eat of these roses, though I knew
them to be present poyson : and as I drew neere I saw a yong man
that seemed to be the gardener, come upon mee, and when he
perceived that I had devoured all his hearbes in the garden, he
came swearing with a great staffe n his hand, and laid upon me in
such sort, that I was well nigh dead, but I speedily devised some
remedy my self, for I lift up my legs and kicked him with my hinder
heels, that I left him lying at the hill foot wel nigh slain, and so I ran
away. Incontinently came out his wife, who seeing her husband
halfe dead, cried and howled in pittifull sort, and went toward her
husband, to the intent that by her lowd cries shee might purchase to
me present destruction. Then all the persons of the town, moved
by her noise came forth, and cried fro dogs to teare me down. Out
came a great company of Bandogs and mastifes, more fit to pul
down bears and lions than me, whom when I beheld I thought verily
I should presently die : but I turned myself about, and ranne as fast
as ever I might to the stable from whence I came. Then the men
of the towne called in their dogs, and took me and bound mee to the
staple of a post, and scourged me with a great knotted whip till I
was well nigh dead, and they would undoubtedly have slaine me,
had it not come to passe, that what with the paine of their beating,
and the greene hearbes that lay in my guts, I caught such a laske
that I all besprinkled their faces with my liquid dung, and enforced
them to leave off.


How Apuleius was prevented of his purpose, and how the Theeves
came to their den.

Not long after, the theeves laded us againe, but especially me, and
brought us forth of the stable, and when wee had gone a good part
of our journey what with the long way, my great burthen, the
beating of staves, and my worne hooves, I was so weary that I
could scantly go. Then I saw a little before mee a river running
with fair water, and I said to myself, Behold, now I have found a
good occasion : for I will fall down when I come yonder, and surely
I will not rise againe, neither with scourging nor with beating, for I
had rather be slaine there presently, than goe any further.

And the cause why I had determined so to doe was this, I thought
that the theeves when they did see me so feeble and weake that I
could not travell, to the intent they would not stay in their journey,
they would take the burthen from my backe and put it on my
fellowes, and so for my further punishment to leave me as a prey to
the wolves and ravening beasts. But evill fortune prevented so
good a consideration; for the other Asse being of the same purpose
that I was of, by feigned and coloured wearinesse fell downe first,
with all his burthen on the ground as though hee were dead, and he
would not rise neither with beating nor with pricking, nor stand
upon his legs, though they pulled him by the tail, by his legs, and by
his eares : which when the theeves beheld, as without all hope they
said one unto another, What should we stand here so long about a
dead or rather a stony asse? let us bee gone : and so they tooke his
burthen, and divided some to mee, and some to my horse. And then
they drew out their swords and cut off his legs, and threw his body
from the point of a hill down into a great valley. Then I considering
with my selfe of the evill fortune of my poore companion, and
purposed now to forget all subtility and deceit, and to play the good
Asse to get my masters favour, for I perceived by their talke that
we were come home well nigh at our journeys end. And after that
wee had passed over a little hill, we came to our appointed place,
and when we were unladen of our burthens, and all things carried
in, I tumbled and wallowed in the dust, to refresh my selfe in stead
of water. The thing and the time compelleth me to make
description of the places, and especially of the den where the
theeves did inhabit, I will prove my wit in what I can doe, and the
consider you whether I was an Asse in judgement and sence, or
no. For first there was an exceeding great hill compassed about
with big trees very high, with many turning bottoms full of sharp
stones, whereby it was inaccessible. There was many winding and
hollow vallies, environed with thickets and thornes, and naturally
fortressed round about. From the top of the hill ranne a running
water as cleare as silver, that watered all the valleyes below, that it
seemed like unto a sea inclosed, or a standing floud. Before the
denne where was no hill stood an high tower, and at the foot
thereof were sheep-coats fenced and walled with clay. Before the
gate of the house were pathes made in stead of wals, in such sort
that you could easily judge it to be a very den for theeves, and there
was nothing else except a little coat covered with thatch, wherein
the theeves did nightly accustome to watch by order, as I after
perceived. And when they were all crept into the house, and we
were all tied fast with halters at the dore, they began to chide with
an old woman there, crooked with age, who had the government
and rule of all the house, and said, How is it old witch, old trot, and
strumpet, that thou sittest idley all day at home, and having no
regard to our perillous labours, hast provided nothing for our
suppers, but sittest eating and swilling thyself from morning till
night? Then the old woman trembled, and scantly able to speak
gan say, Behold my puissant and faithfull masters, you shall have
meat and pottage enough by and by : here is first store of bread,
wine plenty, filled in cleane rinsed pots, likewise here is hot water
prepared to bathe you.

Which when she had said, they put off all their garments and
refreshed themselves by the fire. And after they were washed and
noynted with oyle, they sate downe at the table garnished with all
kind of dainty meats. They were no sooner sate downe, but in
came another company of yong men more in number than was
before, who seemed likewise to bee Theeves, for they brought in
their preyes of gold and silver, Plate, jewels, and rich robes, and
when they had likewise washed, they sate among the rest, and
served one another by order. Then they drank and eat exceedingly,
laughing, crying and making much noyse, that I thought that I was
among the tyrannous and wilde Lapithes, Thebans, and Centaures.
At length one of them more valiant than the rest, spake in this sort,
We verily have manfully conquered the house of Milo of Hippata,
and beside all the riches and treasure which by force we have
brought away, we are all come home safe, and are increased the
more by this horse and this Asse. But you that have roved about in
the country of Boetia, have lost your valiante captaine Lamathus,
whose life I more regarded than all the treasure which you have
brought : and therfore the memory of him shall bee renowned for
ever amongst the most noble kings and valiant captains : but you
accustome when you goe abroad, like men with ganders hearts to
creepe through every corner and hole for every trifle. Then one of
them that came last answered, Why are you only ignorant, that the
greater the number is, the sooner they may rob and spoyle the
house? And although the family be dispersed in divers lodgings, yet
every man had rather to defend his own life, than to save the riches
of his master : but when there be but a few theeves, then will they
not only rather regard themselves, but also their substance, how
little or great soever it be. And to the intent you may beleeve me I
will shew you an example : wee were come nothing nigh to Thebes,
where is the fountain of our art and science, but we learned where
a rich Chuffe called Chriseros did dwell, who for fear of offices in
the publique wel dissembled his estate, and lived sole and solitary in
a small coat, howbeit replenished with aboundance of treasure, and
went daily in ragged and torn apparel. Wherefore wee devised
with our selves to go to his house and spoyl him of all his riches.
And when night came we drew towards the dore, which was so
strongly closed, that we could neither move it, nor lift it out of the
hooks, and we thought it best not to break it open lest by the noyse
we should raise up to our harm the neighbours by. Then our strong
and valiant captaine Lamathus trusting in his own strength and
force, thrust in his had through a hole in the dore, and thought to
pull back the bolt : but the covetous caitif Chriseros being awake,
and making no noise came softly to the dore and caught his hand
and with a great naile nailed it fast to the post : which when he had
done, he ran up to the high chamber and called every one of his
neighbours by name, desiring them to succour him with all possible
speed, for his own house was on fire. Then every one for fear of
his owne danger came running out to aid him, wherewith we
fearing our present peril, knew not what was best to be don,
whether wee should leave our companion there, or yeeld ourselves
to die with him : but we by his consent devised a better way, for we
cut off his arm by the elbow and so let it hang there : then wee
bound his wound with clouts, lest we should be traced by the drops
of blood : which don we took Lamathus and led him away, for fear
we would be taken : but being so nigh pursued that we were in
present danger, and that Lamathus could not keepe our company
by reason of faintnesse; and on the other side perceiving that it was
not for his profit to linger behinde, he spake unto us as a man of
singular courage and vertue, desiring us by much entreaty and
prayer and by the puissance of the god Mars, and the faith of our
confederacy, to deliver his body from torment and miserable
captivity : and further he said, How is it possible that so courageous
a Captaine can live without his hand, wherewith he could somtime
rob and slay so many people? I would thinke myself sufficiently
happy if I could be slaine by one of you. But when he saw that we
all refused to commit any such fact, he drew out his sword with his
other hand, and after that he had often kissed it, he drove it clean
through his body. Then we honoured the corps of so puissant a
man, and wrapped it in linnen cloathes and threw it into the sea. So
lieth our master Lamathus, buried and did in the grave of water,
and ended his life as I have declared. But Alcinus, though he were
a man of great enterprise, yet could he not beware by Lamathus,
nor voide himselfe from evill fortune, for on a day when he had
entred into an old womans house to rob her, he went up into a high
chamber, where hee should first have strangled her : but he had
more regard to throw down the bags of mony and gold out at a
window, to us that stood under; and when he was so greedy that he
would leave nothing behinde, he went into the old womans bed
where she lay asleep, and would have taken off the coverlet to
have thrown downe likewise, but shee awaked, and kneeling on her
knees, desired him in this manner : O sir I pray you cast not away
such torn and ragged clouts into my neighbours houses, for they are
rich enough, and need no such things. Then Alcinus thinking her
words to be true, was brought in beleefe, that such things as he had
throwne out already, and such things as hee should throw out after,
was not fallen downe to his fellowes, but to other mens houses,
wherefore hee went to the window to see, and as hee thought to
behold the places round about, thrusting his body out of the window,
the old woman marked him wel, and came behind him softly, and
though shee had but small strength, yet with sudden force she tooke
him by the heeles and thrust him out headlong, and so he fell upon a
marvellous great stone and burst his ribs, wherby he vomited and
spewed great flakes of blood, and presently died. Then wee threw
him to the river likewise, as we had done Lamathus before.

When we had thus lost two of our companions, we liked not
Thebes, but marched towards the next city called Platea, where we
found a man of great fame called Demochares, that purposed to set
forth a great game, where should be a triall of all kind of weapons :
hee was come of a good house, marvellous rich, liberall, and wel
deserved that which he had and had prepared many showes and
pleasures for the Common people, insomuch that there is no man
can either by wit or eloquence shew in words his worthy
preparations : for first he had provided all sorts of armes, hee
greatly delighted in hunting and chasing, he ordained great towers
and Tables to move hither and thither : hee made many places to
chase and encounter in : he had ready a great number of men and
wilde beasts, and many condemned persons were brought from the
Judgement place, to try and fight with those beasts. But amongst
so great preparations of noble price, he bestowed the most part of
his patrimony in buying of Beares, which he nourished to his great
cost, and esteemed more than all the other beasts, which either by
chasing hee caught himself, or which he dearely bought, or which
were given him from divers of his friends.

Howbeit for all his sumptuous cost, hee could not be free from the
malitious eyes of envy, for some of them were well nigh dead with
too long tying up, some meagre with the broyling heat of the sunne,
some languished with lying, but all having sundry diseases, were so
afflicted that they died one after another, and there was well nigh
none left, in such sort that you might see them lying in the streets
pittiously dead. And the common people having no other meat to
feed on, little regarding any curiosity, would come forth and fill their
bellies with the flesh of the beares. Then by and by Babulus and I
devised a pretty sport, wee drew one of the greatest of the Beares
to our lodging, as though wee would prepare to eat thereof, where
wee flayed of his skinne, and kept his ungles whole, but we medled
not with the head, but cut it off by the necke, and so let it hang to
the skinne. Then we rased off the flesh from the necke, and cast
dust thereon, and set it in the sun to dry.


How Thrasileon was disguised in a Beares skin, and how he was

When the skin was a drying we made merry with the flesh, and
then we devised with our selves, that one of us being more valiant
than the rest both in body and courage (so that he would consent
thereto) should put on the skin, and feigning that he were a Beare,
should be led to Demochares house in the night, by which means
we thought to be received and let in. Many were desirous to play
the Beare, but especially one Thrasileon of a couragious minde
would take this enterprise in hand. Then wee put in into the Beares
skin, which him finely in every point, wee buckled it fast under his
belly, and covered the seam with the haire, that it might not be
seen. After this we made little holes through the bears head, and
through his nosthrils and eyes, for Thrasileon to see out and take
wind at, in such sort that he seemed a very lively and natural beast :
when this was don we went into a cave which we hired for the
purpose, and he crept in after like a bear with a good courage.
Thus we began our subtility, and then wee imagined thus, wee
feigned letters as though they came from one Nicanor which dwelt
in the Country of Thracia, which was of great acquaintance with
this Demochares, wherein we wrote, that hee had sent him being
his friend, the first fruits of his coursing and hunting. When night
was come, which was a meet time for our purpose, we brought
Thrasileon and our forged letters and presented them to
Demochares. When Demochares beheld this mighty Beare, and
saw the liberality of Nicanor his friend, hee commanded his
servants to deliver unto us x. crowns, having great store in his
coffers. Then (as the novelty of a thing doth accustom to stir mens
minds to behold the same) many persons came on every side to see
this bear : but Thrasileon, lest they should by curious viewing and
prying perceive the truth, ran upon them to put them in feare that
they durst not come nigh. The people said, Verily Demochares is
right happy, in that after the death of so many beasts, hee hath
gotten maugre fortunes head, so goodly a bear. Then Demochares
commanded him with all care to be put in the park with all the other
beasts : but immediately I spake unto him and said, Sir I pray you
take heed how you put a beast tired with the heat of the sun and
with long travell, among others which as I hear say have divers
maladies and diseases, let him rather lie in some open place in your
house nie some water, where he may take air and ease himself, for
doe you not know that such kind of beasts do greatly delight to
couch under the shadow of trees and hillocks neer pleasant wells
and waters? Hereby Demochares admonished, and remembring
how many he had before that perished, was contented that we
should put the bear where we would. Moreover we said unto him,
that we ourselves were determined to lie all night neer the Bear, to
look unto him, and to give him meat and drink at his due houre.

Then he answered, Verily masters you need not put yourselves to
such paines, for I have men that serve for nothing but that purpose.
So wee tooke leave of him and departed : and when we were come
without the gates of the town, we perceived before us a great
sepulchre standing out of the highway in a privy and secret place,
and thither we went and opened the mouth thereof, whereas we
found the sides covered with the corruption of man, and the ashes
and dust of his long buried body, wherein we got ourselves to bring
our purpose to passe, and having respect to the dark time of night,
according to our custome, when we thought that every one was
asleepe, we went with our weapons and besieged the house of
Demochares round about. Then Thrasileon was ready at hand, and
leaped out of the caverne, and went to kill all such as he found
asleepe : but when he came to the Porter, he opened the gates and
let us in, and then he shewed us a large Counter, wherein we saw
the night before a great aboundance of treasure : which when by
violence we had broke open, I bid every one of my fellows take as
much gold and silver as they could carry away : and beare it to the
sepulchre, and still as they carried away I stood at the gate,
watching diligently when they would returne. The Beare running
about the house, to make such of the family afeared as fortuned to
wake and come out. For who is he that is so puissant and
couragious, that at the ougly sight of so great a monster will not
quayle and keep his chamber especially in the night? But when
wee had brought this matter to so good a point, there chanced a
pittifull case, for as I looked for my companions that should come
from the sepulchre, behold there was a Boy of the house that
fortuned to looke out of a window, and espied the Bear running
about, and he went and told all the servants of the house.
Whereupon incontinently they came forth with Torches,
Lanthornes, and other lights, that they might see all the yard over :
they came with clubs, speares, naked swords, Greyhounds, and
Mastifes to slay the poore beast. Then I during this broyle thought
to run away, but because I would see Thrasileon fight with the
Dogs, I lay behinde the gate to behold him. And although I might
perceive that he was well nigh dead, yet remembred he his owne
faithfulnes and ours, and valiantly resisted the gaping and ravenous
mouths of the hell hounds, so tooke hee in gree the pagiant which
willingly he tooke in hand himself, and with much adoe tumbled at
length out of the house : but when hee was at liberty abroad yet
could he not save himself, for all the dogs of the Streete joyned
themselves to the greyhounds and mastifes of the house, and came
upon him.

Alas what a pittifull sight it was to see our poore Thrasileon thus
environed and compassed with so many dogs that tare and rent him
miserably. Then I impatient of so great a misery, ranne in among
the prease of people, and ayding him with my words as much as I
might, exhorted them all in this manner : O great and extreame
mischance, what a pretious and excellent beast have we lost. But
my words did nothing prevaile, for there came out a tall man with a
speare in his hand, that thrust him cleane through, and afterwards
many that stood by drew out their swords, and so they killed him.
But verily our good Captaine Thrasileon, the honour of our comfort,
received his death so patiently, that he would not bewray the league
betweene us, either by crying, howling, or any other meanes, but
being torn with dogs and wounded with weapons, did yeeld forth a
dolefull cry, more like unto a beast than a man. And taking his
present fortune in good part, with courage and glory enough did
finish his life, with such a terror unto the assembly, that no person
was hardy until it was day, as to touch him, though hee were starke
dead : but at last there came a Butcher more valiant than the rest,
who opening the panch of the beast, slit out an hardy and ventrous

In this manner we lost our Captain Thrasileon, but he left not his
fame and honour.

When this was done wee packed up our treasure, which we
committed to the sepulchre to keepe, and got out of the bounds of
Platea, thus thinking with our selves, that there was more fidelity
amongst the dead than amongst the living, by reason that our
preyes were so surely kept in the sepulchre. So being wearied with
the weight of our burthens, and well nigh tyred with long travell,
having lost three of our soldiers, we are come home with these
present cheats.

Thus when they had spoken in memory of their slaine companions,
they tooke cups of gold, and sung hymns unto the god mars, and
layd them downe to sleep. Then the old woman gave us fresh
barley without measure, insomuch that my horse fed so abundantly
that he might well thinke hee was at some banquet that day. But I
that was accustomed to eat bran and flower, thought that but a
sower kinde of meate. Wherfore espying a corner where lay
loaves of bread for all the house I got me thither and filled my
hungry guts therewith.


How the Theeves stole away a Gentlewoman, and brought her to
their den.

When night was come the Theeves awaked and rose up, and when
they had buckled on their weapons, and disguised their faces with
visards, they departed. And yet for all the great sleep that came
upon me, I could in no wise leave eating : and whereas when I was
a man I could be contented with one or two loaves at the most,
now my huts were so greedy that three panniers full would scantly
serve me, and while I considered these things the morning came,
and being led to a river, notwithstanding my Assie shamefastnesse
I quencht my thirst. And suddenly after, the Theeves returned
home carefull and heavy, bringing no burthens with them, no not so
much as traffe or baggage, save only a maiden, that seemed by her
habit to be some gentlewoman borne, and the daughter of some
worthy matron of that country, who was so fair and beautiful, that
though I were an Asse, yet I had a great affection for her. The
virgin lamented and tare her hair, and rent her garments, for the
great sorrow she was in; but the theeves brought her within the
cave, and assisted her to comfort in this sort, Weep not fair
gentlewoman we pray you, for be you assured we wil do no
outrage or violence to your person : but take patience a while for
our profit, for necessity and poore estate hath compelled us to do
this enterprise : we warrant you that your parents, although they
bee covetous, will be contented to give us a great quantity of mony
to redeeme and ransome you from our hands.

With such and like flattering words they endeavoured to appease
the gentlewoman, howbeit shee would in no case be comforted, but
put her head betwixt her knees, and cried pittiously. Then they
called the old woman, and commaunded her to sit by the maiden,
and pacify her dolor as much as shee might. And they departed
away to rob, as they were accustomed to doe, but the virgin would
not asswage her griefes, nor mitigate her sorrow by any entreaty of
the old woman, but howled and sobbed in such sort, that she made
me poore Asse likewise to weepe, and thus she said, Alas can I
poore wench live any longer, that am come of so good a house,
forsaken of my parents, friends, and family, made a rapine and
prey, closed servilely in this stony prison, deprived of all pleasure,
wherein I have been brought up, thrown in danger, ready to be rent
in pieces among so many sturdy theeves and dreadful robbers, can
I (I say) cease from weeping, and live any longer? Thus she cried
and lamented, and after she had wearied herself with sorrow and
blubbered her face with teares, she closed the windowes of her
hollow eyes, and laid her downe to sleepe. And after that she had
slept, she rose again like a furious and mad woman, and beat her
breast and comely face more that she did before.

Then the old woman enquired the causes of her new and sudden
lamentation. To whom sighing in pittifull sort she answered, Alas
now I am utterly undone, now am I out of all hope, O give me a
knife to kill me, or a halter to hang me. Whereat the old [woman]
was more angry, and severely commanded her to tell her the cause
of her sorrow, and why after her sleep, she should renew her
dolour and miserable weeping. What, thinke you (quoth she) to
deprive our young men of the price of your ransome? No, no
therefore cease your crying, for the Theeves doe little esteeme
your howling, and if you do not, I will surely burn you alive. Hereat
the maiden was greatly feared, and kissed her hand and said, O
mother take pitty upon me and my wretched fortune, and give me
license a while to speake, for I think I shall not long live, let there
be mercy ripe and franke in thy venerable hoare head, and hear the
sum of my calamity.

There was a comely young man, who for his bounty and grace was
beloved entirely of all the towne, my cousine Germane, and but
three years older than I; we two were nourished and brought up in
one house, lay under one roofe, and in one chamber, and at length
by promise of marriage, and by consent of our parents we were
contracted together. The marriage day was come, the house was
garnished with lawrel, and torches were set in every place in the
honour of Hymeneus, my espouse was accompanied by his parents,
kinsfolke, and friends, and made sacrifices in the temples and
publique places. And when my unhappy mother pampered me in
her lap, and decked me like a bride, kissing me sweetly, and making
me a parent for Children, behold there came in a great multitude of
theeves armed like men of warre, with naked swords in their hands,
who went not about to doe any harme, neither to take any thing
away, but brake into the chamber where I was, and violently tooke
me out of my mothers armes, when none of our family would resist
for feare.

In this sort was our marriage disturbed, like the marriage of
Hyppodame and Perithous. But behold my good mother, now my
unhappy fortune is renewed and encreased : For I dreamed in my
sleepe, that I was pulled out of our house, out of our chamber, and
out of my bed, and that I removed about in solitary and unknowne
places, calling upon the name of my unfortunate husband, and how
that he, as soone as he perceived that he was taken away, even
smelling with perfumes and crowned with garlands, did trace me by
the steppes, desiring the aid of the people to assist him, in that his
wife was violently stollen away. and as he went crying up and
down, one of the theeves mooved with indignation, by reason of his
pursuit, took up a stone that lay at his feet, and threw it at my
husband and killed him. By the terror of which sight, and the feare
of so dreadfull a dreame, I awaked.

Then the old woman rendring out like sighes, began to speake in
this sort : My daughter take a good heart unto you, and bee not
afeared at feigned and strange visions and dreams, for as the
visions of the day are accounted false and untrue, so the visions of
the night doe often change contrary. And to dream of weeping,
beating, and killing, is a token of good luck and prosperous change.
Whereas contrary to dreame of laughing, carnal dalliance, and good
cheere, is a signe of sadnesse, sicknesse, loss of substance, and
displeasure. But I will tell thee a pleasant tale, to put away all thy
sorrow, and to revive thy spirits. And so shee began in this



The most pleasant and delectable tale of the marriage of Cupid and

There was sometimes a certaine King, inhabiting in the West parts,
who had to wife a noble Dame, by whom he had three daughters
exceeding fair, : of whom the two elder were of such comly shape
and beauty, as they did excell and pass all other women living,
whereby they were thought worthily to deserve the praise and
commendation of every person, and deservedly to be preferred
above the residue of the common sort. Yet the singular passing
beauty and maidenly majesty of the youngest daughter did so farre
surmount and excell then two, as no earthly creature could by any
meanes sufficiently expresse or set out the same.

By reason wherof, after the fame of this excellent maiden was
spread about in every part of the City, the Citisens and strangers
there beeing inwardly pricked by the zealous affection to behold her
famous person, came daily by thousands, hundreths, and scores, to
her fathers palace, who was astonied with admiration of her
incomparable beauty, did no less worship and reverence her with
crosses, signes, and tokens, and other divine adorations, according
to the custome of the old used rites and ceremonies, than if she
were the Lady Venus indeed, and shortly after the fame was
spread into the next cities and bordering regions, that the goddess
whom the deep seas had born and brought forth, and the froth of
the waves had nourished, to the intent to show her high
magnificencie and divine power on earth, to such as erst did honour
and worship her, was now conversant among mortall men, or else
that the earth and not the sea, by a new concourse and influence of
the celestiall planets, had budded and yeelded forth a new Venus,
endued with the floure of virginity.

So daily more and more encreased this opinion, and now is her
flying fame dispersed into the next Island, and well nigh unto every
part and province of the whole world. Wherupon innumerable
strangers resorted from farre Countries, adventuring themselves by
long journies on land and by great perils on water, to behold this
glorious virgin. By occasion wherof such a contempt grew
towards the goddesse Venus, that no person travelled unto the
Towne Paphos, nor to the Isle Gyndos, nor to Cythera to worship
her. Her ornaments were throwne out, her temples defaced, her
pillowes and cushions torne, her ceremonies neglected, her images
and Statues uncrowned, and her bare altars unswept, and fowl with
the ashes of old burnt sacrifice. For why, every person honoured
and worshipped this maiden in stead of Venus, and in the morning
at her first comming abroad offered unto her oblations, provided
banquets, called her by the name of Venus, which was not Venus
indeed, and in her honour presented floures and garlands in most
reverend fashion.

This sudden change and alteration of celestiall honour, did greatly
inflame and kindle the love of very Venus, who unable to temper
her selfe from indignation, shaking her head in raging sort, reasoned
with her selfe in this manner, Behold the originall parent of all these
elements, behold the Lady Venus renowned throughout all the
world, with whome a mortall maiden is joyned now partaker of
honour : my name registred in the city of heaven is prophaned and
made vile by terrene absurdities. If I shall suffer any mortall
creature to present my Majesty on earth, or that any shall beare
about a false surmised shape of her person, then in vaine did Paris
the sheepheard (in whose judgement and competence the great
Jupiter had affiance) preferre me above the residue of the
goddesses, for the excellency of my beauty : but she, whatever she
be that hath usurped myne honour, shal shortly repent her of her
unlawful estate. And by and by she called her winged sonne
Cupid, rash enough and hardy, who by his evill manners contemning
all publique justice and law, armed with fire and arrowes, running
up and down in the nights from house to house, and corrupting the
lawfull marriages of every person, doth nothing but that which is
evill, who although that hee were of his owne proper nature
sufficiently prone to worke mischiefe, yet she egged him forward
with words and brought him to the city, and shewed him Psyches
(for so the maid was called) and having told the cause of her anger,
not without great rage, I pray thee (quoth she) my dear childe, by
motherly bond of love, by the sweet wounds of thy piercing darts,
by the pleasant heate of thy fire, revenge the injury which is done
to thy mother by the false and disobedient beauty of a mortall
maiden, and I pray thee, that without delay shee may fall in love
with the most miserablest creature living, the most poore, the most
crooked, and the most vile, that there may bee none found in all the
world of like wretchednesse. When she had spoken these words
she embraced and kissed her sonne, and took her voyage toward
the sea.

When she came upon the sea she began to cal the gods and
goddesses, who were obedient at her voyce. For incontinent came
the daughters of Nereus, singing with tunes melodiously : Portunus
with his bristled and rough beard, Salita with her bosome full of fish,
Palemon the driver of the Dolphine, the Trumpetters of Tryton,
leaping hither and thither, and blowing with heavenly noyse : such
was the company which followed Venus, marching towards the
ocean sea.

In the meane season Psyches with all her beauty received no fruit
of honor. She was wondred at of all, she was praised of all, but
she perceived that no King nor Prince, nor any one of the superiour
sort did repaire to wooe her. Every one marvelled at her divine
beauty, as it were some Image well painted and set out. Her other
two sisters, which were nothing so greatly exalted by the people,
were royally married to two Kings : but the virgin Psyches, sitting
alone at home. lamented her solitary life, and being disquieted both
in mind and body, although she pleased all the world, yet hated shee
in her selfe her owne beauty. Whereupon the miserable father of
this unfortunate daughter, suspecting that the gods and powers of
heaven did envy her estate, went to the town called Milet to
receive the Oracle of Apollo, where he made his prayers and
offered sacrifice, and desired a husband for his daughter : but
Apollo though he were a Grecian, and of the country of Ionia,
because of the foundation of Milet, yet hee gave answer in Latine
verse, the sence whereof was this :-

Let Psyches corps be clad in mourning weed,
And set on rock of yonder hill aloft :
Her husband is no wight of humane seed,
But Serpent dire and fierce as might be thought.
Who flies with wings above in starry skies,
And doth subdue each thing with firie flight.
The gods themselves, and powers that seem so wise,
With mighty Jove, be subject to his might,
The rivers blacke, and deadly flouds of paine
And darkness eke, as thrall to him remaine.

The King, sometimes happy when he heard the prophesie of
Apollo, returned home sad and sorrowful, and declared to his wife
the miserable and unhappy fate of his daughter. Then they began
to lament and weep, and passed over many dayes in great sorrow.
But now the time approached of Psyches marriage, preparation
was made, blacke torches were lighted, the pleasant songs were
turned into pittifull cries, the melody of Hymeneus was ended with
deadly howling, the maid that should be married did wipe her eyes
with her vaile. All the family and people of the city weeped
likewise, and with great lamentation was ordained a remisse time
for that day, but necessity compelled that Psyches should be
brought to her appointed place, according to the divine appointment.

And when the solemnity was ended, they went to bring the
sorrowful spowse, not to her marriage, but to her final end and
burial. And while the father and mother of Psyches did go forward
weeping and crying unto this enterprise, Psyches spake unto them
in this sort : Why torment your unhappy age with continuall dolour?
Why trouble you your spirits, which are more rather mine than
yours? Why soyle ye your faces with teares, which I ought to
adore and worship? Why teare you my eyes in yours? why pull
you your hory haires? Why knocke ye your breasts for me? Now
you see the reward of my excellent beauty : now, now you
perceive, but too late, the plague of envy. When the people did
honour me, and call me new Venus, then yee should have wept,
then you should have sorrowed as though I had been dead : for
now I see and perceive that I am come to this misery by the only
name of Venus, bring mee, and as fortune has appointed, place me
on the top of the rocke, I greatly desire to end my marriage, I
greatly covet to see my husband. Why doe I delay? why should I
refuse him that is appointed to destroy all the world.

Thus ended she her words, and thrust her selfe among the people
that followed. Then they brought her to the appointed rocke of the
high hill, and set [her] hereon, and so departed. The Torches and
lights were put out with the teares of the people, and every man
gone home, the miserable Parents well nigh consumed with sorrow,
gave themselves to everlasting darknes.

Thus poore Psyches being left alone, weeping and trembling on the
toppe of the rocke, was blowne by the gentle aire and of shrilling
Zephyrus, and carried from the hill with a meek winde, which
retained her garments up,, and by little and little bought her downe
into a deepe valley, where she was laid in a bed of most sweet and
fragrant flowers.

Thus faire Psyches being sweetly couched among the soft and
tender hearbs, as in a bed of sweet and fragrant floures, and having
qualified the thoughts and troubles of her restlesse minde, was now
well reposed. And when she had refreshed her selfe sufficiently
with sleepe, she rose with a more quiet and pacified minde, and
fortuned to espy a pleasant wood invironed with great and mighty
trees. Shee espied likewise a running river as cleare as crystall : in
the midst of the wood well nigh at the fall of the river was a
princely Edifice, wrought and builded not by the art or hand of man,
but by the mighty power of God : and you would judge at the first
entry therin, that it were some pleasant and worthy mansion for the
powers of heaven. For the embowings above were of Citron and
Ivory, propped and undermined with pillars of gold, the walls
covered and seeled with silver, divers sorts of beasts were graven
and carved, that seemed to encounter with such as entered in. All
things were so curiously and finely wrought, that it seemed either to
be the worke of some Demy god, or of God himselfe. The
pavement was all of pretious stones, divided and cut one from
another, whereon was carved divers kindes of pictures, in such sort
that blessed and thrice blessed were they that might goe upon such
a pavement : Every part and angle of the house was so well
adorned, that by reason of the pretious stones and inestimable
treasure there, it glittered and shone in such sort, that the chambers,
porches, and doores gave light as it had beene the Sunne. Neither
otherwise did the other treasure of the house disagree unto so great
a majesty, that verily it seemed in every point an heavenly Palace,
fabricate and built for Jupiter himselfe.

Then Psyches moved with delectation approched nigh and taking a
bold heart entred into the house, and beheld every thing there with
great affection, she saw storehouses wrought exceedingly fine, and
replenished with aboundance of riches. Finally, there could nothing
be devised which lacked there : but among such great store of
treasure this was most marvellous, that there was no closure, bolt,
nor locke to keepe the same. And when with great pleasure shee
had viewed all these things, she heard a voyce without any body,
that sayd, Why doe you marvell Madame at so great riches?
behold, all that you see is at your commandement, wherefore goe
you into the chamber, and repose your selfe upon the bed, and
desire what bath you will have, and wee whose voyces you heare
bee your servants, and ready to minister unto you according to your
desire. In the meane season, royall meats and dainty dishes shall
be prepared for you.

Then Psyches perceived the felicity of divine providence, and
according to the advertisement of the incorporeall voyces she first
reposed her selfe upon the bed, and then refreshed her body in the
baines. This done, shee saw the table garnished with meats, and a
chaire to sit downe.

When Psyches was set downe, all sorts of divine meats and wines
were brought in, not by any body, but as it were with a winde, for
she saw no person before her, but only heard voyces on every side.
After that all the services were brought to the table, one came in
and sung invisibly, another played on the harpe, but she saw no
man. The harmony of the Instruments did so greatly shrill in her
eares, that though there were no manner of person, yet seemed she
in the midst of a multitude of people.

All these pleasures finished, when night aproched Psyches went to
bed, and when she was layd, that the sweet sleep came upon her,
she greatly feared her virginity, because shee was alone. Then
came her unknowne husband and lay with her : and after that hee
had made a perfect consummation of the marriage, he rose in the
morning before day, and departed. Soone after came her invisible
servants, and presented to her such things as were necessary for
her defloration. And thus she passed forth a great while, and as it
happeneth, the novelty of the things by continuall custome did
encrease her pleasure, but especially the sound of the instruments
was a comfort to her being alone.

During this time that Psyches was in this place of pleasures, her
father and mother did nothing but weepe and lament, and her two
sisters hearing of her most miserable fortune, came with great
dolour and sorrow to comfort and speake with her parents.

The night following , Psyches husband spake unto her (for she
might feele his eyes, his hands, and his ears) and sayd, O my sweet
Spowse and dear wife, fortune doth menace unto thee imminent
danger, wherof I wish thee greatly to beware : for know that thy
sisters, thinking that thou art dead, bee greatly troubled, and are
coming to the mountain by thy steps. Whose lamentations if thou
fortune to heare, beware that thou doe in no wise make answer, or
looke up towards them, for if thou doe thou shalt purchase to mee
great sorrow, and to thyself utter destruction. Psyches hearing her
Husband, was contented to doe all things as hee had commanded.

After that hee was departed and the night passed away, Psyches
lamented and lamented all the day following, thinking that now shee
was past all hopes of comfort, in that shee was closed within the
walls of a prison, deprived of humane conversation, and
commaunded not to aid her sorrowful Sisters, no nor once to see
them. Thus she passed all the day in weeping, and went to bed at
night, without any refection of meat or baine.

Incontinently after came her husband, who when he had embraced
her sweetly, began to say, Is it thus that I find you perform your
promise, my sweet wife? What do I finde heere? Passe you all
the day and the night in weeping? And wil you not cease in your
husbands armes? Goe too, doe what ye will, purchase your owne
destruction, and when you find it so, then remember my words, and
repent but too late. Then she desired her husband more and more,
assuring him that shee should die, unlesse he would grant that she
might see her sisters, wherby she might speak with them and
comfort them, wherat at length he was contented, and moreover
hee willed that shee should give them as much gold and jewels as
she would. But he gave her a further charge saying, Beware that
ye covet not (being mooved by the pernicious counsell of you
sisters) to see the shape of my person, lest by your curiosity you
deprive your selfe of so great and worthy estate. Psyches being
glad herewith, rendered unto him most entire thankes, and said,
Sweet husband, I had rather die than to bee separated from you,
for whosoever you bee, I love and retaine you within my heart, as if
you were myne owne spirit or Cupid himselfe : but I pray you grant
this likewise, that you would commaund your servant Zephyrus to
bring my sisters downe into the valley as he brought mee.

Wherewithall shee kissed him sweetly, and desired him gently to
grant her request, calling him her spowse, her sweetheart, her Joy
and her Solace. Wherby she enforced him to agree to her mind,
and when morning came he departed away.

After long search made, the sisters of Psyches came unto the hill
where she was set on the rocke, and cried with a loud voyce in
such sort that the stones answered againe. And when they called
their sister by her name, that their lamentable cries came unto her
eares, shee came forth and said, Behold, heere is shee for whom
you weepe, I pray you torment your selves no more, cease your
weeping. And by and by she commaunded Zephyrus by the
appointment of her husband to bring them downe. Neither did he
delay, for with gentle blasts he retained them up and laid them
softly in the valley. I am not able to expresse the often embracing,
kissing and greeting which was between them three, all sorrows
and tears were then layd apart.

Come in (quoth Psyches) into our house, and refresh your afflicted
mindes with your sister.

After this she shewed them the storehouses of treasure, shee
caused them to hear the voyces which served her, the bain was
ready, the meats were brought in, and when they had filled
themselves with divine delecates, they conceived great envy within
their hearts, and one of them being curious, did demand what her
husband was, of what estate, and who was Lord of so pretious a
house? But Psyches remembring the promise which she had made
to her husband, feigned that hee was a young man, of comely
stature, with a flaxen beard, and had great delight in hunting the
dales and hills by. And lest by her long talke she should be found to
trip or faile in her words, she filled their laps with gold, silver, and
Jewels, and commanded Zephyrus to carry them away.

When they were brought up to the mountain, they made their
wayes homeward to their owne houses, and murmured with envy
that they bare against Psyches, saying, behold cruell and contrary
fortune, behold how we, borne all of one Parent, have divers
destinies : but especially we that are the elder two bee married to
strange husbands, made as handmaidens, and as it were banished
from our Countrey and friends. Whereas our younger sister hath
great abundance of treasure, and hath gotten a god to her husband,
although shee hath no skill how to use such great plenty of riches.
Saw you not sister what was in the house, what great store of
jewels, what glittering robes, what Gemmes, what gold we trod on?
That if shee hath a husband according as shee affirmeth, there is
none that liveth this day more happy in all the world than she. And
so it may come to passe, at length for the great affection which hee
may beare unto her that hee may make her a goddesse, for by
Hercules, such was her countenance, so she behaved her self, that
as a goddesse she had voices to serve her, and the windes did obey

But I poore wretch have first married an husband elder than my
father, more bald than a Coot, more weake than a childe, and that
locketh me up all day in the house.

Then said the other sister, And in faith I am married to a husband
that hath the gout, twyfold, crooked, nor couragious in paying my
debt, I am faine to rub and mollifie his stony fingers with divers
sorts of oyles, and to wrap them in playsters and salves, so that I
soyle my white and dainty hands with the corruption of filthy clouts,
not using my self like a wife, but more like a servant. And you my
sister seem likewise to be in bondage and servitude, wherefore I
cannot abide to see our younger sister in such felicity; saw you not
I pray you how proudly and arrogantly she handled us even now?
And how in vaunting her selfe she uttered her presumptuous minde,
how she cast a little gold into our laps, and being weary of our
company, commanded that we should be borne and blown away?

Verily I live not, nor am a woman, but I will deprive her of all her
blisse. And if you my sister bee so far bent as I, let us consult
together, and not to utter our minde to any person, no not to our
parents, nor tell that ever we saw her. For it sufficeth that we
have seene her, whom it repenteth to have seene. Neither let us
declare her good fortune to our father, nor to any other, since as
they seeme not happy whose riches are unknowne : so shall she
know that she hath sisters no Abjects, but worthier than she.

But now let us goe home to our husbands and poore houses, and
when we are better instructed, let us return to suppresse her pride.
So this evill counsell pleased these two evil women, and they hid
the treasure which Psyches gave them, and tare their haire,
renewing their false and forged teares. When their father and
mother beheld them weep and lament still, they doubled their
sorrowes and griefes, but full of yre and forced with Envy, they
tooke their voyage homeward, devising the slaughter and
destruction of their sister.

In the meane season the husband of Psyches did warne her againe
in the night with these words : Seest thou not (quoth he) what perill
and danger evill fortune doth threaten unto thee, whereof if thou
take not good heed it will shortly come upon thee. For the
unfaithfull harlots doe greatly endeavor to set their snares to catch
thee, and their purpose is to make and perswade thee to behold my
face, which if thou once fortune to see, as I have often told, thou
shalt see no more. Wherfore if these naughty hagges, armed with
wicked minds, doe chance to againe (as I think no otherwise but
that they will) take heed that thou talk not with them but simply
suffer them to speake what they will, howbeit if thou canst not
refraine thy selfe, beware that thou have no communication of thy
husband, nor answer a word if they fortune to question of me, so
will we encrease our stocke, and this young and tender childe,
couched in this young and tender belly of thine, shall be made an
immortall god, otherwise a mortal creature. Then Psyches was
very glad that she should bring forth a divine babe, and very joyfull
in that she should be honored as a mother. She reckened and
numbered carefully the days and months that passed, and beeing
never with child before, did marvel greatly that in so short a time
her belly should swel so big. But those pestilent and wicked furies
breathing out their Serpentine poyson, took shipping to bring their
enterprise to passe. The Psyches was warned again by her
husband in this sort : Behold the last day, the extream case, and the
enemies of thy blood, hath armed themselves against us, pitched
their campe, set their host in array, and are marching towards us,
for now thy two sisters have drawn their swords and are ready to
slay thee. O with what force are we assailed on this day! O
sweet Psyches I pray thee to take pitty on thy selfe, of me, and
deliver thy husband and this infant within thy belly from so great
danger, and see not, neither heare these cursed women, which are
not worthy to be called thy sisters, for their great hatred and breach
of sisterly amity, for they wil come like Syrens to the mountains,
and yeeld out their pittious and lamentable cries. When Psyches
had heard these words she sighed sorrowfully and said, O deare
husband this long time have you had experience and triall of my
faith, and doubt you not that I will persever in the same, wherefore
command your winde Zephyrus, that hee may doe as hee hath done
before, to the intent that where you have charged me not to behold
your venerable face, yet that I may comfort myself with the sight
of my sisters. I pray you by these beautifull haires, by these round
cheekes delicate and tender, by your pleasant hot breast, whose
shape and face I shall learn at length by the childe in my belly,
grant the fruit of my desire, refresh your deare Spowse Psyches
with joy, who is bound and linked unto you for ever. I little esteeme
to see your visage and figure, little doe I regard the night and
darknesse thereof, for you are my only light.

Her husband being as it were inchanted with these words and
compelled by violence of her often embracing, wiping away her
teares with his haire, did yeeld unto his wife. And when morning
came, departed as hee was accustomed to doe.

Now her sisters arrived on land, and never rested til they came to
the rock, without visiting their parents, and leapt down rashly from
the hill themselves. Then Zephyrus according to the divine
commandment brought them down, although it were against his wil,
and laid them in the vally without any harm : by and by they went
into the palace to their sister without leave, and when they had
eftsoone embraced their prey, and thanked her with flattering
words for the treasure which she gave them, they said, O deare
sister Psyches, know you that you are now no more a child, but a
mother : O what great joy beare you unto us in your belly? What a
comfort will it be unto all the house? How happy shall we be, that
shall see this Infant nourished amongst so great plenty of Treasure?
That if he be like his parents, as it is necessary he should, there is
no doubt but a new cupid shall be borne. By this kinde of measures
they went about to winne Psyches by little and little, but because
they were wearie with travell, they sate them downe in chaires, and
after that they had washed their bodies in baines they went into a
parlour, where all kinde of meats were ready prepared. Psyches
commanded one to play with his harpe, it was done. Then
immediately others sung, others tuned their instruments, but no
person was seene, by whose sweet harmony and modulation the
sisters of Psyches were greatly delighted.

Howbeit the wickednesse of these cursed women was nothing
suppressed by the sweet noyse of these instruments, but they
settled themselves to work their treasons against Psyches,
demanding who was her husband, and of what Parentage. Then
shee having forgotten by too much simplicity, what shee had
spoken before of her husband, invented a new answer, and said
that her husband was of a great province, a merchant, and a man
of middle age, having his beard intersparsed with grey haires.
Which when shee had spoken (because shee would have no further
talke) she filled their laps with Gold and Silver, and bid Zephyrus to
bear them away.

In their returne homeward they murmured within themselves,
saying, How say you sister to so apparent a lye of Psyches? First
she sayd that her husband was a young man of flourishing yeares,
and had a flaxen beard, and now she sayth that he is halfe grey
with age. What is he that in so short a space can become so old?
You shall finde it no otherwise my sister, but that either this cursed
queane hath invented a great lie, or else that she never saw the
shape of her husband. And if it be so that she never saw him, then
verily she is married to some god, and hath a young god in her
belly. But if it be a divine babe, and fortune to come to the eares of
my mother (as God forbid it should) then may I go and hang my
selfe : wherfore let us go to our parents, and with forged lies let us
colour the matter.

After they were thus inflamed, and had visited their Parents, they
returned againe to the mountaine, and by the aid of the winde
Zephyrus were carried down into the valley, and after they had
streined their eye lids, to enforce themselves to weepe, they called
unto Psyches in this sort, Thou (ignorant of so great evill) thinkest
thy selfe sure and happy, and sittest at home nothing regarding thy
peril, whereas wee goe about thy affaires and are carefull lest any
harme should happen unto you: for we are credibly informed,
neither can we but utter it unto you, that there is a great serpent
full of deadly poyson, with a ravenous gaping throat, that lieth with
thee every night Remember the Oracle of Apollo, who pronounced
that thou shouldest he married to a dire and fierce Serpent, and
many of the Inhabitants hereby, and such as hunt about in the
countrey, affirme that thev saw him yesternight returning from
pasture and swimming over the River, whereby they doe
undoubtedly say, that hee will not pamper thee long with delicate
meats, but when the time of delivery shall approach he will devoure
both thee and thy child : wherefore advise thy selfe whether thou
wilt agree unto us that are carefull of thy safety, and so avoid the
perill of death, bee contented to live with thy sisters, or whether
thou remaine with the Serpent arid in the end be swallowed into the
gulfe of his body. And ff it be so that thy solitary life, thy
conversation with voices, this servile and dangerous pleasure, and
the love of the Serpent doe more delight thee, say not but that we
have played the parts of naturall sisters in warning thee.

Then the poore and simple miser Psyches was mooved with the
feare of so dreadful words, and being amazed in her mind, did
cleane forget the admonitions of her husband, and her owne
promises made unto him, and throwing her selfe headlong into
extreame misery, with a wanne and sallow countenance, scantly
uttering a third word, at length gan say in this sort : O my most
deare sisters, I heartily thanke you for your great kindnesse toward
me, and I am now verily perswaded that they which have informed
you hereof hath informed you of nothing but truth, for I never saw
the shape of my husband, neither know I from whence he came,
only I heare his voice in the night, insomuch that I have an
uncertaine husband, and one that loveth not the light of the day :
which causeth me to suspect that he is a beast, as you affirme.
Moreover, I doe greatly feare to see him, for he doth menace and
threaten great evill unto mee, if I should goe about to spy and
behold his shape wherefore my loving sisters if you have any
wholeome remedy for your sister in danger, give it now presently.
Then they opened the gates of their subtill mindes, and did put
away all privy guile, and egged her forward in her fearefull
thoughts, perswading her to doe as they would have her whereupon
one of them began and sayd, Because that wee little esteeme any
perill or danger, to save your life we intend to shew you the best
way and meane as we may possibly do. Take a sharpe razor and
put it under the pillow of your bed; and see that you have ready a
privy burning lampe with oyle, hid under some part of the hanging
of the chamber, and finely dissembling the matter when according
to his custome he commeth to bed and sleepeth soundly, arise you
secretly, and with your bare feet goe and take the lampe, with the
Razor in your right hand and with valiant force cut off the head of
the poysonous serpent, wherein we will aid and assist you : and
when by the death of him you shall be made safe, we wil marry
you to some comely man.

After they had thus inflamed the heart of their sister fearing lest
some danger might happen unto them by reason of their evill
counsell, they were carried by the wind Zephyrus to the top of the
mountaine, and so they ran away and tooke shipping.

When Psyches was left alone (saving that she seemed not to be
alone, being stirred by so many furies) she was in a tossing minde
like the waves of the sea, and although her wil was obstinate, and
resisted to put in execution the counsell of her Sisters, yet she was
in doubtfull and divers opinions touching her calamity. Sometime
she would, sometime she would not, sometime she is bold,
sometime she feareth, sometime shee mistrusteth, somtime she is
mooved, somtime she hateth the beast, somtime she loveth her
husband : but at length night came, when as she prepared for her
wicked intent.

Soon after her husband Came, and when he had kissed and
embraced her he fell asleep. Then Psyches (somwhat feeble in
body and mind, yet mooved by cruelty of fate) received boldnes
and brought forth the lampe, and tooke the razor, so by her audacity
she changed her mind : but when she took the lamp and came to
the bed side, she saw the most meeke and sweetest beast of all
beasts, even faire Cupid couched fairly, at whose sight the very
lampe encreased his light for joy, and the razor turned his edge.

But when Psyches saw so glorious a body shee greatly feared, and
amazed in mind, with a pale countenance all trembling fel on her
knees and thought to hide the razor, yea verily in her owne heart,
which doubtlesse she had done, had it not through feare of so great
an enterprise fallen out of her hand. And when she saw and beheld
the beauty of the divine visage shee was well recreated in her
mind, she saw his haires of gold, that yeelded out a sweet savor, his
neck more white than milk, his purple cheeks, his haire hanging
comely behinde and before, the brightnesse whereof did darken
the light of the lamp, his tender plume feathers, dispersed upon his
sholders like shining flours, and trembling hither and thither, and his
other parts of his body so smooth and so soft, that it did not repent
Venus to beare such a childe. At the beds feet lay his bow,

quiver, and arrowes, that be the weapons of so great a god : which
when Psyches did curiously behold, she marvelling at her husbands
weapons, took one of the arrows out of the quiver, and pricked her
selfe withall, wherwith she was so grievously wounded that the
blood followed, and thereby of her owne accord shee added love
upon love; then more broyling in the love of Cupid shee embraced
him and kissed him and kissed him a thousand times, fearing the
measure of his sleepe But alas while shee was in this great joy,
whether it were for envy for desire to touch this amiable body
likewise, there fell out a droppe of burning oyle from the lampe
upon the right shoulder of the god. O rash and bold lampe, the vile
ministery of love, how darest thou bee so bold as to burne the god
of all fire? When as he invented thee, to the intent that all lovers
might with more joy passe the nights in pleasure.

The god beeing burned in this sort, and perceiving that promise and
faith was broken, bee fled away without utterance of any word,
from the eves and hands of his most unhappy wife. But Psyches
fortuned to catch him as hee was rising by the right thigh, and held
him fast as hee flew above in the aire, until such time as
constrained by wearinesse shee let goe arid fell downe upon the
ground. But Cupid followed her downe, and lighted upon the top of
a Cypresse tree, and angerly spake unto her in this manner : O
simple Psyches, consider with thy selfe how I, little regarding the
commandement of my mother (who willed mee that thou shouldst
bee married to a man of base and miserable condition) did come
my selfe from heaven to love thee, and wounded myne owne body
with my proper weapons, to have thee to my Spowse : And did I
seeme a beast unto thee, that thou shouldst go about to cut off my
head with a razor, who loved thee so well? Did not I alwayes give
thee a charge? Did not I gently will thee to beware? But those
cursed aides and Counsellors of thine shall be worthily rewarded
for their pains. As for thee thou shalt be sufficiently punished by
my absence. When hee had spoken these words he tooke his flight
into the aire. Then Psyches fell flat on the ground, and as long as
she could see her husband she cast her eyes after him into the aire,
weeping and lamenting pitteously : but when hee was gone out of
her sight shee threw her selfe into the next running river, for the
great anguish and dolour that shee was in for the lack of her
husband , howbeit the water would not suffer her to be drowned,
but tooke pity upon her, in the honour of Cupid which accustomed
to broyle and burne the river, and threw her upon the bank amongst
the herbs.

Then Pan the rusticall god sitting on the river side, embracing and
[instructing] the goddesse Canna to tune her songs and pipes, by
whom were feeding the young and tender Goats, after that he
perceived Psyches in sorrowful case, not ignorant (I know not by
what meanes) of her miserable estate, endeavored to pacific her in
this sort : O faire maid, I am a rusticke and rude heardsman,
howbeit by reason of my old age expert in many things, for as farre
as I can learnt by conjecture (which according as wise men doe
terme is called divination) I perceive by your uncertaine gate, your
pale hew, your sobbing sighes, and your watery eyes, that you are
greatly in love. Wherefore hearken to me, and goe not about to
slay your selfe, nor weepe not at all, but rather adore and worship
the great god Cupid, and winne him unto you by your gentle
promise of service.

When the god of Shepherds had spoken these words, she gave no
answer, but made reverence to him as to a god, and so departed.

After that Psyches had gone a little way, she fortuned unawares to
come to a city where the husband of one of her Sisters did dwell.
Which when Psyches did understand, shee caused that her sister
had knowledge of her comming, and so they met together, and after
great embracing and salutation, the sister of Psyches demaunded
the cause of her travell thither. Marry (quoth she) doe you not
remember the counsell you gave me, whereby you would that I
should kill the beast which under colour of my husband did lie with
mee every night i You shall understand, that as soone as I brought
forth the lampe to see and behold his shape, I perceived that he
was the sonne of Venus, even Cupid himselfe that lay with mee.
Then I being stricken with great pleasure, and desirous to embrace
him, could not thoroughly asswage my delight, but alas by evill ill
chance the oyle of the lampe fortuned to fall on his shoulder which
caused him to awake, and seeing me armed with fire and
weapons, gan say, How darest thou be so bold to doe so great a
mischiefe? Depart from me and take such things as thou didst bring
: for I will have thy sister (and named you) to my wife, and she
shall be placed in thy felicity, and by and by hee commaunded
Zephyrus to carry me away from the bounds of his house.

Psyches had scantly finished her tale but her sister pierced with
the pricke of carnall desire and wicked envy ran home, and feigning
to her husband that she had heard word of the death of her parents
tooke shipping and came to the mountaine. And although there
blew a contrary winde, yet being brought in a vaine hope shee cried
O Cupid take me a more worthy wife, and thou Zephyrus beare
downe thy mistresse, and so she cast her selfe headlong from the
mountaine : but shee fell not into the valley neither alive nor dead,
for all the members and parts of her body were torne amongst the
rockes, wherby she was made prey unto the birds and wild beasts,
as she worthily deserved.

Neither was the vengeance of the other delayed, for Psyches
travelling in that country, fortuned to come to another city where
her other sister did dwel; to whom when shee had declared all such
things as she told to her other sister shee ran likewise unto the
rock and was slaine in like sort Then Psyches travelled about in
the countrey to seeke her husband Cupid, hut he was gotten into his
mothers chamber and there bewailed the sorrowful wound which
he caught by the oyle of a burning lamp.

Then the white bird the Gull, which swims on the waves of the
water, flew toward the Ocean sea, where he found Venus washing
and bathing her selfe : to whom she declared that her son was
burned and in danger of death, and moreover that it was a common
brute in the mouth of every person (who spake evill of all the family
of Venus) that her son doth nothing but haunt harlots in the
mountain, and she her self lasciviously use to ryot in the sea :
wherby they say that they are flow become no more gratious,
pleasant nor gentle, but incivile, monstrous and horrible. Moreover,
that marriages are not for any amity, or for love of procreation, but
full of envy, discord, and debate. This the curious Gul did clatter in
the ears of Venus, reprehending her son. But Venus began to cry
and sayd, What hath my sonne gotten any Love? I pray thee
gentle bird that doest serve me so faithfully, tell me what she is, and
what is her name that hath troubled my son in such sort? whether
shee be any of the Nymphs, of the number of the goddesses, of the
company of the Muses, or of the mistery of the Graces? To whom
the bird answered, Madam I know not what shee is, but this I know
that she is called Psyches. Then Venus with indignation cried out,
What is it she? the usurper of my beauty, the Vicar of my name?
What did he think that I was a bawd, by whose shew he fell
acquainted with the maid? And immediately she departed and
went to her chamber, where she found her son wounded as it was
told unto her, whom when she beheld she cries out in this sort.

Is this an honest thing, is this honourable to thy parents? is this
reason, that thou hast violated and broken the commandement of
thy mother and soveraign mistresse : and whereas thou shouldst
have vexed my enemy with loathsom love, thou hast done

For being of tender and unripe yeares, thou hast with too licentious
appetite embraced my most mortall Foe, to whome I shall bee
made a mother, and she a Daughter.

Thou presumest and thinkest, thou trifling boy, thou Varlet, and
without all reverence, that thou art most worthy and excellent, and
that I am not able by reason of myne age to have another son,
which if I should have, thou shouldst well understand that I would
beare a more worthier than thou. But to worke thee a greater
despight, I do determine to adopt one of my servants, and to give
him these wings, this fire, this bow, and these Arrowes, and all
other furniture which I gave to thee, not to this purpose, neither is
any thing given thee of thy father for this intent : but first thou hast
been evill brought up and instructed in thy youth thou hast thy hands
ready and sharpe. Thou hast often offended thy antients, and
especially me that am thy mother, thou hast pierced mee with thy
darts thou contemnest me as a widow, neither dost t thou regard
thy valiant and invincible father, and to anger me more, thou art
amorous of harlots and wenches : hot I will cause that thou shalt
shortly repent thee, and that this marriage shal be dearely bought.
To what a point am I now driven? What shall I do? Whither shall I
goe? How shall I represse this beast? Shall I aske ayd of myne
enemy Sobriety, whom I have often offended to engender thee? Or
shall I seeke for counsel of every poore rusticall woman? No, no,
yet had I rather dye, howbeit I will not cease my vengeance, to her
must I have recourse for helpe, and to none other (I meane to
Sobriety), who may correct thee sharpely, take away thy quiver,
deprive thee of thy arrowes, unbend thy bow, quench thy fire, and
which is more subdue thy body with punishment : and when that l
have rased and cut off this thy haire, which I have dressed with
myne owne hands, and made to glitter like gold, and when I have
clipped thy wings, which I my selfe have caused to burgen, then
shall I thinke to have revenged my selfe sufficiently upon thee for
the injury which thou hast done. When shee had spoken these
words shee departed in a great rage out of her chamber.

Immediatelie as she was going away came Juno and Ceres,
demaunding the cause of her anger. Then Venus answered, Verily
you are come to comfort my sorrow, but I pray you with all
diligence to seeke out one whose name is Psyches, who is a
vagabond, and runneth about the Countries, and (as I thinke) you
are not ignorant of the brute of my son Cupid, and of his
demeanour, which I am ashamed to declare. Then they
understanding the whole matter, endeavoured to mitigate the ire of
Venus in this sort : What is the cause Madam, or how hath your
son so offended, that you shold so greatly accuse his love, and
blame him by reason that he is amorous? and why should you
seeke the death of her, whom he doth fancie? We most humbly
intreat you to pardon his fault if he have accorded to the mind of
any maiden : what do you not know that he is a young man? Or
have you forgotten of what yeares he is? Doth he seeme alwayes
unto you to be a childe? You are his mother, and a kind woman,
will you continually search out his dalliance? Will you blame his
luxury? Will you bridle his love? and will you reprehend your owne
art and delights in him? What God or man is hee, that can endure
that you should sowe or disperse your seed of love in every place,
and to make restraint thereof within your owne doores? certes you
will be the cause of the suppression of the publike paces of young
Dames. In this sort this goddesse endeavoured to pacifie her mind,
and to excuse Cupid with al their power (although he were absent)
for feare of his darts and shafts of love. But Venus would in no
wise asswage her heat, but (thinking that they did rather trifle and
taunt at her injuries) she departed from them, and tooke her voiage
towards the sea in all haste. In the meane season Psyches hurled
her selfe hither and thither, to seeke her husband, the rather
because she thought that if he would not be appeased with the
sweet flattery of his wife, yet he would take mercy on her at her
servile and continuall prayers. And (espying a Church on the top of
a high hill) she said, What can I tell whether my husband and
master be there or no? wherefore she went thitherward, and with
great paine and travell, moved by hope, after that she climbed to
the top of the mountaine, she came to the temple, and went in,
wheras behold she espied sheffes of corn lying on a heap, blades
withered with garlands, and reeds of barly, moreover she saw
hooks, sithes, sickles, and other instruments, to reape, but every
thing lay out of order, and as it were cast in by the hands of
laborers which when Psyches saw she gathered up and put
everything in order, thinking that she would not despise or
contemne the temples of any of the Gods, but rather get the favour
and benevolence of them all : by and by Ceres came in, and
beholding her busie and curious in her chapell, cried out a far off,
and said, O Psyches needfull of mercy, Venus searcheth for thee in
every place to revenge her selfe and to punish thee grievously, but
thou hast more mind to be heere, and carest for nothing lesse, then
for thy safety. Then Psyches fell on her knees before her, watring
her feet with her teares, wiping the ground with her haire, and with
great weeping and lamentation desired pardon, saying, O great and
holy Goddesse, l pray thee by thy plenteous and liberall right hand,
by the joyfull ceremonies of thy harvest, by the secrets of thy
Sacrifice, by the flying chariots of thy dragons, by the tillage of the
ground of Sicilie, which thou hast invented, by the marriage of
Proserpin, by the diligent inquisition of thy daughter, and by the
other secrets which are within the temple of Eleusis in the land of
Athens, take pitty on me thy servant Psyches, and let me hide my
selfe a few dayes amongst these sheffes of corne, untill the ire of
so great a Goddesse be past, or until that I be refreshed of my
great labour and travell. Then answered Ceres, Verely Psyches, I
am greatly moved by thy prayers and teares, and desire with all my
heart to aide thee, but if I should suffer thee to be hidden here, I
should increase the displeasure of my Cosin, with whom I have
made a treatie of peace, and an ancient promise of amity :
wherefore I advise thee to depart hence and take it not in evil part
in that I will not suffer thee to abide and remaine here within my
temple. Then Psyches driven away contrary to her hope, was
double afflicted with sorrow and so she returned back againe. And
behold she perceived a far off in a vally a Temple standing within a
Forest, faire and curiously wrought, and minding to over-passe no
place whither better hope did direct her, and to the intent she would
desire pardon of every God, she approached nigh unto the sacred
doore, whereas she saw pretious riches and vestiments ingraven
with letters of gold, hanging upon branches of trees, and the posts
of the temple testifying the name of the goddesse Juno, to whom
they were dedicate, then she kneeled downe upon her knees, and
imbraced the Alter with her hands, and wiping her teares, gan pray
in this sort : O deere spouse and sister of the great God Jupiter
which art adored and worshipped amongst the great temples of
Samos, called upon by women with child, worshipped at high
Carthage, because thou wast brought from heaven by the lyon, the
rivers of the floud Inachus do celebrate thee : and know that thou
art the wife of the great god, and the goddesse of goddesses; all the
east part of the world have thee in veneration, all the world calleth
thee Lucina : I pray thee to be my advocate in my tribulations,
deliver me from the great danger which pursueth me, and save me
that am weary with so long labours and sorrow, for I know that it is
thou that succorest and helpest such women as are with child and
in danger. Then Juno hearing the prayers of Psyches, appeared
unto her in all her royalty, saying, Certes Psyches I would gladly
help thee, but I am ashamed to do any thing contrary to the will of
my daughter in law Venus, whom alwaies I have loved as mine
owne child, moreover I shall incurre the danger of the law, intituled,
De servo corrupto, whereby am forbidden to retaine any servant
fugitive, against the will of his Master. Then Psyches cast off
likewise by Juno, as without all hope of the recovery of her
husband, reasoned with her selfe in this sort : Now what comfort or
remedy is left to my afflictions, when as my prayers will nothing
availe with the goddesses? what shall I do? whither shall I go? In
what cave or darknesse shall I hide my selfe, to avoid the furor of
Venus? Why do I not take a good heart, and offer my selfe with
humilitie unto her, whose anger I have wrought? What do I know
whether he (whom I seeke for) be in his mothers house or no?
Thus being in doubt, poore Psyches prepared her selfe to her owne
danger, and devised how she might make her orison and prayer
unto Venus. After that Venus was weary with searching by Sea
and Land for Psyches, shee returned toward heaven, and
commanded that one should prepare her Chariot, which her
husband Vulcanus gave unto her by reason of marriage, so finely
wrought that neither gold nor silver could be compared to the
brightnesse therof. Four white pigeons guided the chariot with great
diligence, and when Venus was entred in a number of sparrowes
flew chirping about, making signe of joy, and all other kind of birds
sang sweetly, foreshewing the comming of the great goddesse: the
clouds gave place, the heavens opened, and received her joyfully,
the birds that followed nothing feared the Eagle, Hawkes, or other
ravenous foules of the aire. Incontinently she went unto the royall
Pallace of God Jupiter, and with a proud and bold petition
demanded the service of Mercury, in certaine of her affaires,
whereunto Jupiter consented: then with much joy shee descended
from Heaven with Mercury, and gave him an earnest charge to put
in execution her words, saying : O my Brother, borne in Arcadia,
thou knowest well, that I (who am thy sister) did never enterprise
to doe any thing without thy presence, thou knowest also how long
I have sought for a girle and cannot finde her, wherefore there
resteth nothing else save that thou with thy trumpet doe pronounce
the reward to such as take her: see thou put in execution my
commandment, and declare that whatsoever he be that retaineth
her wittingly, against my will shall not defend himselfe by any
meane or excusation: which when she had spoken, she delivered
unto him a libell, wherein was contained the name of Psyches, and
the residue of his publication, which done, she departed away to her
lodging. By and by, Mercurius (not delaying the matter) proclaimed
throughout all the world, that whatsoever hee were that could tell
any tydings of a Kings fugitive Daughter, the servant of Venus,
named Psyches, should bring word to Mercury, and for reward of
his paines, he should receive. seaven sweet kisses of Venus After
that Mercury had pronounced. these things, every man was
enflamed with desire to search out Psyches.

This proclamation was the cause that put all doubt from Psyches,
who was scantly come in the sight of the house of Venus, but one
of her servants called Custome came out, who espying Psyches,
cried with a loud voyce, saying: O wicked harlot as thou art, now at
length thou shalt know that thou hast a mistresse above thee. What,
dost thou make thy selfe ignorant, as though thou didst not
understand what travell wee have taken in searching for thee? I am
glad that thou art come into my hands, thou art now in the golfe of
hell, and shalt abide the paine and punishment of thy great
contumacy, and therewithall she tooke her by the haire, and brought
her in, before the presence of the goddesse Venus. When Venus
spied her, shee began to laugh, and as angry persons accustome to
doe, she shaked her head, and scratched her right eare saying, O
goddesse, goddesse, you are now come at length to visit your
husband that is in danger of death, by your meanes : bee you
assured, I will handle you like a daughter : where be my maidens,
Sorrow and Sadnesse? To whom (when they came) she delivered
Psyches to be cruelly tormented; then they fulfilled the
commandement of their Mistresse, and after they had piteously
scourged her with rods and whips, they presented her againe
before Venus; then she began to laugh againe, saying : Behold she
thinketh (that by reason of her great belly, which she hath gotten by
playing the whore) to move me to pitty, and to make me a
grandmother to her childe. Am not I happy, that in the flourishing
time of al mine age, shall be called a grandmother, and the sonne of
a vile harlot shall bee accounted the nephew of Venus : howbeit I
am a foole to tearm him by the name of my son, since as the
marriage was made betweene unequall persons, in the field without
witnesses, and not by the consent of parents, wherefore the
marriage is illegitimate, and the childe (that shall be borne) a
bastard; if we fortune to suffer thee to live so long till thou be
delivered. When Venus had spoken these words she leaped upon
the face of poore Psyches, and (tearing her apparell) tooke her by
the haire, and dashed her head upon the ground. Then she tooke a
great quantity of wheat, of barly, poppy seede, peason, lintles, and
beanes, and mingled them altogether on a heape saying : Thou evil
favoured girle, thou seemest unable to get the grace of thy lover, by
no other meanes, but only by diligent and painefull service,
wherefore I will prove what thou canst doe : see that thou separate
all these graines one from another, disposing them orderly in their
quantity, and let it be done before night. When she had appointed
this taske unto Psyches, she departed to a great banket that was
prepared that day. But Psyches went not about to dissever the
graine, (as being a thing impossible to be brought to passe by
reason it lay so confusedly scattered) but being astonyed at the
cruell commandement of Venus, sate still and said nothing. Then
the little pismire the emote, taking pitty of her great difficulty and
labour, cursing the cruellnesse of the daughter of Jupiter, and of so
evill a mother, ran about, hither and thither, and called to all her
friends, Yee quick sons of the ground, the mother of all things, take
mercy on this poore maid, espouse to Cupid, who is in great danger
of her person, I pray you helpe her with all diligence. Incontinently
one came after another, dissevering and dividing the graine, and
after that they had put each kinde of corne in order, they ranne
away againe in all haste. When night came, Venus returned home
from the banket wel tippled with wine, smelling of balme, and
crowned with garlands of roses, who when shee had espied what
Psyches had done, gan say, This is not the labour of thy hands, but
rather of his that is amorous of thee : then she gave her a morsel of
brown bread, and went to sleep. In the mean season, Cupid was
closed fast in the surest chamber of the house, partly because he
should not hurt himself with wanton dalliance, and partly because
he should not speake with his love : so these two lovers were
divided one from another. When night was passed Venus called
Psyches, and said, Seest thou yonder Forest that extendeth out in
length with the river? there be great sheepe shining like gold, and
kept by no manner of person. I command thee that thou go thither
and bring me home some of the wooll of their fleeces. Psyches
arose willingly not to do her commandement, but to throw her selfe
headlong into water to end her sorrows. Then a green reed
inspired by divine inspiration, with a gratious tune and melody gan
say, O Psyches I pray thee not to trouble or pollute my water by
the death of thee, and yet beware that thou goe not towards the
terrible sheepe of this coast, untill such time as the heat of the
sunne be past, for when the sunne is in his force, then seeme they
most dreadfull and furious, with their sharpe hornes, their stony
foreheads and their gaping throats, wherewith they arme
themselves to the destruction of mankinde. But untill they have
refreshed themselves in the river, thou must hide thy selfe here by
me, under this great plaine tree, and as soone as their great fury is
past, thou maist goe among the thickets and bushes under the wood
side and gather the lockes their golden Fleeces, which thou shalt
finde hanging upon the briers. Then spake the gentle and benigne
reed, shewing a mean to Psyches to save her life, which she bore
well in memory, and with all diligence went and gathered up such
lockes as shee found, and put them in her apron, and carried them
home to Venus. Howbeit the danger of this second labour did not
please her, nor give her sufficient witnesse of the good service of
Psyches, but with a sower resemblance of laughter, did say : Of a
certaine I know that this is not thy fact, but I will prove if that thou
bee of so stout, so good a courage, and singular prudency as thou
seemest to bee. Then Venus spake unto Psyches againe saying :
Seest thou the toppe of yonder great Hill, from whence there
runneth downe waters of blacke and deadly colour, which
nourisheth the floods of Stix, Cocytus? I charge thee to goe thither,
and bring me a vessell of that water : wherewithall she gave her a
bottle of Christall, menacing and threatening her rigorously. Then
poor Psyches went in all haste to the top of the mountaine, rather to
end her life, then to fetch any water, and when she was come up to
the ridge of the hill, she perceived that it was impossible to bring it
to passe : for she saw a great rocke gushing out most horrible
fountaines of waters, which ran downe and fell by many stops and
passages into the valley beneath : on each side shee did see great
Dragons, which were stretching out their long and bloody Neckes,
that did never sleepe, but appointed to keepe the river there : the
waters seemed to themselves likewise saying, Away; away, what
wilt thou doe? flie, flie, or else thou wilt be slaine. Then Psyches
(seeing the impossibility of this affaire) stood still as though she
were transformed into a stone and although she was present in
body, yet was she absent in spirit and sense, by reason of the great
perill which she saw, insomuch that she could not comfort her self
with weeping, such was the present danger that she was in. But
the royall bird of great Jupiter, the Eagle remembring his old service
which he had done, when as by the pricke of Cupid he brought up
the boy Ganimedes, to the heavens, to be made butler of Jupiter,
and minding to shew the like service in the person of the wife of
Cupid, came from the high-house of the Skies, and said unto
Psyches, O simple woman without all experience, doest thou thinke
to get or dip up any drop of this dreadfull water? No, no, assure thy
selfe thou art never able to come nigh it, for the Gods themselves
do greatly feare at the sight thereof. What, have you not heard,
that it is a custome among men to sweare by the puissance of the
Gods, and the Gods do sweare by the majesty of the river Stix? but
give me thy bottle, and sodainly he tooke it, and filled it with the
water of the river, and taking his flight through those cruell and
horrible dragons, brought it unto Psyches : who being very joyfull
thereof, presented it to Venus, who would not yet be appeased, but
menacing more and more said, What, thou seemest unto me a very
witch and enchauntresse, that bringest these things to passe,
howbeit thou shalt do nothing more. Take this box and to Hell to
Proserpina, and desire her to send me a little of her beauty, as
much as will serve me the space of one day, and say that such as I
had is consumed away since my sonne fell sicke, but returne againe
quickly, for I must dresse my selfe therewithall, and goe to the
Theatre of the Gods : then poore Psyches perceived the end of all
fortune, thinking verely that she should never returne, and not
without cause, when as she was compelled to go to the gulfe and
furies of hell. Wherefore without any further delay, she went up
to an high tower to throw her selfe downe headlong (thinking that it
was the next and readiest way to hell) but the tower (as inspired)
spake unto her saying, O poore miser, why goest thou about to slay
thy selfe? Why dost thou rashly yeeld unto thy last perill and
danger? know thou that if thy spirit be once separated from thy
body, thou shalt surely go to hell, but never to returne againe,
wherefore harken to me; Lacedemon a Citie in Greece is not farre
hence: go thou thither and enquire for the hill Tenarus, whereas
thou shalt find a hold leading to hell, even to the Pallace of Pluto,
but take heede thou go not with emptie hands to that place of
darknesse: but Carrie two sops sodden in the flour of barley and
Honney in thy hands, and two halfepence in thy mouth. And when
thou hast passed a good part of that way, thou shalt see a lame
Asse carrying of wood, and a lame fellow driving him, who will
desire thee to give him up the sticks that fall downe, but passe thou
on and do nothing; by and by thou shalt come unto a river of hell,
whereas Charon is ferriman, who will first have his fare paied him,
before he will carry the soules over the river in his boat, whereby
you may see that avarice raigneth amongst the dead, neither
Charon nor Pluto will do any thing for nought: for if it be a poore
man that would passe over and lacketh money, he shal be
compelled to die in his journey before they will shew him any
reliefe, wherefore deliver to carraine Charon one of the halfpence
(which thou bearest for thy passage) and let him receive it out of
thy mouth. And it shall come to passe as thou sittest in the boat
thou shalt see an old man swimming on the top of the river, holding
up his deadly hands, and desiring thee to receive him into the barke,
but have no regard to his piteous cry; when thou art passed over
the floud, thou shalt espie old women spinning, who will desire thee
to helpe them, hut beware thou do not consent unto them in any
case, for these and like baits and traps will Venus set to make thee
let fall one of thy sops, and thinke not that the keeping of thy sops is
a light matter, for if thou leese one of them thou shalt be assured
never to returne againe to this world. Then shalt thou see a great
and marvailous dogge, with three heads, barking continually at the
soules of such as enter in, but he can do them no other harme, he
lieth day and night before the gate of Proserpina, and keepeth the
house of Pluto with great diligence, to whom if thou cast one of thy
sops, thou maist have accesse to Proserpina without all danger :
shee will make thee good cheere, and entertaine thee with delicate
meate and drinke, but sit thou upon the ground, and desire browne
bread, and then declare thy message unto her, and when thou hast
received such beauty as she giveth, in thy returne appease the rage
of the dogge with thy other sop, and give thy other halfe penny to
covetous Charon, and come the same way againe into the world as
thou wentest : but above all things have a regard that thou looke not
in the boxe, neither be not too curious about the treasure of the
divine beauty. In this manner tire tower spake unto Psyches, and
advertised her what she should do : and immediately she tooke two
halfe pence, two sops, and all things necessary, and went to the
mountaine Tenarus to go towards hell. After that Psyches had
passed by the lame Asse, paid her halfe pennie for passage,
neglected the old man in the river, denyed to helpe the woman
spinning, and filled the ravenous month of the dogge with a sop,
shee came to the chamber of Proserpina. There Psyches would
not sit in any royall seate, nor eate any delicate meates, but kneeled
at the feete of Proserpina, onely contented with course bread,
declared her message, and after she had received a mysticall
secret in a boxe, she departed, and stopped the mouth of the dogge
with the other sop, and paied the boatman the other halfe penny.
When Psyches was returned from hell, to the light of the world,
shee was ravished with great desire, saying, Am not I a foole, that
knowing that I carrie here the divine beauty, will not take a little
thereof to garnish my face, to please my love withall? And by and
by shee opened the boxe where she could perceive no beauty nor
any thing else, save onely an infernall and deadly sleepe, which
immediatly invaded all her members as soone as the boxe was
uncovered, in such sort that she fell downe upon the ground, and
lay there as a sleeping corps.

But Cupid being now healed of his wound and Maladie, not able to
endure the absence of Psyches, got him secretly out at a window
of the chamber where hee was enclosed, and (receiving his wings,)
tooke his flight towards his loving wife, whom when he had found,
hee wiped away the sleepe from her face, and put it againe into the
boxe, and awaked her with the tip of one of his arrows, saying : O
wretched Caitife, behold thou wert well-nigh perished againe, with
the overmuch curiositie : well, goe thou, and do thy message to my
Mother, and in the meane season, I will provide for all things
accordingly : wherewithall he tooke his flight into the aire, and
Psyches brought her present to Venus.

Cupid being more and more in love with Psyches, and fearing the
displeasure of his Mother, did pearce into the heavens, and arrived
before Jupiter to declare his cause : then Jupiter after that hee had
eftsoone embraced him, gan say in this manner : O my well beloved
sonne, although thou haste not given due reverence and honour
unto me as thou oughtest to doe, but haste rather spoiled and
wounded this my brest (whereby the laws and order of the
Elements and Planets be disposed) with continuall assaults, of
Terren luxury and against all laws, and the discipline Julia, and the
utility of the publike weale, in transforming my divine beauty into
serpents, fire, savage beasts, birds, and into Bulles : howbeit
remembring my modesty, and that I have nourished thee with mine
owne proper hands, I will doe and accomplish all thy desire, so that
thou canst beware of spitefull and envious persons. And if there be
any excellent Maiden of comely beauty in the world, remember yet
the benefit which I shall shew unto thee by recompence of her love
towards me againe. When lie had spoken these words he
commanded Mercury to call all the gods to counsell, and if any of
the celestiall powers did faile of appearance he would be
condemned in ten thousand pounds : which sentence was such a
terrour to all the goddesses, that the high Theatre was replenished,
and Jupiter began to speake in this sort : O yee gods, registred in
the bookes of the Muses, you all know this young man Cupid whom
I have nourished with mine owne hands, whose raging flames of his
first youth, I thought best to bridle and restraine. It sufficeth that
hee is defamed in every place for his adulterous living, wherefore
all occasion ought to bee taken away by meane of marriage : he
hath chosen a Maiden that fancieth him well, and hath bereaved
her of her virginity, let him have her still, and possesse her
according to his owne pleasure : then he returned to Venus, and
said, And you my daughter, take you no care, neither feare the
dishonour of your progeny and estate, neither have regard in that it
is a mortall marriage, for it seemeth unto me just, lawfull, and
legitimate by the law civill. Incontinently after Jupiter commanded
Mercury to bring up Psyches, the spouse of Cupid, into the Pallace
of heaven. And then he tooke a pot of immortality, and said, Hold
Psyches, and drinke, to the end thou maist be immortall, and that
Cupid may be thine everlasting husband. By and by the great
banket and marriage feast was sumptuously prepared, Cupid sate
downe with his deare spouse between his armes : Juno likewise
with Jupiter, and all the other gods in order, Ganimedes filled the
pot of Jupiter, and Bacchus served the rest. Their drinke was
Nectar the wine of the gods, Vulcanus prepared supper, the
howers decked up the house with roses and other sweet smells, the
graces threw about blame, the Muses sang with sweet harmony,
Apollo tuned pleasantly to the Harpe, Venus danced finely : Satirus
and Paniscus plaid on their pipes; and thus Psyches was married to
Cupid, and after she was delivered of a child whom we call
Pleasure. This the trifling old woman declared unto the captive
maiden : but I poore Asse, not standing farre of, was not a little
sorry in that I lacked pen and inke to write so worthy a tale.



How Apuleius carried away the Gentlewoman, and how they were
taken againe by the theeves, and what a kind of death was invented
for them.

By and by the theeves came home laden with treasure, and many
of them which were of strongest courage (leaving behind such as
were lame and wounded, to heale and aire themselves) said they
would returne backe againe to fetch the rest of their pillage, which
they had hidden in a certaine cave, and so they snatched up their
dinner greedily, and brought us forth into the way and beate us
before them with staves. About night (after that we had passed
over many hilles and dales) we came to a great cave, where they
laded us with mighty burthens, and would not suffer us to refresh
our selves any season but brought us againe in our way, and hied so
fast homeward, that what with their haste and their cruell stripes, I
fell downe upon a stone by the way side, then they beate me
pittifully in lifting me up, and hurt my right thigh and my left hoofe,
and one of them said, What shall we do with this lame Ill favoured
Asse, that is not worth the meate he eats? And other said, Since
the time that we had him first he never did any good, and I thinke
he came unto our house with evill lucke, for we have had great
wounds since, and losse of our valiant captaines, and other said, As
soone as he hath brought home his burthen, I will surely throw him
out upon the mountaine to be a pray for wild beasts : While these
gentlemen reasoned together of my death, we fortuned to come
home, for the feare that I was in, caused my feet to turne into
wings : after that we were discharged of our burthens, they went to
their fellowes that were wounded, and told them of our great tardity
and slownesse by the way, neither was I brought into small anguish,
when I perceived my death prepared before my face : Why
standest thou still Lucius? Why dost thou not looke for thy death?
Knowst thou not that the theeves have ordained to slay thee? seest
thou not these sharpe and pointed flints which shall bruise and teare
thee in peeces, if by adventure thou happen upon them? Thy gentle
Magitian hath not onely given thee the shape and travell of an
Asse, but also a skinne so soft and tender as it were a swallow :
why dost thou not take courage and runne away to save thy selfe?
Art thou afraid of the old woman more then halfe dead, whom with
a stripe of thy heele thou maist easily dispatch? But whither shall I
fly? What lodging shall I seek? See my Assy cogitation. Who is
he that passeth by the way and will not take me up? While I
devised these things, I brake the halter wherewith I was tyed and
ran away with all my force, howbeit I could not escape the kitish
eyes of the old woman, for shee ran after me, and with more
audacity then becommeth her kind age, caught me by the halter and
thought to pull me home: but I not forgetting the cruell purpose of
the theeves, was mooved with small pity, for I kicked her with my
hinder heeles to the ground and had welnigh slaine her, who
(although shee was throwne and hurled downe) yet shee held still
the halter, and would not let me goe; then shee cryed with a loud
voyce and called for succour, but she little prevayled, because there
was no person that heard her, save onely the captive gentlewoman,
who hearing the voice of the old woman, came out to see what the
matter was, and perceiving her hanging at the halter, tooke a good
courage and wrested it out of her hand, and (entreating me with
gentle words) got upon my backe. Then I began to runne, and shee
gently kicked mee forward, whereof I was nothing displeased, for I
had as great a desire to escape as shee : insomuch that I seemed to
scowre away like a horse. And when the Gentlewoman did
speake, I would answere her with my neighing, and oftentimes
(under colour to rub my backe) I would sweetly kisse her tender
feet. Then shee fetching a sigh from the bottome of her heart,
lifted up her eyes to the heavens, saying : O soveraigne Gods,
deliver mee if it be your pleasure, from these present dangers : and
thou cruell fortune cease thy wrath, let the sorrow suffice thee
which I have already sustained. And thou little Asse, that art the
occasion of my safety and liberty, if thou canst once render me
safe and sound to my parents, and to him that so greatly desireth to
have me to his wife, thou shalt see what thankes I will give : with
what honour I will reward thee, and how I will use thee. First, I will
bravely dresse the haires of thy forehead, and then will I finely
combe thy maine, I will tye up thy rugged tayle trimly, I will decke
thee round about with golden trappes, in such sort that thou shalt
glitter like the starres of the skie, I will bring thee daily in my apron
the kirnels of nuts, and will pamper thee up with delicates; I will set
store by thee, as by one that is the preserver of my life : Finally,
thou shalt lack no manner of thing. Moreover amongst thy glorious
fare, thy great ease, and the blisse of thy life, thou shalt not be
destitute of dignity, for thou shalt be chronicled perpetually in
memory of my present fortune, and the providence divine. All the
whole history shall be painted upon the wall of our house, thou shalt
he renowned throughout all the world. And it shall be registred in
the bookes of Doctours, that an Asse saved the life of a young
maiden that was captive amongst Theeves : Thou shalt be numbred
amongst the ancient miracles : wee beleeve that by like example of
truth Phryxus saved himselfe from drowning upon the Ram, Arion
escaped upon a Dolphin, and that Europa was delivered by the Bull.
If Jupiter transformed himselfe into a Bull, why may it not be that
under the shape of this Asse, is hidden the figure of a man, or some
power divine? While that the Virgin did thus sorrowfully unfold her
desires, we fortuned to come to a place where three wayes did
meet, and shee tooke me by the halter, and would have me to turne
on the right hand to her fathers house : but I (knowing that the
theeves were gone that way to fetch the residue of their pillage)
resisted with my head as much as I might, saying within my selfe :
What wilt thou doe unhappy maiden? Why wouldst thou goe so
willingly to hell? Why wilt thou runne into destruction by meane of
my feet? Why dost thou seek thine own harme, and mine likewise?
And while we strived together whether way we might take, the
theeves returned, laiden with their pray, and perceived us a farre
off by the light of the Moon: and after they had known us, one of
them gan say, Whither goe you so hastely? Be you not afraid of
spirits? And you (you harlot) doe you not goe to see your parents?
Come on, we will beare you company? And therewithall they tooke
me by the hatter, and drave me backe againe, beating me cruelly
with a great staffe (that they had) full of knobs: then I returning
againe to my ready destruction, and remembering the griefe of my
hoofe, began to shake my head, and to waxe lame, but he that led
me by the halter said, What, dost thou stumble? Canst thou not
goe? These rotten feet of thine ran well enough, but they cannot
walke: thou couldest mince it finely even now with the
gentlewoman, that thou seemedst to passe the horse Pegasus in
swiftnesse. In saying of these words they beat mee againe, that
they broke a great staffe upon mee. And when we were come
almost home, we saw the old woman hanging upon a bow of a
Cipresse tree; then one of them cut downe the bowe whereon shee
hanged, and cast her into the bottome of a great ditch : after this
they bound the maiden and fell greedily to their victuals, which the
miserable old woman had prepared for them. At which time they
began to devise with themselves of our death, and how they might
be revenged; divers was the opinions of this divers number: the first
said, that hee thought best the Mayd should be burned alive: the
second said she should be throwne out to wild beasts: the third said,
she should be hanged upon a gibbet: the fourth said she should be
flead alive: thus was the death of the poore Maiden scanned
betweene them foure. But one of the theeves after every man had
declared his judgement, did speake in this manner: it is not
convenient unto the oath of our company, to suffer you to waxe
more cruell then the quality of the offence doth merit, for I would
that shee should not be hanged nor burned, nor throwne to beasts,
nor dye any sodaine death, but by my council I would have her
punished according to her desert. You know well what you have
determined already of this dull Asse, that eateth more then he is
worth, that faineth lamenesse, and that was the cause of the flying
away of the Maid : my mind is that he shall be slaine to morrow,
and when all the guts and entrailes of his body is taken out, let the
Maide be sowne into his belly, then let us lay them upon a great
stone against the broiling heate of the Sunne, so they shall both
sustaine all the punishments which you have ordained : for first the
Asse shall be slaine as you have determined, and she shall have her
members torne and gnawn with wild beasts, when as she is bitten
and rent with wormes, shee shall endure the paine of the fire, when
as the broyling heat of the Sunne shall scortch and parch the belly
of the Asse, shee shall abide the gallows when the Dogs and
Vultures shall have the guts of her body hanging in their ravenous
mouthes. I pray you number all the torments which she shall suffer
: First shee shall dwell within the paunch of an Asse : secondly her
nosethrilles shall receive a carraine stinke of the beast : thirdly shee
shall dye for hunger : last of all, shee shall finde no meane to ridde
her selfe from her paines, for her hand shalt be sowen up within the
skinne of the Asse : This being said, all the Theeves consented, and
when I (poore Asse) heard and understood all their device, I did
nothing else but lament and bewayle my dead carkasse, which
should be handled in such sort on the next morrow.


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