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The Golden Asse by Lucius Apuleius

Part 4 out of 4

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be accused of cowardise or dastardnesse, yet in the end he told
some of his companions of all the matter that happened : then they
tooke him and caused him to be closed in some secret place,
thinking that beside the injury which he had received, he should be
accused of the breach of his faith, by reason of the losse of his
speare, and when they had learned the signes of my master, they
went to search him out : at last there was an unfaithfull neighbour
that told them where he was, then incontinently the souldiers went
to the Justice declaring that they had lost by the way a silver goblet
of their Captaines, and that a Gardener had found it, who refusing
to deliver the goblet, was hidden in one of his friends houses : by
and by the Magistrates understanding the losse of the Captaine,
came to the doores where we were, commanded our host to deliver
my master upon paine of death: howbeit these threatnings could not
enforce him to confesse that he was within his doores, but by
reason of his faithfull promise and for the safeguard of his friend,
he said, that hee saw not the Gardener a great while, neither knew
where he was : the souldiers said contrary, whereby to know the
verity of the matter, the Magistrates commanded their Seargants
and ministers to search every comer of the house, but when they
could find neither Gardener nor Asse, there was a great contention
betweene the souldiers and our Host, for they sayd we were within
the house : and he said no, but I that was very curious to know the
matter, when I heard so great a noyse, put my head out of the
window to learne what the stirre and tumult did signifie. It fortuned
that one of the souldiers perceived my shadow, whereupon he
began to cry, saying : that hee had certainly seene me; then they
were all glad and came up into the chamber, and pulled me downe
like a prisoner. When they had found mee, they doubted nothing of
the Gardener, but seeking about more narrowly, at length they
found him couched in a chest. And so they brought out the poore
gardener to the Justices, who was committed immediately to prison,
but they could never forbeare laughing from the time they found me
by my shadow, wherefore is risen a common Proverbe : ' The
shadow of the Asse.'



How the souldier drave Apuleius away, and how he came to a
Captaines house, and what happened there.

The next day how my master the Gardener sped, I knew not, but
the gentle souldier, who was well beaten for his cowardise, lead me
to his lodging without the contradiction of any man : Where hee
laded me well, and garnished my body (as seemed to me) like an
Asse of armes. For on the one side I bare an helmet that shined
exceedingly : On the other side a Target that glistered more a
thousand folde. And on the top of my burthen he put a long speare,
which things he placed thus gallantly, not because he was so expert
in warre (for the Gardener proved the contrary) but to the end he
might feare those which passed by, when they saw such a
similitude of warre. When we had gone a good part of our journey,
over the plaine and easie fields, we fortuned to come to a little
towne, where we lodged at a certaine Captaines house. And there
the souldier tooke me to one of the servants, while he himselfe
went towards his captaine; who had the charge of a thousand men.
And when we had remained there a few dayes, I understood of a
wicked and mischievous fact committed there, which I have put in
writing to the end you may know the same. The master of the
house had a sonne instructed in good literature, and endued with
vertuous manners, such a one as you would desire to have the like.
Long time before his mother dyed, and when his father married a
new wife, and had another child of the age of xii. yeares. The
stepdame was more excellent in beauty then honesty : for she loved
this young man her sonne in law, either because she was unchast
by nature, or because she was enforced by fate of stepmother, to
commit so great a mischiefe. Gentle reader, thou shalt not read of
a fable, but rather a tragedy : This woman when her love began
first to kindle in her heart, could easily resist her desire and
inordinate appetite by reason of shame and feare, lest her intent
should be knowne: But after it compassed and burned every part of
her brest, she was compelled to yeeld unto the raging flame of
Cupid, and under colour of the disease and infirmity of her body, to
conceale the wound of her restlesse mind. Every man knoweth
well the signes and tokens of love, and the malady convenient to
the same : Her countenance was pale, her eyes sorrowfull, her
knees weake, and there was no comfort in her, but continuall
weeping and sobbing, insomuch that you would have thought that
she had some spice of an ague, saving that she wept unmeasurably:
the Phisitians knew not her disease, when they felt the beating of
her veines, the intemperance of her heart, the sobbing sighes, and
her often tossing of every side : No, no, the cunning Phisitian knew
it not, but a scholler of Venus Court might easily conjecture the
whole. After that she had beene long time tormented in her
affliction, and was no more able to conceale her ardent desire, shee
caused her sonne to be called for, (which word son she would faine
put away if it were not for shame :) Then he nothing disobedient to
the commandement of his mother, with a sad and modest
countenance, came into the chamber of his stepdame, the mother
of his brother, but she speaking never a word was in great doubt
what she might doe, and could not tell what to say first, by reason
of shame. The young man suspecting no ill, with humble courtesie
demanded the cause of her present disease. Then she having found
an occasion to utter her intent, with weeping eyes and covered
face, began boldly to speake unto him in this manner : Thou, thou,
art the originall cause of all my dolour : Thou art my comfort and
onely health, for those thy comely eyes are so enfastned within my
brest, that unlesse they succour me, I shall certainly die : Have pitty
therefore upon me, be not the occasion of my destruction, neither
let my conscience reclaime to offend thy father, when as thou shalt
save the life of thy mother. Moreover since thou dost resemble thy
fathers shape in every point, it giveth me cause the more to fancy
thee : Now is ministred unto thee time and place : Now hast thou
occasion to worke thy will, seeing that we are alone. And it is a
common saying :

Never knowne, never done.

This young man troubled in mind at so suddaine an ill, although hee
abhorred to commit so beastly a crime, yet hee would not cast her
off with a present deniall, but warily pacified her mind with delay of
promise. Wherefore he promised to doe all according to her desire
: And in the meane season, he willed his mother to be of good
cheere, and comfort her selfe till as he might find some convenient
time to come unto her, when his father was ridden forth :
Wherewithall hee got him away from the pestilent sight of his
stepdame. And knowing that this matter touching the ruine of all
the whole house needed the counsell of wise and grave persons, he
went incontinently to a sage old man and declared the whole
circumstance of the matter. The old man after long deliberation,
thought there was no better way to avoyd the storme of cruell
fortune to come, then to run away. In the meane season this
wicked woman impatient of her love, and the long delay of her
sonne, egged her husband to ride abroad into farre countreyes. And
then she asked the young-man the accomplishment of his promise,
but he to rid himselfe entirely from her hands, would find alwayes
excuses, till in the end she understood by the messengers that came
in and out, that he nothing regarded her. Then she by how much
she loved him before, by so much and more she hated him now.
And by and by she called one of her servants, ready to all
mischiefes : To whom she declared all her secrets. And there it
was concluded betweene them two, that the surest way was to kill
the young man : Whereupon this varlet went incontinently to buy
poyson, which he mingled with wine, to the intent he would give it
to the young man to drinke, and thereby presently to kill him. But
while they were in deliberation how they might offer it unto him,
behold here happened a strange adventure. For the young sonne of
the woman that came from schoole at noone (being very thirsty)
tooke the pot wherein the poyson was mingled, and ignorant of the
venim, dranke a good draught thereof, which was prepared to kill
his brother : whereby he presently fell downe to the ground dead.
His schoolemaster seeing his suddaine change, called his mother,
and all the servants of the house with a lowd voyce. Incontinently
every man declared his opinion, touching the death of the child : but
the cruell woman the onely example of stepmothers malice, was
nothing moved by the bitter death of her sonne, or by her owne
conscience of paracide, or by the misfortune of her house, or by the
dolour of her husband, but rather devised the destruction of all her
family. For by and by shee sent a messenger after her husband to
tell him the great misfortune which happened after his departure.
And when lie came home, the wicked woman declared that his
sonne had empoysoned his brother, because he would not consent
to his will, and told him divers other leasings, adding in the end that
hee threatned to kill her likewise, because she discovered the fact :
Then the unhappy father was stroken with double dolour of the
death of his two children, for on the one side he saw his younger
sonne slaine before his eyes, on the other side, he seemed to see
the elder condemned to dye for his offence : Againe, where he
beheld his wife lament in such sort, it gave him further occasion to
hate his sonne more deadly; but the funerals of his younger sonne
were scarce finished, when the old man the father with weeping
eyes even at the returne from the grave, went to the Justice and
accused his sonne of the slaughter of his brother, and how he
threatned to slay his wife, whereby the rather at his weeping and
lamentation, he moved all the Magistrates and people to pitty,
insomuch that without any delay, or further inquisition they cryed all
that hee should be stoned to death, but the Justices fearing a farther
inconvenience to arise by the particular vengeance, and to the end
there might fortune no sedition amongst the people, prayed the
decurions and other Officers of the City, that they might proceed
by examination of witnesses, and with order of justice according to
the ancient custome before the judging of any hasty sentence or
judgment, without the hearing of the contrary part, like as the
barbarous and cruell tyrants accustome to use: otherwise they
should give an ill example to their successours. This opinion pleased
every man, wherefore the Senatours and counsellors were called,
who being placed in order according to their dignity, caused the
accuser and defender to be brought forth, and by the example of
the Athenian law, and judgement materiall, their Advocates were
commanded to plead their causes briefly without preambles or
motions of the people to pitty, which were too long a processe.
And if you demand how I understood all this matter, you shall
understand that I heard many declare the same, but to recite what
words the accuser used in his invective, what answer the defender
made, the orations and pleadings of each party, verily I am not able
to doe : for I was fast bound at the manger. But as I learned and
knew by others, I will God willing declare unto you. So it was
ordered, that after the pleadings of both sides was ended, they
thought best to try and boult out the verity by witnesses, all
presumptions and likelihood set apart, and to call in the servant,
who onely was reported to know all the matter : by and by the
servant came in, who nothing abashed, at the feare of so great a
judgment, or at the presence of the Judges, or at his owne guilty
conscience, which hee so finely fained, but with a bold countenance
presented himselfe before the justices and confirmed the
accusation against the young man, saying: O yee judges, on a day
when this young man loathed and hated his stepmother, hee called
mee, desiring mee to poyson his brother, whereby hee might
revenge himselfe, and if I would doe it and keepe the matter secret,
hee promised to give me a good reward for my paines : but when
the young man perceived that I would not accord to his will, he
threatned to slay mee, whereupon hee went himselfe and bought
poyson, and after tempered it with wine, and then gave it me to
give the child, which when I refused he offered it to his brother
with his own hands. When the varlet with a trembling countenance
had ended these words which seemed a likelihood of truth, the
judgement was ended : neither was there found any judge or
counsellor, so mercifull to the young man accused, as would not
judge him culpable, but that he should be put and sowne in a skin,
with a dogge, a Cocke, a Snake, and an Ape, according to the law
against parricides : wherefore they wanted nothing but (as the
ancient custome was) to put white stones and black into a pot, and
to take them out againe, to see whether the young-man accused
should be acquitted by judgment or condemned, which was a thing

In the mean season he was delivered to the hands of the
executioner. But there arose a sage and ancient Physitian, a man
of a good conscience and credit throughout all the City, that
stopped the mouth of the pot wherein the stones were cast, saying:
I am right glad ye reverend judges, that I am a man of name and
estimation amongst you, whereby I am accompted such a one as
will not suffer any person to be put to death by false and untrue
accusations, considering there hath bin no homicide or murther
committed by this yong man in this case, neither you (being sworn
to judge uprightly) to be misinformed and abused by invented lyes
and tales. For I cannot but declare and open my conscience, least I
should be found to beare small honour and faith to the Gods,
wherefore I pray you give eare, and I will shew you the whole truth
of the matter. You shall understand that this servant which hath
merited to be hanged, came one of these dayes to speake with me,
promising to give me a hundred crownes, if I would give him
present poyson, which would cause a man to dye suddenly, saying,
that he would have it for one that was sicke of an incurable
disease, to the end he might be delivered from all torment, but I
smelling his crafty and subtill fetch, and fearing least he would
worke some mischiefe withall, gave him a drinke; but to the intent I
might cleare my selfe from all danger that might happen, I would
not presently take the money which he offered. But least any of the
crownes should lacke weight or be found counterfeit, I willed him
to scale the purse wherein they were put, with his manuell signe,
whereby the next day we might goe together to the Goldsmith to try
them, which he did; wherefore understanding that he was brought
present before you this day, I hastily commanded one of my
servants to fetch the purse which he had sealed, and here I bring it
unto you to see whether he will deny his owne signe or no: and you
may easily conject that his words are untrue, which he alleadged
against the young man, touching the buying of the poyson,
considering hee bought the poyson himselfe. When the Physitian
had spoken these words you might perceive how the trayterous
knave changed his colour, how hee sweat for feare, how he
trembled in every part of his body: and how he set one leg upon
another, scratching Ibis head and grinding his teeth, whereby there
was no person but would judge him culpable. In the end, when he
was somewhat returned to his former subtility, he began to deny all
that was said, and stoutly affirmed, that the Physitian did lye. But
the Physitian perceiving that he was rayled at and his words
denyed, did never cease to confirme his sayings, and to disprove
the varlet, till such time as the Officers by the commandment of the
Judges, bound his hands and brought out the seale, wherewith he
had sealed the purse which augmented suspition which was
conceived of him first. Howbeit, neither the feare of the wheele or
any other torment according to the use of the Grecians, which were
ready prepared, no, nor yet the fire could enforce him to confesse
the matter, so obstinate and grounded was he in his mischievous
mind. But the Physitian perceiving that the menaces of these
torments did nothing prevaile, gan say: I cannot suffer or abide that
this young man who is innocent, should against all law and
conscience, be punished and condemned to die, and the other which
is culpable, should escape so easily, and after mocke and flowte at
your judgement: for I will give you an evident proofe and argument
of this present crime. You shall understand, that when this caytiffe
demanded of me a present and strong poyson, considering that it
was not my part to give occasion of any others death, but rather to
cure and save sicke persons by meane of medicines : and on the
other side, fearing least if I should deny his request, I might minister
a further cause of his mischiefe, either that he would buy poyson of
some other, or else returne and worke his wicked intent, with a
sword or some dangerous weapon, I gave him no poyson, but a
doling drinke of Mandragora, which is of such force, that it will
cause any man to sleepe as though he were dead. Neither is it any
marvaile if this most desperate man, who is certainly assured to be
put to death, ordained by an ancient custome, can suffer and abide
these facill and easie torments, but if it be so that the child hath
received the drinke as I tempered it with mine owne hands, he is
yet alive and doth but sleepe, and after his sleepe he shall returne to
life againe, but if he be dead indeed, then may you further enquire
of the causes of his death. The opinion of this ancient Physitian
was found good, and every man had a desire to goe to the
Sepulchre where the child was layd; there was none of the
Justices, none of any reputation of the towne, nor any of the
common people, but went to see this strange sight. Amongst them
all the father of the child remooved with his owne hands the stone
of the Sepulchre, and found his Sonne rising up after his dead and
soporiferous sleepe, whom when he beheld, he imbraced him in his
armes, and presented him before the people, with great joy and
consolation, and as he was wrapped and bound in his grave, so he
brought him before the Judges, whereupon the wickednesse of the
Servant, and, the treason of the stepdame was plainely discovered,
and the verity of the matter revealed, whereby the woman was
perpetually exiled, the Servant hanged on a Gallowes, and the
Physitian had the Crownes, which was prepared to buy the poyson.
Behold how the fortune of the old man was changed, who thinking
to be deprived of all his race and posterity, was in one moment
made the Father of two Children. But as for me, I was ruled and
handled by fortune, according to her pleasure.


How Apuleius was sold to two brethren, whereof one was a Baker,
and the other a Cooke, and how finely and daintily he fared.

THE Souldier that payed never a peny for me, by the
commandement of his Captaine was sent unto Rome, to cary
Letters to the great Prince, and Generall of the Campe. Before he
went, he sold me for eleven pence to two of his Companions, being
Servants to a man of worship, whereof one was a Baker that
baked sweet bread and delicates, the other a Cooke, which dressed
fine and excellent meats for his Master. These two lived in
common, and would drive me from place to place, to carry such
things as was necessary, insomuch that I was received by these
two, as a third Brother, and Companion, and I thought I was never
better placed, then with them : for when night came that Supper
was done, and their businesse ended, they would bring many good
morsels into their Chamber for themselves. One would bring Pigs,
Chickens, fish, and other good meates, the other fine bread, pasties,
tarts, custards and other delicate Junkets dipped in hony. And when
they had shut their chamber doore, and went to the bains : (O Lord)
how I would fill my guts with these goodly dishes : neither was I so
much a foole, or so very an Asse, to leave the dainty meats, and to
grind my teeth upon hard hay. In this sort I continued a great space,
for I played the honest Asse, taking but a little of one dish, and a
little of another, wherby no man distrusted me. In the end, I was
more hardier and began to devoure the whole messes of the sweet
delicates, which caused the Baker and the Cooke to suspect,
howbeit they nothing mistrusted me, but searched about to
apprehend the theefe. At length they began to accuse one another
of theft, and to set the dishes and morsels of meat in order, one by
another, because they would learne what was taken away,
whereby one of them was compelled to say thus to his fellow : Is it
reason to breake promise and faith in this sort, by stealing away the
best meat, and to sell it to augment thy good, and yet neverthelesse
to have thy part in the residue that is left : if our partnership doe
mislike thee, we will be partners and brothers in other things, but in
this we will breake of : for I perceive that the great losse which I
sustain, will at length be a cause of great discord betweene us.
Then answered the other, Verily I praise thy great constancy and
subtilnesse, in that (when thou hast secretly taken away the meat)
[thou] dost begin to complaine first, whereas I by long space of
time have suffered thee, because I would not seeme to accuse my
brother of theft, but I am right glad in that wee are fallen into
communication of the matter, least by our silence, like contention
might arise betweene us, as fortuned betweene Eteocles and his
Brother. When they had reasoned together in this sort, they swore
both earnestly, that neither of them stale or tooke away any jote of
the meate, wherefore they concluded to search out the Theefe by
all kind of meanes. For they could not imagin or thinke, the Asse
who stood alone there, would eate any such meates, neither could
they thinke that Mice or Flyes, were so ravenous, as to devouer
whole dishes of meat, like the Birds Harpies which carried away
the meates of Phineus the King of Archadia. In the Meane season
while I was fed with dainty morsels, I gathered together my flesh,
my skin waxed soft, my haire began to shine, and was gallant on
every part, but such faire and comely shape of my body, was cause
of my dishonour, for the Baker and Cooke marvelled to see me so
slick and fine, considering I did eate no hay at all. Wherefore on a
time at their accustomed houre, they went to the baines, and locked
their chamber doore. It fortuned that ere they departed away, they
espyed me through a hole, how I fell roundly to my victuals: then
they marvelled greatly, and little esteemed the losse of their meate,
laughed exceedingly, calling the servants of the house, to shew
them the greedy gorge and appetite of the Asse. Their laughing
was so immoderate that the master of the house heard them, and
demanded the cause of their laughter, and when hee understood all
the matter, hee looked through the hole likewise, wherewith he took
such a delectation that hee commanded the doore to be opened,
that hee might see mee at his pleasure. Then I perceiving every
man laugh, was nothing abashed, but rather more bold, whereby I
never rested eating, till such time as the master of the house
commanded me to be brought into his parler as a novelty, and there
caused all kinds of meates which were never touched to be set on
the table, which (although I had eaten sufficiently before, yet to win
the further favour of the master of the house) I did greedily
devoure and made a cleane riddance of all the delicate meates.
And to prove my nature wholly, they gave met such meates as
every Asse doth abhorre: for they put before mee beefe and
vinegar, birds and pepper, fish and verjuice: in the meane season
they that beheld met at the table did nothing but laugh. Then one of
the servants of the house sayd to his master, I pray you sir give him
some drinke to his supper: Marry (quoth hee) I thinke thou saist
true, for it may be, that to his meate hee would drinke likewise a
cup of wine. Hoe boy, wash yonder pot, and fill it with wine, which
done, carry it to the Asse, and say that I have drunke to him. Then
all the standers by looked on, to see what would come to passe :
but I (as soone as I beheld the cup) staied not long, but gathering
my lips together, supped up all the wine at one draught. The
master being right joyfull hereat caused the Baker and Cooke
which had bought me, to come before him, to whom he delivered
foure times as much for me, as they paid, which done he committed
me to one of his rich Libertines, and charged him to looke well to
me, and that I should lacke nothing, who obeied his masters
commandement in every point : and to the end he would creepe
further into his favour, he taught me a thousand qualities. First he
instructed me to sit at the table upon my taile, and how I should
leape and dance, holding up my former feete: moreover hee taught
me how I should answer when any body spake unto me, with
nodding my head, which was a strange and marvailous thing, and if
I did lacke drinke, I should looke still upon the pot. All which things
I did willingly bring to passe, and obeyed his doctrine : howbeit, I
could have done all these things without his teaching, but I feared
greatly lest in shewing my selfe cunning without a master, I should
pretend some great and strange wonder, and thereby be throwne
out to wild beasts. But my fame was spred about in every place,
and the qualities which I could doe, insomuch that my master was
renowned throughout all the Country by reason of mee. For every
man would say: Behold the Gentleman that hath an Asse, that will
eate and drinke with him, that will dance, and understand what is
said to him, will shew his fantasie by signes. But first I will tell you
(which I should have done before) who my master was, and of
what country. His name was Thiasus, hee was borne at Corinth,
which is a principall towne of Achaia, and he had passed many
offices of honor, till hee had taken upon him the degree
Quinquenuall, according as his birth and dignity required, who to
shew his worthinesse, and to purchase the benevolence of every
person, appointed publike joyes and triumphs, to endure the space
of three dayes, and to bring his endeavour to passe, he came into
Thessaly to buy excellent Beasts, and valiant fighters for the


How a certaine Matron fell in love with Apuleius, how hee had his
pleasure with her, and what other things happened.

When he had bought such things as was necessary, he would not
returne home into his Countrey in Chariots, or waggon, neither
would he ride upon Thessalian Horses, or Jenets of France, or
Spanish Mules, which be most excellent as can be found, but
caused me to be garnished and trimmed with trappers and barbs of
Gold, with brave harnesse, with purple coverings, with a bridle of
silver, with pictured cloths, and with shrilling bells, and in this
manner he rode upon me lovingly, speaking and intreating me with
gentle words, but above all things he did greatly rejoyce in that I
was his Servant to beare him upon my backe, and his Companion to
feed with him at the Table : After long time when we had travelled
as well by Sea as Land, and fortuned to arrive at Corinth, the
people of the Towne came about us on every side, not so much to
doe honour to Thiasus, as to see me : For my fame was so greatly
spread there, that I gained my master much money, and when the
people was desirous to see me play prankes, they caused the Gates
to be shut, and such as entered in should pay money, by meanes
whereof I was a profitable companion to them every day : There
fortuned to be amongst the Assembly a noble and rich Matron that
conceived much delight to behold me, and could find no remedy to
her passions and disordinate appetite, but continually desired to
have her pleasure with me, as Pasiphae had with a Bull. In the end
she promised a great reward to my keeper for the custody of me
one night, who for gaine of a little money accorded to her desire,
and when I had supped in a Parler with my Master, we departed
away and went into our Chamber, where we found the faire
Matron, who had tarried a great space for our comming : I am not
able to recite unto you how all things were prepared : there were
foure Eunuches that lay on a bed of downe on the ground with
Boulsters accordingly for us to lye on, the Coverlet was of cloth of
Gold, and the pillowes soft and tender, whereon the delicate Matron
had accustomed to lay her head. Then the Eunuches not minding
to delay any longer the pleasure of their Mistresse closed the
doores of the Chamber and departed away: within the Chamber
were Lamps that gave a cleare light all the place over : Then she
put off all her Garments to her naked skinne, and taking the Lampe
that stood next to her, began to annoint all her body with balme, and
mine likewise, but especially my nose, which done, she kissed me,
not as they accustome to doe at the stews, or in brothel houses, or
in the Curtain Schools for gaine of money, but purely, sincerely, and
with great affection, casting out these and like loving words : Thou
art he whom I love, thou art he whom I onely desire, without thee I
cannot live, and other like preamble of talke as women can use well
enough, when as they mind to shew or declare their burning
passions and great affection of love: Then she tooke me by the
halter and cast me downe upon the bed, which was nothing strange
unto me, considering that she was so beautifull a Matron and I so
wel bolded out with wine, and perfumed with balme, whereby I
was readily prepared for the purpose: But nothing grieved me so
much as to think, how I should with my huge and great legs
imbrace so faire a Matron, or how I should touch her fine, dainty,
and silken skinne, with my hard hoofes, or how it was possible to
kisse her soft, pretty and ruddy lips, with my monstrous mouth and
stony teeth, or how she, who was young and tender, could be able
to receive me.

And I verily thought, if I should hurt the woman by any kind of
meane, I should be throwne to the wild Beasts : But in the meane
season she kissed me, and looked in my mouth with burning eyes,
saying : I hold thee my canny, I hold thee my noose, my sparrow,
and therewithall she eftsoones imbraced my body round about, and
had her pleasure with me, whereby I thought the mother of
Miniatures did not ceaseless quench her inordinate desire with a
Bull. When night was passed, with much joy and small sleepe, the
Matron went before day to my keeper to bargain with him another
night, which he willingly granted, partly for gaine of money, and
partly to finde new pastime for my master. Who after he was
informed of all the history of my luxury, was right glad, and
rewarded my keeper well for his paine, minding to shew before the
face of all the people, what I could doe : but because they would
not suffer the Matron to abide such shame, by reason of her
dignity, and because they could finde no other that would
endeavour so great a reproach, at length they obtained for money a
poore woman, which was condemned to be eaten of wilde beasts,
with whom I should openly have to doe : But first I will tell you
what tale I heard concerning this woman. This woman had a
husband, whose father minding to ride forth, commanded his wife
which he left at home great with child, that if she were delivered of
a daughter, it should incontinently be killed. When the time of her
delivery came, it fortuned that she had a daughter, whom she would
not suffer to be slaine, by reason of the naturall affection which she
hare unto her child, but secretly committed her to one of her
neighbours to nurse. And when her husband returned home, shee
declared unto him that shee was delivered of a daughter, whom (as
hee commanded), shee had caused to be put to death. But when
this child came to age, and ready to be married, the mother knew
not by what meanes shee should endow her daughter, but that her
husband should understand and perceive it. Wherefore shee
discovered the matter to her sonne, who was the husband of this
woman, condemned to be eaten of wild beasts : For shee greatly
feared least hee should unawares fancie or fall in love with his
owne sister. The young man understanding the whole matter (to
please and gratify his mother) went immediately to the young
maiden, keeping the matter secret in his heart, for feare of
inconvenience, and (lamenting to see his sister forsaken both of
mother and father) incontinently after endowed her with part of his
owne goods, and would have married her to one of his especial and
trusty friends : But although hee brought this to passe very secretly
and sagely, yet in the end cruell fortune sowed great sedition in his
house. For his wife who was now condemned to beasts, waxed
jealous of her husband and began to suspect the young woman as a
harlot and common queane, insomuch that shee invented all manner
of meanes to dispatch her out of the way. And in the end shee
invented this kind of mischiefe : She privily stale away her
husbands ring, and went into the country, whereas she commanded
one of her trusty servants to take the ring and carry it to the
mayden. To whom he should declare that her brother did pray her
to come into the country to him, and that she should come alone
without any person. And to the end shee should not delay but
come with all speed he should deliver her the ring, which should be
a sufficient testimony of the message. This mayden as soone as
she had received the ring of her brother, being very willing and
desirous to obey his commandement : (For she knew no otherwise
but that he had sent for her) went in all hast as the messenger
willed her to doe. But when she was come to the snare and engine
which was prepared for her, the mischievous woman, like one that
were mad, and possessed with some ill spirit, when the poore
maiden called for helpe with a loud voyce to her brother, the
wicked harlot (weening that she had invented and feined the
matter) tooke a burning firebrand and thrust it into her secret place,
whereby she died miserably. The husband of this maiden but
especially her brother, advertised of her death, came to the place
where she was slain, and after great lamentation and weeping, they
caused her to be buried honourably. This yong man her brother
taking in ill part the miserable death of his sister, as it was
convenient he should, conceived so great dolour within his mind and
was strucken with so pestilent fury of bitter anguish, that he fell into
the burning passions of a dangerous ague, whereby he seemed in
such necessity, that he needed to have some speedy remedy to
save his life. The woman that slew the Maiden having lost the
name of wife together with her faith, went to a traiterous Physician,
who had killed a great many persons in his dayes and promised him
fifty peeces of Gold, if he would give her a present poyson to kill
her husband out of hand, but in presence of her Husband, she
feined that it was necessary for him to receive a certaine kind of
drink, which the Maisters and Doctours of Physicke doe call a
sacred Potion, to the intent he might purge Choller and scoure the
interiour parts of his body. But the Physitian in stead of that drinke
prepared a mortall and deadly poyson, and when he had tempered it
accordingly, he tooke the pot in the presence of the family, and
other neighbours and friends of the sick yong man, and offered it to
his patient. But the bold and hardy woman, to the end she might
accomplish her wicked intent, and also gaine the money which she
had promised the Physitian, staid the pot with her hand, saying: I
pray you master Physitian, minister not this drinke unto my deare
Husband, untill such time as you have drunke some part thereof
your selfe: For what know I, whether you have mingled any poyson
in the drinke or no, wherein I would have you not to be offended :
For I know that you are a man of wisedome and learning, but this I
do to the intent the conscience and love that I beare to the health
and safeguard of my husband, may be apparent. The Physitian
being greatly troubled at the wickednesse of this mischievous
woman, as voyd of all counsell and leysure to consider of the
matter, and least he might give any cause of suspition to the
standers by, or shew any scruple of his guilty conscience, by reason
of long delay, tooke the pot in his hand, and presently drunke a good
draught thereof, which done, the young man having no mistrust,
drunke up the residue. The Physitian would have gone immediately
home to receive a counterpoyson, to expeth and drive out the first
poyson : But the wicked woman persevering in her mischiefe,
would not suffer him to depart a foot, untill such time as the poyson
began to worke in him, and then by much prayer and intercession
she licensed him to goe home: By the way the poyson invaded the
intrailes and bowels of the whole body of the Physitian, in such sort
that with great paine he came to his owne house, where he had
scarce time to speake to his wife, and to will her to receive the
promised salitary of the death of two persons, but he yeelded up the
ghost : And the other young man lived not long after, but likewise
dyed, amongst the feined and deceitfull teares of his cursed wife.
A few dayes after, when the young man was buried and the
funerall ended, the Physitians wife demanded of her the fifty
peeces of gold which she promised her husband for the drinke,
whereat the ill disposed woman, with resemblance of honesty,
answered her with gentle words, and promised to give her the fifty
peeces of gold, if she would fetch her a little of that same drinke, to
proceed and make an end of all her enterprise. The Physitians
wife partly to winne the further favour of this rich woman, and
partly to gaine the money, ranne incontinently home, and brought
her a whole roote of poyson, which when she saw, having now
occasion to execute her further malice, and to finish the damnable
plot, began to stretch out her bloody hands to murther. She had a
daughter by her husband (that was poysoned) who according to
order of law, was appointed heire of all the lands and goods of her
father : but this woman knowing that the mothers succoured their
children, and received all their goods after their death, purposed to
shew her selfe a like parent to her child, as she was a wife to her
husband, whereupon she prepared a dinner with her owne hands,
and empoysoned both the wife of the Physitian and her owne
daughter : The child being young and tender dyed incontinently by
force of the drinke, but the Physitians wife being stout and strong
of complexion, feeling the poison to trill down into her body,
doubted the matter, and thereupon knowing of certainty that she
had received her bane, ran forthwith to the judges house, that what
with her cryes, and exclamations, she raised up the people of the
towne, and promising them to shew divers wicked and mischievous
acts, caused that the doores and gates were opened. When she
came in she declared from the beginning to the end the
abhomination of this woman: but shee had scarce ended her tale,
when opening her falling lips, and grinding her teeth together, she
fell downe dead before the face of the Judge, who incontinently to
try the truth of the matter, caused the cursed woman, and her
servants to be pulled out of the house, and enforced by paine of
torment to confesse the verity, which being knowne, this
mischievous woman farre lesse then she deserved, but because
there could be no more cruell a death invented for the quality of her
offence, was condemned to be eaten with wild beasts. Behold with
this woman was I appointed to have to doe before the face of the
people, but I being wrapped in great anguish, and envying the day
of the triumph, when we two should so abandon our selves
together, devised rather to sley my selfe, then to pollute my body
with this mischievous harlot, and so for ever to remaine defamed:
but it was impossible for me so to doe, considering that I lacked
hands, and was not able to hold a knife in my hoofes: howbeit
standing in a pretty cabin, I rejoyced in my selfe to see that spring
time was come, and that all things flourished, and that I was in good
hope to find some Roses, to render me my humane shape. When
the day of triumph came, I was led with great pompe and
benevolence to the appointed place, where when I was brought, I
first saw the preamble of that triumph, dedicated with dancers and
merry taunting jests, and in the meane season was placed before
the gate of the Theater, whereas on the one side I saw the greene
and fresh grasse growing before the entry thereof, whereon I
greatly desired to feed: on the other side I conceived a great
delectation to see when the Theater gates were opened, how all
things was finely prepared and set forth: For there I might see
young children and maidens in the flowre of their youth of excellent
beauty, and attired gorgiously, dancing and mooved in comely order,
according to the order of Grecia, for sometime they would dance in
length, sometime round together, sometime divide themselves into
foure parts, and sometime loose hands on every side: but when the
trumpet gave warning that every man should retire to his place,
then began the triumph to appeare. First there was a hill of wood,
not much unlike that which the Poet Homer called Idea, for it was
garnished about with all sort of greene verdures and lively trees,
from the top whereof ran downe a cleare and fresh fountaine,
nourishing the waters below, about which wood were many young
and tender Goates, plucking and feeding daintily on the budding
trees, then came a young man a shepheard representing Paris,
richly arrayed with vestments of Barbary, having a mitre of gold
upon his head, and seeming as though he kept the goates. After
him ensued another young man all naked, saving that his left
shoulder was covered with a rich cloake, and his head shining with
glistering haires, and hanging downe, through which you might
perceive two little wings, whereby you might conjecture that he
was Mercury, with his rod called Caduceus, he bare in his right
hand an Apple of gold, and with a seemely gate went towards him
that represented Paris, and after hee had delivered him the Apple,
he made a signe, signifying that Jupiter had commanded him so to
doe : when he had done his message he departed away. And by
and by, there approached a faire and comely mayden, not much
unlike to Juno, for she had a Diademe of gold upon her head, and in
her hand she bare a regall scepter : then followed another
resembling Pallas, for she had on her head a shining sallet, whereon
was bound a garland of Olive branches, having in one hand a target
or shield : and in the other a speare as though she would fight : then
came another which passed the other in beauty, and presented the
Goddesse Venus, with the color of Ambrosia, when she was a
maiden, and to the end she would shew her perfect beauty, shee
appeared all naked, saving that her fine and dainty skin was
covered with a thin smocke, which the wind blew hither and thither
to testifie the youth and flowre of the age of the dame. Her colour
was of two sorts, for her body was white as descended from
heaven, and her smocke was blewish, as arrived from the sea :
After every one of the Virgins which seemed goddesses, followed
certaine waiting servants, Castor and Pollus went behind Juno,
having on their heads helmets covered with starres. This Virgin
Juno sounded a Flute, which shee bare in her hand, and mooved her
selfe towards the shepheard Paris, shewing by honest signes and
tokens, and promising that hee should be Lord of all Asia, if hee
would judge her the fairest of the three, and to give her the apple of
gold : the other maiden which seemed by her armour to be Pallas,
was accompanied with two young men armed, and brandishing
their naked swords in their hands, whereof one named Terror, and
the other Feare; behind them approached one sounding his trumpet
to provoke and stirre men to battell; this maiden began to dance and
shake her head, throwing her fierce and terrible eyes upon Paris
and promising that if it pleased him to give her the victory of
beauty, shee would make him the most strong and victorious man
alive. Then came Venus and presented her selfe in the middle of
the Theater, with much favour of all the people, for shee was
accompanied with a great many of youth, whereby you would have
judged them all to be Cupidoes, either to have flowne from heaven
or else from the river of the sea, for they had wings, arrowes, and
the residue of their habit according in each point, and they bare in
their hands torches lighted, as though it had beene a day of
marriage. Then came in a great multitude of faire maidens : on the
one side were the most comely Graces : on the other side, the most
beautifull Houres carrying garlands and loose flowers, and making
great honor to the goddesse of pleasure; the flutes and Pipes
yeelded out the sweet sound of Lydians, whereby they pleased the
minds of the standers by exceedingly, but the more pleasing Venus
mooved forward more and more, and shaking her head answered
by her motion and gesture, to the sound of the instruments. For
sometimes she would winke gently, sometimes threaten and looke
aspishly, and sometimes dance onely with her eyes : As soone as
she was come before the Judge, she made a signe and token to
give him the most fairest spouse of all the world, if he would prefer
her above the residue of the goddesses. Then the young Phrygian
shepheard Paris with a willing mind delivered the golden Apple to
Venus, which was the victory of beauty.

Why doe ye marvell, ye Orators, ye Lawyers, and Advocates, if
many of our judges now a daies sell their judgements for money,
when as in the beginning of the world one onely Grace corrupted
the sentence betweene God and men, and that one rusticall Judge
and shepheard appointed by the counsell of great Jupiter, sold his
judgement for a little pleasure, which was the cause afterward of
the ruine of all his progeny? By like manner of meane, was
sentence given between the noble Greekes: For the noble and
valiant personage Palamedes was convicted and attainted of
treason, by false perswasion and accusation, and Ulisses being but
of base condition, was preferred in Martiall prowesse above great
Ajax. What judgement was there likewise amongst the Athenian
lawyers, sage and expert in all sciences? Was not Socrates who
was preferred by Apollo, above all the wise men in the world, by
envy and malice of wicked persons impoysoned with the herbe
Cicuta, as one that corrupted the youth of the countrey, whom
alwaies be kept under by correction? For we see now a dayes
many excellent Philosophers greatly desire to follow his sect, and
by perpetual study to value and revolve his workes, but to the end I
may not be reproved of indignation by any one that might say :
What, shall we suffer an Asse to play the Philosopher? I will
returne to my further purpose.

After the judgement of Paris was ended, Juno and Pallas departed
away angerly, shewing by their gesture, that they would revenge
themselves on Paris, but Venus that was right pleased and glad in
her heart, danced about the Theater with much joy. This done
from the top of the hill through a privy spout, ran a floud of the
colour of Saffron, which fell upon the Goates, and changed their
white haire into yellow, with a sweet odour to all them of the
Theater. By and by after by certaine engines, the ground opened,
and swallowed up the hill of wood : and then behold there came a
man of armes through the multitude, demanding by the consent of
the people, the woman who was condemned to the beasts, and
appointed for me to have to doe withall : our bed was finely and
bravely prepared, and covered with silke and other things
necessary. But I, beside the shame to commit this horrible fact, and
to pollute my body with this wicked harlot did greatly feare the
danger of death: for I thought in my selfe, that when she and I
were together, the savage beast appointed to devoure the woman,
was not so instructed and taught, or would so temper his
greedinesse, as that hee would teare her in peeces lying under mee,
and spare mee with a regard of mine innocency. Wherefore I was
more carefull for the safeguard of my life, then for the shame that I
should abide, but in the meane season while my master made ready
the bed, all the residue did greatly delight to see the hunting and
pleasantnesse of the triumph, I began to thinke and devise for my
selfe. When I perceived that no man had regard to mee, that was
so tame and gentle an Asse, I stole out of the gate that was next
me, and then I ran away with all force, and came to Cenchris,
which is the most famous towne of all the Carthaginians, bordering
upon the Seas called Ageum, and Saronicum, where is a great and
mighty Haven, frequented with many a sundry Nation. There
because I would avoyd the multitude of the people, I went to a
secret place of the Sea coast, where I laid me down upon the sand,
to ease and refresh my selfe, for the day was past and the Sunne
gone downe, and lying in this sort on the ground, did fall in a sound



How Apuleius by Roses and prayer returned to his humane shape.

When midnight came that I had slept my first sleepe, I awaked
with suddaine feare, and saw the Moone shining bright, as when
shee is at the full, and seeming as though she leaped out of the Sea.
Then thought I with my selfe, that was the most secret time, when
the goddesse Ceres had most puissance and force, considering that
all humane things be governed by her providence : and not onely all
beasts private and tame, but also all wild and savage beasts be
under her protection. And considering that all bodies in the
heavens, the earth and the seas, be by her increasing motions
increased, and by her diminishing motions diminished : as weary of
all my cruell fortune and calamity, I found good hope and
soveraigne remedy, though it were very late, to be delivered from
all my misery, by invocation and prayer, to the excellent beauty of
the Goddesse, whom I saw shining before mine eyes, wherefore
shaking off mine Assie and drowsie sleepe, I arose with a joyfull
face, and mooved by a great affection to purifie my selfe, I plunged
my selfe seven times into the water of the Sea, which number of
seven is conveniable and agreeable to holy and divine things, as the
worthy and sage Philosopher Pythagoras hath declared. Then with
a weeping countenance, I made this Orison to the puissant
Goddesse, saying : O blessed Queene of heaven, whether thou be
the Dame Ceres which art the originall and motherly nource of all
fruitfull things in earth, who after the finding of thy daughter
Proserpina, through the great joy which thou diddest presently
conceive, madest barraine and unfruitfull ground to be plowed and
sowne, and now thou inhabitest in the land of Eleusie; or whether
thou be the celestiall Venus, who in the beginning of the world
diddest couple together all kind of things with an ingendered love,
by an eternall propagation of humane kind, art now worshipped
within the Temples of the Ile Paphos, thou which art the sister of
the God Phoebus, who nourishest so many people by the generation
of beasts, and art now adored at the sacred places of Ephesus, thou
which art horrible Proserpina, by reason of the deadly howlings
which thou yeeldest, that hast power to stoppe and put away the
invasion of the hags and Ghoasts which appeare unto men, and to
keepe them downe in the closures of the earth : thou which art
worshipped in divers manners, and doest illuminate all the borders
of the earth by thy feminine shape, thou which nourishest all the
fruits of the world by thy vigor and force; with whatsoever name or
fashion it is lawfull to call upon thee, I pray thee, to end my great
travaile and misery, and deliver mee from the wretched fortune,
which had so long time pursued me. Grant peace and rest if it
please thee to my adversities, for I have endured too much labour
and perill. Remoove from me my shape of mine Asse, and render
to me my pristine estate, and if I have offended in any point of
divine Majesty, let me rather dye then live, for I am full weary of
my life. When I had ended this orison, and discovered my plaints to
the Goddesse, I fortuned to fall asleepe, and by and by appeared
unto me a divine and venerable face, worshipped even of the Gods
themselves. Then by little and little I seemed to see the whole
figure of her body, mounting out of the sea and standing before
mee, wherefore I purpose to describe her divine semblance, if the
poverty of my humane speech will suffer me, or her divine power
give me eloquence thereto. First shee had a great abundance of
haire, dispersed and scattered about her neck, on the crowne of her
head she bare many garlands enterlaced with floures, in the middle
of her forehead was a compasse in fashion of a glasse, or
resembling the light of the Moone, in one of her hands she bare
serpents, in the other, blades of corne, her vestiment was of fine
silke yeelding divers colours, sometime yellow, sometime rosie,
sometime flamy, and sometime (which troubled my spirit sore)
darke and obscure, covered with a blacke robe in manner of a
shield, and pleated in most subtill fashion at the skirts of her
garments, the welts appeared comely, whereas here and there the
starres glimpsed, and in the middle of them was placed the Moone,
which shone like a flame of fire, round about the robe was a
coronet or garland made with flowers and fruits. In her right hand
shee had a timbrell of brasse, which gave a pleasant sound, in her
left hand shee bare a cup of gold, out of the mouth whereof the
serpent Aspis lifted up his head, with a swelling throat, her
odoriferous feete were covered with shoes interlaced and wrought
with victorious palme. Thus the divine shape breathing out the
pleasant spice of fertill Arabia, disdained not with her divine voyce
to utter these words unto me: Behold Lucius I am come, thy
weeping and prayers hath mooved mee to succour thee. I am she
that is the naturall mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of
all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers
divine, Queene of heaven! the principall of the Gods celestiall, the
light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the ayre, the
wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be diposed;
my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers
manners, in variable customes and in many names, for the
Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva:
the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians Proserpina:
the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and
principally the Aethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the
Aegyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and
by their proper ceremonies accustome to worship mee, doe call
mee Queene Isis. Behold I am come to take pitty of thy fortune
and tribulation, behold I am present to favour and ayd thee, leave
off thy weeping and lamentation, put away all thy sorrow, for
behold the healthfull day which is ordained by my providence,
therefore be ready to attend to my commandement. This day
which shall come after this night, is dedicated to my service, by an
eternall religion, my Priests and Ministers doe accustome after the
tempests of the Sea, be ceased, to offer in my name a new ship as
a first fruit of my Navigation. I command thee not to prophane or
despise the sacrifice in any wise, for the great Priest shall carry this
day following in procession by my exhortation, a Garland of Roses,
next the timbrell of his right hand : follow thou my procession
amongst the people, and when thou commest to the Priest make as
though thou wouldest kisse his hand, but snatch at the Roses,
whereby I will put away the skin and shape of an Asse, which kind
of beast I have long time abhorred and despised, but above all
things beware thou doubt not nor feare any of those things, as hard
and difficill to bee brought to passe, for in the same houre that I am
come to thee, I have commanded the Priest by a vision what he
shall doe, and all the people by my commandement shall be
compelled to give thee place and say nothing ! Moreover, thinke
not that amongst so faire and joyfull Ceremonies, and in so good a
company that any person shall abhorre thy ill-favoured and
deformed figure, or that any man shall be so hardy, as to blame and
reprove thy suddaine restoration to humane shape, wherby they
should gather or conceive any sinister opinion : and know thou this
of certaine, that the residue of thy life untill the houre of death shall
be bound and subject to me ! And think it not an injury to be
alwayes serviceable towards me, since as by my meane and
benefit thou shalt become a man : thou shalt live blessed in this
world, thou shalt live glorious by my guide and protection, and when
thou descendest to Hell, where thou shalt see me shine in that
subterene place, shining (as thou seest me now) in the darkness of
Acheron, and raigning in the deepe profundity of Stix, thou shalt
worship me, as one that hath bin favourable to thee, and if I
perceive that thou art obedient to my commandement, addict to my
religion, and merite my divine grace, know thou, that I will prolong
thy dales above the time that the fates have appointed, and the
celestial Planets ordeined.

When the divine Image had spoken these words, she vanished
away ! By and by when I awaked, I arose, haveing the members
of my bodie mixed with feare, joy and sweate, and marvailed at the
cleare presence of the puissant goddesse, and being sprinkled with
the water of the sea, I recounted orderly her admonitions and divine
commandements. Soone after, the darknes chased away, and the
cleare and golden sunne arose, when as behold I saw the streets
replenished with people going in a religious sort and in great
triumph. All things seemed that day to be joyfull, as well all manner
of beasts and houses, as also the very day it selfe seemed to
rejoyce. For after the hore-frost, ensued the hot and temperat sun,
whereby the little birds weening that the spring time had bin come,
did chirp and sing in their steven melodiously : the mother of stars,
the parent of times, and mistres of all the world : The fruitfull trees
rejoyced at their fertility : The barren and sterill were contented at
their shadow, rendering sweete and pleasant shrills ! The seas
were quiet from winds and tempests : the heaven had chaced away
the clouds, and appeared faire and cleare with his proper light.
Behold then more and more appeared the pomps and processions,
attired in regall manner and singing joyfully : One was girded about
the middle like a man of armes : Another bare and spare, and had a
cloake and high-shooes like a hunter ! another was attired in a robe
of silke, and socks of gold, having his haire laid out, and dressed in
forme of a woman ! There was another ware legge-harnesse, and
bare a target, a sallet, and a speare like a martial souldier : after
him marched one attired in purple with vergers before him like a
magistrate ! after him followed one with a maurell, a staffe, a paire
of pantofles, and with a gray beard, signifying a philosopher : after
him went one with lime, betokening a fowler, another with hookes
declaring a fisher: I saw there a meeke and tame beare, which in
matron habite was carried on a stoole : An Ape with a bonet on his
head, and covered with lawne, resemling a shepheard, and bearing
a cup of gold in his hand: an Asse which had wings glewed to his
backe, and went after an old man, whereby you would judge the
one to be Pegasus, and the other Bellephoron. Amongst the
pleasures and popular delectations, which wandered hither and
thither, you might see the pompe of the goddesse triumphantly
march forward : The woman attired in white vestiments, and
rejoicing, in that they bare garlands and flowers upon their heads,
bedspread the waies with hearbes, which they bare in their aprons,
where this regall and devout procession should passe : Other caried
glasses on their backes, to testifie obeisance to the goddess which
came after. Other bare combs of Ivory, and declared by their
gesture and motions of their armes, that they were ordained and
readie to dresse the goddesse : Others dropped in the wayes as
they went Balme and other pretious ointments : Then came a great
number, as well of men as women, with Candels, torches, and other
lights, doing honour to the celestiall goddesse : After that sounded
the musical harmony of instruments : then came a faire companie
of youth, apparelled in white vestiments, singing both meter and
verse, with a comely grade which some studious Poet had made in
honour of the Muses : In the meane season, arrived the blowers of
trumpets, which were dedicated unto Serapes, and to the temple
before them were officers and beadles, preparing roome for the
goddess to passe. Then came the great company of men and
women, which had taken divine orders, whose garments glistered
all the streets over. The women had their haire annointed and their
heads covered with linnen : but the men had their crownes shaven,
which were the terrene stars of the goddesse, holding in their hand
instruments of brasse, silver and gold, which rendered a pleasant

The principall Priests which were apparelled with white surplesses
hanging downe to the ground, bare the relikes of the puissant
goddesse. One carried in his hand a light, not unlike to those which
we used in our houses, saving that in the middle thereof appeared a
bole which rendred a more bright flame. The second attired hike
the other bare in his hand an Altar, which the goddesse her selfe
named the succor of nations. The third held a tree of palme with
leaves of gold, and the verge of Mercurie. The fourth shewed out a
token of equitie by his left hand, which was deformed in every
place, signifiing thereby more equitie then by the right hand. The
same Priest carried a round vessell of gold, in forme of a cap. The
fifth bare a van, wrought with springs of gold, and another carried a
vessell for wine : By and by after the goddesse followed a foot as
men do, and specially Mercurie, the messenger of the goddesse
infernall and supernall, with his face sometime blacke, sometime
faire, lifting up the head of the dogges Annubis, and bearing in his
left hand, his verge, and in his right hand, the branches of a palme
tree, after whom followed a cow with an upright gate, representing
the figure of the great goddesse, and he that guided her, marched
on with much gravity. Another carried after the secrets of their
religion, closed in a coffer. There was one that bare on his
stomacke a figure of his god, not formed like any beast, bird,
savage thing or humane shape, but made by a new invention,
whereby was signified that such a religion should not be discovered
or revealed to any person. There was a vessel wrought with a
round bottome, haveing on the one side, pictures figured like unto
the manner of the Egyptians, and on the other side was an eare,
whereupon stood the Serpent Aspis, holding out his scaly necke.
Finally, came he which was appointed to my good fortun according
to the promise of the goddesse. For the great Priest which bare the
restoration of my human shape, by the commandement of the
goddes, Approached more and more, bearing in his left hand the
timbrill, and in the other a garland of Roses to give me, to the end I
might be delivered from cruel fortune, which was alwaies mine
enemie, after the sufferance of so much calamitie and paine, and
after the endurance of so manie perilles: Then I not returning
hastilie, by reason of sodaine joye, lest I should disturbe the quiet
procession with mine importunitie, but going softly through the
prease of the people, which gave me place on every side, went
after the Priest. The priest being admonished the night before, as I
might well perceive stood still and holding out his hand, thrust out
the garland of roses into my mouth, I (trembling) devoured with a
great affection: And as soone as I had eaten them, I was not
deceived of the promise made unto me. For my deforme and Assie
face abated, and first the rugged haire of my body fell off, my thick
skin waxed soft and tender, the hooves of my feet changed into
toes, my hands returned againe, my neck grew short, my head and
mouth began round, my long eares were made little, my great and
stonie teeth waxed lesse like the teeth of men, and my tayle which
combred me most, appeared no where: then the people began to
marvaile, and the religious honoured the goddesse, for so evident a
miracle, they wondered at the visions which they saw in the night,
and the facilitie of my reformation, whereby they rendered
testimonie of so great a benefit which I received of the goddesse.
When I saw my selfe in such estate, I stood still a good space and
said nothing, for I could not tell what to say, nor what word I
shoulde first speake, nor what thanks I should render to the
goddesse, but the great Priest understanding all my fortune and
miserie, by divine advertisement, commanded that one should give
me garments to cover me: Howbeit as soone as I was transformed
from an asse to my humane shape, I hid the privitie of my body
with my hands as shame and necessity compelled mee. Then one
of the company put off his upper robe and put it on my backe:
which done, the Priest looked upon me, with a sweete and benigne
voice, gan say in this sort: O my friend Lucius, after the endurance
of so many labours, and the escape of so many tempests of fortune,
thou art at length come to the port and haven of rest and mercy:
neither did thy noble linage, thy dignity, thy doctrine, or any thing
prevaile, but that thou hast endured so many servil pleasures, by a
little folly of thy youthfullnes, whereby thou hast had a sinister
reward for thy unprosperous curiositie, but howsoever the blindnes
of fortune tormented thee in divers dangers : so it is, that now
unwares to her, thou art come to this present felicitie : let fortune
go, and fume with fury in another place, let her finde some other
matter to execute her cruelty, for fortune hath no puissance against
them which serve and honour our goddesse. For what availed the
theeves : the beasts savage : thy great servitude : the ill and
dangerous waits : the long passages : the feare of death every day?
Know thou, that now thou art safe, and under the protection of her,
who by her cleare light doth lighten the other gods : wherefore
rejoyce and take a convenable countenance to thy white habit,
follow the pomp of this devout and honorable procession, to the end
that such which be not devout to the Goddes, may see and
acknowledge their errour. Behold Lucius, thou art delivered from
so great miseries, by the providence of the goddesse Isis, rejoyce
therefore and triumph of the victory of fortune; to the end thou
maist live more safe and sure, make thy selfe one of this holy order,
dedicate thy minde to the Obsequy of our Religion, and take upon
thee a a voluntary yoake of ministrie : And when thou beginnest to
serve and honour the goddes, then thou shalt feele the fruit of thy
liberty : After that the great Priest had prophesied in this manner,
with often breathings, he made a conclusion of his words : Then I
went amongst the company of die rest and followed the procession
: everie one of the people knew me, and pointing at me with their
fingers, said in this sort : Behold him who is this day transformed
into a man by the puissance of the soveraigne goddesse, verily he is
blessed and most blessed that hath merited so great grace from
heaven, as by the innocencie of his former life, and as it were by a
new regeneration is reserved to the obsequie of the goddesse. In
the meane season by little and little we approached nigh unto the
sea cost, even to that place where I lay the night before being an
Asse. There after the images and reliques were orderly disposed,
the great Priest compassed about with divers pictures according to
the fashion of the Aegyptians, did dedicate and consecrate with
certaine prayers a fair ship made very cunningly, and purified the
same with a torch, an egge, and sulphur; the saile was of white
linnen cloath, whereon was written certaine letters, which testified
the navigation to be prosperous, the mast was of a great length,
made of a Pine tree, round and very excellent with a shining top,
the cabin was covered over with coverings of gold, and all the
shippe was made of Citron tree very faire; then all the people as
well religious as prophane tooke a great number of Vannes,
replenished with odours and pleasant smells and threw them into
the sea mingled with milke, untill the ship was filled up with large
gifts and prosperous devotions, when as with a pleasant wind it
launched out into the deep. But when they had lost the sight of the
ship, every man caried againe that he brought, and went toward the
temple in like pompe and order as they came to the sea side.
When we were come to the temple, the great priest and those
which were deputed to carrie the divine figures, but especially
those which had long time bin worshippers of the religion, went into
the secret chamber of the goddesse, where they put and placed the
images according to their ordor. This done, one of the company
which was a scribe or interpreter of letters, who in forme of a
preacher stood up in a chaire before the place of the holy college,
and began to reade out of a booke, and to interpret to the great
prince, the senate, and to all the noble order of chivalry, and
generally to all the Romane people, and to all such as be under the
jurisdiction of Rome, these words following (Laois Aphesus) which
signified the end of their divin service and that it was lawfull for
every man to depart, whereat all the people gave a great showt,
and replenished with much joy, bare all kind of hearbs and garlands
of flowers home to their houses, kissing and imbracing the steps
where the goddesse passed : howbeit I could not doe as the rest,
for my mind would not suffer me to depart one foot away, so
attentiv was I to behold the beauty of the goddesse, with
remembrance of the great miserie I had endured.


How the parents and friends of Apuleius heard news that he was
alive and in health.

In the mean season newes was carried into my countrey (as swift
as the flight of birds, or as the blast of windes) of the grace and
benefit which I received of the goddesse, and of my fortune worthy
to be had in memory. Then my parents friends and servants of our
house understanding that I was not dead, as they were falsely
informed, came towards me with great diligence to see me, as a
man raised from death to life : and I which never thought to see
them againe, was as joyfull as they, accepting and taking in good
part their honest gifts and oblations that they gave, to the intent I
might buy such things as was necessarie for my body : for after I
had made relation unto them of all my pristine miserie, and present
joyes, I went before the face of the goddesse and hired me a house
within the cloister of the temple to the end I might continually be
ready to the service of the goddesse, and ordinarily frequent the
company of the priests, whereby I would wholy become devout to
the goddesse, and an inseparable worshipper of her divine name : It
fortuned that the goddesse appeared to me oftetimes in the night
perswading and commanding me to take the order of her religion,
but I, though I was indued with a desirous good will, yet the feare
of the same withheld me considering her obeysance was hard and
difficile, the chastitie of the Priests intolerable, and the life fraile
and subject to manie inconveniences. Being thus in doubt, I
refrained my selfe from all those things as seemed impossible.

On a night the great priest appeared unto me, presenting his lap full
of treasure, and when I demanded what it signified, he answered,
that it was sent me from the countrey of Thessaly, and that a
servant of mine named Candidus was arived likewise : when I was
awake, I mused in my selfe what this vision should pretend,
considering I had never any servant called by that name : but what
soever it did signifie, this I verely thought, that it was a foreshew of
gaine and prosperous chance : while I was thus astonied I went to
the temple, and taried there till the opening of the gates, then I went
in and began to pray before the face of the goddesse, the Priest
prepared and set the divine things of every Altar, and pulled out the
fountaine and holy vessell with solempne supplication. Then they
began to sing the mattens of the morning, testifying thereby the
houre of the prime. By and by behold arived my servant which I
had left in the country, when Fotis by errour made me an Asse,
bringing with him my horse, recovered by her through certaine
signes and tokens which I had upon my backe. Then I perceived
the interpretation of my dreame, by reason that beside the promise
of gaine, my white horse was restored to me, which was signified
by the argument of my servant Candidus.

This done I retired to the service of the goddesse in hope of greater
benefits, considering I had received a signe and token, whereby my
courage increased every day more and more to take upon me the
orders and sacraments of the temple: insomuch that I oftentimes
communed with the Priest, desiring him greatly to give me the
degree of the religion, but he which was a man of gravitie, and well
renowned in the order of priesthood, deferred my affection from
day to day, with comfort and better hope, as parents commonly
bridle the desires of their children, when they attempt or indeavour
any unprofitable thing, saying, that the day when any one should be
admitted into their order is appointed by the goddesse, the Priest
which should minister the sacrifice is chosen by her providence,
and the necessary charges of the ceremonies is alotted by her
commandement, all which things he willed me to attend with
marvailous patience, and that I should beware either of too much
hastinesse, or too great slacknesse, considering that there was like
danger, if being called I should delay: or not called I should be hasty
: moreover he said that there was none of his company either of so
desperate a mind, or so rash and hardy, as to enterprise any thing
without the commandernent of the goddesse, whereby he should
commit a deadly offence, considering that it was in her power to
damne and save all persons, and if any were at the point of death,
and in the way to damnation, so that he were capable to receive the
secrets of the goddesse, it was in her power by divine providence
to reduce him to the path of health, as by a certaine kind of
regeneration : Finally he said that I must attend the celestiall
precept, although it was evident and plaine, that the goddesse had
already vouchsafed to call and appoint me to her ministery, and to
will me refraine from prophane and unlawfull meates, as those
Priests which were already received, to the end I might come more
apt and cleane to the knowledge of the secrets of religion. Then
was I obedient unto these words, and attentive with meek
quietnesse, and probable taciturnity, I daily served at the temple : in
the end the wholesome gentlenesse of the goddesse did nothing
deceive me, for in the night she appeared to me in a vision, shewing
that the day was come which I had wished for so long, she told me
what provision and charges I should be at, and how that she had
appointed her principallest Priest Mythra to be minister with me in
my sacrifices.

When I heard these divine commandements, I greatly rejoyced :
and arose before day to speake with the great Priest, whom I
fortuned to espie comming out of his chamber: Then I saluted him,
and thought with my selfe to aske and demand his counsell with a
bold courage, but as soone as he perceived me, he began first to
say : O Lucius now know I well that thou art most happy and
blessed, whom the divine goddesse doth so greatly accept with
mercy, why dost thou delay? Behold the day which thou desiredst
when as thou shalt receive at my hands the order of religion, and
know the most pure secrets of the gods, whereupon the old man
tooke me by the hand, and lead me to the gate of the great temple,
where at the first entrie he made a solempne celebration, and after
morning sacrifice ended, brought out of the secret place of the
temple books, partly written with unknown characters, and partly
painted with figures of beasts declaring briefly every sentence, with
tops and tailes, turning in fashion of a wheele, which were strange
and impossible to be read of the prophane people: There he
interpreted to me such things as were necessary to the use and
preparation of mine order. This done, I gave charge to certaine of
my companions to buy liberally, whatsoever was needfull and
convenient, then he brought me to the next bains accompanied with
all the religious sort, and demanding pardon of the goddesse,
washed me and purified my body, according to custome. After this,
when noone approached, he brought me backe againe to the
temple, presented me before the face of the goddesse, giving a
charge of certaine secret things unlawfull to be uttered, and
commanding me, and generally all the rest, to fast by the space of
ten continuall daies, without eating of any beast, or drinking any
wine, which thing I observed with a marvellous continencie. Then
behold the day approached, when as the sacrifice should be done,
and when night came there arrived on every coast, a great
multitude of Priests, who according to their order offered me many
presents and gifts: then was all the Laity and prophane people
commanded to depart, and when they had put on my back a linnen
robe, they brought me to the most secret and sacred place of all the
temple. You would peradventure demand (you studious reader)
what was said and done there, verely I would tell you if it were
lawfull for me to tell, you should know if it were convenient for you
to heare, but both thy eares, and my tongue shall incur the like
paine of rash curiositie: Howbeit, I will content thy mind for this
present time, which peradventure is somewhat religious and given
to some devotion, listen therefore and beleeve it to be true: Thou
shalt understand that I approached neere unto Hell, even to the
gates of Proserpina, and after that, I was ravished throughout all
the Element, I returned to my proper place: About midnight I saw
the Sun shine, I saw likewise the gods celestiall and gods infernall,
before whom I presented my selfe, and worshipped them: Behold
now have I told thee, which although thou hast heard, yet it is
necessarie thou conceale it; this have I declared without offence,
for the understanding of the prophane.

When morning came, and that the solemnities were finished, I
came forth sanctified with xii. Stoles and in a religious habit,
whereof I am not forbidden to speake, considering that many
persons saw me at that time: there I was commanded to stand upon
a seate of wood, which stood in the middle of the temple, before
the figure and remembrance of the goddesse; my vestiment was of
fine linnen, covered and embroidered with flowers. I had a pretious
Cope upon my shoulders hanging downe to the ground, whereon
were beasts wrought of divers colours as Indian dragons, and
Hiperborian Griphons, whom in forme of birds, the other world doth
ingender; the Priests commonly call such a habit, a celestiall Stole:
in my right hand I carried a light torch, and a garland of flowers
upon my head, with Palme leaves sprouting out on every side: I
was adorned like unto the Sun, and made in fashion of an Image, in
such sort that all the people compassed about to behold me: then
they began to solemnize the feast of the nativitie, and the new
procession with sumptuous bankets and delicate meates: the third
day was likewise celebrated with like ceremonies with a religious
dinner, and with all the consummation of the order: when I had
continued there a good space, I conceived a marvailous great
pleasure and consolation in beholding ordinarily the Image of the
goddesse, who at length admonished me to depart homeward, not
without rendring of thanks, which although it were not sufficient,
yet they were according to my power. Howbeit I could unneth be
perswaded to depart, before I had fallen prostrate before the face
of the goddesse, and wiped her steps with my face, whereby I
began so greatly to weepe and sigh that my words were
interrupted, and as devouring my prayer, I began to say in this sort:
O holy and blessed dame, the perpetuall comfort of humane kind,
who by thy bounty and grace nourishest all the world, and hearest a
great affection to the adversities of the miserable, as a loving
mother thou takest no rest, neither art thou idle at any time in giving
thy benefits, and succoring all men, as well on land as sea; thou art
she that puttest away all stormes and dangers from mans life by thy
right hand, whereby likewise thou restrainest the fatall dispositions,
appeasest the great tempests of fortune and keepest backe the
course of the stars: the gods supernall doe honour thee: the gods
infernall have thee in reverence: thou environest all the world, thou
givest light to the Sunne, thou governest the world, thou treadest
downe the power of hell: By thy meane the times returne, the
Planets rejoyce, the Elements serve: at thy commandment the
winds do blow, the clouds increase, the seeds prosper, and the
fruits prevaile, the birds of the aire, the beasts of the hill, the
serpents of the den, and the fishes of the sea, do tremble at thy
majesty, but my spirit is not able to give thee sufficient praise, my
patrimonie is unable to satisfie thy sacrifice, my voice hath no
power to utter that which I thinke, no if I had a thousand mouths
and so many tongues: Howbeit as a good religious person, and
according to my estate, I will alwaies keepe thee in remembrance
and close thee within my breast. When I had ended mine orison, I
went to embrace the great Priest Mythra my spirituall father, and to
demand his pardon, considering I was unable to recompence the
good which he had done to me: after great greeting and thanks I
departed from him to visit my parents and friends; and within a
while after by the exhortation of the goddesse. I made up my
packet, and tooke shipping toward the Citie of Rome, where with a
prosperous winde I arrived about the xii. day of December. And
the greatest desire that I had there, was daily to make my praiers to
the soveraigne goddesse Isis, who by reason of the place where
her temple was builded, was called Campensis, and continually
adored of the people of Rome. Her minister and worshipper was I,
howbeit I was a stranger to her Church, and unknowne to her
religion there.

When the yeare was ended, and the goddesse warned me againe to
receive this new order and consecration, I marvailed greatly what it
should signifie, and what should happen, considering that I was a
sacred. person already. but it fortuned that while I partly reasoned
with my selfe, and partly examining the thing with the Priests and
Bishops, there came a new and marvailous thought in my mind, that
is to say, I was onely religious to the goddesse Isis, but not sacred
to the religion of great Osiris the soveraigne father of all the
goddesses, between whom, although there was a religious unitie
and concord, yet there was a great difference of order and
ceremony. And because it was necessary that I should likewise be
a minister unto Osiris, there was no long delay: for in the night
after, appeared unto me one of that order, covered with linnen
robes, holding in his hands speares wrapped in Ivie, and other things
not convenient to declare, which then he left in my chamber, and
sitting in my seate, recited to me such things as were necessary for
the sumptuous banket of mine entrie. And to the end I might know
him againe, he shewed me how the ankle of his left foote was
somewhat maimed, which caused him a little to halt.

After that I manifestly knew the will of the God Osiris, when
mattins was ended, I went from one to another, to find him out
which had the halting marke on his foote, according as I learned by
my vision; at length I found it true: for I perceived one of the
company of the Priests who had not onely the token of his foote,
but the stature and habite of his body, resembling in every point as
he appeared in the night: he was called Asinius Marcellus, a name
not much disagreeing from my transformation. By and by I went to
him, which knew well enough all the matter, as being monished by
like precept in the night: for the night before as he dressed the
flowers and garlands about the head of the god Osiris, he
understood by the mouth of the image which told the
predestinations of all men, how he had sent a poore man of
Madura, to whom he should minister his sacraments, to the end hee
should receive a reward by divine providence, and the other glory,
for his vertuous studies. When I saw my selfe this deputed unto
religion, my desire was stopped by reason of povertie, for I had
spent a great part of my goods in travell and peregrination, but most
of all in the Citie of Rome, whereby my low estate withdrew me a
great while.

In the end being oft times stirred forward, not without great trouble
of mind, I was constrained to sell my robe for a little money :
howbeit sufficient for all my affaires. Then the Priest spake unto
me saying, How is it that for a little pleasure thou art not afraid to
sell thy vestiments, and entring into so great ceremonies, fearest to
fall into povertie? Prepare thy selfe, and abstaine from all animall
meats, as beasts and fish. In the meane season I frequented the
sacrifices of Serapis, which were done in the night, which thing
gave me great comfort to my peregrination, and ministred unto me
more plentifull living, considering I gained some money in haunting
the court, by reason of my Latin tongue.

Immediately after I was eftsoones called and admonished by the
god Osiris, to receive a third order of religion. Then I was greatly
astonied, because I could not tell what this new vision signified, or
what the intent of the celestiall god was, doubting least the former
Priests had given me ill counsell, and fearing that they had not
faithfully instructed me : being in this manner as it were incensed
the god Osiris appeared to me the night following, and giving me
admonition said, There is no occasion why thou shouldest be afraid
with so often order of religion, as though there were somewhat
omitted, but that thou shouldest rather rejoyce, since as it hath
pleased the gods to call thee three times, when as there was never
yet any person that atchieved to the order but once : wherefore
thou maist thinke thy selfe happy for so great benefits. And know
thou that the religion which thou must now receive, is right
necessary, if thou meane to persever in the worshipping of the
goddesse, and to make solempnity on the festivall day with the
blessed habite, which thing shalt be a glory and renowne to thee.

After this sort, the divine majesty perswaded me in my sleepe,
whereupon by and by I went towards the Priest, and declared all
that which I had seene, then I fasted ten dayes according to the
custome, and of mine owne proper will I abstained longer then I
was commanded : and verely I did nothing repent of the paine
which I had taken, and of the charges which I was at, considering
that the divine providence had given me such an order, that I gained
much money in pleading of causes : Finally after a few dayes, the
great god Osiris appeared to me in the night, not disguised in any
other forme, but in his owne essence, commanding me that I should
be an Advocate in the court, and not feare the slander and envie of
ill persons , which beare me stomacke and grudge by reason of my
doctrine, which I had gotten by much labour : moreover, he would
not that I should be any longer of the number of his Priests, but he
allotted me to be one of the Decurions and Senatours : and after he
appointed me a place within the ancient pallace, which was erected
in the time of Silla, where I executed my office in great joy with a
shaven Crowne.

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