Apuleius, The Golden Ass Book V

[1] “Thus fair Psyche, being sweetly couched among the soft and tender herbs, as in a bed of sweet and fragrant flowers, and having qualified the thoughts and troubles of her restless mind, was now well reposed. And when she had refreshed herself sufficiently with sleep, she rose with a more quiet and pacified mind, and happened to spy a pleasant wood containing with great and mighty trees. She saw likewise a running river as clear as crystal: in the midst of the wood near the fall of the river was a princely edifice, wrought and built not by the art or hand of man, but by the mighty power of the gods. And you would upon first entering it that it was some pleasant and worthy mansion for the powers of heaven. For the ceilings above were of citron and ivory, propped and supported with pillars of gold, the walls covered and sealed with silver, various sorts of beasts were engraved and carved and seemed to greet those who entered. All things were so curiously and finely wrought that it seemed either to be the work of some demigod, or of some god himself. The pavement was all of precious stones, divided and cut one from another, whereon were carved various kinds of pictures. Indeed blessed and thrice blessed were those who might go upon such a pavement. Every part of the house was so well adorned that, by reason of the precious stones and inestimable treasure there, it glittered and shone as though the chambers, porches, and doors gave forth light like the sun. Neither did the other treasure of the house disagree with so great a majesty, and verily it seemed in every point a heavenly palace, fabricated and built for Jupiter himself.

[2] “Then Psyche, moved with delight, approached and, taking a bold heart, entered into the house and beheld everything there with great affection. She saw storehouses wrought exceedingly fine, and filled with abundance of riches. Finally, nothing could be devised which was lacking there. But among such a great store of treasure the most marvelous thing was that there was no closure, bolt, nor lock to keep it. And when with great pleasure she had viewed all these things, she heard a voice without a body that said, ‘Why do you marvel, madam, at such great riches? Behold, all that you see is at your command. Wherefore go into the chamber and repose your self upon the bed, and desire what bath you will have. We whose voices you hear are your servants and are ready to minister to you according to your desire. In the meantime, royal foods and dainty dishes shall be prepared for you.’

[3] “Then Psyche perceived the felicity of divine providence and, according to the urging of the incorporeal voices, she first reposed her self upon the bed, and then refreshed her body in the bath. This done, she saw the table garnished with foods, and a chair to sit down on. When Psyche sat down, all sorts of divine foods and wines were brought in, not by any body but, as it were with a wind, for she saw no person before her, but only heard voices on every side. After that all the courses were brought to the table, one came in and sung invisibly, another played on the harp, but she saw no man. The harmony of the instruments so greatly shrilled in her ears that, though there was no manner of person there, yet she seemed to be in the midst of a multitude of people.

[4] “With all these pleasures finished, when night approached Psyche went to bed, and when she lay down and sweet sleep came upon her, she greatly feared her virginity because she was alone. Then came her unknown husband and lay with her. And after he had made a perfect consummation of the marriage, he rose in the morning before day and departed. Soon after came her invisible servants, and presented to her such things as were necessary for her defloration. And thus she passed a great deal of time and, as it happened, the strangeness of the place became increasingly pleasurable. The sound of the instruments was an especial comfort to her, being alone. During this time that Psyche was in this place of pleasures, her father and mother did nothing but weep and lament, and her two sisters, hearing of her most miserable fortune, came with great grief and sorrow to comfort and speak with her parents.

[5] “The night following, Psyche’s husband spoke to her (for she could feel his eyes, his hands, and his ears) and said, ‘O my sweet spouse and dear wife, fortune menaces imminent danger, and so I wish you greatly to beware. Know that your sisters, thinking that you are dead, are greatly troubled, and are coming to the mountain by your steps. If you happen to hear their lamentations, beware that you in no way make answer, or look up towards them, for if you do, you shall purchase to me great sorrow, and to yourself utter destruction.’ Psyche, hearing her husband, was contented to do all things as he had commanded. After he had departed and the night passed away, Psyche lamented and lamented all the day following, thinking that now she was past all hopes of comfort, in that she was closed within the walls of a prison, deprived of human conversation, and commanded not to aid her sorrowful sisters, nor once to see them. Thus she passed all the day in weeping, and went to bed at night, without any refection of food or bath.

[6] “Soon afterwards 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 find here? Will you pass all the day and the night in weeping? And will you not cease in your husbands arms? Go too, do what you will, purchase your own destruction, and when you find it so, then remember my words, and repent but too late.’ Then she asked her husband more and more, assuring him that she would die unless he would grant that she might see her sisters, whereby she might speak with them and comfort them. At length he consented, and moreover he willed that she should give them as much gold and jewels as she would. But he gave her a further charge saying, ‘Beware that you covet not (being moved by the pernicious counsel of you sisters) to see the shape of my person, lest by your curiosity you deprive yourself of so great and worthy a situation.’ Psyche, being glad, rendered to him most entire thanks, and said, ‘Sweet husband, I would rather die than be separated from you for, whosoever you are, I love and retain you within my heart, as if you were my own spirit or Cupid himself. But I pray you grant this likewise, that you command your servant Zephyrus to bring my sisters down into the valley as he brought me.’ Wherewith she kissed him sweetly, and asked him gently to grant her request, calling him her spouse, her sweetheart, her joy and her solace. Whereby she persuaded him to agree to her plan, and when morning came he departed away.

[7] “After a long search, the sisters of Psyche came to the hill where she had been set on the rock, and cried with a loud voice in such sort that the stones answered again. And when they called their sister by her name, such that their lamentable cries came to her ears, she came forth and said, ‘Behold, here is she for whom you weep. I pray you torment yourselves no more, cease your weeping.’ And by and by she commanded Zephyrus by the appointment of her husband to bring them down. Neither did he delay, for with gentle blasts he retained them up and laid them softly in the valley. I am not able to express the continual embracing, kissing and greeting which was between the three, and all sorrows and tears were then laid apart. ‘Come in,’ said Psyche, ‘into our house, and refresh your afflicted minds with your sister.’

[8] “After this she showed them the storehouses of treasure, she caused them to hear the voices which served her. The bath was ready, the foods were brought in, and when they had filled themselves with divine delicacies, the sisters conceived great envy within their hearts. One of them, being curious, demanded who her husband was, of what condition, and who was lord of so precious a house? But Psyche, remembering the promise which she had made to her husband, feigned that he 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 talk she should be found to trip or fail in her words, she filled their laps with gold, silver, and jewels, and commanded Zephyrus to carry them away.

[9] “When they were brought up to the mountain, they made their ways homeward to their own houses, and murmured with envy that they bore against Psyche, saying, ‘Behold cruel and contrary fortune, behold how we, born all of one parent, have different destinies. But especially we who are the elder two are married to strange husbands, made as handmaidens and, as it were, banished from our country and friends. Whereas our younger sister has great abundance of treasure, and has gotten a god to her husband, although she has no skill how to use such great amounts of riches. Did you not see, sister, what was in the house, what great store of jewels, what glittering robes, what gems, what gold we trod on? If she has a husband as she affirms, there is no one who lives this day happier in all the world than she. And so it may come to pass, at length for the great affection which he bears for her, that he may make her a goddess. For, by Hercules, such was her countenance, so she behaved herself, that as a goddess she had voices to serve her, and the winds obeyed her. But I, poor wretch, have first married a husband older than my father, more bald than a coot, weaker than a child, who locks me up all day in the house.’

[10] “Then the other sister said, ‘And indeed I am married to a husband who has gout, is twofaced, crooked, nor courageous in paying my debt. I have to rub and mollify his stony fingers with diverse sorts of oils, and wrap them in plasters and salves, so that I soil my white and dainty hands with the corruption of filthy cloths, not using myself 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. Did you not see, I pray, you how proudly and arrogantly she handled us even now? And how in vaunting herself she uttered her presumptuous mind, how she cast a little gold into our laps and, being weary of our company, commanded that we should be borne away? Verily I live not, nor am a woman, until I deprive her of all her bliss. And if you, my sister, are so far bent as I, let us consult together, and not utter our mind to any person, not even to our parents, nor admit that we ever saw her. For it suffices that we have seen her, whom it repents to have seen. Neither let us declare her good fortune to our father, nor to any other, since they seem unhappy whose riches are unknown. So shall she know that she has sisters who are not abject, but worthier than she. But now let us go home to our husbands and poor houses and, when we are better instructed, let us return to suppress her pride.’

[11] “So this evil counsel pleased these two evil women, and they hid the treasure which Psyche gave them, and tore their hair, renewing their false and forged tears. When their father and mother saw them weeping and lamenting still, they doubled their own sorrows and grief. But full of ire and forced with envy, the sisters took their voyage homeward, devising the slaughter and destruction of their sister. In the meantime the husband of Psyche warned her again at night with these words: ‘Do you not see,’ said he, ‘what peril and danger evil fortune threatens to you, such that if you do not take good heed it will shortly come upon you. For those unfaithful harlots greatly endeavor to set their snares to catch you, and their purpose is to make and persuade you to behold my face, which, if you once happen to see, as I have often told, you shall see no more. Wherefore, if these naughty hags, armed with wicked minds, happen to come here again (as I think they will) take heed that you talk not with them but simply suffer them to speak what they will. However, if you can not restrain yourself, beware that you make no conversation about your husband, nor answer a word if they happen to ask about me. So will we increase our stock, and this young and tender child, couched in this young and tender belly of yours, shall be made an immortal god. If you err, he will be a mortal creature.’

[12] “Then Psyche was very glad that she should bring forth a divine babe, and very joyful in that she should be honored as a mother. She reckoned and numbered carefully the days and months that passed and, being never with child before, did marvel greatly that in so short a time her belly could swell so big. But those pestilent and wicked furies, breathing out their serpentine poison, took shipping to bring their enterprise to pass. Then Psyche was warned again by her husband in this way: ‘Behold the last day, the extreme case, and the enemies of your blood, have armed themselves against us, pitched their camp, set their host in array, and are marching towards us. For now your two sisters have drawn their swords and are ready to slay you. O with what force are we assailed on this day! O sweet Psyche, I pray you to take pity on yourself, on me, and deliver your husband and this infant within your belly from so great danger. Don’t see or hear these cursed women who are not worthy to be called your sisters, because of their great hatred and breach of sisterly amity. They will come like Sirens to the mountains, and yield out their piteous and lamentable cries.’

[13] “When Psyche had heard these words she sighed sorrowfully and said, ‘O dear husband, for a long time have you have had experience and trial of my faith. Don’t doubt that I will persevere in it. Wherefore command your wind Zephyrus that he may do as he has done before so that, although you have charged me not to behold your venerable face, yet I may comfort myself with the sight of my sisters. I pray you by these beautiful hairs, by these round cheeks delicate and tender, by your pleasant hot breast, whose shape and face I shall learn at length by the child in my belly, grant the fruit of my desire, refresh your dear spouse Psyche with joy, who is bound and linked to you for ever. I little esteem to see your visage and figure, little do I regard the night and darkness thereof, for you are my only light.’ Her husband, being as it were enchanted with these words and compelled by violence of her frequent embracing, wiped away her tears with his hair and yielded to his wife. And when morning came, departed as he was accustomed to do.

[14] “Now her sisters arrived on land and never rested till they came to the rock. Without visiting their parents they leapt down rashly from the hill themselves. Then Zephyrus according to the divine command brought them down, although it was against his will, and laid them in the valley without any harm. By and by they went into the palace of their sister without leave, and when they had again embraced their prey and thanked her with flattering words for the treasure which she gave them, they said, ‘O dear sister Psyche, know that you are now no more a child, but a mother. O what great joy you bear to us in your belly! What a comfort will it be to all the house! How happy shall we be, who shall see this infant nourished amongst so great plenty of treasure? If he is like his parents, as it is necessary he should, there is no doubt that a new Cupid shall be born.’

[15] “By these measures they went about to win Psyche by little and little. But because they were weary with travel, they sat down in chairs, and after they had washed their bodies in bath they went into a parlor, where all kinds of foods were ready prepared. Psyche commanded one to play his harp, it was done. Then immediately others sang, and others tuned their instruments, but no person was seen. By their sweet harmony and modulation the sisters of Psyche were greatly delighted. However the wickedness of these cursed women was in no way suppressed by the sweet noise of these instruments, and they settled themselves to work their treasons against Psyche, demanding who was her husband, and of what parentage. Then she, having forgotten by too much simplicity what she 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 interspersed with grey hairs. When she had spoken this (because she would have no further talk) she filled their laps with gold and silver, and bid Zephyrus to bear them away.

[16] “On their return homeward they murmured within themselves, saying, ‘What do you say, sister, to so apparent a lie of Psyche? First she said that her husband was a young man of flourishing years, and had a flaxen beard, and now she says that he is half grey with age. Who is he that in so short a space can become so old? You shall find it not otherwise, my sister, but that either this cursed queen has invented a great lie, or else that she never saw the shape of her husband. And if it is so that she never saw him, then verily she is married to some god, and has a young god in her belly. But if it is a divine babe, and this news comes to the ears of my mother (as God forbid it should) then may I go and hang myself. Wherefore let us go to our parents, and with forged lies let us color the matter.’

[17] “After they were thus inflamed and had visited their parents, they returned again to the mountain, and by the aid of the wind Zephyrus were carried down into the valley. And after they had strained their eye lids to force themselves to weep, they called to Psyche in this way, ‘You (ignorant of so great evil) think yourself sure and happy, and you sit at home not regarding your peril. But we go about your affairs and are careful lest any harm should happen to you. For we are credibly informed, and we must tell you that there is a great serpent full of deadly poison, with a ravenous gaping throat, that lies with you every night. Remember the Oracle of Apollo, who pronounced that you should be married to a dire and fierce serpent. Many of the inhabitants nearby, and such as hunt about in the country, affirm that they saw him last night returning from pasture and swimming over the river.

[18] “‘They undoubtedly say, that he will not pamper you long with delicate foods but, when the time of delivery approaches, he will devour both you and your child. Wherefore advise yourself whether you will agree with us, who are careful of your safety, and so avoid the peril of death and be contented to live with your sisters, or whether you remain with the serpent and in the end be swallowed into the gulf of his body. And if it is the case that your solitary life, your conversation with voices, this servile and dangerous pleasure, and the love of the serpent delight you more, say not but that we have played the parts of natural sisters in warning you.’

“Then the poor and simple wretch Psyche was moved with the fear of so dreadful words and, being amazed in her mind, clean forgot the admonitions of her husband and her own promises made to him. Throwing herself headlong into extreme misery, with a wan and sallow countenance, she scarcely uttering a word, and at length began speak in this way:

[19] “‘O my dearest sisters, I heartily thank you for your great kindness toward me, and I am now verily persuaded that they who have informed you of my situation have informed you of nothing but truth. For I never saw the shape of my husband, neither do I know where he comes from. I only hear his voice at night, such that I have an uncertain husband and one that does not love the light of the day. This causes me to suspect that he is a beast, as you affirm. Moreover, I greatly fear to see him, for he menaces and threatens great evil to me if I should go about to spy and behold his shape. Wherefore, my loving sisters, if you have any wholesome remedy for your sister in danger, give it now presently.’ Then they opened the gates of their subtle minds, and put away all privy guile, and egged her forward in her fearful thoughts, persuading her to do as they advised. Whereupon one of them said:

[20] “‘Because we little esteem any peril or danger in order to save your life, we intend to show you the best way we can devise. Take a sharp razor and put it under the pillow of your bed; and see that you have ready a privy burning lamp with oil, hid under some part of the hanging of the chamber. And finely dissembling the matter when, according to his custom, he comes to bed and sleeps soundly, arise secretly, and with your bare feet go and take the lamp, with the razor in your right hand. With valiant force cut off the head of the poisonous serpent, and we will aid and assist you. And when by the death of him you shall be made safe, we will marry you to some comely man.’

[21] “After they had thus inflamed the heart of their sister, fearing lest some danger might happen to them by reason of their evil counsel, they were carried by the wind Zephyrus to the top of the mountain, and so they ran away and took shipping. When Psyche was left alone (except that she seemed not to be alone, being stirred by so many furies), her mind was disturbed like the waves of the sea and, although her will was obstinate and resisted to put in execution the counsel of her sisters, yet she was in doubtful and diverse opinions as to her calamity. Sometimes she would, sometimes she would not, sometimes she is bold, sometimes she is afraid, sometimes she mistrusts, sometimes she is moved, sometime she hates the beast, sometimes she loves her husband. But at length night came, when she prepared for her wicked intent. Soon after her husband came, and when he had kissed and embraced her he fell asleep.

[22] “Then Psyche (somewhat feeble in body and mind, yet moved by cruelty of fate) screwed up her courage and brought forth the lamp, and took the razor, and so by her audacity she overcame her timidity. But when she took the lamp and came to the bedside, she saw the most meek and sweetest beast of all beasts, fair Cupid couched fairly, at whose sight the very lamp increased its light for joy, and the razor turned its edge. But when Psyche saw so glorious a body she was greatly afraid and amazed in mind. With a pale countenance and trembling she fell on her knees and thought to hide the razor, yea verily in her own heart, which doubtless she would have done, had it not, through fear of so great a deed, fallen from her hand. And when she saw and beheld the beauty of the divine visage she was restored in her mind. She saw his hairs of gold that yielded out a sweet savor, his neck more white than milk, his purple cheeks, his hair hanging comely behind and before, the brightness of which darkened the light of the lamp. She saw his tender plume feathers, dispersed upon his shoulders like shining flowers and trembling hither and thither, and his other parts of his body so smooth and so soft that it did not repent Venus to bear such a child. At the bed’s feet lay his bow, quiver, and arrows, that are the weapons of so great a god.

[23] “When Psyche curiously beheld these things, she, marveling at her husband’s weapons, took one of the arrows out of the quiver, and pricked herself with it, and so she was so grievously wounded that the blood followed, and thereby of her own accord she added love upon love. Then, broiling all the more in the love of Cupid, she embraced him and kissed him and kissed him a thousand times, fearing the measure of his sleep. But alas, while she was in this great joy, whether it was for envy or desire to touch this amiable body, there fell out a drop of burning oil from the lamp upon the right shoulder of the god. O rash and bold lamp, the vile ministry of love, how dare you be so bold as to burn the god of all fire? You who were invented so that all lovers might with more joy pass the nights in pleasure. The god, being burned in this way, and perceiving that promise and faith was broken, fled away without utterance of any word from the eyes and hands of his most unhappy wife.

[24] “But Psyche happened to catch him as he was rising by the right thigh, and held him fast as he flew above in the air, until such time as constrained by weariness she let go and fell down upon the ground. But Cupid followed her down, and lighted upon the top of a cypress tree, and angrily spoke to her in this manner: ‘O simple Psyche, consider how I, little regarding the command of my mother (who wanted me to make you marry to a man of base and miserable condition), came myself from heaven to love you and wounded my own body with my weapons, to have you for my spouse. And did I seem such a beast to you that you would go about to cut off my head with a razor, I who loved you so well? Did I not always give you a charge? Did not I gently ask you to beware? But those cursed aides and counselors of yours shall be worthily rewarded for their pains. As for you, you shall be sufficiently punished by my absence.’ When he had spoken these words he took his flight into the air.

[25] “Then Psyche fell flat on the ground, and as long as she could see her husband she cast her eyes after him into the air, weeping and lamenting piteously. But when he was gone from her sight she threw herself into the nearest river, for such was the great anguish and grief that she felt for the loss of her husband. However, the water would not suffer her to be drowned, but took pity upon her. But in the honor of Cupid, who was accustomed to broil and burn the river, he threw her upon the bank amongst the herbs.

“But Pan, the rustic god, was sitting on the river side, embracing and instructing the goddess Echo to tune her songs and pipes and around them were feeding the young and tender goats. After he perceived Psyche in sorrowful case, and not ignorant (I know not by what means) of her miserable condition, he endeavored to pacific her in this way: ‘O fair maid, I am a rustic and rude herdsman. However, by reason of my old age I am expert in many things. For as far as I can learn by conjecture (which wise men call divination), I perceive by your uncertain gait, your pale hue, your sobbing sighs, and your watery eyes, that you are greatly in love. Wherefore hearken to me, and do not go about to slay your self, nor weep at all, but rather adore and worship the great god Cupid, and win him to you by your gentle promise of service.’

[26] “When the god of shepherds had spoken these words, she gave no answer, but made reverence to him as to a god and departed. After Psyche had gone a little way, she happened unawares to come to a city where the husband of one of her sisters lived. When Psyche understood this, she caused her sister to know of her coming, and so they met together. After great embracing and salutation, the sister of Psyche demanded the cause of her travel thither. ‘Do you not,’ said she, “remember the counsel you gave me, whereby you said that I should kill the beast who under color of my husband lay with me every night? You shall understand that, as soon as I brought forth the lamp to see and behold his shape, I perceived that the son of Venus, Cupid himself, lay with me. Then I, being stricken with great pleasure, and desirous to embrace him, could not thoroughly assuage my delight but, alas, by evil ill chance the oil of the lamp happened to fall on his shoulder and caused him to awake. Seeing me armed with fire and weapons, he said, ‘How dare you be so bold to do so great a mischief? Depart from me and take such things as you brought. For I will have your sister (and named you) to be my wife, and she shall be placed in your felicity.’ And by and by he commanded Zephyrus to carry me away from the bounds of his house.

[27] “Psyche had scarcely finished her tale when her sister, pierced with the prick of carnal desire and wicked envy, ran home and, feigning to her husband that she had heard word of the death of her parents, took shipping and came to the mountain. And although there blew a contrary wind, yet being conceiving a vain hope she cried ‘O Cupid take me, a more worthy wife, and you, Zephyrus, bear down your mistress.’ And so she cast herself headlong from the mountain. But she fell into the valley neither alive nor dead, for all the members and parts of her body were torn amongst the rocks, whereby she was made prey to the birds and wild beasts, as she worthily deserved.

“Neither was the vengeance of the other delayed, for Psyche, traveling in that country, happened to come to another city where her other sister lived. When she had declared all such things as she told to her other sister, she ran likewise to the rock and was slain in the same way.

[28] “Then Psyche traveled about the country looking for her husband Cupid, but he had gone into his mother’s chamber and there bewailed the sorrowful wound which he caught from the oil of the burning lamp. Then the white gull, which swims on the waves of the water, flew toward the Ocean sea, where he found Venus washing and bathing herself. To her it declared that her son was burned and in danger of death, and moreover that it was a common rumor in the mouth of every person (who spoke evil of all the family of Venus) that her son does nothing but hunt harlots in the mountain, and she herself lasciviously riots in the sea. ‘Because of this they say that everything is no longer gracious, pleasant or gentle, but uncivil, monstrous and horrible. Moreover they say that marriages are not for any amity, or for love of procreation, but full of envy, discord, and debate.’ This the curious gull did clatter in the ears of Venus, criticizing her son. But Venus began to cry and said, ‘What, has my son fallen in love? I pray to you, gentle bird that serves me so faithfully, tell me who she is, and what the name is of her who has troubled my son in this way? Tell me whether she is any of the Nymphs, of the number of the goddesses, of the company of the Muses, or of the mystery of the Graces?’ To her the bird answered, ‘Madam, I know not who she is, but I do know that she is called Psyche.’ Then Venus with indignation cried out, ‘What, is it she? The usurper of my beauty, the usurper of my name? What, did he think that I am a brothel keeper, by whom he became acquainted with the maid?’

[29] “And immediately she departed and went to her chamber, where she found her son wounded as was told to her. When she beheld him she cried out in this way: ‘Is this an honest thing, is this honorable to your parents? Is this reason, to have violated and broken the command of your mother and sovereign mistress? And whereas you should have vexed my enemy with loathsome love, you have done otherwise? For being of tender and unripe years, you have with too licentious appetite embraced my most mortal foe, to whom I shall be made a mother, and she a daughter. You presume and think, you trifling boy, you rascal, and without all reverence, that you are most worthy and excellent, and that I am not able by reason of my age to have another son, which if I should have. You should well understand that I would bear one worthier than you. But to spite you further, I determine to adopt one of my servants, and to give him these wings, this fire, this bow, and these arrows, and all other gear which I gave to you (and not for the uses you put them). Neither is any thing given to you come from your father for this intent.

[30] “‘But first you have been evilly brought up and instructed in your youth, you have your hands ready and sharp. You have often offended your elders, and especially me who am your mother. You have pierced me with your darts, you despise me as a widow, neither do you regard your valiant and invincible stepfather. And to anger me more, you are amorous of harlots and wenches. I will cause you shortly to repent, and to see that this marriage is dearly bought. To what a point am I now driven? What shall I do? Whither shall I go? How shall I repress this beast? Shall I ask aid of my enemy Sobriety, whom I have often offended to engender you? Or shall I seek for counsel of every poor rustic woman? No, no, I would rather die. However, I will not cease my vengeance. To her I must have recourse for help, and to none other (I mean to Sobriety). She may correct you sharply, take away your quiver, deprive the of your arrows, unbend your bow, quench your fire, and, what is more, subdue your body with punishment. And when that I have shaved and cut off your hair (which I have dressed with my own hands and made to glitter like gold), and when I have clipped your wings (which I my self have caused to burgeon), then shall I think I have avenged my self sufficiently upon you for the injury which you have done to me.’

[31] “When she had spoken these words she departed in a great rage out of her chamber. Immediately, as she was going away, Juno and Ceres approached, demanding to know the cause of her anger. Then Venus answered, ‘Verily you have come to comfort my sorrow, but I pray you with all diligence to seek out one whose name is Psyche. She is a vagabond, and runs about the countries. And (as I think) you are not ignorant of the rumor of my son Cupid, and of his demeanor, which I am ashamed to declare.’ Then they, understanding the whole matter, tried to mitigate the ire of Venus in this way: ‘What is the cause, madam, or how has your son so offended, that you should so greatly accuse his love and blame him by reason that he is amorous? And why should you seek the death of her whom he fancies? We most humbly entreat you to pardon his fault if he has accorded to the mind of any maiden. Do you not know that he is a young man? Or have you forgotten of what years he is? Does he seem always to you to be a child? 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 own art and delights in him? What god or man is he who can endure that you should sow or disperse your seed of love in every place, and still restrain the same behavior within your own house? Certainly you will be the cause of the suppression of the public exposure of young women.’ In this way this goddesses endeavored to pacify her mind, and to excuse Cupid with all their power (although he was absent) for fear of his darts and shafts of love. But Venus would in no way assuage her anger but (thinking that they were rather trifling and taunting her injuries) she departed from them, and took her voyage towards the sea in all haste.