The Fifth Booke : The Marriage of Cupid and Psyches
The Twenty-Second Chapter
The most pleasant and delectable tale of the marriage of Cupid and Psyches.
There was sometimes a certaine King, inhabiting in the West parts, who had to wife a noble Dame, by whom he had three daughters exceeding fair: of whom the two elder were of such comly shape and beauty, as they did excell and pass all other women living, whereby they were thought worthily to deserve the praise and commendation of every person, and deservedly to be preferred above the residue of the common sort. Yet the singular passing beauty and maidenly majesty of the youngest daughter did so farre surmount and excell then two, as no earthly creature could by any meanes sufficiently expresse or set out the same.
By reason wherof, after the fame of this excellent maiden was spread about in every part of the City, the Citisens and strangers there beeing inwardly pricked by the zealous affection to behold her famous person, came daily by thousands, hundreths, and scores, to her fathers palace, who was astonied with admiration of her incomparable beauty, did no less worship and reverence her with crosses, signes, and tokens, and other divine adorations, according to the custome of the old used rites and ceremonies, than if she were the Lady Venus indeed, and shortly after the fame was spread into the next cities and bordering regions, that the goddess whom the deep seas had born and brought forth, and the froth of the waves had nourished, to the intent to show her high magnificencie and divine power on earth, to such as erst did honour and worship her, was now conversant among mortall men, or else that the earth and not the sea, by a new concourse and influence of the celestiall planets, had budded and yeelded forth a new Venus, endued with the floure of virginity.
So daily more and more encreased this opinion, and now is her flying fame dispersed into the next Island, and well nigh unto every part and province of the whole world. Wherupon innumerable strangers resorted from farre Countries, adventuring themselves by long journies on land and by great perils on water, to behold this glorious virgin. By occasion wherof such a contempt grew towards the goddesse Venus, that no person travelled unto the Towne Paphos, nor to the Isle Gyndos, nor to Cythera to worship her. Her ornaments were throwne out, her temples defaced, her pillowes and cushions torne, her ceremonies neglected, her images and Statues uncrowned, and her bare altars unswept, and fowl with the ashes of old burnt sacrifice. For why, every person honoured and worshipped this maiden in stead of Venus, and in the morning at her first comming abroad offered unto her oblations, provided banquets, called her by the name of Venus, which was not Venus indeed, and in her honour presented floures and garlands in most reverend fashion.
This sudden change and alteration of celestiall honour, did greatly inflame and kindle the love of very Venus, who unable to temper her selfe from indignation, shaking her head in raging sort, reasoned with her selfe in this manner, Behold the originall parent of all these elements, behold the Lady Venus renowned throughout all the world, with whome a mortall maiden is joyned now partaker of honour: my name registred in the city of heaven is prophaned and made vile by terrene absurdities. If I shall suffer any mortall creature to present my Majesty on earth, or that any shall beare about a false surmised shape of her person, then in vaine did Paris the sheepheard (in whose judgement and competence the great Jupiter had affiance) preferre me above the residue of the goddesses, for the excellency of my beauty: but she, whatever she be that hath usurped myne honour, shal shortly repent her of her unlawful estate. And by and by she called her winged sonne Cupid, rash enough and hardy, who by his evill manners contemning all publique justice and law, armed with fire and arrowes, running up and down in the nights from house to house, and corrupting the lawfull marriages of every person, doth nothing but that which is evill, who although that hee were of his owne proper nature sufficiently prone to worke mischiefe, yet she egged him forward with words and brought him to the city, and shewed him Psyches (for so the maid was called) and having told the cause of her anger, not without great rage, I pray thee (quoth she) my dear childe, by motherly bond of love, by the sweet wounds of thy piercing darts, by the pleasant heate of thy fire, revenge the injury which is done to thy mother by the false and disobedient beauty of a mortall maiden, and I pray thee, that without delay shee may fall in love with the most miserablest creature living, the most poore, the most crooked, and the most vile, that there may bee none found in all the world of like wretchednesse. When she had spoken these words she embraced and kissed her sonne, and took her voyage toward the sea.
When she came upon the sea she began to cal the gods and goddesses, who were obedient at her voyce. For incontinent came the daughters of Nereus, singing with tunes melodiously: Portunus with his bristled and rough beard, Salita with her bosome full of fish, Palemon the driver of the Dolphine, the Trumpetters of Tryton, leaping hither and thither, and blowing with heavenly noyse: such was the company which followed Venus, marching towards the ocean sea.
In the meane season Psyches with all her beauty received no fruit of honor. She was wondred at of all, she was praised of all, but she perceived that no King nor Prince, nor any one of the superiour sort did repaire to wooe her. Every one marvelled at her divine beauty, as it were some Image well painted and set out. Her other two sisters, which were nothing so greatly exalted by the people, were royally married to two Kings: but the virgin Psyches, sitting alone at home, lamented her solitary life, and being disquieted both in mind and body, although she pleased all the world, yet hated shee in her selfe her owne beauty. Whereupon the miserable father of this unfortunate daughter, suspecting that the gods and powers of heaven did envy her estate, went to the town called Milet to receive the Oracle of Apollo, where he made his prayers and offered sacrifice, and desired a husband for his daughter: but Apollo though he were a Grecian, and of the country of Ionia, because of the foundation of Milet, yet hee gave answer in Latine verse, the sence whereof was this:—
Let Psyches corps be clad in mourning weed,
And set on rock of yonder hill aloft:
Her husband is no wight of humane seed,
But Serpent dire and fierce as might be thought.
Who flies with wings above in starry skies,
And doth subdue each thing with firie flight.
The gods themselves, and powers that seem so wise,
With mighty Jove, be subject to his might,
The rivers blacke, and deadly flouds of paine
And darkness eke, as thrall to him remaine.
The King, sometimes happy when he heard the prophesie of Apollo, returned home sad and sorrowful, and declared to his wife the miserable and unhappy fate of his daughter. Then they began to lament and weep, and passed over many dayes in great sorrow. But now the time approached of Psyches marriage, preparation was made, blacke torches were lighted, the pleasant songs were turned into pittifull cries, the melody of Hymeneus was ended with deadly howling, the maid that should be married did wipe her eyes with her vaile. All the family and people of the city weeped likewise, and with great lamentation was ordained a remisse time for that day, but necessity compelled that Psyches should be brought to her appointed place, according to the divine appointment.
And when the solemnity was ended, they went to bring the sorrowful spowse, not to her marriage, but to her final end and burial. And while the father and mother of Psyches did go forward weeping and crying unto this enterprise, Psyches spake unto them in this sort: Why torment your unhappy age with continuall dolour? Why trouble you your spirits, which are more rather mine than yours? Why soyle ye your faces with teares, which I ought to adore and worship? Why teare you my eyes in yours? why pull you your hory haires? Why knocke ye your breasts for me? Now you see the reward of my excellent beauty: now, now you perceive, but too late, the plague of envy. When the people did honour me, and call me new Venus, then yee should have wept, then you should have sorrowed as though I had been dead: for now I see and perceive that I am come to this misery by the only name of Venus, bring mee, and as fortune has appointed, place me on the top of the rocke, I greatly desire to end my marriage, I greatly covet to see my husband. Why doe I delay? why should I refuse him that is appointed to destroy all the world.
Thus ended she her words, and thrust her selfe among the people that followed. Then they brought her to the appointed rocke of the high hill, and set [her] hereon, and so departed. The Torches and lights were put out with the teares of the people, and every man gone home, the miserable Parents well nigh consumed with sorrow, gave themselves to everlasting darknes.
Thus poore Psyches being left alone, weeping and trembling on the toppe of the rocke, was blowne by the gentle aire and of shrilling Zephyrus, and carried from the hill with a meek winde, which retained her garments up, and by little and little bought her downe into a deepe valley, where she was laid in a bed of most sweet and fragrant flowers.
Thus faire Psyches being sweetly couched among the soft and tender hearbs, as in a bed of sweet and fragrant floures, and having qualified the thoughts and troubles of her restlesse minde, was now well reposed. And when she had refreshed her selfe sufficiently with sleepe, she rose with a more quiet and pacified minde, and fortuned to espy a pleasant wood invironed with great and mighty trees. Shee espied likewise a running river as cleare as crystall: in the midst of the wood well nigh at the fall of the river was a princely Edifice, wrought and builded not by the art or hand of man, but by the mighty power of God: and you would judge at the first entry therin, that it were some pleasant and worthy mansion for the powers of heaven. For the embowings above were of Citron and Ivory, propped and undermined with pillars of gold, the walls covered and seeled with silver, divers sorts of beasts were graven and carved, that seemed to encounter with such as entered in. All things were so curiously and finely wrought, that it seemed either to be the worke of some Demy god, or of God himselfe. The pavement was all of pretious stones, divided and cut one from another, whereon was carved divers kindes of pictures, in such sort that blessed and thrice blessed were they that might goe upon such a pavement: Every part and angle of the house was so well adorned, that by reason of the pretious stones and inestimable treasure there, it glittered and shone in such sort, that the chambers, porches, and doores gave light as it had beene the Sunne. Neither otherwise did the other treasure of the house disagree unto so great a majesty, that verily it seemed in every point an heavenly Palace, fabricate and built for Jupiter himselfe.
Then Psyches moved with delectation approched nigh and taking a bold heart entred into the house, and beheld every thing there with great affection, she saw storehouses wrought exceedingly fine, and replenished with aboundance of riches. Finally, there could nothing be devised which lacked there: but among such great store of treasure this was most marvellous, that there was no closure, bolt, nor locke to keepe the same. And when with great pleasure shee had viewed all these things, she heard a voyce without any body, that sayd, Why doe you marvell Madame at so great riches? behold, all that you see is at your commandement, wherefore goe you into the chamber, and repose your selfe upon the bed, and desire what bath you will have, and wee whose voyces you heare bee your servants, and ready to minister unto you according to your desire. In the meane season, royall meats and dainty dishes shall be prepared for you.
Then Psyches perceived the felicity of divine providence, and according to the advertisement of the incorporeall voyces she first reposed her selfe upon the bed, and then refreshed her body in the baines. This done, shee saw the table garnished with meats, and a chaire to sit downe.
When Psyches was set downe, all sorts of divine meats and wines were brought in, not by any body, but as it were with a winde, for she saw no person before her, but only heard voyces on every side. After that all the services were brought to the table, one came in and sung invisibly, another played on the harpe, but she saw no man. The harmony of the Instruments did so greatly shrill in her eares, that though there were no manner of person, yet seemed she in the midst of a multitude of people.
All these pleasures finished, when night aproched Psyches went to bed, and when she was layd, that the sweet sleep came upon her, she greatly feared her virginity, because shee was alone. Then came her unknowne husband and lay with her: and after that hee had made a perfect consummation of the marriage, he rose in the morning before day, and departed. Soone after came her invisible servants, and presented to her such things as were necessary for her defloration. And thus she passed forth a great while, and as it happeneth, the novelty of the things by continuall custome did encrease her pleasure, but especially the sound of the instruments was a comfort to her being alone.
During this time that Psyches was in this place of pleasures, her father and mother did nothing but weepe and lament, and her two sisters hearing of her most miserable fortune, came with great dolour and sorrow to comfort and speake with her parents.
The night following, Psyches husband spake unto her (for she might feele his eyes, his hands, and his ears) and sayd, O my sweet Spowse and dear wife, fortune doth menace unto thee imminent danger, wherof I wish thee greatly to beware: for know that thy sisters, thinking that thou art dead, bee greatly troubled, and are coming to the mountain by thy steps. Whose lamentations if thou fortune to heare, beware that thou doe in no wise make answer, or looke up towards them, for if thou doe thou shalt purchase to mee great sorrow, and to thyself utter destruction. Psyches hearing her Husband, was contented to doe all things as hee had commanded.
After that hee was departed and the night passed away, Psyches lamented and lamented all the day following, thinking that now shee was past all hopes of comfort, in that shee was closed within the walls of a prison, deprived of humane conversation, and commaunded not to aid her sorrowful Sisters, no nor once to see them. Thus she passed all the day in weeping, and went to bed at night, without any refection of meat or baine.
Incontinently after came her husband, who when he had embraced her sweetly, began to say, Is it thus that I find you perform your promise, my sweet wife? What do I finde heere? Passe you all the day and the night in weeping? And wil you not cease in your husbands armes? Goe too, doe what ye will, purchase your owne destruction, and when you find it so, then remember my words, and repent but too late. Then she desired her husband more and more, assuring him that shee should die, unlesse he would grant that she might see her sisters, wherby she might speak with them and comfort them, wherat at length he was contented, and moreover hee willed that shee should give them as much gold and jewels as she would. But he gave her a further charge saying, Beware that ye covet not (being mooved by the pernicious counsell of you sisters) to see the shape of my person, lest by your curiosity you deprive your selfe of so great and worthy estate. Psyches being glad herewith, rendered unto him most entire thankes, and said, Sweet husband, I had rather die than to bee separated from you, for whosoever you bee, I love and retaine you within my heart, as if you were myne owne spirit or Cupid himselfe: but I pray you grant this likewise, that you would commaund your servant Zephyrus to bring my sisters downe into the valley as he brought mee.
Wherewithall shee kissed him sweetly, and desired him gently to grant her request, calling him her spowse, her sweetheart, her Joy and her Solace. Wherby she enforced him to agree to her mind, and when morning came he departed away.
After long search made, the sisters of Psyches came unto the hill where she was set on the rocke, and cried with a loud voyce in such sort that the stones answered againe. And when they called their sister by her name, that their lamentable cries came unto her eares, shee came forth and said, Behold, heere is shee for whom you weepe, I pray you torment your selves no more, cease your weeping. And by and by she commaunded Zephyrus by the appointment of her husband to bring them downe. Neither did he delay, for with gentle blasts he retained them up and laid them softly in the valley. I am not able to expresse the often embracing, kissing and greeting which was between them three, all sorrows and tears were then layd apart.
Come in (quoth Psyches) into our house, and refresh your afflicted mindes with your sister.
After this she shewed them the storehouses of treasure, shee caused them to hear the voyces which served her, the bain was ready, the meats were brought in, and when they had filled themselves with divine delecates, they conceived great envy within their hearts, and one of them being curious, did demand what her husband was, of what estate, and who was Lord of so pretious a house? But Psyches remembring the promise which she had made to her husband, feigned that hee was a young man, of comely stature, with a flaxen beard, and had great delight in hunting the dales and hills by. And lest by her long talke she should be found to trip or faile in her words, she filled their laps with gold, silver, and Jewels, and commanded Zephyrus to carry them away.
When they were brought up to the mountain, they made their wayes homeward to their owne houses, and murmured with envy that they bare against Psyches, saying, behold cruell and contrary fortune, behold how we, borne all of one Parent, have divers destinies: but especially we that are the elder two bee married to strange husbands, made as handmaidens, and as it were banished from our Countrey and friends. Whereas our younger sister hath great abundance of treasure, and hath gotten a god to her husband, although shee hath no skill how to use such great plenty of riches. Saw you not sister what was in the house, what great store of jewels, what glittering robes, what Gemmes, what gold we trod on? That if shee hath a husband according as shee affirmeth, there is none that liveth this day more happy in all the world than she. And so it may come to passe, at length for the great affection which hee may beare unto her that hee may make her a goddesse, for by Hercules, such was her countenance, so she behaved her self, that as a goddesse she had voices to serve her, and the windes did obey her.
But I poore wretch have first married an husband elder than my father, more bald than a Coot, more weake than a childe, and that locketh me up all day in the house.
Then said the other sister, And in faith I am married to a husband that hath the gout, twyfold, crooked, nor couragious in paying my debt, I am faine to rub and mollifie his stony fingers with divers sorts of oyles, and to wrap them in playsters and salves, so that I soyle my white and dainty hands with the corruption of filthy clouts, not using my self like a wife, but more like a servant. And you my sister seem likewise to be in bondage and servitude, wherefore I cannot abide to see our younger sister in such felicity; saw you not I pray you how proudly and arrogantly she handled us even now? And how in vaunting her selfe she uttered her presumptuous minde, how she cast a little gold into our laps, and being weary of our company, commanded that we should be borne and blown away?
Verily I live not, nor am a woman, but I will deprive her of all her blisse. And if you my sister bee so far bent as I, let us consult together, and not to utter our minde to any person, no not to our parents, nor tell that ever we saw her. For it sufficeth that we have seene her, whom it repenteth to have seene. Neither let us declare her good fortune to our father, nor to any other, since as they seeme not happy whose riches are unknowne: so shall she know that she hath sisters no Abjects, but worthier than she.
But now let us goe home to our husbands and poore houses, and when we are better instructed, let us return to suppresse her pride. So this evill counsell pleased these two evil women, and they hid the treasure which Psyches gave them, and tare their haire, renewing their false and forged teares. When their father and mother beheld them weep and lament still, they doubled their sorrowes and griefes, but full of yre and forced with Envy, they tooke their voyage homeward, devising the slaughter and destruction of their sister.
In the meane season the husband of Psyches did warne her againe in the night with these words: Seest thou not (quoth he) what perill and danger evill fortune doth threaten unto thee, whereof if thou take not good heed it will shortly come upon thee. For the unfaithfull harlots doe greatly endeavor to set their snares to catch thee, and their purpose is to make and perswade thee to behold my face, which if thou once fortune to see, as I have often told, thou shalt see no more. Wherfore if these naughty hagges, armed with wicked minds, doe chance to againe (as I think no otherwise but that they will) take heed that thou talk not with them but simply suffer them to speake what they will, howbeit if thou canst not refraine thy selfe, beware that thou have no communication of thy husband, nor answer a word if they fortune to question of me, so will we encrease our stocke, and this young and tender childe, couched in this young and tender belly of thine, shall be made an immortall god, otherwise a mortal creature. Then Psyches was very glad that she should bring forth a divine babe, and very joyfull in that she should be honored as a mother. She reckened and numbered carefully the days and months that passed, and beeing never with child before, did marvel greatly that in so short a time her belly should swel so big. But those pestilent and wicked furies breathing out their Serpentine poyson, took shipping to bring their enterprise to passe. The Psyches was warned again by her husband in this sort: Behold the last day, the extream case, and the enemies of thy blood, hath armed themselves against us, pitched their campe, set their host in array, and are marching towards us, for now thy two sisters have drawn their swords and are ready to slay thee. O with what force are we assailed on this day! O sweet Psyches I pray thee to take pitty on thy selfe, of me, and deliver thy husband and this infant within thy belly from so great danger, and see not, neither heare these cursed women, which are not worthy to be called thy sisters, for their great hatred and breach of sisterly amity, for they wil come like Syrens to the mountains, and yeeld out their pittious and lamentable cries. When Psyches had heard these words she sighed sorrowfully and said, O deare husband this long time have you had experience and triall of my faith, and doubt you not that I will persever in the same, wherefore command your winde Zephyrus, that hee may doe as hee hath done before, to the intent that where you have charged me not to behold your venerable face, yet that I may comfort myself with the sight of my sisters. I pray you by these beautifull haires, by these round cheekes delicate and tender, by your pleasant hot breast, whose shape and face I shall learn at length by the childe in my belly, grant the fruit of my desire, refresh your deare Spowse Psyches with joy, who is bound and linked unto you for ever. I little esteeme to see your visage and figure, little doe I regard the night and darknesse thereof, for you are my only light.
Her husband being as it were inchanted with these words and compelled by violence of her often embracing, wiping away her teares with his haire, did yeeld unto his wife. And when morning came, departed as hee was accustomed to doe.
Now her sisters arrived on land, and never rested til they came to the rock, without visiting their parents, and leapt down rashly from the hill themselves. Then Zephyrus according to the divine commandment brought them down, although it were against his wil, and laid them in the vally without any harm: by and by they went into the palace to their sister without leave, and when they had eftsoone embraced their prey, and thanked her with flattering words for the treasure which she gave them, they said, O deare sister Psyches, know you that you are now no more a child, but a mother: O what great joy beare you unto us in your belly? What a comfort will it be unto all the house? How happy shall we be, that shall see this Infant nourished amongst so great plenty of Treasure? That if he be like his parents, as it is necessary he should, there is no doubt but a new cupid shall be borne. By this kinde of measures they went about to winne Psyches by little and little, but because they were wearie with travell, they sate them downe in chaires, and after that they had washed their bodies in baines they went into a parlour, where all kinde of meats were ready prepared. Psyches commanded one to play with his harpe, it was done. Then immediately others sung, others tuned their instruments, but no person was seene, by whose sweet harmony and modulation the sisters of Psyches were greatly delighted.
Howbeit the wickednesse of these cursed women was nothing suppressed by the sweet noyse of these instruments, but they settled themselves to work their treasons against Psyches, demanding who was her husband, and of what Parentage. Then shee having forgotten by too much simplicity, what shee had spoken before of her husband, invented a new answer, and said that her husband was of a great province, a merchant, and a man of middle age, having his beard intersparsed with grey haires. Which when shee had spoken (because shee would have no further talke) she filled their laps with Gold and Silver, and bid Zephyrus to bear them away.
In their returne homeward they murmured within themselves, saying, How say you sister to so apparent a lye of Psyches? First she sayd that her husband was a young man of flourishing yeares, and had a flaxen beard, and now she sayth that he is halfe grey with age. What is he that in so short a space can become so old? You shall finde it no otherwise my sister, but that either this cursed queane hath invented a great lie, or else that she never saw the shape of her husband. And if it be so that she never saw him, then verily she is married to some god, and hath a young god in her belly. But if it be a divine babe, and fortune to come to the eares of my mother (as God forbid it should) then may I go and hang my selfe: wherfore let us go to our parents, and with forged lies let us colour the matter.
After they were thus inflamed, and had visited their Parents, they returned againe to the mountaine, and by the aid of the winde Zephyrus were carried down into the valley, and after they had streined their eye lids, to enforce themselves to weepe, they called unto Psyches in this sort, Thou (ignorant of so great evill) thinkest thy selfe sure and happy, and sittest at home nothing regarding thy peril, whereas wee goe about thy affaires and are carefull lest any harme should happen unto you: for we are credibly informed, neither can we but utter it unto you, that there is a great serpent full of deadly poyson, with a ravenous gaping throat, that lieth with thee every night Remember the Oracle of Apollo, who pronounced that thou shouldest he married to a dire and fierce Serpent, and many of the Inhabitants hereby, and such as hunt about in the countrey, affirme that they saw him yesternight returning from pasture and swimming over the River, whereby they doe undoubtedly say, that hee will not pamper thee long with delicate meats, but when the time of delivery shall approach he will devoure both thee and thy child: wherefore advise thy selfe whether thou wilt agree unto us that are carefull of thy safety, and so avoid the perill of death, bee contented to live with thy sisters, or whether thou remaine with the Serpent and in the end be swallowed into the gulfe of his body. And if it be so that thy solitary life, thy conversation with voices, this servile and dangerous pleasure, and the love of the Serpent doe more delight thee, say not but that we have played the parts of naturall sisters in warning thee.
Then the poore and simple miser Psyches was mooved with the feare of so dreadful words, and being amazed in her mind, did cleane forget the admonitions of her husband, and her owne promises made unto him, and throwing her selfe headlong into extreame misery, with a wanne and sallow countenance, scantly uttering a third word, at length gan say in this sort: O my most deare sisters, I heartily thanke you for your great kindnesse toward me, and I am now verily perswaded that they which have informed you hereof hath informed you of nothing but truth, for I never saw the shape of my husband, neither know I from whence he came, only I heare his voice in the night, insomuch that I have an uncertaine husband, and one that loveth not the light of the day: which causeth me to suspect that he is a beast, as you affirme. Moreover, I doe greatly feare to see him, for he doth menace and threaten great evill unto mee, if I should goe about to spy and behold his shape wherefore my loving sisters if you have any wholeome remedy for your sister in danger, give it now presently. Then they opened the gates of their subtill mindes, and did put away all privy guile, and egged her forward in her fearefull thoughts, perswading her to doe as they would have her whereupon one of them began and sayd, Because that wee little esteeme any perill or danger, to save your life we intend to shew you the best way and meane as we may possibly do. Take a sharpe razor and put it under the pillow of your bed; and see that you have ready a privy burning lampe with oyle, hid under some part of the hanging of the chamber, and finely dissembling the matter when according to his custome he commeth to bed and sleepeth soundly, arise you secretly, and with your bare feet goe and take the lampe, with the Razor in your right hand and with valiant force cut off the head of the poysonous serpent, wherein we will aid and assist you: and when by the death of him you shall be made safe, we wil marry you to some comely man.
After they had thus inflamed the heart of their sister fearing lest some danger might happen unto them by reason of their evill counsell, they were carried by the wind Zephyrus to the top of the mountaine, and so they ran away and tooke shipping.
When Psyches was left alone (saving that she seemed not to be alone, being stirred by so many furies) she was in a tossing minde like the waves of the sea, and although her wil was obstinate, and resisted to put in execution the counsell of her Sisters, yet she was in doubtfull and divers opinions touching her calamity. Sometime she would, sometime she would not, sometime she is bold, sometime she feareth, sometime shee mistrusteth, somtime she is mooved, somtime she hateth the beast, somtime she loveth her husband: but at length night came, when as she prepared for her wicked intent.
Soon after her husband Came, and when he had kissed and embraced her he fell asleep. Then Psyches (somwhat feeble in body and mind, yet mooved by cruelty of fate) received boldnes and brought forth the lampe, and tooke the razor, so by her audacity she changed her mind: but when she took the lamp and came to the bed side, she saw the most meeke and sweetest beast of all beasts, even faire Cupid couched fairly, at whose sight the very lampe encreased his light for joy, and the razor turned his edge.
But when Psyches saw so glorious a body shee greatly feared, and amazed in mind, with a pale countenance all trembling fel on her knees and thought to hide the razor, yea verily in her owne heart, which doubtlesse she had done, had it not through feare of so great an enterprise fallen out of her hand. And when she saw and beheld the beauty of the divine visage shee was well recreated in her mind, she saw his haires of gold, that yeelded out a sweet savor, his neck more white than milk, his purple cheeks, his haire hanging comely behinde and before, the brightnesse whereof did darken the light of the lamp, his tender plume feathers, dispersed upon his sholders like shining flours, and trembling hither and thither, and his other parts of his body so smooth and so soft, that it did not repent Venus to beare such a childe. At the beds feet lay his bow, quiver, and arrowes, that be the weapons of so great a god: which when Psyches did curiously behold, she marvelling at her husbands weapons, took one of the arrows out of the quiver, and pricked her selfe withall, wherwith she was so grievously wounded that the blood followed, and thereby of her owne accord shee added love upon love; then more broyling in the love of Cupid shee embraced him and kissed him and kissed him a thousand times, fearing the measure of his sleepe But alas while shee was in this great joy, whether it were for envy for desire to touch this amiable body likewise, there fell out a droppe of burning oyle from the lampe upon the right shoulder of the god. O rash and bold lampe, the vile ministery of love, how darest thou bee so bold as to burne the god of all fire? When as he invented thee, to the intent that all lovers might with more joy passe the nights in pleasure.
The god beeing burned in this sort, and perceiving that promise and faith was broken, bee fled away without utterance of any word, from the eyes and hands of his most unhappy wife. But Psyches fortuned to catch him as hee was rising by the right thigh, and held him fast as hee flew above in the aire, until such time as constrained by wearinesse shee let goe and fell downe upon the ground. But Cupid followed her downe, and lighted upon the top of a Cypresse tree, and angerly spake unto her in this manner: O simple Psyches, consider with thy selfe how I, little regarding the commandement of my mother (who willed mee that thou shouldst bee married to a man of base and miserable condition) did come my selfe from heaven to love thee, and wounded myne owne body with my proper weapons, to have thee to my Spowse: And did I seeme a beast unto thee, that thou shouldst go about to cut off my head with a razor, who loved thee so well? Did not I alwayes give thee a charge? Did not I gently will thee to beware? But those cursed aides and Counsellors of thine shall be worthily rewarded for their pains. As for thee thou shalt be sufficiently punished by my absence. When hee had spoken these words he tooke his flight into the aire. Then Psyches fell flat on the ground, and as long as she could see her husband she cast her eyes after him into the aire, weeping and lamenting pitteously: but when hee was gone out of her sight shee threw her selfe into the next running river, for the great anguish and dolour that shee was in for the lack of her husband, howbeit the water would not suffer her to be drowned, but tooke pity upon her, in the honour of Cupid which accustomed to broyle and burne the river, and threw her upon the bank amongst the herbs.