THE GOLDEN ASSE
by Lucius Apuleius "Africanus"
Translated by William Adlington
First published 1566 This version as reprinted from the edition of 1639. The original spelling, capitalisation and punctuation have been retained.
To the Right Honourable and Mighty Lord, THOMAS EARLE OF SUSSEX, Viscount Fitzwalter, Lord of Egremont and of Burnell, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, Iustice of the forrests and Chases from Trent Southward; Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners of the House of the QUEENE our Soveraigne Lady.
After that I had taken upon me (right Honourable) in manner of that unlearned and foolish Poet, Cherillus, who rashly and unadvisedly wrought a big volume in verses, of the valiant prowesse of Alexander the Great, to translate this present booke, contayning the Metamorphosis of Lucius Apuleius; being mooved thereunto by the right pleasant pastime and delectable matter therein; I eftsoones consulted with myself, to whom I might best offer so pleasant and worthy a work, devised by the author, it being now barbarously and simply framed in our English tongue. And after long deliberation had, your honourable lordship came to my remembrance, a man much more worthy, than to whom so homely and rude a translation should be presented. But when I again remembred the jesting and sportfull matter of the booke, unfit to be offered to any man of gravity and wisdome, I was wholly determined to make no Epistle Dedicatory at all; till as now of late perswaded thereunto by my friends, I have boldly enterprised to offer the same to your Lordship, who as I trust wil accept the same, than if it did entreat of some serious and lofty matter, light and merry, yet the effect thereof tendeth to a good and vertuous moral, as in the following Epistle to the reader may be declared. For so have all writers in times past employed their travell and labours, that their posterity might receive some fruitfull profit by the same. And therfore the poets feined not their fables in vain, considering that children in time of their first studies, are very much allured thereby to proceed to more grave and deepe studies and disciplines, whereas their mindes would quickly loath the wise and prudent workes of learned men, wherein in such unripe years they take no spark of delectation at all. And not only that profit ariseth to children by such feined fables, but also the vertues of men are covertly thereby commended, and their vices discommended and abhorred. For by the fable of Actaeon, where it is feigned that he saw Diana washing her selfe in a well, hee was immediately turned into an Hart, and so was slain of his own Dogs; may bee meant, That when a man casteth his eyes on the vain and soone fading beauty of the world, consenting thereto in his minde, hee seemeth to bee turned into a brute beast, and so to be slain by the inordinate desire of his owne affects. By Tantalus that stands in the midst of the floud Eridan, having before him a tree laden with pleasant apples, he being neverthelesse always thirsty and hungry, betokeneth the insatiable desires of covetous persons. The fables of Atreus, Thiestes, Tereus and Progne signifieth the wicked and abhominable facts wrought and attempted by mortall men. The fall of Icarus is an example to proud and arrogant persons, that weeneth to climb up to the heavens. By Mydas, who obtained of Bacchus, that all things which he touched might be gold, is carped the foul sin of avarice. By Phaeton, that unskilfully took in hand to rule the chariot of the Sunne, are represented those persons which attempt things passing their power and capacity. By Castor and Pollux, turned into a signe in heaven called Gemini, is signified, that vertuous and godly persons shall be rewarded after life with perpetuall blisse. And in this feined jest of Lucius Apuleius is comprehended a figure of mans life, ministring most sweet and delectable matter, to such as shall be desirous to reade the same. The which if your honourable lordship shall accept ant take in good part, I shall not onely thinke my small travell and labour well employed, but also receive a further comfort to attempt some more serious matter, which may be more acceptable to your Lordship: desiring the same to excuse my rash and bold enterprise at this time, as I nothing doubt of your Lordships goodnesse. To whome I beseech Almighty God to impart long life, with encrease of much honour.
From Vniversity Colledge in Oxenforde, the xviij. of September, 1566.
Your Honours most bounden,
The Life of Lucius Apuleius Briefly Described
LUCIUS APULEIUS African, an excellent follower of Plato his sect, born in Madaura, a Countrey sometime inhabited by the Romans, and under the jurisdiction of Syphax, scituate and lying on the borders of Numidia and Getulia, whereby he calleth himself half a Numidian and half a Getulian: and Sidonius named him the Platonian Madaurence: his father called Theseus had passed all offices of dignity in his countrey with much honour. His mother named Salvia was of such excellent vertue, that she passed all the Dames of her time, borne of an ancient house, and descended from the philosopher Plutarch, and Sextus his nephew. His wife called Prudentila was endowed with as much vertue and riches as any woman might be. Hee himselfe was of an high and comely stature, gray eyed, his haire yellow, and a beautiful personage. He flourished in Carthage in the time of Iolianus Avitus and Cl. Maximus Proconsuls, where he spent his youth in learning the liberall sciences, and much profited under his masters there, whereby not without cause hee calleth himself the Nource of Carthage, and the celestial Muse and venerable mistresse of Africke. Soone after, at Athens (where in times past the well of all doctrine flourished) he tasted many of the cups of the muses, he learned the Poetry, Geometry, Musicke, Logicke, and the universall knowledge of Philosophy, and studied not in vaine the nine Muses, that is to say, the nine noble and royal disciplines.
Immediately after he went to Rome, and studied there the Latine tongue, with such labour and continuall study, that he achieved to great eloquence, and was known and approved to be excellently learned, whereby he might worthily be called Polyhistor, that is to say, one that knoweth much or many things.
And being thus no lesse endued with eloquence, than with singular learning, he wrote many books for them that should come after: whereof part by negligence of times be now intercepted and part now extant, doe sufficiently declare, with how much wisdome and doctrine hee flourished, and with how much vertue hee excelled amongst the rude and barbarous people. The like was Anacharsis amongst the most luskish Scythes. But amongst the Bookes of Lucius Apuleius, which are perished and prevented, howbeit greatly desired as now adayes, one was intituled Banquetting questions, another entreating of the nature of fish, another of the generation of beasts, another containing his Epigrams, another called 'Hermagoras': but such as are now extant are the foure books named 'Floridorum', wherein is contained a flourishing stile, and a savory kind of learning, which delighteth, holdeth, and rejoiceth the reader marvellously; wherein you shall find a great variety of things, as leaping one from another: One excellent and copious Oration, containing all the grace and vertue of the art Oratory, where he cleareth himself of the crime of art Magick, which was slanderously objected against him by his Adversaries, wherein is contained such force of eloquence and doctrine, as he seemeth to passe and excell himselfe. There is another booke of the god of the spirit of Socrates, whereof St. Augustine maketh mention in his booke of the definition of spirits, and description of men. Two other books of the opinion of Plato, wherein is briefly contained that which before was largely expressed. One booke of Cosmography, comprising many things of Aristotles Meteors. The Dialogue of Trismegistus, translated by him out of Greeke into Latine, so fine, that it rather seemeth with more eloquence turned into Latine, than it was before written in Greeke. But principally these eleven Bookes of the 'Golden Asse', are enriched with such pleasant matter, with such excellency and variety of flourishing tales, that nothing may be more sweet and delectable, whereby worthily they may be intituled The Bookes of the 'Golden Asse', for the passing stile and matter therein. For what can be more acceptable than this Asse of Gold indeed. Howbeit there be many who would rather intitule it 'Metamorphosis', that is to say, a transfiguration or transformation, by reason of the argument and matter within.
The Preface of the Author To His Sonne, Faustinus
And unto the Readers of this Book
THAT I to thee some joyous jests may show in gentle gloze, And frankly feed thy bended eares with passing pleasant prose: So that thou daine in seemly sort this wanton booke to view, That is set out and garnisht fine, with written phrases new. I will declare how one by hap his humane figure lost, And how in brutish formed shape, his loathed life he tost. And how he was in course of time from such a state unfold, Who eftsoone turn'd to pristine shape his lot unlucky told.
What and who he was attend a while, and you shall understand that it was even I, the writer of mine own Metamorphosie and strange alteration of figure. Hymettus, Athens, Isthmia, Ephire Tenaros, and Sparta, being fat and fertile soiles (as I pray you give credit to the bookes of more everlasting fame) be places where myne antient progeny and linage did sometime flourish: there I say, in Athens, when I was yong, I went first to schoole. Soone after (as a stranger) I arrived at Rome, whereas by great industry, and without instruction of any schoolmaster, I attained to the full perfection of the Latine tongue. Behold, I first crave and beg your pardon, lest I should happen to displease or offend any of you by the rude and rusticke utterance of this strange and forrein language. And verily this new alteration of speech doth correspond to the enterprised matter whereof I purpose to entreat, I will set forth unto you a pleasant Grecian feast. Whereunto gentle Reader if thou wilt give attendant eare, it will minister unto thee such delectable matter as thou shalt be contented withall.
THE FIRST BOOKE
THE FIRST CHAPTER
How Apuleius riding in Thessaly, fortuned to fall into company with two strangers, that reasoned together of the mighty power of Witches.
As I fortuned to take my voyage into Thessaly, about certaine affaires which I had to doe ( for there myne auncestry by my mothers side inhabiteth, descended of the line of that most excellent person Plutarch, and of Sextus the Philosopher his Nephew, which is to us a great honour) and after that by much travell and great paine I had passed over the high mountaines and slipperie vallies, and had ridden through the cloggy fallowed fields; perceiving that my horse did wax somewhat slow, and to the intent likewise that I might repose and strengthen my self (being weary with riding) I lighted off my horse, and wiping the sweat from every part of his body, I unbrideled him, and walked him softly in my hand, to the end he might pisse, and ease himself of his weariness and travell: and while he went grazing freshly in the field (casting his head sometimes aside, as a token of rejoycing and gladnesse) I perceived a little before me two companions riding, and so I overtaking them made a third. And while I listened to heare their communication, the one of them laughed and mocked his fellow, saying, Leave off I pray thee and speak no more, for I cannot abide to heare thee tell such absurd and incredible lies; which when I heard, I desired to heare some newes, and said, I pray you masters make me partaker of your talk, that am not so curious as desirous to know all your communication: so shall we shorten our journey, and easily passe this high hill before us, by merry and pleasant talke.
But he that laughed before at his fellow, said againe, Verily this tale is as true, as if a man would say that by sorcery and inchantment the floods might be inforced to run against their course, the seas to be immovable, the aire to lacke the blowing of windes, the Sunne to be restrained from his naturall race, the Moone to purge his skimme upon herbes and trees to serve for sorceries: the starres to be pulled from heaven, the day to be darkened and the dark night to continue still. Then I being more desirous to heare his talke than his companions, sayd, I pray you, that began to tell your tale even now, leave not off so, but tell the residue. And turning to the other I sayd, You perhappes that are of an obstinate minde and grosse eares, mocke and contemme those things which are reported for truth, know you not that it is accounted untrue by the depraved opinion of men, which either is rarely seene, seldome heard, or passeth the capacitie of mans reason, which if it be more narrowly scanned, you shall not onely finde it evident and plaine, but also very easy to be brought to passe.
THE SECOND CHAPTER
How Apuleius told to the strangers, what he saw a jugler do in Athens.
The other night being at supper with a sort of hungry fellowes, while I did greedily put a great morsel of meate in my mouth, that was fried with the flower of cheese and barley, it cleaved so fast in the passage of my throat and stopped my winde in such sort that I was well nigh choked. And yet at Athens before the porch there called Peale, I saw with these eyes a jugler that swallowed up a two hand sword, with a very keene edge, and by and by for a little money that we who looked on gave him, hee devoured a chasing speare with the point downeward. And after that hee had conveyed the whole speare within the closure of his body, and brought it out againe behind, there appeared on the top thereof (which caused us all to marvell) a faire boy pleasant and nimble, winding and turning himself in such sort, that you would suppose he had neither bone nor gristle, and verily thinke that he were the naturall Serpent, creeping and sliding on the knotted staffe, which the god of Medicine is feigned to beare. But turning me to him that began his tale, I pray you (quoth I) follow your purpose, and I alone will give credit unto you, and for your paynes will pay your charges at the next Inne we come unto. To whom he answered Certes sir I thank you for your gentle offer, and at your request I wil proceed in my tale, but first I will sweare unto you by the light of this Sunne that shineth here, that those things shall be true, least when you come to the next city called Thessaly, you should doubt any thing of that which is rife in the mouthes of every person, and done before the face of all men. And that I may first make relation to you, what and who I am, and whither I go, and for what purpose, know you that I am of Egin, travelling these countries about from Thessaly to Etolia, and from Etolia to Boetia, to provide for honey, cheese, and other victuals to sell againe: and understanding that at Hippata (which is the principall city of all Thessaly), is accustomed to be soulde new cheeses of exceeding good taste and relish, I fortuned on a day to go thither, to make my market there: but as it often happeneth, I came in an evill houre; for one Lupus a purveyor had bought and ingrossed up all the day before, and so I was deceived.
Wherefore towards night being very weary, I went to the Baines to refresh my selfe, and behold, I fortuned to espy my companion Socrates sitting upon the ground, covered with a torn and course mantle; who was so meigre and of so sallow and miserable a countenance, that I scantly knew him: for fortune had brought him into such estate and calamity, that he verily seemed as a common begger that standeth in the streets to crave the benevolence of the passers by. Towards whom (howbeit he was my singular friend and familiar acquaintance, yet half in despaire) I drew nigh and said, Alas my Socrates, what meaneth this? how faireth it with thee? What crime hast thou committed? verily there is great lamentation and weeping for thee at home: Thy children are in ward by decree of the Provinciall Judge: Thy wife (having ended her mourning time in lamentable wise, with face and visage blubbered with teares, in such sort that she hath well nigh wept out both her eyes) is constrained by her parents to put out of remembrance the unfortunate losse and lacke of thee at home, and against her will to take a new husband. And dost thou live here as a ghost or hogge, to our great shame and ignominy?
Then he answered he to me and said, O my friend Aristomenus, now perceive I well that you are ignorant of the whirling changes, the unstable forces, and slippery inconstancy of Fortune: and therewithall he covered his face (even then blushing for very shame) with his rugged mantle insomuch that from his navel downwards he appeared all naked.
But I not willing to see him any longer in such great miserie and calamitie, took him by the hand and lifted him up from the ground: who having his face covered in such sort, Let Fortune (quoth he) triumph yet more, let her have her sway, and finish that which shee hath begun. And therewithall I put off one of my garments and covered him, and immediately I brought him to the Baine, and caused him to be anointed, wiped, and the filthy scurfe of his body to be rubbed away; which done, though I were very weary my selfe, yet I led the poore miser to my Inne, where he reposed his body upon a bed, and then I brought him meat and drinke, and so wee talked together: for there we might be merry and laugh at our pleasure, and so we were, untill such time as he (fetching a pittifull sigh from the bottom of his heart, and beating his face in miserable sort), began to say.
THE THIRD CHAPTER
How Socrates in his returne from Macedony to Larissa was spoyled and robbed, and how he fell acquainted with one Meroe a Witch.
Alas poore miser that I am, that for the onely desire to see a game of triall of weapons, am fallen into these miseries and wretched snares of misfortune. For in my returne from Macedonie, wheras I sould all my wares, and played the Merchant by the space of ten months, a little before that I came to Larissa, I turned out of the way, to view the scituation of the countrey there, and behold in the bottom of a deep valley I was suddenly environed with a company of theeves, who robbed and spoiled me of such things as I had, and yet would hardly suffer me to escape. But I beeing in such extremity, in the end was happily delivered from their hands, and so I fortuned to come to the house of an old woman that sold wine, called Meroe, who had her tongue sufficiently instructed to flattery: unto whom I opened the causes of my long peregrination and careful travell, and of myne unlucky adventure: and after that I had declared to her such things as then presently came to my remembrance, shee gently entertained mee and made mee good cheere; and by and by being pricked with carnall desire, shee brought me to her own bed chamber; whereas I poore miser the very first night of our lying together did purchase to my selfe this miserable face, and for her lodging I gave to her such apparel as the theeves left to cover me withall.
The I understanding the cause of his miserable estate, sayd unto him, In faith thou art worthy to sustaine the most extreame misery and calamity, which hast defiled and maculated thyne owne body, forsaken thy wife traitorously, and dishonoured thy children, parents, and friends, for the love of a vile harlot and old strumpet. When Socrates heard mee raile against Meroe in such sort, he held up his finger to mee, and as halfe abashed sayd, Peace peace I pray you, and looking about lest any body should heare, I pray you (quoth he) I pray you take heed what you say against so venerable a woman as shee is, lest by your intemperate tongue you catch some harm. Then with resemblance of admiration, What (quoth I) is she so excellent a person as you name her to be? I pray you tell me. Then answered hee, Verily shee is a Magitian, which hath power to rule the heavens, to bringe downe the sky, to beare up the earth, to turne the waters into hills and the hills into running waters, to lift up the terrestrial spirits into the aire, and to pull the gods out of the heavens, to extinguish the planets, and to lighten the deepe darknesse of hell. Then sayd I unto Socrates, Leave off this high and mysticall kinde of talke, and tell the matter in a more plaine and simple fashion. Then answered he, Will you hear one or two, or more of her facts which she hath done, for whereas she enforceth not onely the inhabitants of the countrey here, but also the Indians and the Ethiopians the one and the other, and also the Antictons, to love her in most raging sort, such as are but trifles and chips of her occupation, but I pray you give eare, and I will declare of more greater matters, which shee hath done openly and before the face of all men.
THE FOURTH CHAPTER
How Meroe the Witch turned divers persons into miserable beasts.
In faith Aristomenus to tell you the truth, this woman had a certaine Lover, whom by the utterance of one only word she turned into a Bever, because he loved another woman beside her: and the reason why she transformed him into such a beast is, for that it is his nature, when hee perceiveth the hunters and hounds to draw after him, to bite off his members, and lay them in the way, that the hounds may be at a stop when they find them, and to the intent it might so happen unto him (for that he fancied another woman) she turned him into that kind of shape.
Semblably she changed one of her neighbours, being an old man and one that sold wine, into a Frog, in that he was one of her occupation, and therefore she bare him a grudge, and now the poore miser swimming in one of his pipes of wine, and well nigh drowned in the dregs, doth cry and call with an hoarse voice, for his old guests and acquaintance that pass by. Like wise she turned one of the Advocates of the Court (because he pleaded and spake against her in a rightful cause) into a horned Ram, and now the poore Ram is become an Advocate. Moreover she caused, that the wife of a certain lover that she had should never be delivered of her childe, but according to the computation of all men, it is eight yeares past since the poore woman first began to swell, and now shee is encreased so big, that shee seemeth as though she would bring forth some great Elephant: which when it was knowne abroad, and published throughout all the towne, they tooke indignation against her, and ordayned that the next day shee should most cruelly be stoned to death. Which purpose of theirs she prevented by the vertue of her inchantments, and as Medea (who obtained of King Creon but one days respit before her departure) did burn all his house, him, and his daughter: so she, by her conjurations and invocations of spirits, (which she useth in a certaine hole in her house, as shee her selfe declared unto me the next day following) closed all the persons in the towne so sure in their houses, and with such violence of power, that for the space of two dayes they could not get forth, nor open their gates nor doore, nor break downe their walls, whereby they were inforced by mutuall consent to cry unto her, and to bind themselves strictly by oaths, that they would never afterwards molest or hurt her: and moreover, if any did offer her any injury they would be ready to defend her. Whereupon shee, mooved by their promises, and stirred by pitty, released all the towne. But shee conveyed the principal Author of this ordinance about midnight, with all his house, the walls, the ground, and the foundation, into another towne, distant from thence an hundred miles, scituate and beeing on the top of an high hill, and by reason thereof destitute of water, and because the edifices and houses were so nigh built together, that it was not possible for the house to stand there, she threw it downe before the gate of the towne. Then I spake and said O my friend Socrates you have declared unto me many marvellous things and strange chances, and moreover stricken me with no small trouble of minde, yea rather with great feare, lest the same old woman using the like practice, should fortune to heare all our communication. Wherefore let us now sleepe, and after that we have taken our rest, let us rise betimes in the morning, and ride away hence before day, as far as we can possible.
THE FIFTH CHAPTER
How Socrates and Aristomenus slept together in one Chamber, and how they were handled by Witches.
In speaking these words, and devising with my selfe of our departing the next morrow, lest Meroe the witch should play by us as she had done by divers other persons, it fortuned that Socrates did fall asleepe, and slept very soundly, by reason of his travell and plenty of meat and wine wherewithall hee had filled him selfe. Wherefore I closed and barred fast the doores of the chamber, and put my bed behinde the doore, and so layed mee downe to rest. But I could in no wise sleepe, for the great feare which was in my heart, untill it was about midnight, and then I began to slumber. But alas, behold suddenly the chamber doores brake open, and locks, bolts, and posts fell downe, that you would verily have thought that some Theeves had been presently come to have spoyled and robbed us. And my bed whereon I lay being a truckle bed, fashioned in forme of a Cradle, and one of the feet broken and rotten, by violence was turned upside downe, and I likewise was overwhelmed and covered lying in the same. Then perceived I in my selfe, that certaine affects of the minde by nature doth chance contrary. For as teares oftentimes trickle downe the cheekes of him that seeth or heareth some joyfull newes, so I being in this fearfull perplexity, could not forbeare laughing, to see how of Aristomenus I was made like unto a snail [in] his shell. And while I lay on the ground covered in this sort, I peeped under the bed to see what would happen. And behold there entred in two old women, the one bearing a burning torch, and the other a sponge and a naked sword; and so in this habit they stood about Socrates being fast asleep. Then shee which bare the sword sayd unto the other, Behold sister Panthia, this is my deare and sweet heart, which both day and night hath abused my wanton youthfulnesse. This is he, who little regarding my love, doth not only defame me with reproachfull words, but also intendeth to run away. And I shall be forsaken by like craft as Vlysses did use, and shall continually bewaile my solitarinesse as Calipso. Which said, shee pointed towards mee that lay under the bed, and shewed me to Panthia. This is hee, quoth she, which is his Counsellor, and perswadeth him to forsake me, and now being at the point of death he lieth prostrate on the ground covered with his bed, and hath seene all our doings, and hopeth to escape scot-free from my hands, but I will cause that hee will repente himselfe too late, nay rather forthwith, of his former intemperate language, and his present curiosity. Which words when I heard I fell into a cold sweat, and my heart trembled with feare, insomuch that the bed over me did likewise rattle and shake. Then spake Panthia unto Meroe and said, Sister let us by and by teare him in pieces or tye him by the members, and so cut them off. Then Meroe (being so named because she was a Taverner, and loved wel good wines) answered, Nay rather let him live, and bury the corpse of this poore wretch in some hole of the earth; and therewithall shee turned the head of Socrates on the other side and thrust her sword up to the hilts into the left part of his necke, and received the bloud that gushed out, into a pot, that no drop thereof fell beside: which things I saw with mine own eyes, and as I thinke to the intent that she might alter nothing that pertained to sacrifice, which she accustomed to make, she thrust her hand down into the intrals of his body, and searching about, at length brought forth the heart of my miserable companion Socrates, who having his throat cut in such sort, yeelded out a dolefull cry, and gave up the ghost. Then Panthia stopped up the wide wound of his throat with the Sponge and said, O sponge sprung and made of the sea, beware that thou not passe by running river. This being said, one of them moved and turned up my bed, and then they strid over mee, and clapped their buttocks upon my face, and all bepissed mee until I was wringing wet. When this was over they went their wayes, and the doores closed fast, the posts stood in their old places, and the lockes and bolts were shut againe. But I that lay upon the ground like one without soule, naked and cold, and wringing wet with pisse, like to one that were more than half dead, yet reviving my selfe, and appointed as I thought for the Gallowes, began to say Alasse what shall become of me to morrow, when my companion shall be found murthered here in the chamber? To whom shall I seeme to tell any similitude of truth, when as I shall tell the trueth in deed? They will say, If thou wert unable to resist the violence of the women, yet shouldest thou have cried for help; Wouldst thou suffer the man to be slaine before thy face and say nothing? Or why did they not slay thee likewise? Why did they spare thee that stood by and saw them commit that horrible fact? Wherefore although thou hast escaped their hands, yet thou shalt not escape ours. While I pondered these things with my selfe the night passed on, and so I resolved to take my horse before day, and goe forward on my journey.
Howbeit the wayes were unknown to me, and thereupon I tooke up my packet, unlocked and unbarred the doors, but those good and faithfull doores which in the night did open of their owne accord, could then scantly be opened with their keyes. And when I was out I cried, O sirrah Hostler where art thou? Open the stable doore for I will ride away by and by. The Hostler lying behinde the stable doore upon a pallet, and half asleepe, What (quoth hee) doe you not know that the wayes be very dangerous? What meane you to rise at this time of night? If you perhaps guilty of some heynous crime, be weary of your life, yet thinke you not that we are such Sots that we will die for you. Then said I, It is well nigh day, and moreover, what can theeves take from him that hath nothing? Doest thou not know (Foole as thou art) if thou be naked, if ten Gyants should assaile thee, they could not spoyle or rob thee? Whereunto the drowsie Hostler half asleepe, and turning on the other side, answered, What know I whether you have murthered your Companion whom you brought in yesternight, or no, and now seeke the means to escape away? O Lord, at that time I remember the earth seemed ready to open, and me thought I saw at hell gate the Dog Cerberus ready to devour mee, and then I verily beleeved, that Meroe did not spare my throat, mooved with pitty, but rather cruelly pardoned mee to bring mee to the Gallowes. Wherefore I returned to my chamber, and there devised with my selfe in what sort I should finish my life. But when I saw that fortune should minister unto mee no other instrument than that which my bed profered me, I said, O bed, O bed, most dear to me at this present, which hast abode and suffered with me so many miseries, judge and arbiter of such things as were done here this night, whome onely I may call to witnesse for my innocency, render (I say) unto me some wholesome weapon to end my life, that am most willing to dye. And therewithal I pulled out a piece of the rope wherewith the bed was corded, and tyed one end thereof about a rafter by the window, and with the other end I made a sliding knot, and stood upon my bed, and so put my neck into it, and leaped from the bed, thinking to strangle my selfe and so dye, behold the rope beeing old and rotten burst in the middle, and I fell down tumbling upon Socrates that lay under: And even at that same very time the Hostler came in crying with a loud voyce, and sayd, Where are you that made such hast at midnight, and now lies wallowing abed? Whereupon (I know not whether it was by my fall, or by the great cry of the Hostler) Socrates as waking out of sleepe, did rise up first and sayd, It is not without cause that strangers do speake evill of all such Hostlers, for this Catife in his comming in, and with his crying out, I thinke under a colour to steale away something, hath waked me out of a sound sleepe. Then I rose up joyfull with a merry countenance, saying, Behold good Hostler, my friend, my companion and my brother, whom thou didst falsly affirme to be slaine by mee this might. And therewithall I embraced my friend Socrates and kissed him: but hee smelling the stinke of the pisse wherewith those Hagges had embrued me, thrust me away and sayd, Clense thy selfe from this filthy odour, and then he began gently to enquire, how that noysome sent hapned unto mee. But I finely feigning and colouring the matter for the time, did breake off his talk, and tooke him by the hand and sayd, Why tarry we? Why lose wee the pleasure of this faire morning? Let us goe, and so I tooke up my packet, and payed the charges of the house and departed: and we had not gone a mile out of the Towne but it was broad day, and then I diligently looked upon Socrates throat, to see if I could espy the place where Meroe thrust in her sword: but when I could not perceive any such thing, I thought with my selfe, What a mad man am I, that being overcome with wine yester night, have dreamed such terrible things? Behold I see Socrates is sound, safe and in health. Where is his wound? Where is the Sponge? Where is his great and new cut? And then I spake to him and said, Verily it is not without occasion, that Physitians of experience do affirme, That such as fill their gorges abundantly with meat and drinke, shall dreame of dire and horrible sights: for I my selfe, not tempering my appetite yester night from the pots of wine, did seeme to see this night strange and cruel visions, that even yet I think my self sprinkled and wet with human blood: whereunto Socrates laughing made answer and said, Nay, thou art not wet with the blood of men, but art embrued with stinking pisse; and verily I dreamed that my throat was cut, and that I felt the paine of the wound, and that my heart was pulled out of my belly, and the remembrance thereof makes me now to feare, for my knees do so tremble that I can scarce goe any further, and therefore I would faine eat somewhat to strengthen and revive my spirits. Then said I, behold here thy breakefast, and therewithall I opened my script that hanged upon my shoulder, and gave him bread and cheese, and we sate downe under a greate Plane tree, and I eat part with him; and while I beheld him eating greedily, I perceived that he waxed meigre and pale, and that his lively colour faded away, insomuch that beeing in great fear, and remembring those terrible furies of whom I lately dreamed, the first morsell of bread that I put in my mouth (that was but very small) did so stick in my jawes, that I could neither swallow it downe, nor yet yeeld it up, and moreover the small time of our being together increased my feare, and what is hee that seeing his companion die in the high-way before his face, would not greatly lament and bee sorry? But when that Socrates had eaten sufficiently hee waxed very thirsty, for indeed he had well nigh devoured a whole Cheese: and behold evill fortune! There was behind the Plane tree a pleasant running water as cleere as Crystal, and I sayd unto him, Come hither Socrates to this water and drinke thy fill. And then he rose and came to the River, and kneeled downe on the side of the banke to drinke, but he had scarce touched the water with lips, when as behold the wound in his throat opened wide, and the Sponge suddenly fell out into the water, and after issued out a little remnant of bloud, and his body being then without life, had fallen into the river, had not I caught him by the leg and so pulled him up. And after that I had lamented a good space the death of my wretched companion, I buried him in the Sands there by the river.
Which done, in great feare I rode through many Outwayes and desart places, and as culpable of the death of Socrates, I forsooke my countrey, my wife, and my children, and came to Etolia where I married another Wife.
This tale told Aristomenus, and his fellow which before obstinatly would give no credit unto him, began to say, Verily there was never so foolish a tale, nor a more absurd lie told than this. And then he spake unto me saying, Ho sir, what you are I know not, but your habit and countenance declareth that you should be some honest Gentleman, (speaking to Apuleius) doe you beleeve this tale? Yea verily (quoth I), why not? For whatsoever the fates have appointed to men, that I beleeve shall happen. For may things chance unto me and unto you, and to divers others, which beeing declared unto the ignorant be accounted as lies. But verily I give credit unto his tale, and render entire thankes unto him, in that by the pleasant relation thereof we have quickly passed and shortned our journey, and I thinke that my horse was also delighted with the same, and hath brought me to the gate of this city without any paine at all. Thus ended both our talk and our journey, for they two turned on the left hand to the next villages, and I rode into the city.
THE SIXTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius came unto a city named Hipate, and was lodged in one Milos house, and brought him letters from one Demeas of Corinth.
After that those two Companions were departed I entred into the City: where I espied an old woman, of whom I enquired whether that city was called Hipata, or no: Who answered, Yes. Then I demaunded, Whether she knew one Milo an Alderman of the city: Whereat she laughed and said: Verily it is not without cause that Milo is called an Elderman, and accounted as chiefe of those which dwel without the walls of the City. To whom I sayd againe, I pray thee good mother do not mocke, but tell me what manner of man he is, and where he dwelleth. Mary (quoth shee) do you see these Bay windowes, which on one side abut to the gates of the city, and on the other side to the next lane? There Milo dwelleth, very rich both in mony and substance, but by reason of his great avarice and insatiable covetousnes, he is evill spoken of, and he is a man that liveth all by usurie, and lending his money upon pledges. Moreover he dwelleth in a small house, and is ever counting his money, and hath a wife that is a companion of his extreame misery, neither keepeth he more in his house than onely one maid, who goeth apparelled like unto a beggar. Which when I heard, I laughed in my self and thought, In faith my friend Demeas hath served me well, which hath sent me being a stranger, unto such a man, in whose house I shall not bee afeared either of smoke or of the sent of meat; and therewithall I rode to the doore, which was fast barred, and knocked aloud. Then there came forth a maid which said, Ho sirrah that knocks so fast, in what kinde of sort will you borrow money? Know you not that we use to take no gage, unless it be either plate or Jewels? To whom I answered, I pray you maid speak more gently, and tel me whether thy master be within or no? Yes (quoth shee) that he is, why doe you aske? Mary (said I) I am come from Corinth, and have brought him letters from Demeas his friend. Then sayd the Maid, I pray you tarry here till I tell him so, and therewithall she closed fast the doore, and went in, and after a while she returned againe and sayd, My master desireth you to alight and come in. And so I did, whereas I found him sitting upon a little bed, going to supper, and his wife sate at his feet, but there was no meat upon the table, and so by appointment of the maid I came to him and saluted him, and delivered the letters which I had brought from Demeas. Which when hee had read hee sayd, Verily, I thanke my friend Demeas much, in that hee hath sent mee so worthy a guest as you are. And therewithall hee commanded his wife to sit away and bid mee sit in her place; which when I refused by reason of courtesie, hee pulled me by my garment and willed me to sit downe; for wee have (quoth he) no other stool here, nor no other great store of household stuffe, for fear of robbing. Then I according to his commandement, sate down, and he fell in further communication with me and sayd, Verily I doe conjecture by the comly feature of your body, and by the maidenly shamefastnesse of your face that you are a Gentleman borne, as my friend Demeas hath no lesse declared the same in his letters. Wherfore I pray you take in good part our poore lodging, and behold yonder chamber is at your commaundement, use it as your owne, and if you be contented therewithall, you shall resemble and follow the vertuous qualities of your good father Theseus, who disdained not the slender and poore Cottage of Hecades.
And then he called his maid which was named Fotis, and said, Carry this Gentlemans packet into the chamber, and lay it up safely, and bring water quickly to wash him, and a towel to rub him, and other things necessary, and then bring him to the next Baines, for I know that he is very weary of travell.
These things when I heard, I partly perceived the manners of Milo, and endeavouring to bring my selfe further into his favour, I sayd, Sir there is no need of any of these things, for they have been everywhere ministred unto mee by the way, howbeit I will go into the Baines, but my chiefest care is that my horse be well looked to, for hee brought mee hither roundly, and therefore I pray thee Fotis take this money and buy some hay and oats for him.
THE SEVENTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius going to buy fish, met with his companion Pythias.
When this was done, and all my things brought into the Chamber, I walked towards the Baines; but first I went to the market to buy some victuals for my supper, whereas I saw great plenty of fish set out to be sould: and so I cheapened part thereof, and that which they at first held at an hundred pence, I bought at length for twenty. Which when I had done, and was departing away, one of myne old acquaintance, and fellow at Athens, named Pithias, fortuned to passe by, and viewing me at a good space, in the end brought me to his remembrance, and gently came and kissed mee, saying, O my deare friend Lucius, it is a great while past since we two saw one another, and moreover, from the time that wee departed from our Master Vestius, I never heard any newes from you. I pray you Lucius tell me the cause of your peregrination hither. Then I answered and sayd, I will make relation thereof unto you tomorrow: but I pray you tell me, what meaneth these servitors that follow you, and these rods or verges which they beare, and this habit which you wear like unto a magistrate, verily I thinke you have obtained your own desire, whereof I am right glad. Then answered Pithias, I beare the office of the Clerke of the market, and therfore if you will have any pittance for your supper speake and I will purvey it for you. Then I thanked him heartily and sayd I had bought meat sufficient already. But Pithias when hee espied my basket wherein my fish was, tooke it and shaked it, and demanded of me what I had payd for all my Sprots. In faith (quoth I), I could scarce inforce the fishmonger to sell them for twenty pence. Which when I heard, he brought me backe again into the market, and enquired of me of whom I bought them. I shewed him the old man which sate in a corner, whome by and by, by reason of his office, hee did greatly blame, and sayd, Is it thus you serve and handle strangers, and specially our friends? Wherefore sell you this fish so deare, which is not worth a halfepenny? Now perceive I well, that you are an occasion to make this place, which is the principall city of all Thessaly, to be forsaken of all men, and to reduce it into an uninhabitable Desart, by reasone of your excessive prices of victuals, but assure yourself that you shall not escape without punishment, and you shall know what myne office is, and how I ought to punish such as offend. Then he took my basket and cast the fish on the ground, and commanded one of his Sergeants to tread them under his feet. This done he perswaded me to depart, and sayd that onely shame and reproach done unto the old Caitife did suffice him, So I went away amazed and astonied, towards the Baines, considering with myself and devising of the grace of my companion Pythias. Where when I had well washed and refreshed my body, I returned againe to Milos house, both without money and meat, and so got into my chamber. Then came Fotis immediately unto mee, and said that her master desired me to come to supper. But I not ignorant of Milos abstinence, prayed that I might be pardoned since as I thought best to ease my wearied bones rather with sleepe and quietnesse, than with meat. When Fotis had told this to Milo, he came himselfe and tooke mee by the hand, and while I did modestly excuse my selfe, I will not (quoth he) depart from this place, until such time as you shall goe with me: and to confirm the same, hee bound his words with an oath, whereby he enforced me to follow him, and so he brought me into his chamber, where hee sate him downe upon the bed, and demaunded of mee how his friend Demeas did, his wife, his children, and all his family: and I made answer to him every question, specially hee enquired the causes of my peregrination and travell, which when I had declared, he yet busily demanded of the state of my Countrey, and the chief magistrates there, and principally of our Lievtenant and Viceroy; who when he perceived that I was not only wearied by travell, but also with talke, and that I fell asleep in the midst of my tale, and further that I spake nothing directly or advisedly, he suffered me to depart to my chamber. So scaped I at length from the prating and hungry supper of this rank old man, and being compelled by sleepe and not by meat, and having supped only with talke, I returned into my chamber, and there betooke me to my quiet and long desired rest.
THE SECOND BOOKE
THE EIGHTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius fortuned to meet with his Cousin Byrrhena.
As soone as night was past, and the day began to spring, I fortuned to awake, and rose out of my bed as halfe amazed, and very desirous to know and see some marvellous and strange things, remembring with my selfe that I was in the middle part of all Thessaly, whereas by the common report of all the World, the Sorceries and Inchauntments are most used, I oftentimes repeated with my self the tale of my companion Aristomenus touching the manner of this City, and being mooved by great desire, I viewed the whole scituation thereof, neither was there any thing which I saw there, but that I did beleeve to be the same which it was indeed, but every thing seemed unto me to be transformed and altered into other shapes, by the wicked power of Sorcerie and Inchantment, insomuch that I thought that the stones which I found were indurate, and turned from men into that figure, and that the birds which I heard chirping, and the trees without the walls of the city, and the running waters, were changed from men into such kinde of likenesses. And further I thought that the Statues, Images and Walls could goe, and the Oxen and other brute beasts could speake and tell strange newes, and that immediately I should see and heare some Oracles from the heavens, and from the gleed of the Sun. Thus being astonied or rather dismayed and vexed with desire, knowing no certaine place whither I intended to go, I went from street to street, and at length (as I curiously gazed on every thing) I fortuned unwares to come into the market place, whereas I espied a certaine woman, accompanied with a great many servants, towards whom I drew nigh, and viewed her garments beset with gold and pretious stone, in such sort that she seemed to be some noble matron. And there was an old man which followed her, who as soon as he espied me, said to himself, Verily this is Lucius, and then he came and embraced me, by and by he went unto his mistresse and whispered in her eare, and came to mee againe saying, How is it Lucius that you will not salute your deere Cousin and singular friend? To whom I answered, Sir I dare not be so bold as to take acquaintance of an unknown woman. Howbeit as halfe ashamed I drew towards her, and shee turned her selfe and sayd, Behold how he resembleth the very same grace as his mother Salvia doth, behold his countenance and stature, agreeing thereto in each poynt, behold his comely state, his fine slendernesse, his Vermilion colour, his haire yellow by nature, his gray and quicke eye, like to the Eagle, and his trim and comely gate, which do sufficiently prove him to be the naturall childe of Salvia. And moreover she sayd, O Lucius, I have nourished thee with myne owne proper hand: and why not? For I am not onely of kindred to thy mother by blood, but also by nourice, for wee both descended of the line of Plutarch, lay in one belly, sucked the same paps, and were brought up together in one house. And further there is no other difference betweene us two, but that she is married more honourably than I: I am the same Byrrhena whom you have often heard named among your friends at home: wherfore I pray you to take so much pains as to come with me to my house, and use it as your owne. At whose words I was partly abashed and sayd, God forbid Cosin that I should forsake myne Host Milo without any reasonable cause; but verily I will, as often as I have occasion to passe by thy house, come and see how you doe. And while we were talking thus together, little by little wee came to her house, and behold the gates of the same were very beautifully set with pillars quadrangle wise, on the top wherof were placed carved statues and images, but principally the Goddesse of Victory was so lively and with such excellencie portrayed and set forth, that you would have verily have thought that she had flyed, and hovered with her wings hither and thither. On the contrary part, the image of the Goddesse Diana was wrought in white marble, which was a marvellous sight to see, for shee seemed as though the winde did blow up her garments, and that she did encounter with them that came into the house. On each side of her were Dogs made of stone, that seemed to menace with their fiery eyes, their pricked eares, their bended nosethrils, their grinning teeth in such sort that you would have thought they had bayed and barked. An moreover (which was a greater marvel to behold) the excellent carver and deviser of this worke had fashioned the dogs to stand up fiercely with their former feet, and their hinder feet on the ground ready to fight. Behinde the back of the goddesse was carved a stone in manner of a Caverne, environed with mosse, herbes, leaves, sprigs, green branches and bowes, growing in and about the same, insomuch that within the stone it glistered and shone marvellously, under the brim of the stone hanged apples and grapes carved finely, wherein Art envying Nature, shewed her great cunning. For they were so lively set out, that you would have thought if Summer had been come, they might have bin pulled and eaten; and while I beheld the running water, which seemed to spring and leap under the feet of the goddesse, I marked the grapes which hanged in the water, which were like in every point to the grapes of the vine, and seemed to move and stir by the violence of the streame. Moreover, amongst the branches of the stone appeared the image of Acteon: and how that Diana (which was carved within the same stone, standing in the water) because he did see her naked, did turne him into an hart, and so he was torne and slaine of his owne hounds. And while I was greatly delighted with the view of these things, Byrrhena spake to me and sayd, Cousin all things here be at your commandement. And therewithall shee willed secretly the residue to depart: who being gone she sayd, My most deare Cousin Lucius, I do sweare by the goddesse Diana, that I doe greatly tender your safety, and am as carefull for you as if you were myne owne naturall childe, beware I say, beware of the evil arts and wicked allurements of that Pamphiles who is the wife of Milo, whom you call your Host, for she is accounted the most chief and principall Magitian and Enchantresse living, who by breathing out certain words and charmes over bowes, stones and other frivolous things, can throw down all the powers of the heavens into the deep bottome of hell, and reduce all the whole world againe to the old Chaos. For as soone as she espieth any comely yong man, shee is forthwith stricken with his love, and presently setteth her whole minde and affection on him. She soweth her seed of flattery, she invades his spirit and intangleth him with continuall snares of unmeasurable love.
And then if any accord not to her filthy desire, or if they seeme loathsome in her eye, by and by in the moment of an houre she turneth them into stones, sheep or some other beast, as her selfe pleaseth, and some she presently slayeth and murthereth, of whom I would you should earnestly beware. For she burneth continually, and you by reason of your tender age and comely beauty are capable of her fire and love.
Thus with great care Byrrhena gave me in charge, but I (that always coveted and desired, after that I had heard talk of such Sorceries and Witchcrafts, to be experienced in the same) little esteemed to beware of Pamphiles, but willingly determined to bestow my money in learning of that art, and now wholly to become a Witch. And so I waxed joyful, and wringing my selfe out of her company, as out of linkes or chaines, I bade her farewell, and departed toward the house of myne host Milo, by the way reasoning thus with my selfe: O Lucius now take heed, be vigilant, have a good care, for now thou hast time and place to satisfie thy desire, now shake off thy childishnesse and shew thy selfe a man, but especially temper thy selfe from the love of thyne hostesse, and abstain from violation of the bed of Milo, but hardly attempt to winne the maiden Fotis, for she is beautifull, wanton and pleasant in talke. And soone when thou goest to sleepe, and when shee bringeth you gently into thy chamber, and tenderly layeth thee downe in thy bed, and lovingly covereth thee, and kisseth thee sweetly, and departeth unwillingly, and casteth her eyes oftentimes backe, and stands still, then hast thou a good occasion ministred to thee to prove and try the mind of Fotis. Thus while I reasoned to myselfe I came to Milos doore, persevering still in my purpose, but I found neither Milo nor his wife at home.
THE NINTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius fell in love with Fotis.
When I was within the house I found my deare and sweet love Fotis mincing of meat and making pottage for her master and mistresse, the Cupboord was all set with wines, and I thought I smelled the savor of some dainty meats: she had about her middle a white and clean apron, and shee was girded about her body under the paps with a swathell of red silke, and she stirred the pot and turned the meat with her fair and white hands, in such sort that with stirring and turning the same, her loynes and hips did likewise move and shake, which was in my mind a comely sight to see.
These things when I saw I was halfe amazed, and stood musing with my selfe, and my courage came then upon mee, which before was scant. And I spake unto Fotis merrily and sayd, O Fotis how trimmely you can stirre the pot, and how finely, with shaking your buttockes, you can make pottage. The shee beeing likewise merrily disposed, made answer, Depart I say, Miser from me, depart from my fire, for if the flame thereof doe never so little blaze forth, it will burne thee extreamely and none can extinguish the heat thereof but I alone, who in stirring the pot and making the bed can so finely shake my selfe. When she had sayd these words shee cast her eyes upon me and laughed, but I did not depart from thence until such time as I had viewed her in every point. But what should I speak of others, when as I doe accustome abroad to marke the face and haire of every dame, and afterwards delight my selfe therewith privately at home, and thereby judge the residue of their shape, because the face is the principall part of all the body, and is first open to our eyes. And whatsoever flourishing and gorgeous apparell doth work and set forth in the corporal parts of a woman, the same doth the naturall and comely beauty set out in the face. Moreover there be divers, that to the intent to shew their grace and feature, wil cast off their partlets, collars, habiliments, fronts, cornets and krippins, and doe more delight to shew the fairnesse of their skinne, than to deck themselves up in gold and pretious stones. But because it is a crime unto me to say so, and to give no example thereof, know ye, that if you spoyle and cut the haire of any woman or deprive her of the colour of her face, though shee were never so excellent in beauty, though shee were throwne downe from heaven, sprung of the Seas, nourished of the flouds, though shee were Venus her selfe, though shee were waited upon by all the Court of Cupid, though were girded with her beautifull skarfe of Love, and though shee smelled of perfumes and musks, yet if shee appeared bald, shee could in no wise please, no not her owne Vulcanus.
O how well doth a faire colour and a shining face agree with glittering hair! Behold, it encountreth with the beams of the Sunne, and pleaseth the eye marvellously. Sometimes the beauty of the haire resembleth the colour of gold and honey, sometimes the blew plumes and azured feathers about the neckes of Doves, especially when it is either anointed with the gumme of Arabia, or trimmely tuft out with the teeth of a fine combe, which if it be tyed up in the pole of the necke, it seemeth to the lover that beholdeth the same, as a glasse that yeeldeth forth a more pleasant and gracious comelinesse than if it should be sparsed abroad on the shoulders of the woman, or hang down scattering behind. Finally there is such a dignity in the haire, that whatsoever shee be, though she be never to bravely attyred with gold, silks, pretious stones, and other rich and gorgeous ornaments, yet if her hair be not curiously set forth shee cannot seeme faire. But in my Fotis, her garments unbrast and unlaste increased her beauty, her haire hanged about her shoulders, and was dispersed abroad upon her partlet, and in every part of her necke, howbeit the greater part was trussed upon her pole with a lace. Then I unable to sustain the broiling heat that I was in, ran upon her and kissed the place where she had thus laid her haire. Whereat she turned her face, and cast her rolling eyes upon me, saying, O Scholler, thou hast tasted now both hony and gall, take heed that thy pleasure do not turn unto repentance. Tush (quoth I) my sweet heart, I am contented for such another kiss to be broiled here upon this fire, wherwithall I embraced and kissed her more often, and shee embraced and kissed me likewise, and moreover her breath smelled like Cinnamon, and the liquor of her tongue was like unto sweet Nectar, wherewith when my mind was greatly delighted I sayd, Behold Fotis I am yours, and shall presently dye unlesse you take pitty upon me. Which when I had said she eftsoone kissed me, and bid me be of good courage, and I will (quoth shee) satisfie your whole desire, and it shall be no longer delayed than until night, when as assure your selfe I will come and lie with you; wherfore go your wayes and prepare your selfe, for I intend valiantly and couragiously to encounter with you this night. Thus when we had lovingly talked and reasoned together, we departed for that time.
THE TENTH CHAPTER
How Byrrhena sent victuals unto Apuleius, and how hee talked with Milo of Diophanes, and how he lay with Fotis.
When noone was come, Byrrhena sent to me a fat Pigge, five hennes, and a flagon of old wine. Then I called Fotis and sayd, Behold how Bacchus the egger and stirrer of Venery, doth offer him self of his owne accord, let us therefore drink up this wine, that we may prepare our selves and get us courage against soone, for Venus wanteth no other provision than this, that the Lamp may be all the night replenished with oyle, and the cups with wine. The residue of the day I passed away at the Bains and in banquetting, and towards evening I went to supper, for I was bid by Milo, and so I sate downe at the table, out of Pamphiles sight as much as I could, being mindfull of the commandement of Byrrhena, and sometimes I would cast myne eyes upon her as upon the furies of hell, but I eftsoones turning my face behinde me, and beholding my Fotis ministring at the table, was again refreshed and made merry. And behold when Pamphiles did see the candle standing on the table, she said, Verily wee shall have much raine to morrow. Which when her husband did heare, he demanded of her by what reason she knew it? Mary (quoth shee) the light on the table sheweth the same. Then Milo laughed and said, Verily we nourish a Sybel prophesier, which by the view of a candle doth divine of Celestiall things, and of the Sunne it selfe. Then I mused in my minde and said unto Milo, Of truth it is a good experience and proof of divination. Neither is it any marvell, for although this light is but a small light, and made by the hands of men, yet hath it a remembrance of that great and heavenly light, as of his parent, and doth shew unto us what will happen in the Skies above. For I knew at Corinth a certain man of Assyria, who would give answers in every part of the City, and for the gaine of money would tell every man his fortune, to some he would tel the dayes of their marriages, to others he would tell when they should build, that their edifices should continue. To others, when they should best go e about their affaires. To others, when they should goe by sea or land: to me, purposing to take my journey hither, he declared many things strange and variable. For sometimes hee sayd that I should win glory enough: sometimes he sayd I should write a great Historie: sometimes againe hee sayd that I should devise an incredible tale: and sometimes that I should make Bookes. Whereat Milo laughed againe, and enquired of me, of what stature this man of Assyria was, and what he was named. In faith (quoth I) he is a tall man and somewhat blacke, and hee is called Diophanes. Then sayd Milo, the same is he and no other, who semblably hath declared many things here unto us, whereby hee got and obtained great substance and Treasure.
But the poore miser fell at length into the hands of unpittifull and cruell fortune: For beeing on a day amongst a great assembly of people, to tell the simple sort their fortune, a certaine Cobler came unto him, and desired him to tel when it should be best for him to take his voyage, the which hee promised to do: the Cobler opened his purse and told a hundred pence to him for his paines. Whereupon came a certaine young gentleman and took Diophanes by the Garment. Then he turning himselfe, embraced and kissed him, and desired the Gentleman, who was one of his acquaintance, to sit downe by him: and Diophanes being astonied with this sudden change, forgot what he was doing, and sayd, O deare friend you are heartily welcome, I pray you when arrived you into these parts? Then answered he, I will tell you soone, but brother I pray you tell mee of your comming from the isle of Euboea, and how you sped by the way? Whereunto Diophanes this notable Assyrian (not yet come unto his minde, but halfe amased) soone answered and sayd, I would to god that all our enemies and evil willers might fall into the like dangerous peregrination and trouble. For the ship where we were in, after it was by the waves of the seas and by the great tempests tossed hither and thither, in great peril, and after that the mast and stern brake likewise in pieces, could in no wise be brought to shore, but sunk into the water, and so we did swim, and hardly escaped to land. And after that, whatsoever was given unto us in recompense of our losses, either by the pitty of strangers, or by the benevolence of our friends, was taken away from us by theeves, whose violence when my brother Arisuatus did assay to resist, hee was cruelly murthered by them before my face. These things when he had sadly declared, the Cobler tooke up his money againe which he had told out to pay for the telling of his fortune, and ran away. The Diophanes comming to himselfe perceived what he had done, and we all that stood by laughed greatly. But that (quoth Milo) which Diophanes did tell unto you Lucius, that you should be happy and have a prosperous journey, was only true. Thus Milo reasoned with me. But I was not a little sorry that I had traind him into such a vaine of talke, that I lost a good part of the night, and the sweete pleasure thereof: but at length I boldly said to Milo, Let Diophanes fare well with his evil fortune, and get againe that which he lost by sea and land, for I verily do yet feel the wearinesse of my travell, whereof I pray you pardon mee, and give me licence to depart to bed: wherewithall I rose up and went unto my chamber, where I found all things finely prepared and the childrens bed (because they should not heare what we did in the night) was removed far off without the chamber doore. The table was all covered with those meats that were left at supper, the cups were filled halfe full with water, to temper and delay the wines, the flagon stood ready prepared, and there lacked nothing that was necessary for the preparation of Venus. And when I was entring into the bed, behold my Fotis (who had brought her mistresse to bed) came in and gave me roses and floures which she had in her apron, and some she threw about the bed, and kissed mee sweetly, and tied a garland about my head, and bespred the chamber with the residue. Which when shee had done, shee tooke a cup of wine and delaied it with hot water, and profered it me to drinke; and before I had drunk it all off she pulled it from my mouth, and then gave it me againe, and in this manner we emptied the pot twice or thrice together. Thus when I had well replenished my self with wine, and was now ready unto Venery not onely in minde but also in body, I removed my cloathes, and shewing to Fotis my great impatiencie I sayd, O my sweet heart take pitty upon me and helpe me, for as you see I am now prepared unto the battell, which you your selfe did appoint: for after that I felt the first Arrow of cruell Cupid within my breast, I bent my bow very strong, and now feare, (because it is bended so hard) lest my string should breake: but that thou mayst the better please me, undresse thy haire and come and embrace me lovingly: whereupon shee made no long delay, but set aside all the meat and wine, and then she unapparelled her selfe, and unattyred her haire, presenting her amiable body unto me in manner of faire Venus, when shee goeth under the waves of the sea. Now (quoth shee) is come the houre of justing, now is come the time of warre, wherefore shew thy selfe like unto a man, for I will not retyre, I will not fly the field, see then thou bee valiant, see thou be couragious, since there is no time appointed when our skirmish shall cease. In saying these words shee came to me to bed, and embraced me sweetly, and so wee passed all the night in pastime and pleasure, and never slept until it was day: but we would eftsoones refresh our wearinesse, and provoke our pleasure, and renew our venery by drinking of wine. In which sort we pleasantly passed away many other nights following.
THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius supped with Byrrhena, and what a strange tale Bellephoron told at the table.
It fortuned on a day, that Byrrhena desired me earnestly to suppe with her; and shee would in no wise take any excusation. Whereupon I went to Fotis, to aske counsell of her as of some Divine, who although she was unwilling that I should depart one foot from her company, yet at length shee gave me license to bee absent for a while, saying, Beware that you tarry not long at supper there, for there is a rabblement of common Barrettors and disturbers of the publique peace, that rove about in the streets and murther all such as they may take, neither can law nor justice redress them in any case. And they will the sooner set upon you, by reason of your comelinesse and audacity, in that you are not afeared at any time to walke in the streets.
Then I answered and sayd, Have no care of me Fotis, for I esteeme the pleasure which I have with thee, above the dainty meats that I eat abroad, and therefore I will returne againe quickly. Neverthelesse I minde not to come without company, for I have here my sword, wherby I hope to defend my selfe.
And so in this sort I went to supper, and behold I found in Byrrhena's house a great company of strangers, and the chiefe and principall of the city: the beds made of Citron and Ivory, were richly adorned and spread with cloath of gold, the Cups were garnished pretiously, and there were divers other things of sundry fashion, but of like estimation and price: here stood a glasse gorgeously wrought, there stood another of Christall finely painted. There stood a cup of glittering silver, and there stood another of shining gold, and here was another of amber artificially carved and made with pretious stones. Finally, there was all things that might be desired: the Servitors waited orderly at the table in rich apparell, the pages arrayed in silke robes, did fill great gemmes and pearles made in the forme of cups, with excellent wine. Then one brought in Candles and Torches, and when we were set down and placed in order, we began to talke, to laugh, and to be merry. And Byrrhena spake unto mee and sayd, I pray you Cousine how like you our countrey? Verily I think there is no other City which hath the like Temples, Baynes, and other commodities which we have here. Further we have abundance of household stuffe, we have pleasure, we have ease, and when the Roman merchants arrive in this City they are gently and quietly entertained, and all that dwell within this province (when they purpose to solace and repose themselves) do come to this city. Whereunto I answered, Verily (quoth I) you tell truth, for I can finde no place in all the world which I like better than this, but I greatly feare the blind inevitable trenches of witches, for they say that the dead bodies are digged out of their graves, and the bones of them that are burnt be stollen away, and the toes and fingers of such as are slaine are cut off, and afflict and torment such as live. And the old Witches as soone as they heare of the death of any person, do forthwith goe and uncover the hearse and spoyle the corpse, to work their inchantments. Then another sitting at the table spake and sayd, In faith you say true, neither yet do they spare or favor the living. For I know one not farre hence that was cruelly handled by them, who being not contented with cutting off his nose, did likewise cut off his eares, whereat all the people laughed heartily, and looked at one that sate at the boords end, who being amased at their gazing, and somewhat angry withall, would have risen from the table, had not Byrrhena spake unto him and sayd, I pray thee friend Bellerophon sit still and according to thy accustomed curtesie declare unto us the losse of thy nose and eares, to the end that my cousin Lucius may be delighted with the pleasantnes of the tale. To whom he answered, Madam in the office of your bounty shall prevaile herein, but the insolencie of some is not to be supported. This hee spake very angerly: But Byrrhena was earnest upon him, and assured him hee should have no wrong at any mans hand. Whereby he was inforced to declare the same, and so lapping up the end of the Table cloath and carpet together, hee leaned with his elbow thereon, and held out three forefingers of his right hand in manner of an orator, and sayd, When I was a young man I went unto a certaine city called Milet, to see the games and triumphs there named Olympia, and being desirous to come into this famous province, after that I had travelled over all Thessaly, I fortuned in an evil hour to come to the City Larissa, where while I went up and down to view the streets to seeke some reliefe for my poore estate (for I had spent all my money) I espied an old man standing on a stone in the middest of the market place, crying with a loud voice and saying, that if any man would watch a dead corps that night hee should be reasonably rewarded for this paines. Which when I heard, I sayd to one who passed by, What is here to doe? Do dead men use to run away in this Countrey? Then answered he, Hold your peace, for you are but a Babe and a stranger here, and not without cause you are ignorant how you are in Thessaly, where the women Witches bite off by morsels the flesh and faces of dead men, and thereby work their sorceries and inchantments. Then quoth I, In good fellowship tell me the order of this custody and how it is. Marry (quoth he) first you must watch all the night, with your eyes bent continually upon the Corps, never looking off, nor moving aside. For these Witches do turn themselves into sundry kindes of beasts, whereby they deceive the eyes of all men, sometimes they are transformed into birds, sometimes into Dogs and Mice, and sometimes into flies. Moreover they will charme the keepers of the corps asleepe, neither can it be declared what meanes and shifts these wicked women do use, to bring their purpose to passe: and the reward for such dangerous watching is no more than foure or sixe shillings. But hearken further (for I had well nigh forgotten) if the keeper of the dead body doe not render on the morning following, the corps whole and sound as he received the same, he shall be punished in this sort: That is, if the corps be diminished or spoyled in any part of his face, hands or toes, the same shall be diminished and spoyled in the keeper. Which when I heard him I tooke a good heart, and went unto the Crier and bid him cease, for I would take the matter in hand, and so I demanded what I should have. Marry (quoth he) a thousand pence, but beware I say you young man, that you do wel defend the dead corps from the wicked witches, for hee was the son of one of the chiefest of the city. Tush (sayd I) you speak you cannot tell what, behold I am a man made all of iron, and have never desire to sleepe, and am more quicke of sight than Lynx or Argus. I had scarse spoken these words, when he tooke me by the hand and brought mee to a certaine house, the gate whereof was closed fast, so that I went through the wicket, then he brought me into a chamber somewhat darke, and shewed me a Matron cloathed in mourning vesture, and weeping in lamentable wise. And he spake unto her and said, Behold here is one that will enterprise to watch the corpes of your husband this night. Which when she heard she turned her blubbered face covered with haire unto me saying, I pray you good man take good heed, and see well to your office. Have no care (quoth I) so you will give mee any thing above that which is due to be given. Wherewith shee was contented, and then she arose and brought me into a chamber whereas the corps lay covered with white sheets, and shee called seven witnesses, before whom she shewed the dead body, and every part and parcell thereof, and with weeping eyes desired them all to testifie the matter. Which done, she sayd these words of course as follow: Behold, his nose is whole, his eyes safe, his eares without scarre, his lips untouched, and his chin sound: all which was written and noted in tables, and subscribed with the hands of witnesses to confirme the same. Which done I sayd unto the matron, Madam I pray you that I may have all things here necessary. What is that? (quoth she). Marry (quoth I) a great lampe with oyle, pots of wine, and water to delay the same, and some other drinke and dainty dish that was left at supper. Then she shaked her head and sayd, Away fool as thou art, thinkest thou to play the glutton here and to looke for dainty meats where so long time hath not been seene any smoke at all? Commest thou hither to eat, where we should weepe and lament? And therewithall she turned backe, and commanded her maiden Myrrhena to deliver me a lampe with oyle, which when shee had done they closed the chamber doore and departed. Now when I was alone, I rubbed myne eyes, and armed my selfe to keep the corpes, and to the intent I would not sleepe, I began to sing, and so I passed the time until it was midnight, when as behold there crept in a Wesel into the chamber, and she came against me and put me in very great feare, insomuch that I marvelled greatly at the audacity of so little a beast. To whom I said, get thou hence thou whore and hie thee to thy fellowes, lest thou feele my fingers. Why wilt thou not goe? Then incontinently she ranne away, and when she was gon, I fell on the ground so fast asleepe, that Apollo himself could not discern which of us two was the dead corps, for I lay prostrat as one without life, and needed a keeper likewise. At length the cockes began to crow, declaring that it was day: wherewithall I awaked, and being greatly afeard ran to the dead body with the lamp in my hand, and I viewed him round about: and immediately came in the matron weeping with her Witnesses, and ran to the corps, and eftsoons kissing him, she turned his body and found no part diminished. Then she willed Philodespotus her steward to pay me my wages forthwith. Which when he had done he sayd, We thanke you gentle young man for your paines and verily for your diligence herein we will account you as one of the family. Whereunto I (being joyous of by unhoped gaine, and ratling my money in my hand) did answer, I pray you madam esteeme me as one of your servants, and if you want my service at any time, I am at your commandement. I had not fully declared these words, when as behold all the servants of the house were assembled with weapons to drive me away, one buffeted me about the face, another about the shoulders, some strook me in the sides, some kicked me, and some tare my garments, and so I was handled amongst them and driven from the house, as the proud young man Adonis who was torn by a Bore. And when I was come into the next street, I mused with my selfe, and remembred myne unwise and unadvised words which I had spoken, whereby I considered that I had deserved much more punishment, and that I was worthily beaten for my folly. And by and by the corps came forth, which because it was the body of one of the chiefe of the city, was carried in funeral pompe round about the market place, according to the right of the countrey there. And forthwith stepped out an old man weeping and lamenting, and ranne unto the Biere and embraced it, and with deepe sighes and sobs cried out in this sort, O masters, I pray you by the faith which you professe, and by the duty which you owe unto the weale publique, take pitty and mercy upon this dead corps, who is miserably murdered, and doe vengeance on this wicked and cursed woman his wife which hath committed this fact: for it is shee and no other which hath poysoned her husband my sisters sonne, to the intent to maintaine her whoredome, and to get his heritage. In this sort the old man complained before the face of all people. Then they (astonied at these sayings, and because the thing seemed to be true) cried out, Burne her, burne her, and they sought for stones to throw at her, and willed the boys in the street to doe the same. But shee weeping in lamentable wise, did swear by all the gods, that shee was not culpable of this crime. No quoth the old man, here is one sent by the providence of God to try out the matter, even Zachlas an Egypptian, who is the most principall Prophecier in all this countrey, and who was hired of me for money to reduce the soule of this man from hell, and to revive his body for the triall hereof. And therewithall he brought forth a certaine young man cloathed in linnen rayment, having on his feet a paire of pantofiles, and his crowne shaven, who kissed his hands and knees, saying, O priest have mercy, have mercy I pray thee by the Celestiall Planets, by the Powers infernall, by the vertue of the naturall elements, by the silences of the night, by the building of Swallows nigh unto the towne Copton, by the increase of the floud Nilus, by the secret mysteries of Memphis, and by the instruments and trumpets of the Isle Pharos, have mercy I say, and call to life this dead body, and make that his eyes which he closed and shut, may be open and see. Howbeit we meane not to strive against the law of death, neither intend we to deprive the earth of his right, but to the end this fact may be knowne, we crave but a small time and space of life. Whereat this Prophet was mooved, and took a certaine herb and layd it three times against the mouth of the dead, and he took another and laid upon his breast in like sort. Thus when hee had done hee turned himself into the East, and made certaine orisons unto the Sunne, which caused all the people to marvell greatly, and to looke for this strange miracle that should happen. Then I pressed in amongst them nigh unto the biere, and got upon a stone to see this mysterie, and behold incontinently the dead body began to receive spirit, his principall veines did moove, his life came again and he held up his head and spake in this sort: Why doe you call mee backe againe to this transitorie life, that have already tasted of the water of Lethe, and likewise been in the deadly den of Styx? Leave off, I pray, leave off, and let me lie in quiet rest. When these words were uttered by the dead corps, the Prophet drew nigh unto the Biere and sayd, I charge thee to tell before the face of all the people here the occasion of thy death: What, dost thou thinke that I cannot by my conjurations call up the dead, and by my puissance torment thy body? Then the corps moved his head again, and made reverence to the people and sayd, Verily I was poisoned by the meanes of my wicked wife, and so thereby yeelded my bed unto an adulterer. Whereat his wife taking present audacity, and reproving his sayings, with a cursed minde did deny it. The people were bent against her sundry wayes, some thought best that shee should be buried alive with her husband: but some said that there ought no credit to be given to the dead body. Which opinion was cleane taken away, by the words which the corps spoke againe and sayd, Behold I will give you some evident token, which never yet any other man knew, whereby you shall perceive that I declare the truth: and by and by he pointed towards me that stood on the stone, and sayd, When this the good Gard of my body watched me diligently in the night, and that the wicked Witches and enchantresses came into the chamber to spoyle mee of my limbes, and to bring such their purpose did transforme themselves into the shape of beasts: and when as they could in no wise deceive or beguile his vigilant eyes, they cast him into so dead and sound a sleepe, that by their witchcraft he seemed without spirit or life. After this they did call me by my name, and never did cease til as the cold members of my body began by little and little and little to revive. Then he being of more lively soule, howbeit buried in sleep, in that he and I were named by one name, and because he knew not that they called me, rose up first, and as one without sence or perseverance passed by the dore fast closed, unto a certain hole, whereas the Witches cut off first his nose, and then his ears, and so that was done to him which was appointed to be done to me. And that such their subtility might not be perceived, they made him a like paire of eares and nose of wax: wherfore you may see that the poore miser for lucre of a little mony sustained losse of his members. Which when he had said I was greatly astonied, and minding to prove whether his words were true or no, put my hand to my nose, and my nose fell off, and put my hand to my ears and my ears fell off. Wherat all the people wondred greatly, and laughed me to scorne: but I beeing strucken in a cold sweat, crept between their legs for shame and escaped away. So I disfigured returned home againe, and covered the losse of myne ears with my long hair, and glewed this clout to my face to hide my shame. As soon as Bellephoron had told his tale, they which sate at the table replenished with wine, laughed heartily. And while they drank one to another, Byrrhena spake to me and said, from the first foundation of this city we have a custome to celebrate the festivall day of the god Risus, and to-morrow is the feast when as I pray you to bee present, to set out the same more honourably, and I would with all my heart that you could find or devise somewhat of your selfe, that might be in honour of so great a god. To whom I answered, verily cousin I will do as you command me, and right glad would I be, if I might invent any laughing or merry matter to please of satisfy Risus withall. Then I rose from the table and took leave of Byrrhena and departed. And when I came into the first street my torch went out, that with great pain I could scarce get home, by reason it was so dark, for ear of stumbling: and when I was well nigh come unto the dore, behold I saw three men of great stature, heaving and lifting at Milos gates to get in: and when they saw me they were nothing afeard, but assaied with more force to break down the dores whereby they gave mee occasion, and not without cause, to thinke that they were strong theeves. Whereupon I by and by drew out my sword which I carried for that purpose under my cloak, and ran in amongst them, and wounded them in such sort that they fell downe dead before my face. Thus when I had slaine them all, I knocked sweating and breathing at the doore til Fotis let me in. And then full weary with the slaughter of those Theeves, like Hercules when he fought against the king Gerion, I went to my chamber and layd me down to sleep.
THE THIRD BOOKE
THE TWELFTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius was taken and put in prison for murther.
When morning was come, and that I was awaked from sleep, my heart burned sore with remembrance of the murther I had committed the night before: and I rose and sate downe on the side of the bed with my legges acrosse, and wringing my hands, I weeped in most miserable sort. For I imagined with my selfe, that I was brought before the Judge in the Judgement place, and that he awarded sentence against me, and that the hangman was ready to lead me to the gallows. And further I imagined and sayd, Alasse what Judge is he that is so gentle or benigne, that will thinke that I am unguilty of the slaughter and murther of these three men. Howbeit the Assyrian Diophanes did firmely assure unto me, that my peregrination and voyage hither should be prosperous. But while I did thus unfold my sorrowes, and greatly bewail my fortune, behold I heard a great noyse and cry at the dore, and in came the Magistrates and officers, who commanded two sergeants to binde and leade me to prison, whereunto I was willingly obedient, and as they led me through the street, all the City gathered together and followed me, and although I looked always on the ground for very shame, yet sometimes I cast my head aside and marvelled greatly that among so many thousand people there was not one but laughed exceedingly. Finally, when they had brought me through all the streets of the city, in manner of those that go in procession, and do sacrifice to mitigate the ire of the gods, they placed mee in the Judgement hall, before the seat of the Judges: and after that the Crier had commanded all men to keep silence, and people desired the Judges to give sentence in the great Theatre, by reason of the great multitude that was there, whereby they were in danger of stifling. And behold the prease of people increased stil, some climed to the top of the house, some got upon the beames, some upon the Images, and some thrust their heads through the windowes, little regarding the dangers they were in, so they might see me.
Then the officers brought mee forth openly into the middle of the hall, that every man might behold me. And after that the Cryer had made a noise, and willed all such that would bring any evidence against me, should come forth, there stept out an old man with a glasse of water in his hand, dropping out softly, who desired that hee might have liberty to speake during the time of the continuance of the water. Which when it was granted, he began his oration in this sort.
THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius was accused by an old man, and how he answered for himselfe.
O most reverend and just Judges, the thing which I propose to declare to you is no small matter, but toucheth the estate and tranquillity of this whole City, and the punishment thereof may be a right good example to others. Wherefore I pray you most venerable Fathers, to whom and every one of whom it doth appertain, to provide for the dignity and safety of the Commonweale, that you would in no wise suffer this wicked Homicide, embrued with the bloud of so many murthered citisens, to escape unpunished. And thinke you not that I am moved thereunto by envy or hatred, but by reason of my office, in that I am captain of the night Watch, and because no man alive should accuse mee to bee remisse in the same I wil declare all the whole matter, orderly as it was done last night.
This night past, when as at our accustomed houre I diligently searched every part of the City, behold I fortuned to espy this cruell young man drawing out his sword against three Citisens, and after a long combat foughten between them, he murthered one after another miserably: which when hee had done, moved in his conscience at so great a crime hee ran away, and aided by the reason of darknes, slipt into a house, and there lay hidden all night, but by the providence of the Gods, which suffereth no heynous offence to pass unpunished, hee was taken by us this morning before he escaped any further, and so brought hither to your honourable presence to receive his desert accordingly.
So have you here a guilty person, a culpable homicide, and an accused stranger, wherefore pronounce you judgement against this man beeing an alien, when as you would most severely and sharply revenge such an offence found in a known Citisen. In this sort the cruell accuser finished and ended his terrible tale. Then the Crier commanded me to speake, if I had any thing to say for my selfe, but I could in no wise utter any word at all for weeping. And on the other side I esteemed not so much his rigorous accusation, as I did consider myne owne miserable conscience. Howbeit, beeing inspired by divine Audacity, at length I gan say, Verily I know that it is an hard thing for him that is accused to have slaine three persons, to perswade you that he is innocent, although he should declare the whole truth, and confesse the matter how it was indeed, but if your honours will vouchsafe to give me audience, I will shew you, that if I am condemned to die, I have not deserved it as myne owne desert, but that I was mooved by fortune and reasonable cause to doe that fact. For returning somewhat late from supper yester night (beeing well tippled with wine, which I will not deny) and approaching nigh to my common lodging, which was in the house of one Milo a Citisen of this city, I fortuned to espy three great theeves attempting to break down his walls and gates, and to open the locks to enter in. And when they had removed the dores out of the hookes, they consulted amongst themselves, how they would handle such as they found in the house. And one of them being of more courage, and of greater stature than the rest, spake unto his fellows and sayd, Tush you are but boyes, take mens hearts unto you, and let us enter into every part of the house, and such as we find asleep let us kill, and so by that meanes we shall escape without danger. Verily ye three Judges, I confess that I drew out my sword against those three Citizens, but I thought it was the office and duty of one that beareth good will to this weale publique, so to doe, especially since they put me in great fear, and assayed to rob and spoyl my friend Milo. But when those cruell and terrible men would in no case run away, nor feare my naked sword, but boldly resist against me, I ran upon them and fought valiantly. One of them which was the captain invaded me strongly, and drew me by the haire with both his hands, and began to beat me with a great stone: but in the end I proved the hardier man, and threw him downe at my feet and killed him. I tooke likewise the second that clasped me about the legs and bit me, and slew him also. And the third that came running violently against me, after that I had strucken him under the stomacke fell downe dead. Thus when I had delivered my selfe, the house, Myne host, and all his family from this present danger, I thought that I should not onely escape unpunished, but also have some great reward of the city for my paines.
Moreover, I that have always been clear and unspotted of crime, and that have esteemed myne innocency above all the treasure of the world, can finde no reasonable cause why upon myne accusation I should be condemned to die, since first I was mooved to set upon the theeves by just occasion. Secondly, because there is none that can affirm, that there hath been at any time either grudge or hatred between us. Thirdly, we were men meere strangers and of no acquaintance. Last of all, no man can prove that I committed that fact for lucre or gaine.
When I had ended my words in this sort, behold, I weeped againe pitteously, and holding up my hands I prayed all the people by the mercy of the Commonweale and for the love of my poore infants and children, to shew me some pitty and favour. And when my hearts were somewhat relented and mooved by my lamentable teares, I called all the gods to witnesse that I was unguilty of the crime, and so to their divine providence, I committed my present estate, but turning my selfe againe, I perceived that all the people laughed exceedingly, and especially my good friend and host Milo. Then thought I with my selfe, Alasse where is faith? Where is remorse of conscience? Behold I am condemned to die as a murtherer, for the safeguard of myne Host Milo and his family. Yet is he not contented with that, but likewise laugheth me to scorne, when otherwise he should comfort and help mee.
THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius was accused by two women, and how the slaine bodies were found blowne bladders.
When this was done, out came a woman in the middle of the Theatre arrayed in mourning vesture, and bearing a childe in her armes. And after her came an old woman in ragged robes, crying and howling likewise: and they brought with them the Olive boughs wherewith the three slaine bodies were covered on the Beere, and cried out in this manner: O right Judges, we pray by the justice and humanity which is in you, to have mercy upon these slaine persons, and succour our Widowhood and losse of our deare husbands, and especially this poore infant, who is now an Orphan, and deprived of all good fortune: and execute your justice by order and law, upon the bloud of this Theefe, who is the occasion of all our sorrowes. When they had spoken these words, one of the most antient Judges did rise and say, Touching this murther, which deserveth great punishment, this malefactor himselfe cannot deny, but our duty is to enquire and try out, whether he had Coadjutors to help him. For it is not likely that one man alone could kill three such great and valiant persons, wherefore the truth must be tried out by the racke, and so wee shall learne what other companions he hath, and root out the nest of these mischievous murtherers. And there was no long delay, but according to the custome of Grecia, the fire, the wheele, and many other torments were brought in. Then my sorrow encreased or rather doubled, in that I could not end my life with whole and unperished members. And by and by the old woman, who troubled all the Court with her howling, desired the Judges, that before I should be tormented on the racke, I might uncover the bodies which I had slaine, that every man might see their comely shape and youthfull beauty, and that I might receive condign and worthy punishment, according to the quality of my offence: and therewithall shee made a sign of joy. Then the Judge commanded me forthwith to discover the bodies of the slain, lying upon the beere, with myne own handes, but when I refused a good space, by reason I would not make my fact apparent to the eies of all men, the Sergeant charged me by commandement of the Judges, and thrust me forward to do the same. I being then forced by necessity, though it were against my wil, uncovered the bodies: but O good Lord what a strange sight did I see, what a monster? What sudden change of all my sorrows? I seemed as though I were one of the house of Proserpina and of the family of death, insomuch that I could not sufficiently expresse the forme of this new sight, so far was I amased and astonied thereat: for why, the bodies of the three slaine men were no bodies, but three blown bladders mangled in divers places, and they seemed to be wounded in those parts where I remembred I wounded the theeves the night before. Whereat the people laughed exceedingly: some rejoyced marvellously at the remembrance thereof, some held their stomackes that aked with joy, but every man delighted at this passing sport, so passed out of the theatre. But I from the time that I uncovered the bodies stood stil as cold as ice, no otherwise than as the other statues and images there, neither came I into my right senses, until such time as Milo my Host came and tooke mee by the hand, and with civil violence lead me away weeping and sobbing, whether I would or no. And because that I might be seene, he brought me through many blind wayes and lanes to his house, where he went about to comfort me, beeing sad and yet fearfull, with gentle entreaty of talke. But he could in no wise mitigate my impatiency of the injury which I conceived within my minde. And behold, by and by the Magistrates and Judges with their ensignes entred into the house, and endeavoured to pacify mee in this sort, saying, O Lucius, we are advertised of your dignity, and know the genealogie of your antient lineage, for the nobility of your Kinne doe possesse the greatest part of all this Province: and thinke not that you have suffered the thing wherfore you weepe, to any reproach and ignominy, but put away all care and sorrow out of your minde. For this day, which we celebrate once a yeare in honour of the god Risus, is alwaies renowned with some solemne novel, and the god doth continually accompany with the inventor therof, and wil not suffer that he should be sorrowfull, but pleasantly beare a joyfull face. And verily all the City for the grace that is in you, intend to reward you with great honours, and to make you a Patron. And further that your statue or image may be set up for a perpetuall remembrance.