et cum dicto reserat pyxidem : nec quicquam ibi rerum nec formositas ulla , sed infernus somnus ac vere Stygius , qui statim coperculo revelatus invadit eam crassaque soporis nebula cunctis eius membris perfunditur et in ipso vestigio ipsaque semita coli lapsam possidet ; et iacebat immobilis et nihil aliud quam dormiens cadaver . Sed Cupido iam cicatrice solida revalescens nec diutinam suae Psyches absentiam tolerans , per altissimam cubiculi , quo cohibebatur , elapsus fenestram , refectisque pinnis aliquanta quiete , longe velocius provolans Psychen accurrit suam , detersoque somno curiose et rursum in pristinam pyxidis sedem recondito , Psychen innoxio punctulo sagittae suae suscitat , et ‘Ecce’ inquit ‘Rursum perieras , misella , simili curiositate . Sed interim quidem tu provinciam , quae tibi matris meae praecepto mandata est , exsequere naviter ; cetera egomet videro . ’ His dictis amator levis in pinnas se dedit , Psyche vero confestim Veneri munus reportat Proserpinae .
Interea Cupido , amore nimio peresus et aegra facie , matris suae repentinam sobrietatem pertimescens ad armillum redit alisque pernicibus caeli penetrato vertice magno Iovi supplicat suamque causam probat . Tunc Iuppiter prehensa Cupidinis buccula manuque ad os suum relata consaviat , atque sic ad illum ‘Licet tu’ inquit ‘ Domine fili , nunquam mihi concessu deum decretum servaris honorem , sed istud pectus meum , quo leges elementorum et vices siderum disponuntur , convulneraris assiduis ictibus crebrisque terrenae libidinis foedaveris casibus , contraque leges et ipsam Iuliam disciplinamque publicam turpibus adulteriis existimationem famamque meam laeseris , in serpentes , in ignes , in feras , in aves et gregalia pecua serenos vultus meos sordide reformando ; at tamen modestiae meae memor quodque inter istas meas manus creveris , cuncta perficiam , dum tamen scias aemulos tuos cavere ac , si qua nunc in terris puella praepollet pulchritudine , praesentis beneficii vicem per eam mihi repensare te debere . ’
Sic fatus iubet Mercurium deos omnes ad contionem protinus convocare ac si qui coetu caelestium I defuisset , in poenam decem milium nummum conventum iri pronuntiare . Quo metu statim completo [ p . 282 ] caelesti theatro , pro sede sublimi sedens procerus Iuppiter sic enuntiat : ‘Dei conscripti Musarum albo , adulescentem istum quod manibus meis alumnatus sim , profecto scitis omnes , cuius primae iuventutis caloratos impetus freno quodam coercendos existimavi . Sat est cotidianis eum fabulis ob adulteria cunctasque corruptelas infamatum : tollenda est omnis occasio et luxuria puerilis nuptialibus pedicis alliganda . Puellam elegit et virginitate privavit : teneat , possideat , amplexus Psychen semper suis amoribus perfruatur’ : et ad Venerem collata facie , ‘Nec tu , ’ inquit ‘Filia , quicquam contristere nec prosapiae tantae tuae statuque de matrimonio mortali metuas . Iam faxo nuptias non impares sed legitimas et iure civili congruas , ’ en illico per Mercurium arripi Psychen et in caelum perduci iubet . Porrecto ambrosiae poculo , ‘ Sume , ’ inquit ‘ Psyche , et immortalis esto ; nec unquam digredietur a tuo nexu Cupido sed istae vobis erunt perpetuae nuptiae . ’
Nec mora , cum cena nuptialis affluens exhibetur : accumbebat summum torum maritus , Psychen gremia suo complexus ; sic et cum sua Iunone Iuppiter ac deinde per ordinem toti dei . Tunc poculum nectaris , quod vinum deorum est , Iovi quidem suus pocillator , ille rusticus puer , ceteris vero Liber ministrabat , Vulcanus cenam coquebat , Horae rosis et ceteris floribus purpurabant omnia , Gratiae [ p . 284 ] spargebant balsama , Musae quoque canora personabant , Apollo cantavit ad citharam , Venus suavi musicae superingressa formosa saltavit : scaena sibi sic concinnata , ut Musae quidem chorum canerent et tibias inflarent , Satyrus et Paniscus ad fistulam dicerent . Sic rite Psyche convenit in manum Cupidinis , et nascitur illis maturo partu filia , quam Voluptatem nominamus .
And with those words she unsealed the jar ; but there was never a drop of beauty there , nothing but deathly , truly Stygian sleep . When the cover was lifted slumber attacked her instantly , enveloping her entire body in a dense cloud of somnolence . She collapsed where she stood , fell on the path , and deep slumber overcame her . She lay there motionless , like a corpse but fast asleep . Cupid , feeling better now that his scar had healed , could no longer endure the absence of his beloved Psyche and , dropped from the high window of the room where he’d been confined . With wings restored by his long rest , he flew all the more swiftly , and swooping to Psyche’s side he wiped away the sleep with care and returned it to the jar where it belonged . Then he roused her with a harmless touch of his arrow , saying : " Look how you’ve nearly ruined yourself again , poor child , with that insatiable curiosity of yours . Now be quick and finish the task my mother assigned . I’ll take care of everything else . " With this he took lightly to his wings , while Psyche , for her part , swiftly carried Proserpine’s gift to Venus .
Now Cupid , pale of face , devoured by uncontrollable love , was so concerned by his mother’s sudden harshness he returned to his old tricks , quickly flying to heaven’s heights on his swift wings , kneeling before great Jove , and attempting to win support for his cause . Jupiter tweaked Cupid’s cheek , raised the lad’s hand to his lips , kissed it and replied . " My dear son , despite the fact you’ve never shown the slightest respect granted me by all other deities , but wounded my heart again and again , and shamed me with endless bouts of earthly passion , I , who command the elements , I , who ordain the course of the stars ; and despite the fact you defy the law , even the Lex Julia itself , and the rules that maintain public order ; that you’ve injured my good name , and destroyed my reputation through scandalous adulteries , transforming my tranquil features vilely into snakes and flames , and birds and beasts , and even cattle ; nevertheless , because of my sweet disposition , and the fact that you were cradled in my own arms , I’ll do as you ask . But only on one condition ; that you beware of making me your rival by giving me , in payment for this favour , some other girl of outstanding beauty . "
So saying , he ordered Mercury to call an impromptu gathering of the gods , with a fine of a hundred pieces of gold for failing to attend the heavenly assembly , which threat guaranteed the celestial theatre was filled . Almighty Jupiter , from his high throne , gave the following address : " O deities , inscribed in the roll-call of the Muses , you all know it to be true that I raised this lad with my own hands . I’ve decided the impulses of his hot youth need curbing in some manner . We must take away the opportunity ; restrain his childish indulgence with the bonds of matrimony . He’s found a girl , he’s taken her virginity . Let him have her , hold her , and in Psyche’s arms indulge his passions forever . " Then he turned to Venus saying : " Now my daughter , don’t be despondent . Don’t fear for your lineage or status , because of his wedding a mortal . I’ll make it a marriage of equals , legitimate , in accord with civil law . " And he ordered Mercury to bring Psyche to heaven at once . Once there he handed her a cup of ambrosia , saying : " Drink this Psyche , and be immortal . Cupid will never renege on the bond , and the marriage will last forever . "
Presently a rich wedding feast appeared . The bridegroom reclined at the head , clasping Psyche in his arms . Jupiter and Juno sat beside them , and all the deities in order . Ganymede , the cup-bearing shepherd lad , served Jupiter his nectar , that wine of the gods , and Bacchus-Liber served all the rest , while Vulcan cooked the meal . Now the Hours adorned everyone with roses and hosts of other flowers ; the Graces scattered balsam ; the choir of the Muses sounded ; Apollo sang to the lyre , and Venus danced charmingly to that outpouring of sweet music , arranging the scene so the Muses chimed together , with a Satyr fluting away , and a woodland creature of Pan’s piping his reeds . So Psyche was given in marriage to Cupid according to the rite , and when her term was due a daughter was born to them both , whom we call Pleasure . ’
So saying she opened the box . But she found nothing whatever in it , no beauty , but only an infernal sleep , a sleep truly Stygian , which when the lid was taken off and it was let out at once took possession of her and diffused itself in a black cloud of oblivion throughout her whole body , so that overcome by it she collapsed on the spot where she stood in the pathway , and lay motionless , a mere sleeping corpse . But Cupid’s wound had now healed and , his strength returned , he could no longer bear to be parted for so long from Psyche . He escaped from the high window of the room in which he was confined ; and , with his wings restored by his long rest , he flew off at great speed to the side of his Psyche . Carefully wiping off the sleep and replacing it where it had been in the box , he roused her with a harmless prick from one of his arrows . ‘There , poor wretch , ’ he said , ‘you see how yet again curiosity has been your undoing . But meanwhile you must complete the mission assigned you by my mother with all diligence ; the rest I will see to . ’ So saying , her lover nimbly took flight , while Psyche quickly took back Proserpine’s gift to Venus .
Meanwhile Cupid , eaten up with love , looking ill , and dreading his mother’s new-found austerity , became himself again . On swift wings he made his way to the very summit of heaven and pleaded his cause as a suppliant with great Jupiter . Jupiter took Cupid’s face in his hand , pulled it to his own , and kissed him , saying : ‘In spite of the fact , dear boy , that you have never paid me the respect decreed me by the gods in council , but have constantly shot and wounded this breast of mine by which the behaviour of the elements and the movements of the heavenly bodies are regulated , defiling it repeatedly with lustful adventures on earth , compromising my reputation and character by low intrigues in defiance of the laws , the Lex Julia included , and of public morals , changing my majestic features into the base shapes of snakes , of fire , of wild animals , of birds and of farmyard beasts — yet in spite of all , remembering my clemency and that you grew up in my care , I will do what you ask . But you must take care to guard against your rivals ; and if there is now any pre-eminently lovely girl on earth , you are bound to pay me back with her for this good turn . ’
So saying , he ordered Mercury to summon all the gods immediately to assembly , proclaiming that any absentees from this heavenly meeting would be liable to a fine of ten thousand sesterces . This threat at once filled the divine theatre ; and Jupiter , towering on his lofty throne , announced his decision . ‘Conscript deities enrolled in the register of the Muses , you undoubtedly know this young man well , and how I have reared him with my own hands . I have decided that the hot-blooded impulses of his first youth must somehow be bridled ; his name has been besmirched long enough in common report by adultery and all kinds of licentious behaviour . We must take away all opportunity for this and confine his youthful excess in the bonds of marriage . He has chosen a girl and had her virginity : let him have and hold her , and embracing Psyche for ever enjoy his beloved . ’ Then turning to Venus , ‘Daughter , ’ he said , ‘do not be downcast or fear for your great lineage or social standing because of this marriage with a mortal . I shall arrange for it to be not unequal but legitimate and in accordance with the civil law . ’ Then he ordered Psyche to be brought by Mercury and introduced into heaven . Handing her a cup of ambrosia , ‘Take this , Psyche , ’ he said , ‘and be immortal . Never shall Cupid quit the tie that binds you , but this marriage shall be perpetual for you both . ’
No sooner said than done : a lavish wedding-feast appeared . In the place of honour reclined Psyche’s husband , with his wife in his arms , and likewise Jupiter with his Juno , and then the other gods in order of precedence . Cups of nectar were served to Jove by his own cupbearer , the shepherd lad , and to the others by Liber ; Vulcan cooked the dinner ; the Seasons made everything colourful with roses and other flowers ; the Graces sprinkled perfumes ; the Muses discoursed tuneful music . Then Apollo sang to the lyre , and Venus , fitting her steps to the sweet music , danced in all her beauty , having arranged a production in which the Muses were chorus and played the tibia , while a Satyr and a little Pan sang to the shepherd’s pipe . Thus was Psyche married to Cupid with all proper ceremony , and when her time came there was born to them a daughter , whom we call Pleasure .