Psyche teneris et herbosis locis in ipso toro roscidi graminis suave recubans , tanta mentis perturbatione sedata , dulce conquievit . Iamque sufficienti recreata somno placido resurgit animo : videt lucum proceris et vastis arboribus consitum , videt fontem vitreo latice perlucidum medio luci meditullio . Prope fontis allapsum domus regia est , aedificata non humanis manibus sed divinis artibus : iam scies ab introitu primo dei cuiuspiam luculentum et amoenum videre te diversorium . Nam summa laquearia , citro et ebore curiose cavata , subeunt aureae columnae , parietes omnes argenteo caelamine conteguntur , bestiis et id genus pecudibus occurrentibus ob os introeuntium . Mirus prorsum homo , immo semideus vel certe deus , qui magnae artis subtilitate tantum efferavit argentum : enimvero pavimenta ipsa lapide pretioso caesim deminuto in varia picturae genera discriminantur : vehementer iterum ac saepius beatos illos qui super gemmas et monilia calcant ! Iam ceterae partes longe [ p . 202 ] lateque dispositae domus sine pretio pretiosae totique parietes solidati massis aureis splendore proprio coruscant , ut diem suum sibi domus faciat licet sole nolente ; sic cubicula , sic porticus , sic ipsae valvae fulgurant . Nec setius opes ceterae maiestati domui respondent , ut equidem illud recte videatur ad conversationem humanam magno Iovi fabricatum caeleste palatium .
‘2 . Invitata Psyche talium locorum oblectatione propius accessit et paulo fidentior intra limen sese facit , mox prolectante studio pulcherrimae visionis rimatur singula et altrinsecus aedium horrea sublimi fabrica perfecta magnisque congesta gazis conspicit ; nec est quicquam quod ibi non est : sed praeter ceteram tantarum divitiarum admirationem hoc erat praecipue mirificum , quod nullo vinculo , nullo claustro nullo custode totius orbis thesaurus ille muniebatur Haec ei summa cum voluptate visenti offert sese vox quaedam corporis sui nuda , et ‘Quid , ’ inquit ‘ Domina , tantis obstupescis opibus ? Tua sunt haec omnia . prohinc cubiculo te refer , et lectulo lassitudinem refove , et ex arbitrio lavacrum pete . Nos quarum voces accipis , tuae famulae ; sedulo tibi praeministrabimus nec corporis curatae tibi regales epulae morabuntur . ’
3 . Sensit Psyche divinae providentiae beatitudinem monitusque , voces informes audiens , et prius somno et mox lavacro fatigationem sui diluit , visoque statim proximo semirotundo suggestu , propter instrumentum [ p . 204 ] cenatorium rata refectui suo commodum , libens accumbit . Et illico vini nectarei eduliumque variorum fercula copiosa , nullo serviente sed tantum spiritui quodam impulsa , subministrantur : nec quemquam tamen illa videre poterat , sed verba tantum audiebat excidentia et solas voces famulas habebat . Post opimas dapes quidam introcessit et cantavit invisus et alius citharam pulsavit , quae videbatur nec ipsa : tunc . modulatae multitudinis conferta vox aures eius affertur , ut , quamvis hominum nemo pareret , chorus tamen esse pateret .
Book V : 1-3 The tale of Cupid and Psyche : the palace
Psyche , pleasantly reclining in that grassy place on a bed of dew-wet grass , free of her mental perturbation , fell peacefully asleep , and when she was sufficiently refreshed by slumber , rose , feeling calm . She saw a grove planted with great , tall trees ; she saw a glittering fount of crystal water .
At the very centre of the grove beside the flowing stream was a regal palace , not made by human hands , but built by divine art . You knew from the moment you entered you were viewing the splendid shining residence of a god . There were coffered ceilings , exquisitely carved from ivory and citron-wood supported on golden pillars ; the walls were covered with relief-work in silver , wild beasts in savage herds met your gaze as you reached the doorway . They were the work of some eminent master , or a demigod or god perhaps , who with the subtlety of great art had made creatures all of silver . Even the floors were of mosaic , pictures patterned from precious stones cut into tiny tiles . Blessed twice over or more are those who tread on shining jewels and gems ! The length and breadth of the rest of the house was equally beyond price , the walls constructed of solid gold gleaming with their own brilliance , so that even without the sun’s rays the house shone like day . The rooms , the colonnades , the very doorposts glowed . And every other feature matched the house in magnificence , so you would have thought , rightly , that this was a heavenly palace made for Jove to use on his visits to the world .
Seduced by the attractions of this lovely place Psyche moved closer and , gaining confidence , dared to cross the threshold . Now her desire to gaze on all these beautiful things led her to examine every object closely . On the far side of the palace she found storerooms made with noble skill , heaped to the roof with mounds of treasure . All that existed was there . And beyond her amazement at the vast quantities of riches , she was especially startled to find not a lock , or bolt or chain to defend this treasure-house of all the world . As she looked around her , in rapturous delight , a bodiless voice spoke to her : " Lady , why are you so surprised at all this vast wealth ? All that is here is yours . So retire to your room , and ease your weariness on the bed , and when you wish you can bathe . The voices you may hear are those of your servants , we who wait on you willingly , and when your body is refreshed we will be ready with a feast . "
Psyche felt blessed by divine providence , and obeying the guidance of the disembodied voice , eased her weariness with sleep and then a bath . Nearby she found a semi-circular table , and judging from the dinner setting that it was meant for her , she promptly sat down to wait . Instantly trays loaded with food and cups of nectar appeared , without trace of servants , they were wafted and set before her as though by a breath of air . No one was visible , but words could be heard from somewhere , her waiters were merely voices . And after a sumptuous meal , someone invisible came and sang , and someone played a lyre , invisible too . And there came to her ears the interweaving melodies of some large throng , some invisible choir .
H . E . Butler’s English translation for Oxford Clarendon Press ( 1910 ) on Archive . org :
Psyche lay sweetly reclined in that soft grassy place
on a couch of herbage fresh with dew . Her wild anguish
of spirit was assuaged and she fell softly asleep . When
she had slumbered enough and was refreshed , she rose
to her feet . The tempest had passed from her soul .
She beheld a grove of huge and lofty trees , she beheld
a transparent fountain of glassy water . In the very
heart of the grove beside the gliding stream there stood
a palace , built by no human hands but by the cunning
of a god . You will perceive so soon as I have taken
you within , that it is the pleasant and luxurious dwelling
of some deity that I present to your gaze . For the
fretted roof on high was curiously carved of sandalwood
and ivory , and the columns that upheld it were of gold .
All the walls were covered with wild beasts and other
like creatures of the field , wrought in chased silver , and
confronting the gaze of those that entered . Truly he
was a wondrous wight , nay , he was some demigod , or
rather in very truth a god , that had power by the subtlety
of his matchless skill to put such wild life into silver .
The pavement was of precious stones cut small and
patterned with images of many kinds . Most surely , aye ,
again and yet again I say it , blessed are those whose
feet tread upon gems and jewels . The rest of the
house through all its length and breadth was precious eyond price . All the walls were built of solid ingots
of gold and shone with peculiar splendour , making
a daylight of their own within the house , even though the
sun should withhold his beams . Such were the lightnings
flashed from bedchamber and colonnade and from the
very doors themselves . Nor were the riches in the rest
of the house unworthy of such splendour . It seemed
a heavenly palace built by great Jove that he might
dwell with mortal men . Allured by the charm and 2
beauty of the place , Psyche drew near and , as her
confidence increased , crossed the threshold . Soon the
delight of gazing on such loveliness drew her on to
explore each several glory until at last on the farther
side of the house she beheld a lofty chamber piled
high with countless treasure . Naught may be found
in all the world that was not there . But wondrous as
was the sight of such vast wealth , yet more marvellous
was it that there was no chain nor bar nor sentinel to
guard the treasure of all the world . Deep joy filled
her at the sight , when suddenly a bodiless voice spake
to her . " Why , lady , " it said , " are you overwhelmed
at the sight of so great wealth ? All is yours . Go
now to your chamber , refresh your weariness upon your
couch , and bathe when it pleases you so to do . We ,
whose voices you hear , are your servants who will wait
upon you diligently and , when you have refreshed your
body , will straightway serve you with a royal banquet . " over her . First for a while she slept , then waking ,
bathed to refresh her weariness . This done , she beheld
hard by a couch shaped like a half-moon , and , deeming
from the dinner service spread beside it that it was
meant for her refreshment , gladly laid her down . Forth-
with she was served with wine like nectar , and many
a dish of diverse viands . Yet no man waited on her ,
but all things seemed wafted to her as it were by some
wind . Neither could she see any man , only she heard
words that fell from the air , and none save voices were
her servants . After she had feasted thus daintily , one
whom she might not see entered and sang to her , while
another struck the lyre , though never a lyre was to be
seen . Then the harmony of a multitude of musicians
was borne to her ears , so that she knew that a choir
4 was there , though no man was visible .