[ 11 ] Placet pro bono duabus malis malum consilium totisque illis tam pretiosis muneribus absconditis comam trahentes et proinde ut merebantur ora lacerantes simulatos redintegrant fletus . Ac sic parentes quoque redulcerato prorsum dolore raptim deterrentes vesania turgidae domus suas contendunt dolum scelestum immo vero parricidium struentes contra sororem insontem .
Interea Psychen maritus ille quem nescit rursum suis illis nocturnis sermonibus sic commonet : " Videsne quantum tibi periculum ? Velitatur Fortuna eminus , ac nisi longe firmiter praecaves mox comminus congredietur . Perfidae lupulae magnis conatibus nefarias insidias tibi comparant , quarum summa est ut te suadeant meos explorare vultus , quos , ut tibi saepe praedixi , non videbis si videris . Ergo igitur si posthac pessimae illae lamiae noxiis animis armatae venerint — venient autem , scio — neque omnino sermonem conferas , et si id tolerare pro genuina simplicitate proque animi tui teneritudine non potueris , certe de marito nil quicquam vel audias vel respondeas . Nam et familiam nostram iam propagabimus et hic adhuc infantilis uterus gestat nobis infantem alium , si texeris nostra secreta silentio , divinum , si profanaveris , mortalem . "
[ 12 ] Nuntio Psyche laeta florebat et divinae subolis solacio plaudebat et futuri pignoris gloria gestiebat et materni nominis dignitate gaudebat . Crescentes dies et menses exeuntes anxia numerat et sarcinae nesciae rudimento miratur de brevi punctulo tantum incrementulum locupletis uteri . Sed iam pestes illae taeterrimaeque Furiae anhelantes vipereum virus et festinantes impia celeritate navigabant . Tunc sic iterum momentarius maritus suam Psychen admonet : " En dies ultima et casus extremus et ! Sexus infestus et sanguis inimicus iam sumpsit arma et castra commovit et aciem direxit et classicum personavit ; iam mucrone destricto iugulum tuum nefariae tuae sorores petunt . Heu quantis urguemur cladibus , Psyche dulcissima ! Tui nostrique misere religiosaque continentia domum maritum teque et istum parvulum nostrum imminentis ruinae infortunio libera . Nec illas scelestas feminas , quas tibi post internecivum odium et calcata sanguinis foedera sorores appellare non licet , vel videas vel audias , cum in morem Sirenum scopulo prominentes funestis vocibus saxa personabunt . "
[ 13 ] Suscipit Psyche singultu lacrimoso sermonem incertans : " Iam dudum , quod sciam , fidei atque parciloquio meo perpendisti documenta , nec eo setius adprobabitur tibi nunc etiam firmitas animi mei . Tu modo Zephyro nostro rursum praecipe fungatur obsequio , et in vicem denegatae sacrosanctae imaginis tuae redde saltem conspectum sororum . Per istos cinnameos et undique pendulos crines tuos per teneras et teretis et mei similes genas per pectus nescio quo calore fervidum sic in hoc saltem parvulo cognoscam faciem tuam : supplicis anxiae piis precibus erogatus germani complexus indulge fructum et tibi devotae dicataeque Psychae animam gaudio recrea . Nec quicquam amplius in tuo vultu requiro , iam nil officiunt mihi nec ipsae nocturnae tenebrae : teneo te , meum lumen . "
His verbis et amplexibus mollibus decantatus maritus lacrimasque eius suis crinibus detergens facturum spopondit et praevertit statim lumen nascentis diei
This wicked scheme greatly pleased the two wicked sisters . They hid all the costly gifts , and tearing their hair and lacerating their cheeks , as they deserved to do , falsely renewed their lamentations . They soon frightened their parents into reopening the wound of their sorrow also . Then swollen with venom , they hastened home to plan their crime against an innocent sister , even to murder .
Meanwhile her unseen husband , on his nightly visit , warned Psyche once more : " See how much danger you’re in . Fortune is plotting at a distance , but soon , unless you take firm precautions , she’ll be attacking you face to face . Those treacherous she-wolves are working hard to execute some evil act against you , by tempting you to examine my features . But do so and , as I’ve told you , you’ll never see me again . So if those foul harpies armed with their noxious thoughts return , as I know they will , you must hold no conversation with them . And if in your true innocence and tender-heartedness you can’t bear that , then at least , if they speak of me , don’t listen , or if you must don’t answer . You see our family will increase , and your womb , a child’s , must bear another child , who if you keep our secret silently will be divine , though if you profane it , mortal . "
Psyche blossomed with joy at the news , hailing the solace of a divine child , exulting in the glory of the one to be born , and rejoicing in the name of mother . She counted the swelling days , and the vanishing months , and as a beginner knowing nothing of the burden she bore was amazed at the growth of her seething womb from a tiny pinprick .
But those foul and pestilential Furies , her sisters , breathing viperous venom , were sailing towards her with impious speed . Now for a second time her husband warned Psyche in passing : " The fatal day , the final peril , the malice of your sex and hostile blood have taken arms against you , struck camp , prepared for battle , and sounded the attack . Those wicked sisters of yours with drawn swords are at your throat . What disaster threatens , sweet Psyche ! Take pity on yourself and me . With resolution and restraint you can free your home and husband , yourself , and our child from the imminent danger that threatens . Don’t look at or listen to those evil women , who with their murderous hostility , their disregard of the bonds of blood , you should not call sisters , as they lean from the cliff-top like Sirens and make the rocks echo with that fatal singing . "
[ 13 ] Her answer almost lost in tearful sobbing , Psyche replied : " Once before you asked for proof of my loyalty and discretion , now too you will find me just as resolute . Give your servant Zephyr his orders one more : let him perform his task , and if I am not to see your sacred face , grant me at least a glimpse of my sisters . By those cinnamon perfumed locks that adorn your head , by those softly rounded cheeks like my own , by your breast so warm , so wonderfully aflame ; as I hope to find your looks in my unborn child’s , at least , I beg you , yield to the loving prayers of a yearning suppliant and allow me the pleasure of sisterly embraces . Fill your dedicated and devoted Psyche’s spirit with joy once more . I’ll ask no more regarding your appearance . Clasping you in my arms , not even the darkness of the night can hurt me now , my light . "
Bewitched by her words and her sweet caresses , her husband wiped away her tears with his hair and gave her his agreement , vanishing swiftly before the light of the new-born day .
[ 11 ] The two evil women thought well of this wicked plan , and having
hidden all their precious gifts , they tore their hair and clawed their
cheeks ( no more than they deserved ) , renewing their pretence of
mourning . In this way they inflamed their parents’ grief all over
again ; and then , taking a hasty leave of them , they made off to their
homes swollen with mad rage , to devise their wicked - their
murderous - plot against their innocent sister .
Meanwhile Psyche’s mysterious husband once more warned her as they talked together that night : ‘Don’t you see the danger that threatens you ? Fortune is now engaging your outposts , and if you do not stand very firmly on your guard she will soon be grappling with you hand to hand . These treacherous she-wolves are doing their best to lay a horrible trap for you ; their one aim is to persuade you to try to know my face - but if
you do see it , as I have constantly told you , you will not see it . So
then if those vile witches come , as I know they will , armed with
their deadly designs , you must not even talk to them ; but if because
of your natural lack of guile and tenderness of heart you are unequal
to that , at least you must refuse to listen to or answer any questions
about your husband . For before long we are going to increase our
family ; your womb , until now a child’s , is carrying a child for us in
its turn - who , if you hide our secret in silence , will be divine , but if you divulge it , he will be mortal . ’
Hearing this , Psyche , blooming with happiness , clapped her hands at the consoling
thought of a divine child , exulting in the glory of this pledge that was
to come and rejoicing in the dignity of being called a mother .
Anxiously she counted the growing tale of days and months as they
passed , and as she learned to bear her unfamiliar burden she
marvelled that from a moment’s pain there should come so fair an
increase of her rich womb .
But now those plagues , foulest Furies , breathing viperine poison
and pressing on in their devilish haste , had started their voyage ; and
once more her transitory husband warned Psyche : ‘The day of
reckoning and the last chance are here . Your own sex , your own flesh
and blood , are the enemy , arrayed in arms against you ; they have
marched out and drawn up their line , and sounded the trumpet-call ;
with drawn sword your abominable sisters are making for your
throat . What disasters press upon us , sweetest Psyche ! Have pity on
yourself and on us both ; remember your duty and control yourself ,
save your home , your husband , and this little son of ours from the
catastrophe that threatens us . You cannot call those wicked women
sisters any longer ; in their murderous hatred they have spurned the
ties of blood . Do not look at them , do not listen to them , when like
the Sirens aloft on their crag they make the rocks ring with their
deadly voices . ’
[ 13 ] As she replied , Psyche’s voice was muffled by sobs and tears : ‘More
than once , I know , you have put my loyalty and discretion to the
proof , but none the less now you shall approve my strength of mind .
Only once more order our Zephyr to do his duty , and instead of your
own sacred face that is denied me let me at least behold my sisters .
By those fragrant locks that hang so abundantly , by those soft smooth
cheeks so like mine , by that breast warm with hidden heat , as I hope
to see your face at least in this little one : be swayed by the dutiful
prayers of an anxious suppliant , allow me to enjoy my sisters’
embrace , and restore and delight the soul of your devoted Psyche . As
to your face , I ask nothing more ; even the darkness of night does not
blind me ; I have you as my light . ’
Enchanted by her words and her soft embrace , her husband dried her tears with his hair , promised to do as she asked , and then left at once just as day was dawning .