In view of this, you must now decide whether you ware willing to side with your sisters, who are anxious for your welfare which is so dear to their hearts, and to live in their company once you escape from death, or whether you prefer to be interred in the stomach of that fiercest of beasts. However, if you opt for the isolation of this rustic haunt inhabited only by voices, preferring the foul and hazardous intimacy of furtive love in the embrace of this venomous Dragon, at any rate we as your devoted sisters will have done our duty.
Psyche (Psyché in French) is the Greek term for "soul" or "spirit It may also refer to : Contents. 1 Psychology; 2 Religion and mythology; 3 Arts and media. Cupid and Psyche is a story originally from Metamorphoses written in the 2nd century AD by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (or Platonicus). The tale concerns the.
She lost her head, and completely banished her recollection of all her husband's warnings and her own promises. She launched herself into the abyss of disaster. Trembling and pale as the blood drained from her face, she barely opened her mouth as she gasped and stammered out this reply to them.
It is true that I have never seen my husband's face, and I have no knowledge whatsoever of where he hails form. I merely attend at night to the words of a husband to whom I submit with no knowledge of what he is like, for he certainly shuns the light of day. Your judgement is just that he is some beast, and I rightly agree with you. He constantly and emphatically warns me against seeing what he looks like, and threatens me with great disaster if I show curiosity about his features.
So if at this moment you can offer saving help to your sister in her hour of danger, you must come to my rescue now. Otherwise your indifference to the future will tarnish the benefits of your previous concern. They emerged from beneath the mantlet of their battering-ram, drew their swords, and advanced on the terrified thoughts of that simple girl. So it was that one of them said to her: You must whet a razor by running it over your softened palm, and when it is quite sharp hide it secretly by the bed where you usually lie.
Then fill a well-trimmed lamp with oil, and when it is shining brightly, conceal it beneath the cover of an enclosing jar. Once you have purposefully secreted this equipment, you must wait until your husband ploughs his furrow, and enters and climbs as usual into bed. Then, when he has stretched out and sleep has begun to oppress and enfold him, as soon as he starts the steady breathing which denotes deep sleep, you must slip off the couch.
In your bare feet and on tiptoe take mincing steps forward, and remove the lamp from its protective cover of darkness. Then take your cue from the lamp, and seize the moment to perform your own shining deed. Grasp the two-edged weapon boldly, first raise high your right hand, and then with all the force you can muster sever the knot which joins the neck and head of that venomous serpent.
You will not act without our help, for we shall be hovering anxiously in attendance, and as soon as you have ensured your safety by his death, we shall fly to your side. All these riches here we shall bear off with you with all speed, and then we shall arrange an enviable marriage for you, human being with human being.
At once they left her, for their proximity to this most wicked crime made them fear greatly for themselves. So the customary thrust of the winged Breeze bore them up to the rock, and they at once fled in precipitate haste. Without delay they embarked on their ships and cast off. But Psyche, now left alone, except that being harried by the hostile Furiae Furies [Erinyes] was no solitude, tossed in her grief like the waves of the sea.
Though her plan was formed and her determination fixed, she still faltered in uncertainty of purpose as she set her hands to action, and was torn between the many impulses of her unhappy plight. She made haste, she temperized; her daring turned more to fear, her diffidence to anger, and to cap everything she loathed the beast but loved the husband, though they were one and the same. But now evening brought on darkness, so with headlong haste she prepared the instruments for the heinous crime.
Night fell, and her husband arrived, and having first skirmished in the warfare of love, he fell in to a heavy sleep. Then Psyche, though enfeebled in both body and mind, gained the strength lent her by fate's harsh decree. She uncovered the lamp, seized the razor, and showed a boldness that belied her sex. But as soon as the lamp was brought near, and the secrets of the couch were revealed, she beheld of all beasts the gentlest and sweetest, Cupidos [Eros] himself, a handsome god lying in a handsome posture. Even the lamplight was cheered and brightened on sighting him, and the razor felt suitable abashed at its sacrilegious sharpness.
As for Psyche, she was awe-struck at this wonderful vision, and she lost all her self-control. She swooned and paled with enervation; her knees buckled, and she sought to hide the steel by plunging it into her own breast. Indeed, she would have perpetrated this, but the steel showed its fear of committing so serious a crime by plunging out of her rash grasp. But as in her weariness and giddiness she gazed repeatedly on the beauty of that divine countenance, her mental balance was restored.
She beheld on his golden head his luxuriant hair steeped in ambrosia; his neatly pinned ringlets strayed over his milk-white neck and rosy cheeks, some dangling in front and some behind, and their surpassing sheen made even the lamplight flicker. On the winged god's shoulders his dewy wings gleamed white with flashing brilliance; though they lay motionless, the soft and fragile feathers at their tips fluttered in quivering motion and sported restlessly. The rest of his body, hairless and rosy, and was such that Venus [Aphrodite] would not have been ashamed to acknowledge him as her son.
At the foot of the bed lay his bow, quiver, and arrows, the kindly weapons of that great god. As Psyche trained her gaze insatiably and with no little curiosity on these her husband's weapons, in the course of handling and admiring them she drew out an arrow from the quiver, and tested its point on the tip of her thumb.
But because her arm was still trembling she pressed too hard, with the result that it pricked too deeply, and tiny drops of rose-red blood bedewed the surface of the skin. So all unknowing and without prompting Psyche fell in love with Amor Love [Eros], being fired more and more with desire for the god of desire. She gazed down on him in distraction, and as she passionately smothered him with wanton kisses from parted lips, she feared that he might stir in his sleep. But while her wounded heart pounded on being roused by such striking beauty, the lamp disgorged a drop of burning oil from the tip of its flame upon the god's right shoulder; it could have been nefarious treachery, or malicious jealousy, or the desire, so to say, to touch and kiss that glorious body.
O you rash, reckless lamp, Amor's Love's worthless servant, do you burn the very god who possesses all fire, though doubtless you were invented by some lover to ensure that he might possess for longer and even at night the object of his desire? The god started up on being burnt; he saw that he was exposed, and that his trust was defiled. Without a word he at once flew away from the kisses and embrace of his most unhappy wife. But Psyche seized his right leg with both hands just as he rose above her.
She made a pitiable appendage as he soured aloft, following in his wake and dangling in company with him as they flew through the clouds. But finally she slipped down to earth exhausted. As she lay there on the ground, her divine lover did not leave her, but flew to the nearest cypress-tree, and from its summit spoke in considerable indignation to her.
Instead, I preferred to swoop down to become your lover. I admit that my behaviour was not judicious; I, the famed archer, wounded myself with my own weapon, and made you my wife--and all so that you should regard me as a wild beast, and cut off my head with the steel, and with it the eyes that dote on you!
I urged you repeatedly, I warned you devotedly always to be on your guard against what has now happened. But before long those fine counsellors of yours will make satisfaction to me for their heinous instructions, whereas for you the punishment will be merely my departure. From her prostrate position on the ground Psyche watched her husband's flight as far as her eyes allowed, and she tortured her heart with the bitterest lamentations. But once the sculling of his wings had removed him from her sight and he had disappeared into the distance, she hurled herself headlong down from the bank of a river close by.
But that kindly stream was doubtless keen to pay homage to the god who often scorches even the waters, and in fear for his person he at once cast her ashore on his current without injuring her, and set her on its grassy bank.
The rustic god Pan chanced to be sitting at that moment on the brow of the stream, holding the mountain deity Echo in his arms, and teaching her to repeat after him all kinds of songs. Close by the bank nanny-goats were sporting as they grazed and cropped the river-foliage here and there. The goat-shaped god was well aware of the calamity that had befallen Psyche.
He called her gently to him, lovesick and weary as she was, and soothed her with these consoling words. If my hazard is correct--sages actually call such guesswork divine insight--I infer from your stumbling and frequently wandering steps, from your excessively pale complexion and continual sighs, and not least from your mournful gaze, that you are suffering grievous love-pains. On that account you must hearken to me: Cease your sorrowing, lay aside your sadness, and instead direct prayers of adoration to Cupidos [Eros], greatest of gods, and by your caressing attentions win the favour of that wanton and extravagant youth.
She merely paid reverential homage to his divine person, and proceeded on her way. After wandering with weary steps for a considerable distance, as night bell a certain path led her all unknowing to the city where the husband of one of her sisters had his realm. Psyche recognised it, and asked that her arrival be announced to her sister.
She was then ushered in, and after they had greeted and embraced each other, her sister enquired why she had come. Psyche began to explain. I fell in with your proposal, but when the lamp which conspired with me allowed me to gaze on his face, the vision I beheld was astonishing and utterly divine; it was the son of the goddess Venus [Aphrodite], I mean Cupidos [Eros] himself, who lay peacefully sleeping there.
I exulted at the sight of such beauty, and was confused by the sense of overwhelming delight, and as I experienced frustration at being unable to enjoy relations with him, the lamp by dreadful mischance shed a drop of burning oil on his shoulder. At once the pain caused him to start from his sleep, and when he saw me wielding the steel and the flame, he said: Leave my bed this instant, and take your goods and chattels with you.
I shall now take your sister"--at this point he cited your name specifically--"in solemn marriage. She devised a lying excuse to deceive her husband, pretending that she had learnt of her parents' death; she at once boarded ship, and then made hot-foot for the rock. Although the wrong wind was blowing, her eagerness was fired by blind hope, and she said: But not even in death could she reach that abode for her limbs bounced on the rocky crags, and were fragmented.
Her insides were torn out, and in her fitting death she offered a ready meal to birds and beasts. The second punitive vengeance was not long delayed. Psyche resumed her wandering, and reached a second city where her other sister similarly dwelt. She too was taken in by her sister's deception, and in her eagerness to supplant Psyche in the marriage which they had befouled, she hastened to the rock, and fell to her deadly doom in the same way.
While Psyche was at this time visiting one community after another in her concentrated search for Cupidos [Eros], he was lying groaning in his mother's chamber, racked by the pain of the wound from the lamp. But then the tern, the white bird which wings her way over the sea-waves, plunged swiftly into the deep bosom of ocean.
She came upon Venus [Aphrodite] conveniently there as the goddess bathed and swam; she perched beside her, and told her that her son had suffered burning, and was lying in considerable pain from the wound, with his life in danger. As a result the entire household of Venus was in bad odour, the object of gossip and rebuke on the lips of people everywhere. They were claiming that Cupidos was relaxing with a leady of easy virtue in the mountains, and that Venus herself was idly swimming in the ocean, with the result that pleasure and favour and elegance had departed from the world; all was unkempt, rustic, uncouth.
There were no weddings, no camaraderie between friends, none of the love which children inspire; all was a scene of boundless squalor, of unsavoury tedium in sordid alliances. Such was the gossip which that garrulous and prying bird whispered in Venus' ear, tearing her son's reputation to shreds.
Venus was absolutely livid. Come on, then tell me her name, since you are the only one who serves me with affection. Who is it who has tempted my innocent, beardless boy? That son of mine must surely have regarded me as a procuress, when I pointed the girl out to him so that he could win her acquaintance. There she found her son lying ill as she had heard, and from the doorway she bellowed out as loudly as she could: First of all you trampled underfoot the instructions of your mother--or I should say your employer--and you refused to humble my personal enemy with a vile love-liaison; and then, mark you, a mere boy of tender years, you hugged her close in your wanton, stunted embraces!
You wanted me to have to cope with my enemy as a daughter-in-law! You take too much for granted, you good-for-nothing, loathsome seducer! You think of yourself as my only noble heir, and you imagine that I'm now too old to bear another. Just realize that I'll get another son, one far better than you. In fact I'll rub your nose in it further. I'll adopt one of my young slaves, and make him a present of these wings and torches of yours, the bow and arrows, and all the rest of my paraphernalia which I did not entrust to you to be misused like this.
None of the cost of kitting you out came from your father's estate. You show no respect to your elders, pounding them time after time. Even me your own mother you strip naked every day, and many's the time you've cuffed me.
This page was last edited on 18 September , at She glided down in the bosom of the flower-decked turf in the valley below. This was how with due ceremony Psyche was wed to Cupidos, and at full term a daughter was born to them. A Narrative Poem in Twelve Measures ; In the version of Martianus, sexual love draws Psyche into the material world that is subject to death: Need even more definitions? Jupiter and Juno situate themselves likewise, and all the other gods are arranged in order.
You show me total contempt as though I were a widow, and you haven't an ounce of fear for your stepfather, the bravest and greatest of warriors. And why should you? You are in the habit of supplying him with girls, to cause me the pain of having to compete with rivals. But now I'll make you sorry for this sport of yours. I'll ensure that you find your marriage sour and bitter. Where shall I go, how shall I curb in this scoundrel?
Should I beg the assistance of my enemy Sobrietate Sobriety , so often alienated from me through this fellow's loose living? The prospect of having to talk with that unsophisticated, hideous female gives me the creeps. Still I must not despise the consolation of gaining revenge from any quarter. She is absolutely the only one to be given the job of imposing the harshest discipline on this rascal. She must empty his quiver, immobilize his arrows, unstring his bow, extinguish his torch, and retrain his person with sharper correction.
Only when she has sheared off his locks--how often I have brushed them shining like gold with my own hands! Then she bustled out, glowering and incensed with passionate rage. At that moment Ceres [Demeter] and Juno [Hera] came up with her. When they observed her resentful face, they asked her why she was cloaking the rich charm of her radiant eyes with a sullen frown.
I ask you to search with might and main for that fickle runaway of mine called Psyche. I'm sure that the scandalous gossip concerning my household, and the behaviour of that unspeakable son of mine, have not passed you by. What harm is there, we should like to know, in his giving the glad eye to a nicely turned-out girl?
Don't you realize that he is in the prime of manhood, or are you forgetting his age? Just because he carries his years well, does he strike you as a perpetual boy? You are a mother and a sensible one at that. Are you always going to pry nosily into your son's diversions, and condemn his wanton ways, censure his love-life, and vilify your own skills and pleasures as practised by your handsome son? What god or what person on earth will bear with your scattering sensual pleasures throughout the world, when you sourly refuse to allow love-liaisons in your own house, and you close down the manufacture of women's weaknesses which is made available to all?
But Venus was affronted that the insults which she sustained were treated so lightly. She cut the tow of them short, turned on her heel, and stalked quickly off to the sea. She was restless in mind, but all the more eager, in spite of his anger, to soften him with a wife's endearments, or at any rate to appease him with a servant's entreaties. She spied a temple perched on the peak of a high mountain, and she said: She mounted the higher ridges with stout heart, and drew close to the sacred shrine. There she saw ears of wheat in a heap, and others woven into a garland, and ears of barley as well.
There were sickles lying there, and a whole array of harvesting implements, but they were in a jumbled and neglected heap, thrown carelessly by workmen's hands, as happens in summer-time. Psyche carefully sorted them out and ordered them in separate piles; no doubt she reflected that she should not neglect the shrines and rites of any deity, but rather implore the kindly spirit of each and all.
Kindly Ceres [Demeter] sighted her as she carefully and diligently ordered these offerings, and at once she cried out from afar: Venus [Aphrodite] is in a rage, mounting a feverish search for your traces all over the globe. She has marked you down for the sternest punishment, and is using all the resources of her divinity to demand vengeance. And here you are, looking to my interests, with your mind intent on anything but your own safety!
She swept the ground with her hair, and begged Ceres' [Demeter's] favour with a litany of prayers. Allow me to lurk hidden here among these heaps of grain if only for a few days, until the great goddess's raging fury softens with the passage of time, or at any rate till my strength, which is now exhausted by protracted toil, is assuaged by a period of rest.
So you must quit this dwelling at once, and count it a blessing that I have not apprehended and imprisoned you. As she retraced her steps, she noticed in a glimmering grove in the valley below an elegantly built shrine. Not wishing to disregard any means, however uncertain, which gave promise of brighter hope, and in her eagerness to seek the favour of any divinity whatsoever, she drew close to its sacred portals. There she observed valuable offerings, and ribbons inscribed with gold letters pinned to the branches of trees and to the doorposts. These attested the name of the goddess to whom they were dedicated, together with thanks for favours received.
She sank to her knees, and with her hands she grasped the altar still warm from a sacrifice. She wiped away her tears, and then uttered this prayer [to Juno-Hera]: I am told that it is your practice to lend unsolicited aid to pregnant women in danger. There and then the goddess said: But shame prevents me from opposing the will of Venus [Aphrodite], my daughter-in-law whom I have always loved as my own daughter.
There is a second obstacle--the legislation which forbids sanctuary for runaway slaves belonging to others, if their owners forbid it. Unable to meet up with her elusive husband, she abandoned all hope of salvation, and had recourse to her own counsel. Even the goodwill of goddesses however well-disposed has been of no avail to me.
Now that I am trapped in a noose as tight as this, where can I make for, under what roof or in what dark corner can I hide, to escape the unwinking eyes of mighty Venus? Why don't you show a manly spirit, and the strength to renounce idle hope? Why don't you surrender yourself voluntarily to your mistress, and soften her savage onslaught by showing a humble demeanour, however late in the day? You never know, you may find the object of your long search in her house. Venus [Aphrodite] now despaired of a successful search for her by earthly means, and she made for heaven.
She ordered her carriage to be prepared; Vulcanus [Hephaistos] had lovingly applied the finishing touches to it with elaborate workmanship, and had given it to her as a wedding-present before her initiation into marriage. The thinning motion of his file had made the metal gleam; the coach's value was measured by the gold it had lost. Four white doves emerged from the large herd stabled close to their mistress's chamber.
As they strutted gaily forward, turning their dappled necks from side to side. They submitted to the jewelled yoke. They took their mistress aboard and delightedly mounted upwards. Sparrows sported with the combined din of their chatter as they escorted the carriage of the goddess, and the other birds, habitually sweet songsters, announced the goddess's approach with the pleasurable sound of their honeyed tunes. The clouds parted, and Caelus Heaven [Ouranos Uranus ] admitted his daughter; the topmost region delightedly welcomed the goddess, and the tuneful retinue of mighty Venus had no fear of encounter with eagles or of plundering hawks.
She at once made for the royal citadel of Jupiter [Zeus], and in arrogant tones sought the urgent use of the services of the spokesman-god Mercurius Mercury [Hermes]. Jupiter's lowering brow did not refuse her. Venus happily quitted heaven at once with Mercurius accompanying her, and she spoke seriously to him: So I have no recourse other than that you as herald make a public proclamation of a reward for tracking her down.
So you must hasten to do my bidding, and clearly indicate the marks by which she can be recognized, so that if someone is charged with unlawfully concealing her, he cannot defend himself on the plea of ignorance. Then she at once retired home. Mercurius [Hermes] did not fail to obey her. He sped here and there, appearing before gatherings of every community, and as instructed performed the duty of making proclamation: Whoever does so will obtain as reward from Venus herself seven sweet kisses, and a particularly honeyed one imparted with the thrust of her caressing tongue.
As she drew near to her mistress's door, a member of Venus's [Aphrodite's] household called Consueto Habit confronted her, and at once cried out at the top of her voice: Or are you, in keeping with the general run of your insolent behaviour, still pretending to be unaware of the exhausting efforts we have endured in searching for you? How appropriate it is that you have fallen into my hands rather than anyone else's. You are now caught fast in the claws of Orcus [Haides], and believe me, you will suffer the penalty for your gross impudence without delay.
As soon as she was ushered in and presented before Venus' gaze, the goddess uttered the sort of explosive cackle typical of people in a furious rage. She wagged her head, scratched her right ear, and said: Or is the purpose of this visit rather to see your husband, whose life is in danger from the wound which you inflicted? You can rest assured that I shall welcome you as a good mother-in-law should. They obeyed their mistress's instruction, laid into poor Psyche and tortured her with other implements, and then restored her to their mistress's presence.
Venus renewed her laughter. I suppose she intends to make me a happy grandmother of that famed offspring; how lucky I am, in the bloom of my young days, at the prospect of being hailed as a grandma, and having the son of a cheap maidservant called Venus's grandson! But what a fool I am, mistakenly calling him a son, for the wedding was not between a couple of equal status.
Besides, ti took place in a country house, without witnesses and without a father's consent, so it cannot be pronounced legal. The child will therefore be born a bastard--if we allow you to reach full term with him at all! She then brought some wheat, barley, millet, poppyseed, chickpeas, lentils and beans. She mingled them together in an indiscriminate heap, and said to her: Separate out this mixed heap of seeds, and arrange the different kinds in their proper piles.
Finish the work before tonight, and show it to me to my satisfaction. Psyche did not lay a finger on this confused heap, which was impossible to separate. She was dismayed by this massive task imposed on her, and stood in stupefied silence. Then the little country-ant familiar to us all got wind of her great problem. It took pity on the great god's consort, and cursed the vindictive behaviour of her mother-in-law. Then it scurried about, energetically summoning and assembling a whole army of resident ants: As night fell, Venus returned from the wedding-feast flushed with wine and perfumed with balsam, her whole body wreathed with glowing roses.
When she observed the astonishing care with which the task had been executed, she said: Meanwhile Cupidos [Eros] was alone, closely guarded and confined in a single room at the back of the house. This was partly to ensure that he did not aggravate his wound by wanton misbehaviour, and partly so that he would not meet his dear one. So the lovers though under the one roof were kept apart from each other, and were made to endure a wretched night.
But as soon as Aurora's the Dawn's [Eos'] chariot appeared, Venus summoned Psyche, and spoke to her like this: There are sheep in it wandering and grazing unguarded, and their fleeces sprout with the glory of pure gold, I order you to go there ate once, and somehow or other obtain and bring back to me a tuft of wool from the precious fleece.
She wanted to seek the cessation of her ills by throwing herself headlong from a cliff above the river. But from that stretch of stream one of the green reeds which foster sweet music was divinely inspired by the gentle sound of a caressing breeze, and uttered this prophecy: You must not approach the fearsome sheep at this hour of the say, when they tend to be fired by the burning heat of the sun and charge about in ferocious rage; with their sharp horns, their rock-hard heads, and sometimes their poisonous bites, they wreak savage destruction on human folk.
But one the hours past noon have quelled the sun's heat, and the flocks have quieted down under the calming influence of the river-breeze, you will be able to conceal yourself under that very tall plane-tree, which sucks in the river-water as I do myself. Then, as soon as the sheep relax their fury and their disposition grows gentle, you must shake the foliage in the neighbouring grove, and you will find golden wool clinging here and there to the curved stems.
She did not disregard this careful instruction and suffer accordingly; she followed out every detail, and the theft was easily accomplished. She gathered the soft substance of yellow gold in her dress, and brought it back to Venus. But the hazard endured in this second trial won her no favourable acknowledgement from her mistress at least, for Venus frowned heavily, smiled harshly, and said: But no I shall try you out in earnest, to see if you are indeed endowed with brave spirit and unique circumspection. Do you see that lofty mountain-peak, perched above a dizzily high cliff, from where the livid waters of a dark spring come tumbling down, and when enclosed in the basin of he neighbouring valley, water the marshes of the Styx and feed the hoarse streams of the Cocytus?
I want you to hurry and bring me back in this small jug some icy water drawn from the stream's highest point, where it gushes out from within. Psyche made for the topmost peak with swift and eager step, for she was determined there at least to put an end to her intolerable existence.
But the moment she neared the vicinity of the specified mountain-range, she became aware of the lethal difficulty posed by her daunting task. A rock of huge size towered above her, hard to negotiate and treacherous because of its rugged surface. From its stony jaws it belched forth repulsive waters which issued directly from a vertical cleft.
The stream glided downward, and being concealed in the course of the narrow channel which it had carved out, it made its hidden way into a neighbouring valley. From the hollow rocks on the right and left fierce snakes crept out, extending their long necks, their eyes unblinkingly watchful and maintaining unceasing vigil. She was physically present, but her senses deserted her. She was utterly downcast by the weight of inescapable danger; she could not even summon the ultimate consolation of tears.
But the privations of this innocent soul did not escape the steady gaze of benevolent Providentia Providence. Suddenly highest Jupiter's [Zeus'] royal bird appeared with both wings outstretched: The bird now lent timely aid, and directed his veneration for Cupidos's power to aid his wife in her ordeal.
He quitted the shining paths of high heaven, flew down before the girl's gaze, and broke into speech: Rumour at any rate, as you know, ahs it that these Stygian waters are an object of fear to the gods and to Jupiter [Zeus] himself, that just as you mortals swear by the gods' divine power, so those gods frequently swear by the majesty of the Styx. So here, hand me that jug of yours. Balancing the weight of his drooping wings, he used them as oars on right and left to steer a course between the serpents' jaws with their menacing teeth and the triple-forked darting of their tongues.
He gathered some water in the face of its reluctance and its warning to him to depart before he suffered harm; he falsely claimed the Venus had ordered him to collect it, and that he was acting in her service, which made it a little easier for him to approach. So Psyche joyously took the filled jug and hastened to return it to Venus.
Even so, she was unable to conciliate the harsh goddess's resolve. Venus flashed a menacing smile as she addressed her with threats of yet more monstrous ill-treatment: But you will have to undertake one further task for me, my girl. Give the box to Proserpina [Persephone], and say: All pretence was at an end; she saw clearly that she was being driven to her immediate doom.
It could not be otherwise, for she was being forced to journey on foot of her own accord to Tartarus and the shades below. She lingered no longer, but made for a very high tower, intending to throw herself headlong from it, for she thought that this was the direct and most glorious route down to the world below. But the tower suddenly burst into speech, and said: What is the point of rash surrender before this, your final hazardous labour?
Once your spirit is sundered fro0m your body, you will certainly descent to the depths of Tartarus without the possibility of a return journey. Sparta, the famed Achaean city, lies not far from here.
On its borders you must look for Taenarus, which lies hidden in a trackless region. Dis [Haides] has his breathing-vent there, and a sign-post points through open gates to the track which none should tread. Once you have crossed the threshold and committed yourself to that path, the track will lead you directly to Orcus' very palace. But you are not to advance through that dark region altogether empty-handed, but carry in both hands barley-cakes baked in sweet wine, and have between your lips twin coins.
When you are well advanced on your infernal journey, you will meet a lame ass carrying a load of logs, with a driver likewise lame; he will ask you to hand him some sticks which have slipped from his load, but you must pass in silence without uttering a word. Immediately after that you will reach the lifeless river [Acheron] over which Charon presides. He peremptorily demands the fare, and when he receives it he transports travellers on his stitched-up craft over to the further shore.
So even among the dead, greed enjoys its life; even that great god Charon, who gathers taxes for Dis [Haides], does not do anything for nothing. A poor man on the point of death must find his fare, and no one will let him breathe his last until he has his copper ready. You must allow this squalid elder to take for your fare one of the coins you are to carry, but he must remove it form your mouth with his own hand. Then again, as you cross the sluggish stream, and old man now dead will float up to you, and raising his decaying hands will beg you to drag him into the boat; but you must not be moved by a sense of pity, for that is not permitted.
But you are not permitted to touch that either, for all these and many other distractions are part of the ambush which Venus will set to induce you to release one of the cakes from your hands. Do not imaging that the loss of a mere barley cake is a trivial matter, for if you relinquish either of them, the daylight of this world above will be totally denied you.
Posted there is a massive hound with a huge, triple-formed head [Cerberus]. This monstrous, fearsome brute confronts the dead with thunderous barking, though his menaces are futile since he can do them no harm. He keeps constant guard before the very threshold and the dark hall of Proserpina [Persephone], protecting that deserted abode of Dis [Haides]. You must disarm him by offering him a cake as his spoils. Then you can easily pass him, and gain immediate access to Proserpina herself. She will welcome you in genial and kindly fashion, and she will try to induce you to sit on a cushioned seat beside her and enjoy a rich repast.
But you must settle on the ground, ask for course bread, and eat it. Then you must tell her why you have come. When you have obtained what she gives you, you must make your way back, using the remaining cake to neutralize the dog's savagery.
Then you must give the greedy mariner the one coin which you have held back, and once again across the river you must retrace your earlier steps and return to the harmony of heaven's stars. Of all these injunctions I urge you particularly to observe this: Psyche immediately sped to Taenarus, and having duly obtained the coins and cakes she hastened down the path to Hades. She passed the lame ass-driver without a word, handed the fare to the ferryman for the river crossing, ignored the entreaty of the dead man floating on the surface, disregarded the crafty pleas of the weavers, fed the cake to the dog [Cerberus] to quell his fearsome rage, and gained access to the house of Proserpina [Persephone].
Psyche declined the soft cushion and the rich food offered by her hostess; she perched on the ground at her feet, and was content with plain bread. She then reported her mission from Venus [Aphrodite]. The box was at once filled and closed out of her sight, and Psyche took it. She quietened the dog's barking by disarming it with the second cake, offered her remaining coin to the ferryman, and quite animatedly hastened out of Hades. But once she was back in the light of this world and had reverently hailed it, her mind was dominated by rash curiosity, in spite of her eagerness to see the end of her service.
But inside there was no beauty-lotion or anything other than the sleep of Hades, a truly Stygian sleep. As soon as the lid was removed and it was laid bare, it attacked her and pervaded all her limbs in a thick cloud.
For a complete list, click here. A Journal of Entomology. Subscribe to Table of Contents Alerts. Table of Contents Alerts. Ross, and Robert A. Seshu Reddy, Shirish R. Barwale, and Usha B. Paul, Angiro Christopher, and Kajobe Robert.