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Psyche on the Rock

Part II

Thus poor Psyche being left alone weeping and trembling on the top of the rock, was blown by the gentle air and of shrilling Zephyrus, and carried from the hill with a meek wind, which retained her garments up, and by little and little brought her down into a deep valley, where she was laid in a bed of most sweet and fragrant flowers.

Thus fair Psyche being sweetly couched amongst the soft and tender herbs, as in a bed of sote and fragrant flowers, and having qualified the troubles and thoughts of her restless mind, was now well reposed. And when she had refreshed herself sufficiently with sleep, she rose with a more quiet and pacified mind, and fortuned to espy a pleasant wood environed with great and mighty trees. She espied likewise a running river as clear as crystal: in the midst of the wood, well-nigh at the fall of the river, was a princely edifice, wrought and builded, not by the art or hand of man, but by the mighty power of God: and you would judge at the first entry therein, that it were some pleasant and worthy mansion for the powers of heaven. For the embowings above were of cytern and ivory, propped and undermined with pillars of gold, the walls covered and seeled with silver, divers sorts of beasts were graven and carved, that seemed to encounter with such as entered in: all things were so curiously and finely wrought, that it seemed either to be the workof some demi-god, or god himself. The pavement was all of precious stone, divided and cut one from another, whereon was carved divers kinds of pictures, in such Sort, that blessed and thrice blessed were they which might go upon such a pavement: every part and angle of the house was so well adorned, that by reason of the precious stones and inestimable treasure there, it glittered and shone in such sort that the chambers, porches and doors gave light as it had been the sun. Neither otherwise did the other treasure of the house disagree unto so great a majesty, that verily it seemed in every point a heavenly palace fabricate and builded for Jupiter himself.

Then Psyche moved with delectation approached nigh, and taking a bold heart entered into the house, and beheld everything there, with great affection: she saw storehouses wrought exceeding fine, and replenished with abundance of riches. Finally there could nothing be devised which lacked there, but amongst such great store of treasure, this was more marvellous, that there was no closure, bolt, nor lock to keep the same. And when with great pleasure she viewed all these things, she heard a voice without any body that said: "Why do you marvel, madame, at so great riches? behold all that you see is at your commandment: wherefore go you into the chamber and repose yourself upon the bed, and desire what bath you will have, and we whose voices you hear be your servants, and ready to minister unto you according to your desire. In the mean season, royal meats and dainty dishes shall be prepared for you."

Then Psyche perceived the felicity of divine providence, and according to the advertisement of the incorporal voices, she first reposed herself upon the bed, and then refreshed her body in the bains. This done, she saw the table garnished with meats, and a chair to sit down.

When Psyche was set down, all sorts of divine meats and wines were brought in, not by any body, but as it were with a wind, for she could see no person before her, but only hear voices on every side. After that all the services were brought to the table, one came in and sang invisibly, another played on the harp, but she saw no man. The harmony of the instruments did so greatly thrill in her ears, that though there were no manner of person, yet seemed she in the midst of a multitude of people.

All these pleasures finished, when night approached Psyche went to bed: and when she was laid, that the sweet sleep came upon her, she greatly feared her virginity, because she was alone: then came her unknown husband and lay with her: and after that he had made a perfect consummation of the marriage, he rose in the morning before day, and departed.

Soon after came her invisible servants, presenting such things as were necessary for her defloration. And thus she passed forth a great while: and, as it happened, the novelty of the things by continual custom did increase her pleasure, but specially the sound of the instruments was a comfort unto her being alone.

During this time that Psyche was in this place of pleasures, her father and mother did nothing but weep and lament, and her two sisters hearing of her most miserable fortune came with great dolour and sorrow to comfort and speak with their parents.

The night following, Psyche's husband spake unto her (for she might feel his eyes, his hands, and his ears), and said: "O my sweet spouse and dear wife, fortune doth menace unto thee imminent peril and danger, whereof I wish thee greatly to beware: For know thou that thy sisters, thinking thou art dead, be greatly troubled, and are come to the mountain by thy steps. Whose lamentations if thou fortune to hear, beware that thou do in no wise either make answer or look up towards them: for if thou do, thou shalt purchase to me a great sorrow, and to thyself utter destruction." Psyche, hearing her husband, was contented to do all things as he commanded.

After that he was departed, and the night passed away, Psyche lamented and cried all the day following, thinking that now she was past all hope of comfort, in that she was closed within the walls of a prison, deprived of human conversation, and commanded not to aid or assist her sorrowful sisters, no nor once to see them: Thus she passed all the day in weeping and went to bed at night without any refection of meat or bain.

Incontinently after came her husband, who, when he had embraced her sweetly, gan say: "Is it thus that you perform your promise, my sweet wife? What do I find here, pass you all the day and the night in weeping? and will you not cease in your husband's arms? Go to, do what you will, purchase your own destruction, and when you find it so, then remember my words, and repent, but too late."

Then she desired her husband more and more, assuring him that she should die, unless he would grant that she might see her sisters, whereby she might speak with them and comfort them; whereat at length he was contented, and moreover he willed that she should give them as much gold and jewels as she would. But he gave her a further charge, saying: "Beware that ye covet not, being moved by the pernicious counsel of your sisters, to see the shape of my person, lest by your curiosity you be deprived of so great and worthy estate."

Psyche being glad herewith rendered unto him most entire thanks, and said: "Sweet husband, I had rather die than to be separate from you: for whosoever you be, I love and retain you within my heart, as if you were mine own spirit or Cupid himself: but I pray you grant this likewise, that you would command your servant Zephyrus to bring my sisters down into the valley, as he brought me." Wherewithal she kissed him sweetly, and desired him gently to grant her request, calling him her spouse, her sweetheart, her joy, and her solace, whereby she enforced him to agree to her mind; and when morning came he departed away.

Next: Part III