3. Apuleius, framing passages to Cupid and Psyche


Met. 4.27.8 ff.; 6.25.1

Sed ego te narrationibus lepidis anilibusque fabulis protinus auocabo”, et incipit: “Erant in quadam ciuitate rex et regina. Hi tres numero filias forma conspicuas habuere, sed maiores quidem natu, quamuis gratissima specie, idonee tamen celebrari posse laudibus humanis credebantur, at uero puellae iunioris tam praecipua tam praeclara pulchritudo nec exprimi ac ne sufficienter quidem laudari sermonis humani penuria poterat…”

Sic captiuae puellae delira et temulenta illa narrabat anicula; sed astans ego non procul dolebam mehercules quod pugillares et stilum non habebam qui tam bellam fabellam praenotarem.

“But I will tell you a pleasant old wives’ tale to put away all thy sorrow and to revive thy spirits;” and so she began in this manner: “THere was sometime a certain king, inhabiting in the west parts, who had to wife a noble dame, by whom he had three daughters exceeding fair: of whom the two elder were of most comely shape and beauty, yet they did not excel all the praise and commendation of mortal speech; but the sincular passing beauty and maidenly majesty of the youngest daughter was so far excellent, that no earthly tongue could by any means sufficiently express or set out the same…”

This the trifling and drunken old woman declared to the captive maiden, but I, poor ass, not standing far off, was not a little sorry in that I lacked pen and book to write so worthy a tale.

(trans. W. Adlington, rev. by S. Gaselee 1924)