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After due attention paid to her head-dress, Venus attires herself with care and coquetry, orders forth her golden car, the workmanship of Vulcan, her chariot with carved wheels. At her voice four young and delicate pigeons, white like the plumage of the swan, present of their own accord, their necks of divers hues, to the yoke of pearl which the goddess attache to them. A double silken thread in her hand, Venus seats herself, and quitting the earth, guides the charming team towards the skies, and the regions of air grow serene, the clouds disperse, and dissipate at her approach. It was a day of Far niente, of holiday, in Empireum, Jupiter having Mercury at his side, on his knees was the thunder quiescent, at his feet his eagle with his usual air of fierceness, he was discoursing of amorous adventures with the son of Maia, of great repute in matters of that kind. The new comes was received with a smiling look. The dreadful brow which Apuleus qualifie by the word « cœruleus » that brow, a single movement of which, shakes all Olympus, wore no frown; the goddess was left at liberty to order the celestial crier the Deus vocalis, as Apuleus calls him (*), Mercury, charged from time immemorial with the employment, as every one knows, after having learnt by heart four written lines that Cytherea had given him, takes his speaking trumpet; and for greater agility he neither invests himself in tunic nor cloak. He went forth to publish in all the roads and cross-roads.
That it is made known to every one, both high and low,
That Venus having lost a certain fair slave
Calling herself the wife of her son,
And who is now gadding about the world;
As it is a matter which very nearly concerns her,
Shall receive two kisses of her mouth,
And whoever shall deliver her up, shall have someting beyond (**).
Lusus Esini, II, 30.
But here what a spectacle! Psyche bare shouldered, dragged by the hair to the feet of Venus, and scourged with rods! No compassion for her state of pregnancy, she pay no attention to her tears! Still harder, my faithful slaves!» continues to cry the mother of Cupid, delighting more in the pleasures of vengeance, in as much as they have been delayed, let that skin be coloured with glowing red, which pretends to be fair, and is merely wan; then after you have well chastised her, we shall compare the two Venus. » Thus saying, she threw back the scarf with which she was altired, intoxicated with her own divine charms, and, says Apuleus again, pinching her left ear with her finger and thumb, in sign of bitter raillery. However the cries of Psyche, affected deeply her lover, separated as he was from her, only by a slight drapery.