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Robbers desolated Thessaly, long before the reign of the Emperor Adrian! A ravine losing itself between mountains, or woods, or a few stones hewed, and fitted in by the hand of man, or a hollow rock, crowned with a little verdure, with its sides split, in irregular and broken arches, and the entrance covered with moss! Such was their den, and they had only for attendants, and messmates a dog, an ass, and an old woman who bore, with respect to her years and her distaff, which she quitted but rarely, some resemblance to one of the fates, she who in the Infernal Regions holds the fatal spindle. Her furrowed cheeks and forehead, her emaciated hand, her coarse clothing, seemed to be in accordance with the uncivilised roughness of the places we have just described, and with the character and habits of the masters she had to serve. Besides, she was very skilful amongst other matters, in shortening the hours and beguiling weariness, by reciting what happened formerly, in telling tales of the good old time, again if on any day she had to divert a young and beautiful lady, who had been carried off the evening before, from her parents in the hope of receiving a rich ransom, and by whose dress it was easy to know that she was of high birth, the old woman then selected the best

tale her collection afforded. Seated on the ground, without more ceremony, at the entrance of the rock, the ass, the dog, and the young lady, with a small broken table not far from her, she begins to relate the tale of Psyche.

And fortunately, it happens that this tale instead of the dull insipid nonsense of mother Goose, and other story books, is found to be the most pleasing fable, and of the most elegant description that ever was, or that ever can be, at least so says Georges de la Bouthière, Autunois, who wrote in 1553.

So that from the time of the old woman, it is who can reproduce her tale, or be inspired with it, both painters, poets, sculptors, romances, the stage, antiquity, old and new times, do not cease to report to us, as if vying with each other, this same subject, of which, Raphael and his pencil afford us some brief recollections.

Il était une fois une ville, un roi et une reine.

La ville, les architectes l'avaient faite belle, à grand renfort de fûts, de piédestaux, d'entablemens, d'élégans attiques, de portiques hardis et de longues galeries à jour. Quant au roi et à la reine, ils avaient de leur mariage trois filles. Si belle était la cadette, qui se nommait Psyché, que, pour peu qu'elle se montrât en public suivie de ses sœurs on voyait, au grand dépit des aînées, accourir par les places et les rues, et se grouper autour d'elle comme en extase, hommes, femmes, enfans, vieillards; ici, et sous ses pas, on jonchait le chemin de fleurs; là, on lui faisait offrande de parfums. Quelques-uns même, s'agenouillant, l'adoraient. Insensés ! qui oublient qu'il est dans l'Olympe une déesse'de la beauté, dont les jalouses susceptibilités peuvent cruellement faire payer un jour à une pauvre mortelle ces hommages et ce culte auquel ont droit les seuls autels de Cythérée. Toujours est-il qu'irritée de ce qu'on la néglige, la mère de l'Amour se concerte avec son fils. Du haut des célestes demeures, elle lui désigne du doigt la rivale qu'elle hait, qu'il faut punir et lui sacrifier.

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Vous savez, de par notre monde moderne, de par le monde des cours, comment en use la diplomatie, alors qu'il lui arrive d'avoir à prémunir contre les dangereux attraits d'une jeune beauté sans conséquence quelque notabilité un peu trop prompte à s'enflammer. On prend un étranger, le premier venu, un pauvre hère sans entourage, sans fortune, sans dehors ni mérite; un bon et solide mariage se cimente, et tout est dit. Ce que veut la déesse ne ressemble pas mal à cette tactique; il lui faut Psyché amoureuse à l'excès, et contre le gré de sa famille, d'un homme ayant pour tout patrimoine la misère, la maladie, et le malheur porté à son comble. L'Amour a promis complète satisfaction à l'offensée; et, triomphante, Vénus a gagné le rivage de la mer.

There was once a City, a King, and a Queen! The City was made extremely beautiful by Architects, very strong, and adorned with pedestals, entablatures, elegant rooms, bold porticos, and long galleries admitting the light. As to the King and Queen, they had three daughters of their marriage. The youngest who was called Psyche, was so beautiful, that if followed by her sisters, she shewed herself ever so little in public, there was seen, to the great vexation of the elder daughters, to run from the different squares and streets and to place themselves in groups around her, as if in ecstasy, both men women, children, and old men. Here, under her feet they strewed flowers, there, they made an offering of perfumes. Some of them even, kneeling, adored her. Fools! to forget that there is in Olympus a Goddess of beauty, whose jealous susceptibility is able one day to make poor mortals repent dearly for that worship which is alone the peculiar right of the altars of Cytherea. Ever irritated at this neglect, the mother of Cupid plots with her and above from the celestial dwellings, she points out the rival whom she hates and whom it is necessary to punish and sacrifice to her.


You know in the modern world, in courts, in politics, how they act when it happens that it is necessary to protect some person of consequence, rather too susceptible of love, against the dangerous charms of some young beauty of mean birth. They make choice of a foreigner, the first who comes to hand, a poor creature without friends, fortune, neither possessed of manners nor merit, a good and solid marriage unites them and that ends it what the goddess desires, almost resembles that sort of proceeding, she must have Psyche violently in love, and against the will of her family, with a man whose patrimony is misery, disease, and misfortune in the extreme. Cupid promised complete satisfaction to the offended one, and Venus triumphant gains the sea-shore.

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