The Golden Ass: The Transformations of Lucius (FSG Classics)
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The story of The Golden Ass is that of Lucius Apuleius, a young man of good birth who encountered many strange adventures while disporting himself along the roads to Thessaly. Not the least of these occurred when Apuleius offended a priestess of the White Goddess, who turned him into an ass. The tale of how Apuleius dealt with this misfortune and eventually resumed human form is conveyed by Robert Graves in modern English that is infused with a bawdy wit and sense of adventure that is "itself a small masterpiece of twentieth-century prose" (Kenneth Rexroth, Saturday Review).
a banquet of the Salian College at Rome. He had it all to himself, because though I like barley, I had always eaten it either boiled until tender in a stew, or properly milled and baked into bread. But I found the corner where the remaining loaves were stored and started munching ravenously. My jaws ached with hunger and seemed covered with cobwebs from long disuse. Late that night the bandits hastily left the cave; some were dressed up as ghosts, others wore ordinary clothes and carried swords.
about in all directions, one blowing softly on his conch-shell, another protecting Venus from sunburn with a silk parasol, a third holding a mirror for her to admire herself in, and a whole team of them, yoked two and two, harnessed to her car. When Venus goes for an ocean cruise she’s attended by quite an army of retainers. ‘Meanwhile Psyche got no satisfaction at all from the honours paid her. Everyone stared at her, everyone praised her, but no commoner, no prince, no king even, dared to make
stage as the ‘double take’. The audience applauds, but finds that it has applauded too soon; the real point, either funnier or more macabre than anyone expected, was yet to come. The brilliance of his showmanship suggests that he turned professional storyteller during his wanderings in Greece, using Lucius of Patra’s Ass as his stock piece—he felt its relevance to his case and Lucius happened to be his own name—and stringing a number of popular stories to it. Perhaps one day Thyasus, the
minds of her poor sisters, or even to look up at them without speaking. That night she went to bed without supper or bath or anything else to comfort her, and soaked her pillow with tears. Her husband came in earlier than usual, drew her to him, still weeping, and expostulated gently with her, “O Psyche, what did you promise me? What may I expect you to do next? You have cried all day and all evening and even now when I hold you close to me, you go on crying. Very well, then, do as you like,
themselves down wherever they happened to be standing and lay motionless for awhile until they felt a little rested, then they began to attend to their wounds, every man for himself, washing off the blood in a brook that ran through the wood, applying various remedies, then bandaging themselves; the bruises they sponged with water. An old man appeared at the top of the hill with goats feeding around him. One of our people hailed him and asked whether he had any milk or fresh cheese for sale. He