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From The Æthiopica: “Heliodorus - An Aethiopian Romance” translated by Thomas Underdowne (Anno 1587), revised and partly rewritten by F. A. Wright; George Routledge & Sons Ltd.: London; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.; [with additional corrections in the online edition by S. Rhoads;] pp. 87-107.




‘When the pomp and funeral sacrifice was done,’ said Calasiris. ‘Nay, father,’ quoth Cnemon interrupting him, ‘it is not done yet, seeing that your talk hath not made me also a looker thereon. You slip from me, who desire wonderfully to behold the whole order thereof, as though I were one who came too late for the feast, as the proverb is, shutting up your theatre as soon as it is opened.’ ‘Cnemon,’ said Calasiris, ‘I did not wish to trouble you with such impertinent matters as you now desire, but would have brought you to the principal points of my tale and that which you desired at first. But since you desire to be a looker hereupon by the way, and declare yourself thus to be a true Athenian, I will briefly describe to you the bravery of that feast, as well for itself, because it is famous, as also for certain things that happened hereat. The Hecatomb went before, and such men as were but lately entered into the holy ministry, of rustic dress and life, led the same. Each one had a white robe girt about him, his breast and arm and right hand naked, and a poleaxe therein. All the oxen were black and very lusty, wagging their heads and lifting them up a little, with horns both even and straight, whereof some were gilded and others had 88 garlands of flowers upon them. Their legs were somewhat crooked, and their dewlaps hung below their knees, and there were just so many of them as would make an exact hecatomb in deed. After them followed a great sort of other offerings, every kind of beast being led by itself alone, with a pipe and flute to appoint when and with what they should begin. These beasts and their leaders were welcomed by certain virgins of Thessaly, arrayed in fair deep-girded robes, with their hair loose about their ears. The maids were divided into two companies, of which those who were in the first carried baskets full of flowers and fruit, the others bore trays of sweetmeats and perfumes and filled all the place with pleasant odour. They carried these things not in their hands but on their heads, and held hands together forward and backward in line, so that they might the more easily move in the dance. They received their song from another company, for it was the duty of these to sing the whole hymn. In this song was Thetis praised and Peleus, and then their son, and lastly his. After these maids, Cnemon, — ‘Nay,’ quoth Cnemon breaking in, ‘why do you rob me of the pleasantest part of the tale by not rehearsing me their song, as though I were only a spectator of what was done in their pomp and not a hearer also?’ ‘Well,’ said Calasiris, ‘seeing it is your pleasure, you shall hear it: this was the song —

    O Nereus, god of surging seas
    We praise thy daughter here
Whom Peleus at the strong command
    Of love did make his dear.
Thou art our lady Venus brave,
    In sea a glimpsing star:
Who thee, Achilles, did bring forth
    A very Mars in war.
89 A captain good unto the Greeks
    Thy glory scales the skies:
To thee did thy red headed wife
    Cause Pyrrhus rough to rise,
The Trojans’ utter overthrow,
    But stay to Greekish host:
Be thou, good Pyrrhus, unto us
    A favourable ghost.
Who here in grave entombed liest
    In Phoebus’ sacred ground,
Bow down thy ear to the holy hymns
    That we to thee do sound.
And this our city suffer not
    In any fear to be.
Of thee and Thetis is our song —
    Thetis, all hail to thee.’

‘This was the song made, Cnemon, as far as I remember. And there was so good order in the song, and the measure of their dancing agreed so well with the sound of the music, that men’s eyes neglected what they saw in comparison with what they heard, and those that stood by followed the maids as they passed on, as though they had been constrained with the pleasantness of their song, until the jolly lusty youths with their captain and ringleader appeared, the sight whereof was better than all description. The whole number of these youths was fifty, which was divided into twice five and twenty, each party arrayed about their captain, who rode in the midst of them. Their boots wrought of purple leather were folded finely a little above their ankles. Their cloaks were white, fastened with buckles of gold before their breasts, with a border of blue around the nethermost hem. Their horses all came out of Thessaly, and by their pleasant countenances showed the good pasturage of their country. They foamed on their bits, as though they thought scorn of such as rode upon them, yet they turned very readily as the riders would have them. Their saddles and the rest of their harness was so 90 beset with silver and gold that in this point the young men seemed to strive who should be bravest. But those who were present, Cnemon, did so despise and pass by these men thus apparelled, and look on the captain Theagenes, on whom was my care set, that all which showed before very bright was now darkened, as it had been by some passing lightning: such brightness did the sight of him bring to our eyes. He was on horse back in heavy armour, a spear of ash pointed with bronze in his hand, bare-headed without a helmet. His cloak was of purple wrought with gold, wherein was the battle of the Centaurs and the Lapiths; on the button of his cloak was Pallas pictured in electrum, bearing a shield before her breast whereon was Gorgon’s head. The comeliness and commendation of all that he did was somewhat increased by the easy blowing of the wind, which moved his hair about his neck, and parted it upon his forehead, and made his cloak wave so that the nether parts thereof covered the back and buttocks of his horse. You would have said that his horse was moved by the beauty of his master and knew that he did bear upon him a passing seemly man: in so fine a sort did he rear his neck and with pricked up ears toss his head and roll his eyes fiercely and prance and leap from the ground. When he had the reins a little at his will, he would set forward courageously, and turn about on both sides and beat the ground with the tips of his hoofs lightly, and moderate his fierceness with the pleasantness of his pace. Each man was amazed thereat, and gave the young man the principal praise, as well for his courage, as for the beauty and comeliness of his person. As for the common sort of women and such as could not moderate their affections, they cast apples and flowers at him, by that means, as 91 might be guessed, seeking to get his favour. For they were all of this opinion, that there could be no human shape which could surmount the seemliness of Theagenes.

‘But when Aurora with rosial fingers, as Homer saith, appeared, and the beautiful and wise Chariclea came out of Diana’s temple, then we perceived that Theagenes could be conquered, and so far conquered as the pure comeliness of woman’s beauty hath more and greater force of attraction than the fairest man. She was carried in a chariot drawn by a yoke of white oxen, and had on a purple gown down to her feet, spangled with gold. She was girded with a girdle, in making whereof the workman bestowed all his craft, in that he never made the like before nor was able to frame such another after. He tied two dragon’s tails behind her back between her shoulders, bringing further their contrary necks under her paps with an artificial knot, suffering both their heads to hang down after it was fastened about her. You would have said the serpents did not seem to creep but crept indeed. They were not fearful with their terrible looks, but seemed as though they had been wantonly asleep. As touching their matter, they were gold, but in colour blue-black. For the gold by art was darkened that black and gold mingled together might represent the roughness and diversity of the scales. Such was the maid’s girdle. Her hair was neither all bound up nor all loose. The most part thereof that grew behind hung over her shoulders; that which grew from the crown of her head downward to her forehead, being fair in colour and like to roses, was crowned with a garland of young laurel, which did not suffer the whole to be blown more than was seemly by the vehemence of the wind. In her left hand she bore a 92 gilded bow, and a quiver of arrows hung on her right shoulder, while in her left hand was a burning taper, and, though she was so attired, there came a brighter light from her eyes than from the taper.’ ‘These same are Theagenes and Chariclea indeed,’ said Cnemon. Calasiris thinking he had spied them somewhere asked him: ‘Where be they? Show me them for God’s sake.’ ‘Methought, father,’ said the other, ‘I saw them, not being here; so well did you describe them even as I remember once to have seen.’ ‘I cannot tell,’ quoth Calasiris, ‘whether you saw them so attired as on that day all Greece and the sun himself did see them. So fair and so happy were they that every man desired her for wife and every woman him for husband. The union of the twain they counted like to an immortal thing; albeit the people of the country praised the young man more, and the Thessalians the maid, both marvelling especially at that which they had not seen before. For a new countenance and seldom seen doth more move the mind than one wherewith we are daily acquainted. But O delectable deceit, O acceptable opinion! How thou didst comfort me, Cnemon, when I hoped that you had seen my dear children and wouldest have shown them to me! But thou goest about utterly to deceive me. For you promised me at the first that they would come by and by, and as reward obtained from me this tale of them; but yet you cannot show me them now, although the evening approach and it be dark night.’ ‘Be content,’ quoth he, ‘and fear not: they will come without doubt. Perhaps there is some let and hinderance that they come not so soon as was appointed between us; but even if they were here, I would not show you them until I had the whole reward you promised me. 93 Wherefore if you desire to see them in haste, perform what you promised and make an end of your unfinished tale.’ ‘I am very unwilling,’ quoth the other, ‘to do that which bringeth me in mind of that which grieveth me much; and I supposed too that you were weary of this my so long prattling. But since you are so desirous to hear and can never be wearied with a good tale, go to, let us proceed whence we left off. Yet first let us light a lamp and do sacrifice to the gods that govern in the night, that having performed the accustomed ceremonies we may lie here quietly and tell forward our tale.’

He said this, and straightway a maid brought in a lighted lamp, and he finished his sacrifice, and called upon divers of the gods and especially on Mercury, and desired to have some happy dream that night, praying humbly that his dearly beloved children might appear unto him in his sleep. And when he had done all this, he went on with his tale thus — ‘After the young men had gone three times around the tomb of Neoptolemus, the women cried out piteously and the men made a strange noise. Therewith suddenly all the oxen, rams, and goats were killed, as if they had been slain at one stroke. Last of all, when the altar, being of wonderful greatness, had very many cloven logs laid upon it, and all manners of lawful offerings were added thereto, they made request that Apollo’s priest might begin the sacrifice and set fire to the altar. Charicles said that the sacrifice indeed appertained to him, but that the captain of the holy legation should take the torch from her that was president of these ceremonies and set the altar on fire: for so was the fashion of the country. This he said, and did sacrifice, and Theagenes took the 94 torch. Surely, Cnemon, we may know by its deeds and workings that the mind is a heavenly thing and hath close affinity with the higher nature. For as soon as the young people saw each other, at the same moment they loved each other, as though the soul recognised its fellow and hastened towards its destined mate. At the first they stood still suddenly, as if in amaze. Then she slowly handed him the torch, and he likewise received it, viewing one another with steady eyes, as if either had seen or known the other before and was now trying to remember where. This done, they smiled a little, but secretly, so that it could hardly be perceived save by the softness of their glance. Afterwards, as though they were ashamed of what they did, they blushed; and then, within a while, when this affection, as I think, had gripped their hearts, they became pale. In a word, a thousand looks appeared on their faces in a short time, and the changing of all kind of colour and the rolling of their eyes plainly betokened the troubles in their mind. The people who were present, as may be guessed, perceived nothing of this, because every one was thinking of other matters; nor did Charicles, who at that time repeated the usual prayer. But I did nothing but mark the young couple, for I was moved to suspect what should come to pass by conjecture of their names, after what the oracle had said of Theagenes, when he was doing sacrifice in the temple. Yet I knew nothing exactly of what was signified in the latter part of the oracle.

When at length, and as it were by force, Theagenes had drawn away from the maid and with his torch set fire to the altar, the procession broke up and the Thessalians went to banqueting, while all the other people went every man to his own house. Chariclea 95 also, putting on a white cloak, went with a few of her familiars to her own chamber, which was within the compass of the temple. For she dwelt not with her supposed father, but in her desire of chastity altogether separated herself from him. I being now made more curious by reason of that which I had heard and seen came of set purpose to meet Charicles. ‘Did you see Chariclea,’ he asked, ‘my joy and the honour of the people of Delphi?’ ‘This was not the first time,’ I replied, ‘I have met her often before in the temple, and that too not as a chance acquaintance. She has done sacrifice many times with me, and she has asked and learned from me of any point she doubted, either of divine or human matters.’ ‘How liked you her to-day?’ quoth he. ‘Did she give some fresh splendour to the pomp?’ ‘Marry, sir Charicles,’ said I, ‘you seem to ask me whether the moon exceeds any whit the lesser stars.’ ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘some folk praised the Thessalian youth also.’ ‘Yea,’ said I, ‘they gave him the second or third place; but all acknowledged your daughter to be the principal sight and the very eye of the pomp.’ Charicles was well pleased with this — and I began now to draw to my purpose, especially desiring that he should be of good heart and doubt nothing — and smiling a little he said: ‘I go to her now: if it please you, come with me and let us see if this great company has been at all annoying to her.’ I was very glad of this request; yet I made as though I had other business to do, but was content to leave that and go with him.

When we came where she was and had gone into her chamber, we found her sick on her bed, quite distraught, and all her eyes bedewed with love drops. After she had embraced her father, as her manner was, 96 he asked her what she ailed. She made him answer that her head did ache, and that she would fain sleep if she might. Charicles, much grieved at this, went out of her chamber with me, and commanded the maids to make as little noise as might be, and when he came before his own house he said: ‘What should this mean, good Calasiris? What disease hath my dear daughter? ‘Marvel not,’ quoth I, ‘if she, having shewn herself in such a company, hath been spied by some spiteful eye.’ He smiled at this and said in jesting wise: ‘You then, as men commonly do, believe in witchcraft.’ ‘Yea marry,’ quoth I, ‘as much as I believe in anything that is true; and that for this reason. The air which is about us on every side, entering us by our eyes, nostrils, mouth and other pores, carrying with it such outward qualities as it is enduded withal, doth ingraft a like infection in them who have received it. For which cause, when man hath enviously looked upon any excellent thing, forthwith he hath filled the air with that pestilent quality, and sent forth also a poisoned breath to that which is near at hand. The same air, being a slender and subtle thing, pierceth even to the bones and very marrow, and by that means envy hath been cause to many of the disease which we call by its proper name ‘bewitching.’ Consider also, Charicles, how many have gotten sore eyes, and the plague, though they neither touched those that had such diseases, nor ate at their table, nor lay in their beds, but only by being in the same air. Let love, if anything, be a proof of this, who taketh his beginning and occasion from something which is seen, and then his passion, as though wind borne, shoots through the eyes and into the heart. And this is like to be true. For seeing that of all our other pores and senses sight is 97 the hottest and the most easily moved, it must needs receive such infections as are about it, and by its own hot spirit draw to itself the changing phases of love. If need be also I can bring for example’s sake some reasons out of the holy books, gathered from the consideration of nature. The curlew healeth those that have the king’s evil; which bird flieth away as soon as any that hath this disease hath spied her, and turneth her tail toward him, shutting her eyes. Not, as some say, because she would not help him, but that in looking upon him she draweth that evil disease unto her by nature, and therefore she declineth such sight as a present peril. Perhaps you have heard too how the basilisk, with his only breath and look, doth dry up and corrupt all that it passeth by. And it is no wonder if some do bewitch such as they hold most dear and wish best unto; for seeing that they be envious by nature, they do, not what they wish, but what by nature is appointed.’

After he had waited a while, he said: ‘You have discussed this question right wisely and with very probable arguments. I would to God that she might feel at length what affection and love meaneth: then I would not think that she were sick but in most perfect health; and you know I have craved your help to bring this about. But now nothing less than this is to be feared to have happened to her, who hateth her bed and will be won by no love, but seemeth rather to be bewitched indeed. But I doubt not but you will undo this witchcraft, because of your singular wisdom and the friendship which is betwixt us.’ I promised him then, if I could perceive her grief, to help her what I could.

While we yet talked of these matters, one came to us in haste and said: ‘Good sirs, you make such 98 tarriance, as if you were called to a battle or skirmish and not to a banquet. The maker thereof is Theagenes, and great Neoptolemus is the president of the same. Come then, neither let the banquet through your default be continued till night, seeing that none but you are now absent.’ ‘This fellow,’ quoth Charicles to me in mine ear, ‘biddeth us with a cudgel in his hand. How little like the Bacchic god is he, albeit he is well soaked already. But let us go; for it is to be doubted lest, if we tarry, he will drive us forward with blows.’ ‘You jest,’ said I; ‘but let us go.’ When we came, Theagenes placed Charicles beside himself, and honoured me also somewhat for his sake. Why do I trouble you now with telling how the maids danced, and what instruments were there, and how the young youths danced the dance called Pyrrhica in armour, and other things also; wherewith Theagenes had mingled fine and delicate meats, ordering his banquet as if it had been a merry drinking party. But that which is needful for you to hear and pleasant for me to tell is this. Theagenes set a merry countenance on the matter, and strained himself wonderfully that he might entertain his guests courteously and make them good cheer. But I perceived whereto his mind was bent by the rolling of his eyes and sudden sighing without cause. Sometimes he was sad and in a muse; then straightway, as though he knew his own fault and would correct himself, he would be merry; to be short, he changed his countenance a thousand ways. For the mind of a lover, as of a drunken man, is flexible and can tarry in no certain state, both, as it were, swimming in a moist affection. And for this reason a lover will soon be drunk, and a drunken man soon in love. By his sorrowful gaping and careful countenance all those who were there presently saw 99 that he was not well. Even Charicles noticed his change of looks, and said to me softly: ‘Hath some envious eye looked upon him also? Methinks that he and Chariclea have the same disease.’ ‘They have indeed, by Isis,’ said I; ‘and not without cause, since in the procession next to her he was the fairest person.’ Thus talked we. But when the cups began to go about, Theagenes drank to every man, although against his will, for courtesy’s sake. When he came to me, I said that I thanked him for his gentle offer, but did not drink. He, thinking I had despised him, looked at me angrily with burning eyes. Which as soon as Charicles perceived he said: ‘This man drinketh no wine nor eateth of the flesh of any living thing.’ He asked: ‘Why?’ ‘He is,’ quoth he, ‘an Egyptian, born at Memphis, a priest of Isis.’ When Theagenes heard that I was an Egyptian and a priest, he conceived a wonderful pleasure and stretched himself for joy, as those who have found some great treasure, and called for water, and after he had drunk a good draught, he said: ‘Right wise man, I have drunk to you of that which you like best, and I pray you let this table make a lasting league of amity between us.’ ‘May it be so, worthy Theagenes,’ said I; ‘I have a good while desired the same.’ So receiving it from his hand I did drink, and with such talk we made an end of the banquet and went everyone to his own lodging. But Theagenes embraced me very lovingly and with kisses, both oftener and more familiarly than our former acquaintance suffered. After I came home I slept not the first part of the night, thinking of the young couple and studying diligently what the latter part of the oracle should mean. When it was midnight, I saw Apollo and Diana, as I thought — if indeed it was thought and not rather truth — and 100 he delivered Theagenes to me and she Chariclea. Then calling me by my name: ‘It is time,’ they said, ‘that you return to your country; for so the ladies of destiny command. Go therefore hence thyself and take these with thee, and love them as thine own children, and bring them out of Egypt whither and how it shall please the gods.’ When they had said this they went away, giving first a token that it was not a dream that I saw but a thing done in deed. I understood all the rest as I had seen it, but into what country or to what people they should be carried I could not tell.’ ‘You will tell me hereafter, father,’ quoth Cnemon, ‘if you know yourself. But how mean you that the gods were shewn to you not in your sleep, but manifestly appeared.’ ‘Even so, my son,’ quoth he, ‘as wise Homer in a riddle did signify; although many let the hardness of the saying pass. For he saith somewhere:

‘Quickly I knew the marks
    Of his fair feet.
 For God’s are easy known
    When men they meet.

‘I myself seem to be one of that sort of people,’ said Cnemon. ‘Perhaps it was to reprove me, Calasiris, that you have made mention of these verses, the words whereof I well remember since the time I first learned them; but that there was divinity contained in them I knew not.’ Calasiris waited a little, making ready to tell him the secret meaning, and said: ‘The gods and other heavenly powers, Cnemon, coming and going from us, change themselves seldom into the likeness of other creatures, but commonly into men, that we, supposing by the likeness of their figure that what we saw was a dream, may be so beguiled. But 101 although the rude and profane people know them not, yet can they not escape the wise man. He will know them either by their eyes, in that they look steadfastly and never shut their eyelids; or better still by their gait, in that they move not their feet nor set one foot before another, but are carried by some force and unchecked power through the air, rather sliding through than striding over the winds. Wherefore the Egyptians make the images of their gods with their feet joined together and not separated asunder. Which thing the skilful Homer, like an Egyptian and one well instructed in the holy doctrine, secretly and closely signified in his verses, leaving them to be understood by such as had the power. Of Pallas he speaketh thus:

‘Also her terrible eyes did glister as she looked.’ And of Poseidon thus:

‘His footprints as he went easily I knew’ — meaning that he went, as it were, with a swimming gait; for the word ‘easily’ goes with ‘went,’ not, as some folk wrongly have imagined, with ‘I knew.’

‘You have initiated me well, sir, into these mysteries,’ said Cnemon; ‘but when you often call Homer an Egyptian — a thing which no one has ever heard of — though I may not disbelieve you, yet I marvel, and beg you now to discuss this question also.’

‘It is nothing near to our purpose,’ said the other, ‘to talk of such things, but yet I will briefly tell you. Homer by divers reports may be ascribed to divers countries, and indeed to the wise man no country comes amiss. But to tell the truth, he was our countryman, an Egyptian born in Thebes of the hundred gates, and his father was putatively a prophet but in reality the god Hermes, in whose temple the father 102 served. For when his mother was doing certain sacrifices after the manner of the country she fell asleep in the temple and the god lay with her and engendered Homer. Who indeed had about him token of unlawful generation, for on both his thighs from birth there grew a great deal of hair. Wherefrom, as he travelled in Greece and other countries reciting his poems, he got his name. He himself would neither tell his name, nor his country, nor kindred; therefore those who knew the quality of his body gave him a name therefrom.’ ‘To what end, father,’ quoth Cnemon, ‘would he not tell his country?’ ‘Either,’ said he, ‘he was ashamed of his banishment — for he was driven out of his country by his father when the time came for him to become a priest, being known then to be a bastard by reason of the mark on his body — or else he concealed his country from policy, in order that he might lawfully say he was born everywhere.’ ‘Your words seem to me very true and wise,’ said Cnemon; ‘for when I consider Homer’s verse it is truly of Egyptian fashion, stuffed with all pleasure and delectation; while as for his natural excellence, he would not so far surpass all other men had he not some tincture of the divine in him. But when you perceived in true Homeric fashion that your visitors were gods, tell me, Calasiris, what happened next.’ ‘Just such things as had been before, Cnemon; I slept little, devised much, and fell into such cogitations as liketh the night well. I rejoiced to think that I had found something I had not expected, and looked forward gladly to returning to my own country. Yet was I sorrowful that Charicles should lose his daughter. I thought how I should carry the young folks away with me, and what means were to be devised for our departure. I was 103 troubled too as touching this same, how we might do it privily and to what place we should go, and whether by sea or land. Indeed a thousand restless thoughts arose in my head and I slept no more that night.

‘It was scarcely day when one knocked at my door and I heard a boy calling. My man asked who called and what he would have, and he answered that Theagenes the Thessalian was there. I was glad of these tidings and bade him to be called in, thinking that this beginning did offer itself that I might learn how to bring to pass that which I was about. For I guessed that he came to crave my help to obtain his love, because he heard at the banquet that I was an Egyptian and a priest, and thought, as many wrongly do, that the wisdom of the Egyptians is always one and the same thing. But of our wisdom there is one kind that is common and — as I may term it — creeps on the ground, which is concerned with ghosts and occupied about dead bodies, using herbs and addicted to enchantments, neither tending itself nor bringing such as use it to any good end. It often is deceived by its own practices and its success is of a vile and terrible sort; that is to say it gives visions of such things as are not, as though they were, and beguileth men of such things as they looked for, a deviser of mischief and a minister of foul and unlawful pleasures. The other, my son, which is the true wisdom, from whence the counterfeit has degenerated, we priests and holy men do practise from our youth. It is conversant with heavenly things, liveth with the gods, and partakes of the higher nature, considering the moving of the stars and gaining a knowledge of the future therefrom, far removed from these earthly evils and directing all things to the honesty and commodity of men. It was at the guidance of this wisdom that 104 I left my country for a time, if by any means I could avoid the things that were foreshewn to me, as I told you before, and the battle between my sons. But let us leave these things to the gods, and especially to the ladies of destiny, in whose power it lies to do this or to refrain. For they decreed my banishment not more, it seems, for this reason than that I should find Chariclea. And how that happened you shall know by that which followeth.’

After Theagenes was come in and bade me good morning, and I had saluted him again, I set him down on my bed beside me and asked him: ‘What earnest matter drove you hither to me thus early?’ After he had stroked his face a little, ‘I am in great distress,’ quoth he, ‘and I am ashamed to tell you why.’ I thought it then a fit time to glose with him, and to guess that that which I knew full well. Therefore, looking upon him cheerfully, I said: ‘Although you be ashamed to tell me, yet nothing can be hidden from my wisdom and the knowledge of the gods.’ And after I had lifted up myself a little, and made as though I would have cast some account with my fingers, and spread my hair about my ears like one that would have prophecied, I said: ‘My son, thou art in love.’ He started at my words, and when I added: ‘with Chariclea,’ — then supposing I knew it from God, he could scarce refrain from falling down and worshipping me. Which when I would not let him do, he came to me, and kissed my head oft, and gave God thanks that his hope had not failed him, and prayed me heartily that I would save him. For he could not live if he had not help, and that immediately: so great was the trouble that he felt and so vehemently did his heart burn; the more because he never was 105 to love before. For he sware unto me many oaths that he never had to do with woman, and that he utterly refused marriage and love, if any were proffered him, until Chariclea’s beauty had overcome him. Not because he was chaste of nature, or could not do like other men, but because till then he had never seen a woman worthy to be loved. And as he said this he wept, in token that by force and against his will he was subdued by the maid. I took him up, and comforted him, and said: ‘Be of good cheer, now that you have once come to me for help; she will not be stronger than my wisdom. It is true that she is somewhat austere and can hardly be made to love, utterly despising Venus and marriage, if she do but hear them named; but for your sake we must try all means. Art can break nature. Only you must be bold, and do whatsoever thing necessary I command you.’ He promised to do all that I should tell him, even if I bade him walk upon the blades of swords.

While he was thus praying and beseeching me, promising to give me all that he ever had for my pains, one came from Charicles and said: ‘Sir, Charicles desireth you to come to him. He is in Apollo’s temple hereby, and prayeth to the god; for he has been troubled, I know not how, by certain dreams.’ Thereupon I rose; and when I had sent Theagenes away and was come to the temple, I found Charicles sitting in a stall, very sad and sorrowful. I came to him and said: ‘Why be you so sad?’ He answered: ‘Why should I not? Diverse visions in my sleep have troubled me, and my daughter, as I hear, is very sick and slept never a wink this night. For my part, although for many reasons her sickness grieves me, yet the greatest is that to-morrow is a day ordained for sport, and the custom is for the temple priestess 106 to hold forth the torch to those who run in armour and be the judge of their race. Of two things then one must happen; either her absence will break this long accustomed order, or else by coming against her will she shall be more sick. Wherefore, even if before you could not, yet help her now, and do us this good turn, which shall well beseem our friendship and be besides an act of piety toward God. I know that it is easy for you, if you will, even to heal one who is, as you say, bewitched. For holy priests can bring wonderful things to pass.’ I said, beguiling him also, that I had been careless hitherto, and asked for one day’s liberty to make some medicine for her. ‘At this present,’ I went on, ‘let us go to the maid, and consider her more diligently, and comfort her as much as we may. And I would also, Charicles, that you should have some talk with the maid concerning me, and by your commendation bring me into better credit with her, that she being more familiar with me may the boldlier suffer me to heal her.’ ‘Content,’ said he; ‘let us be going.’

After we came to Chariclea, to what end should one make many words! She was altogether vanquished by her affliction: the roses had gone from her cheeks, and the brightness of her eyes was quenched with tears, as if it had been with water. Yet when she saw us she composed herself, and tried to regain her wonted looks and speech. Charicles embraced and kissed her a thousand times, and omitting no kind of endearment — ‘My child, my sweet daughter,’ quoth he, ‘wilt thou not tell thy father what thy sickness is? Seeing that thou hast been bewitched, why dost thou hold thy peace, as though thou wert the wrong-doer and wert not thyself injured by those eyes which so unluckily looked upon thee? But be 107 of good heart. I have begged this wise man Calasiris to find some remedy for thee; which thing he can well perform, for he is as excellent as any man in heavenly knowledge, as one who is by profession a priest, and best of all he is our good friend. Wherefore you will do very well if you suffer him without any impediment to use for your cure either any enchantment or whatever else he will: in any case the company of such wise men is pleasant to you.’ Chariclea said nothing, but moved her head as though she consented to the counsel he gave her. When these things were thus ordered we went away. Charicles reminding me that I should have regard to my promise and bethink me how I might make her have a fancy for marriage and a desire of men. I made him then very glad when I told him that within a short time I would satisfy his mind.

Further corrections in the online edition by S. Rhoads © 2006


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