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[126] “Because you know your beauty you are haughty, and do not bestow your embraces, but sell them. What is the object of your nicely combed hair, your face plastered with dyes, and the soft fondness even in your glance, and your walk arranged by art so that lever a footstep strays from its place? It means of[p. 279] course that you offer your comeliness freely for sale. Look at me; I know nothing of omens, and I never attend to the astrologer's sky, but I read character in a man's face, and when I see him walk I know his thoughts. So if you will sell us what I want, there is a buyer ready: if you will be more gracious and bestow it upon us, let us be indebted to you for a favour. For when you admit that you are a slave of low degree, you fan the passion of a lady who burns for you. Some women kindle for vile fellows, and cannot rouse any desire unless they have a slave or a servant in short garments in their eye. Some burn for a gladiator, or a muleteer smothered in dust, or an actor disgraced by exhibiting himself on the stage. My mistress is of this class; she skips fourteen rows away from the orchestra, and hunts for a lover among the low people at the back.”

With my ears full of her winning words I then said,“It is not you, I suppose, who love me so?” The girl laughed loudly at such a clumsy turn of speech, and said, “Pray do not be so conceited. I never yielded to a slave yet, and God forbid that I should throw my arms round a gallows-bird. The married women may see to that, and kiss the scars of a flogging; I may be only a lady's maid, for all that I never sit down in any seats but the knights'.” I began to marvel at their contrary passions, and to count them as portents, the maid having the pride of a married lady, and the married lady the low tastes of a wench.

Then as our jokes proceeded further, I asked the maid to bring her mistress into the grove of planetrees. The plan pleased the girl. So she gathered her skirts up higher, and turned into the laurel grove[p. 281] which grew close to our path. She was not long away before she led the lady out of her hidingplace, and brought her to my side. The woman was more perfect than any artist's dream. There are no words that can include all her beauty, and whatever I write must fall short of her. Her hair grew in natural waves and flowed all over her shoulders, her forehead was small, and the roots of her hair brushed back from it, her brows ran to the edge of her cheekbones and almost met again close beside her eyes, and those eyes were brighter than stars far from the moon, and her nose had a little curve, and her mouth was the kind that Praxiteles1 dreamed Diana had. And her chin and her neck, and her hands, and the gleam of her foot under a light band of gold! She had turned the marble of Paros dull. So then at last I put my old passion for Doris to despite. . . .

“What is come to pass, Jupiter,2 that thou hast cast away thine armour, and now art silent in heaven and become an idle tale? Now were a time for thee to let the horns sprout on thy lowering forehead, or hide thy white hair under a swan's feathers. This is the true Danae. Dare only to touch her body, and all thy limbs shall be loosened with fiery heat.” . . .

1 The celebrated 4th century sculptor made for Mantinea a group (not extant) of Leto with Apollo and Artemis, a statue of Artemis Brauronia for Athens, and an Artemis for Anticyra.

2 Jupiter, when he loved Europa, Leda and Danae, appeared to them as a bull, a swan, and a shower of gold respectively.

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