FLAVIANUS. Was it not in Helicon, dear Autobulus,
that those discourses were held concerning Love, which—
whether thou hast already set them down in writing, or
still carriest them in thy memory, as having often desired
them from thy father—we are now in expectation that
thou wilt recite to us, at our importunate request?
AUTOBULUS. I was in Helicon, dear Flavianus, among
the Muses, at what time the Thespians performed the
Erotic solemnities. For they celebrate every four years
certain games and festivals very magnificent and splendid
in honor of Cupid, as well as of the Muses.
FLAV. Know'st thou then what it is we all desire at thy
hands, as many as are gathered here together to be thy
AUTOB. No; but I shall know, when I am once by you
FLAY. Curtail, we beseech ye, your discourse at present,
forbearing the descriptions of meadows and shades, together with the crawling ivy, and whatever else poets are
so studious to add to their descriptions, imitating with more
curiosity than grace Plato's Ilissus,1
with the chaste tree
and the gentle rising hillock covered with green grass.
AUTOB. What needed my relation, dearest Flavianus,
such a proem as this? The occasion that gave birth to
these discourses of itself (as it were) asks for a chorus, and
it requires a theatre; otherwise there is nothing wanting
of a complete drama. Therefore let us only beseech
Memory, the mother of the Muses, to be propitious and
assist us in the discovery of the fable.