How Apuleius fell in love with Fotis.
When I was within the house I found my deare and sweet love Fotis mincing of meat and making pottage for her master and mistresse, the Cupboord was all set with wines, and I thought I smelled the savor of some dainty meats: she had about her middle a white and clean apron, and shee was girded about her body under the paps with a swathell of red silke, and she stirred the pot and turned the meat with her fair and white hands, in such sort that with stirring and turning the same, her loynes and hips did likewise move and shake, which was in my mind a comely sight to see.
These things when I saw I was halfe amazed, and stood musing with my selfe, and my courage came then upon mee, which before was scant. And I spake unto Fotis merrily and sayd, O Fotis how trimmely you can stirre the pot, and how finely, with shaking your buttockes, you can make pottage. The shee beeing likewise merrily disposed, made answer, Depart I say, Miser from me, depart from my fire, for if the flame thereof doe never so little blaze forth, it will burne thee extreamely and none can extinguish the heat thereof but I alone, who in stirring the pot and making the bed can so finely shake my selfe. When she had sayd these words shee cast her eyes upon me and laughed, but I did not depart from thence until such time as I had viewed her in every point. But what should I speak of others, when as I doe accustome abroad to marke the face and haire of every dame, and afterwards delight my selfe therewith privately at home, and thereby judge the residue of their shape, because the face is the principall part of all the body, and is first open to our eyes. And whatsoever flourishing and gorgeous apparell doth work and set forth in the corporal parts of a woman, the same doth the naturall and comely beauty set out in the face. Moreover there be divers, that to the intent to shew their grace and feature, wil cast off their partlets, collars, habiliments, fronts, cornets and krippins, and doe more delight to shew the fairnesse of their skinne, than to deck themselves up in gold and pretious stones. But because it is a crime unto me to say so, and to give no example thereof, know ye, that if you spoyle and cut the haire of any woman or deprive her of the colour of her face, though shee were never so excellent in beauty, though shee were throwne downe from heaven, sprung of the Seas, nourished of the flouds, though shee were Venus her selfe, though shee were waited upon by all the Court of Cupid, though were girded with her beautifull skarfe of Love, and though shee smelled of perfumes and musks, yet if shee appeared bald, shee could in no wise please, no not her owne Vulcanus.
O how well doth a faire colour and a shining face agree with glittering hair! Behold, it encountreth with the beams of the Sunne, and pleaseth the eye marvellously. Sometimes the beauty of the haire resembleth the colour of gold and honey, sometimes the blew plumes and azured feathers about the neckes of Doves, especially when it is either anointed with the gumme of Arabia, or trimmely tuft out with the teeth of a fine combe, which if it be tyed up in the pole of the necke, it seemeth to the lover that beholdeth the same, as a glasse that yeeldeth forth a more pleasant and gracious comelinesse than if it should be sparsed abroad on the shoulders of the woman, or hang down scattering behind. Finally there is such a dignity in the haire, that whatsoever shee be, though she be never to bravely attyred with gold, silks, pretious stones, and other rich and gorgeous ornaments, yet if her hair be not curiously set forth shee cannot seeme faire. But in my Fotis, her garments unbrast and unlaste increased her beauty, her haire hanged about her shoulders, and was dispersed abroad upon her partlet, and in every part of her necke, howbeit the greater part was trussed upon her pole with a lace. Then I unable to sustain the broiling heat that I was in, ran upon her and kissed the place where she had thus laid her haire. Whereat she turned her face, and cast her rolling eyes upon me, saying, O Scholler, thou hast tasted now both hony and gall, take heed that thy pleasure do not turn unto repentance. Tush (quoth I) my sweet heart, I am contented for such another kiss to be broiled here upon this fire, wherwithall I embraced and kissed her more often, and shee embraced and kissed me likewise, and moreover her breath smelled like Cinnamon, and the liquor of her tongue was like unto sweet Nectar, wherewith when my mind was greatly delighted I sayd, Behold Fotis I am yours, and shall presently dye unlesse you take pitty upon me. Which when I had said she eftsoone kissed me, and bid me be of good courage, and I will (quoth shee) satisfie your whole desire, and it shall be no longer delayed than until night, when as assure your selfe I will come and lie with you; wherfore go your wayes and prepare your selfe, for I intend valiantly and couragiously to encounter with you this night. Thus when we had lovingly talked and reasoned together, we departed for that time.