The Golden Asse

by Lucius Apuleius

Adlington's translation, 1566

The Preface of the Author

To his Sonne, Faustinus

And unto the Readers of this Book

That I to thee some joyous jests may shew in gentle glose,
And frankly feed thy bended eares with passing pleasant prose:
So that thou daine in seemly sort this wanton booke to view,
That is set out and garnisht fine, with written phrases new.
I will declare how one by hap his humane figure lost,
And how in brutish formed shape his loathed life he tost.
And how he was in course of time from such estate unfold,
Who eftsoone turn'd to pristine [*] shape, his lot unlucky told.

What and who he was attend [*] a while, and you shall understand that it was even I, the writer of myne owne Metamorphosie and strange alteration of figure. Hymettus, Athens, Isthmia, Ephire Tenaros, and Sparta, being fat and fertile soiles (as I pray you give credit to the bookes of more everlasting fame) be places where myne antient progeny and linage did sometime flourish: there I say, in Athens, when I was yong, I went first to schoole. Soone after (as a stranger) I arrived at Rome, whereas by great industry, and without instruction of any schoolemaster, I attained to the full perfection of the Latine tongue. Behold, I first crave and beg your pardon, lest I should happen to displease or offend any of you by the rude and rustick utterance of this strange and forrein language. And verily this new alteration of speech doth correspond to the enterprised matter whereof I purpose to entreat, I will set forth unto you a pleasant Grecian jest. Whereunto gentle Reader if thou wilt give attendant eare, it will minister unto thee such delectable matter as thou shalt be contented withall.