Author: Petronius Arbiter

Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh.

She was delighted and so be witchingly did she smile that I seemed to see the full moon showing her face from behind a cloud. Then, punctuating her words with her fingers, "Dear boy, if you are not too critical to enjoy a woman of wealth who has but this year known her first man, I offer you a sister," said she. "You have a brother already, I know, for I didn’t disdain to ask, but what is to prevent your adopting a sister, too? I will come in on the same footing only deem my kisses worthy of recognition and caress me at your own pleasure!" "Rather let me implore you by your beauty," I replied. "Do not scorn to admit an alien among your worshipers: If you permit me to kneel before your shrine you will find me a true votary and, that you may not think I approach this temple of love without a gift, I make you a present of my brother!" "What," she exclaimed, "would you really sacrifice the only one without whom you. could not live’? The one upon whose kisses your happiness depends. Him whom you love as I would have you love me?" Such sweetness permeated her voice as she said this, so entrancing was the sound upon the listening air that you would have believed the Sirens’ harmonies were floating in the breeze. I was struck with wonder and dazzled by I know not what light that shone upon me, brighter than, the whole heaven, but I made bold to inquire the name of my divinity. "Why, didn’t my maid tell you that I am called Circe?" she replied. "But I am not the sun-child nor has my mother ever stayed the revolving world in its course at her pleasure; but if the Fates bring us two together I will owe heaven a favor. I don’t know what it is, but some god’s silent purpose is beneath this. Circe loves not Polyaenos without some reason; a great torch is always flaming when these names meet! Take me in your arms then, if you will; there’s no prying stranger to fear, and your ’brother’ is far away from this spot!" So saying, Circe clasped me in arms that were softer than down and drew me to the ground which was covered with colored flowers.

With flowers like these did Mother Earth great Ida’s summit strew
When Jupiter, his heart aflame, enjoyed his lawful love;
There glowed the rose, the flowering rush, the violet’s deep blue,
From out green meadows snow-white lilies laughed. Then from above,
This setting summoned Venus to the green and tender sod,
Bright day smiled kindly on the secret amour of the God.

Side by side upon the grassy plot we lay, exchanging a thousand kisses, the prelude to more poignant pleasure, (but alas! My sudden loss of vigor disappointed Circe!)


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Chicago: Petronius Arbiter, "Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh.," Satyricon, trans. W. C. Firebaugh in Satyricon (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922), Original Sources, accessed March 24, 2023,

MLA: Arbiter, Petronius. "Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh." Satyricon, translted by W. C. Firebaugh, in Satyricon, New York, Boni and Liveright, 1922, Original Sources. 24 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Arbiter, P, 'Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh.' in Satyricon, trans. . cited in 1922, Satyricon, Boni and Liveright, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 24 March 2023, from