The Myth of Psyche

Psyche is the human spirit or soul, personified as a beautiful woman. Her myth tells of Venus' intense jealousy of her marriage to Cupid. To prove that she is worthy, Psyche is required by Venus to perform seemingly undoable tasks. One of the tasks is to take a box carrying some of Venus' beauty to Proserpine. After successful delivery of the box and its contents, Psyche's curiosity gets the best of her. She peeks into the box and falls into a sleep of death. Luckily, Cupid finds her and rescues her. Then, with the help of Jupiter, Psyche is granted immortality.

('Pan and Psyche'
by Edward Burne-Jones)

'Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden'
by John William Waterhouse
from The Earthly Paradise by William Morris

Therewith down by the wayside did she sit
And turned the box round, long regarding it;
But at the last with trembling hands, undid
The clasp, and fearfully raised the lid;
But what was there, she saw not, for her head
Fell back and nothing she remembered
Of all her life, yet nought of rest she had,
The hope of which makes hapless mortals glad;
For while her limbs were sunk in deadly sleep
Most like to death, over her heart 'gan a creep
Ill dreams; so that for fear and great distress
She would have cried, but in her helplessness
Could open not her mouth, or frame a word.

'Psyche Opening the Golden Box'
by John William Waterhouse