Page Cupid

Of all pages, wily CupidIs most pampered and ill-bred,Playing pranks with naughty children,Sleeping in a lady's bed… As is usual with burglars,He keeps clear of any lightAnd, with great precaution groping,Climbs the window-sills at night. Ribbons and all sort of triflesAre his only fortune true;He's profuse if you don't want them,Avaricious if you do. When, for truth, you con moth-eatenVolumes at the candle's flare,You will find, stuck to their folios,Strands from her bright golden hair. He implants the haziest notionsIn the crude and unripe ageAnd, all night, of brilliant picturesHe unfolds an ample page. When the little girl is torturedBy some dizzy thought of love,It is sure they slept togetherClosely, each a turtle-dove. He is timorous like childrenBut his smile is worldly-wise,And his eyes are full of languor,Just as are a widow's eyes. Dainty neck and graceful shoulders,Rounded, white-as-lily breasts –He protects them by embracesAnd his palms are cozy nests. If you ask him amiably,He is cruel enough, vile thing,To remove – but just a little –The white veil off everything. English version by Leon LEVIŢCHI

by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)