L'Indifférent

Image: Antoine Watteau; L’Indifferent (ca. 1717). Oil on panel. 25 × 19 cm. © The Louvre Museum, Paris, 1869. 2nd floor, room 37 

Watteau

The Louvre
 

HE dances on a toe 
As light as Mercury's : 
Sweet herald, give thy message ! No, 
He dances on ; the world is his, 
The sunshine and his wingy hat ; 
His eyes are round 
Beneath the brim : 
To merely dance where he is found 
Is fate to him 
And he was born for that. 

He dances in a cloak 
Of vermeil and of blue : 
Gay youngster, underneath the oak, 
Come, laugh and love ! In vain we woo ; 
He is a human butterfly ;— 
No soul, no kiss, 
No glance nor joy !
Though old enough for manhood's bliss, 
He is a boy, 
Who dances and must die. 

Watteau (rhyme)

The Louvre
 

HE dances on a toe 
As light as Mercury's: 
Sweet herald, give thy message ! No, 
He dances on ; the world is his, 
The sunshine and his wingy hat ; 
His eyes are round ;
Beneath the brim :
To merely dance where he is found
Is fate to him
And he was born for that.

He dances in a cloak 
Of vermeil and of blue : 
Gay youngster, underneath the oak, 
Come, laugh and love ! In vain we woo ; 
He is a human butterfly ;— 
No soul, no kiss, 
No glance nor joy !
Though old enough for manhood's bliss, 
He is a boy, 
Who dances and must die.