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  • There is nothing random about my reading Baratynsky; he's a poet I have been reading, thinking about, sometimes writing about, and occasionally translating for nearly 30 years. By the way, there was a mistake in my first comment (now corrected): Paphos is a town on the island of Cyprus, not an island itself.

    July 28, 2008

  • Do you often translate random poetry you like? *g* Anyway, thanks for clarifying that, your translation is nonetheless good.

    Once again, it is interesting to come across yet another euphemistic designation for practitioners of the world's oldest profession. It's got quite a colorful vocabulary.

    July 26, 2008

  • Thanks, Mia, but to be honest, I translated that poem years ago. I think I first came across the word Paphian, in the sense of relating to Aphrodite, in Homer. But Baratynsky's use I find very amusing. Baratynsky probably got his Paphian pilgrimesses from Byron, whose Childe Harold visits a brothel that was once a monastery:

    "Monastic dome! condemned to uses vile!

    Where Superstition once had made her den

    Now Paphian girls were known to sing and smile …"

    – Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, I.vii.5–7

    Here "Superstition" refers to the Christian religion.

    July 26, 2008

  • You were very quick in finding the right reference! And I'm really amazed that you managed to render the poem so well in such a short time. Wow.

    July 26, 2008

  • The word refers to the town of Paphos on Cyprus, the site of the most important temple to Aphrodite. Properly (at least traditionally), it should be capitalized: Paphian. In the 1824 poem "Justification" (Оправдание), the Russian poet Evgeny Baratynsky euphemistically refers to prostitutes as "Paphian pilgrimesses":

    "Приветливых, послушных без ужимок,

    Улыбчивых для шалости младой,

    Из–за угла пафосских пилигримок

    Я сторожил вечернею порой …"

    "Welcoming, willing girls who make no faces

    but always have a smile for youthful fun —

    I would await these Paphian pilgrimesses

    around the corner when the day was done."

    (My translation)

    July 26, 2008

  • Paphian – pertaining to elicit love: wanton


    July 26, 2008