Monday, March 30, 2020

Dan Cupid - That's Mr. Cupid to you!

Dan Cupid's origins likely come from the out-dated use of "Dan" as an honorific title. Like "Sir" or the more humble "Mister." So the Roman god of affection and desire becomes Dan Cupid. 

This embodiment of a mythological character abounds in early 20th century culture, with mentions in operas (German and Hood's Merrie England of 1902), plays (Boileau and Erle's Mr. Dan Cupid or There's Nowt as Queer as Folk.. from 1908) movies (1911's The Tempter and Dan Cupid), and of course appearing on countless Valentine cards over the next several decades. Earliest, well-known usage is undoubtedly found in Berowne's monologue in Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost first published in 1598
This wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy, This signor-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid, Regent of love-rimes, lord of folded arms, The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans, Liege of all loiterers and malcontents, Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces, Sole imperator and great general Of trotting paritors -- O my little heart!

With Love ~ Dan Cupid ~ Cupid in his happy day Many pranks has tried to play, Aiming at su all a dart, Piercing every faithful heart; To give to you, sweet Valentine, He took this loving heart of mine.

4 3/8" x 4 1/2"
circa 1920s
Single Fold
No publisher's marks

Dan Cupid is a highwayman Who makes poor lovers pine, But I will give my heart to you. My Darling Valentine.

4 3/4" x 3 1/2"
circa 1910s, 1920s
by Jason Freixas
folds to stand
no publisher marks

 'Instructions by D. Cupid' (text on book) Love's catching (on winged heart).

4" x 2 1/2"
dated 1933
Mechanical Flat
embossed detailing
no publisher's marks

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