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The Aster Epigrams
(translation Percy Bysshe Shelley)

These two epigrams (from Book VII of the Greek Anthology) express Plato’s mourning and love for his recently deceased young friend. They were translated by the English poet Shelley, but the first epigram was left out of the standard collection of his works, while the second was included but with the boy’s name feminized to “Stella” by the editors. Both play on the the boy's name, which in Greek means ’star’.

To Aster I

Sweet Child, thou star of love and beauty bright,

Alone thou lookest on the midnight skies;

Oh! That my spirit were yon Heaven of light

To gaze upon thee with a thousand eyes.

To Aster II

Thou wert the morning star among the living,

Ere thy fair light had fled;

Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving

New splendour to the dead.
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