Upon the death of a star

Upon the death of a star

When I saw the poem by Constantijn Huygens for the first time, I was surprised. The Dutch original contained my name. Later I learned that this was just the way the word stars was spelled in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. This is the translation of Op de dood van sterre (Upon the death of a star).

About the poet

Constantijn Huygens

What is there to say about Constantijn Huygens. For the Dutch people he was very important. He was the secretary of the Princes of Orange: Frederick Henry and William II.

Huygens was born on September 4 1596 in The Hague. In later life he would write poetry and even compose. He was the father of the famous Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens.

About the poem

The official title contained both a Latin and Dutch part: Cupido dissolve. Op de dood van sterre. The writer asks himself if the star he is looking for is gone forever and what’s he to do, now this star is gone.

The word sterre or star can be interpreted as being a real star. This can also be a metaphor for a lost love. A lost love due to sickness.

Poets use metaphors all the time to make the readers think about their words. In our article on how to write poetry, we also covered this part.

The English translation


Upon the death of a star

Upon the death of a star

Am I dreaming, and it is night, or is my Star gone?
I stay awake, and even on a bright day, I cannot see my Star.
O heavens, who block my sight at her,
speak the human language and tell me, where is my Star gone?


Heaven strikes a sound, I can hear it through my stones,
and says, my Star is in the holy area,
there where the Godness, where the Godness her oversees,
and, adds laughter, laughter at my idle cries.


Now, death, now sob, immediately shown before end over,
now passage of stone, of a stoned,  to life,
thin bracts, standing near, I’ll will thank you to forgive;
come here death, and liberate shortly from fevers.
I long for the in everlasting light together see following
my salvation, my love, my body, my god, my Star and me.

The original version



Op de dood van Sterre


Of droom ik, en is ’t nacht, of is mijn Ster verdwenen?
Ik waak, en ’t is hoog dag, en zie mijn Sterre niet.
O hemelen, die mij haar aangezicht verbiedt,
spreek mensen-taal en zeg, waar is mijn Sterre henen?


De hemel slaat geluid, ik hoor hem door mijn stenen,
en zegt, mijn Sterre staat in ’t heilige gebied,
waar zij de Godheid, waar de Godheid haar beziet,
en, voegt het lachen daar, belacht mijn ijdel wenen.


Nu, dood, nu snik, meteen verschenen en voorbij,
nu, doorgang van een steen, van een gesteen, ten leven,
dun schutsel, sta nabij, ‘k zal ’t u te dank vergeven;
kom dood, en maak mij korts van deze koortsen vrij.
‘k Verlang in ’t eeuwig licht te zamen te zien zweven
mijn heil, mijn lief, mijn lijf, mijn god, mijn Ster en mij.

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