In Book xii of the Greek Anthology many of the old motifs of erotic poetry are applied to the love of boys. Among these motifs a form of the carpe diem calls our attention. Youth and the beloved's charms are there granted a very short span: the growth of hair marks the end of a boy's attraction. Of this basic idea we find numerous variations in over thirty epigrams, Hellenistic and late, not unlike those on the more general motif of fleeting youth. We shall group the poems and interpret them according to the variations of this motif.
The boy is now willing to love when it is too late: the hairs have come. The lover, whether by threats, warnings, or vaunts that it has happened, implicitly rejects the advances of the young man.
Ia. Our first epigram (Asclep. 46 = A.P. xii 36) is headed Ἀσκληπιάδου Ἀδραμυττήνου. If by Asclepiades of Samos it would be chronologically the first in our list. Yet the ascription is far from certain, and the choice of the epigram as our starting point is, therefore, arbitrary.