Maid of Athens, ere we part

Ranked #200 on the list Best Poem of All Time

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About Maid of Athens, ere we part

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Maid of Athens, ere we part is a poem by Lord Byron, written in 1810 and dedicated to a young girl of Athens. Each stanza of the poem ends with the same Greek refrain, which Byron translated as "My life, I love you!". It may be viewed as an example of macaronic verse, although it obviously lacks the humorous intent typical of that genre. According to C. G. Brouzas, Byron's "Maid of Athens" was born Teresa Macri or Macris in 1797. She was the daughter of Mrs. Tarsia Macri, at whose house Byron lodged briefly in 1809 and in February 1810. Byron apparently fell in love with the 12-year-old girl; in a letter to Henry Drury the poet declares to be "dying for love of three Greek Girls at Athens", "Teresa, Mariana, and Kattinka", and wrote the poem for her before departing for Istanbul. On his way back from Turkey to Morea, on 17 July 1810, he stayed at Mrs. Macri's house for another ten days. At some point he offered £500 for the girl — an offer which evidently was not accepted. Byron never met Teresa again. She eventually married James Black (1803–1868) and died impoverished in 1875 in Athens, Greece.

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