Poem of the Week: Maid of Athens, Ere We Part

Thursday Greetings!

And actually on a Thursday this time… kudos to moi!

This week I discovered the literary wonders which are Lord Byron’s poems. While I had heard of him, I had never studied, or even read, his works. Shame on me. I was, however, able to enjoy a handful of them in the past few days, and guess what! They were excellent. I only regret that I hadn’t discovered them sooner!

English romantic poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron of Rochdale (1788 - 1824). Original Artwork: Fred Bruckmann Studio   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English romantic poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron of Rochdale (1788 – 1824).

For the Poem of the Week, I am going to share one of my favorites, so far, with you all.

Maid of Athens, Ere We Part

“Maid of Athens, ere we part,
Give, oh give me back my heart!
Or, since that has left my breast,
Keep it now, and take the rest!
Hear my vow before I go,
Zoë mou, sas agapo*!

By those tresses unconfined,
Wood by each Ægean wind;
By those lids whose jetty fringe
Kiss thy soft cheeks’ blooming tinge;
By those wild eyes like the roe,
Zoë mou, sas agapo!

By that lip I long to taste;
By that zone encircled waist;
By all the token-flowers that tell
What words can never speak so well;
By love’s alternate joy and woe.
Zoë mou, sas agapo!

Maid of Athens! I am gone:
Think of me, sweet! when alone.
Though I fly to Istambol*,
Athens holds my heart and soul:
Can I cease to love thee? No!
Zoë mou, sas agapo!”

~Lord George Gordon Byron

______

*A Greek phrase meaning, “My life, I love you!”

*Istanbul 

________________________________

Isn’t it simply breathtaking? I find Lord Byron’s writing clear and comprehensible, while it still holds the beautiful complexity (shall we say?) of classic poetry. This poem in particular is a bitter-sweet goodbye to his love, when he departs from Athens, her home, to go to Istanbul.

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