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THE CURSE OF MINERVA

By
Lord Byron


A Satire about Lord Elgin and the famous Elgin Marbles.  The marbles are an assortment of Greek Antiquities that were taken from the Acropolis in Athens by Lord Elgin and shipped to England. This occurred at the same time Lord Byron was in Greece. The convent Byron stayed at was situated just below the Acropolis. The artist who did the sketches for Lord Elgin was also staying at the convent.

Over the years, Greece has petitioned for the return of the marbles, but as of this date, they remain at the British Museum.

Byron had not meant this poem for publication but a pirated edition was released in 1815 by a Philadelphia publisher.  When he heard of this, Byron wrote to his publisher, John Murray, on March 6, 1816

". . . except "the Curse of Minerva"--(which I disown as stolen & published in the miserable & villainous copy in the Magazine) it was not & is not meant for publication. . ."
Although it remained suppressed according to his wishes, The Curse of Minerva was eventually published four years after his death in 1828.

There is another notation I would like to mention.   Before the date Byron had intended to suppress the poem, he wrote to John Murray, on October 4, 1812, about a change he had intended to make in the Curse of Minerva.

". . . In the proof from the "Curse" alter this line "Whose arts and arms but live in poets' lore" to "Whose arts revive, whose arms avenge no more." Remember this."
This correction was not made, probably because the revised printing which he apparently contemplated was not accomplished.

I have made this correction in this copy of the poem . . . in honor of Byron's request.

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Curse of Minerva

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