Δευτέρα, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Nikoloz Baratashvili






(Georgian: ნიკოლოზ ბარათაშვილი) (December 4, 1817 - October 21, 1844)

Translated by  VENERA URUSHADZE



       TWILIGHT OVER MTATSMINDA

O Mtatsminda! thou Holy Mount! the sight invites 
The soul to thought – a place that wilderness has wrought. 
Like drops of limpid pearls the dew adorns the site 
And trembling, mingles in delight with soft twilight.
Both solitude and silence rule the place in proud and haughty state! 
From there my eyes behold a scene that only rapture can create! 
Below the plain with 'mbrosial flowers is like a heavenly altar spread; 
The fragrance like the incense sweet its blessings on the Mount does shed.
I still recall that lovely eve when full of grief
Thy paths I trod, O dusky Mount, to seek relief;
My lonely soul in longing clung to twilight fair,
Which sorrow veiled with heaving sighs and beauty rare!
Ah! Nature wove a gentle dream of loveliness and sadness there.
O sky! O sky! thou hast engraved thy image on my heart fore'er!
And when I gaze upon thy blue my thoughts enraptured towards thee fly.
Alas, they cannot reach thy heights and in the air dissolve and die.
Thy radiance conceals this fleeting world of woes! 
Beyond thy realm my soul takes wing to seek repose 
From dreary haunts where every cherished hope expires... 
But woe! the gods shun man and all his heart's desires.
In pensive thought entranced I viewed the waning of the heaven's glow; 
Soft twilight wrapt me in her arms and filled with dusk the glens below, 
Where rivulets hummed in low response to gentle winds that haunting sighed; 
My soul to nature seemed to cleave and in her bosom wished to hide.
O glowing Mount! whose smiles and tears enthrall the breast,
 A sight that cheers the heavy heart by cares oppressed.
My grieving soul now with your gladness seems to blend, 
And yet, O Mount, thou silent mourn'st, my gentle friend.
Deep silence quivered in delight as twilight dimmed the heaven's dome,
And eve's sweet star of love and dreams pursued the moon throughout the gloam.
O hast thou seen a virgin soul, aweary with excess of prayer?
Thus pale and languid, the moon came floating through the misty air.
Remembrance brings to mind again that eve in May 
When twilight veiled the Holy Mount in purple gray, 
When over-burdened and distressed, the soul in pain 
Found vent in thoughts that ever in my heart remain.
O eve! thy solitude and silence soothe the soul by sorrow prest! 
To thee I haste when anguish floods the frenzied brain and burning breast! 
The sorrowed heart, the saddened heart, will find its balm and hope in thee, 
For morn will break, and sunshine's beam will make the shades of darkness flee.

      MEDITATIONS BY THE RIVER MTKVARI

On sadness wrapped, I strolled along where the waters hum and fret; 
I longed to rest in solitude and all my cares forget. 
And there beside the flowing stream, in utter weariness, 
I sank upon the soft green grass and wept in bitterness.
Borne on the sigh that silence heaves, the Mtkvari's murmur rose, 
And in its lucid beds the azure skies found sweet repose. 
And here beyond the strife of life, beyond all sordid noise, 
The mountains brooded o'er the land in calm unvarying poise.
I listened to the river's hum; I saw the heavens bend 
And kiss the mounts that with my soul and sorrow seemed to blend. 
What means thy purl, O Mtkvari old, forebodes it joy or woe? 
Thou'rt witness true of bygone days, yet hum in speechless flow.
But why this life of maddening strife, if all its visions fair 
Are bubbles light, illusions bright, that burst and fade fore'er? 
Our life is but a passing dream in a fleeting hectic world. 
A never-filling boundless chaos, wherein our hopes are hurled.
The mortal heart, though sate and full, is a slave of surging fires, 
That blast the soul and steep the heart in avariced desires. 
Ev'n sovereigns great whose wealth and power are the wonder of the day 
Feel greed and envy stir their breasts for realms that others sway.
They crave and strive for more and more, and their impassioned lust 
Is for that earth wherein they're doomed to mingle with its dust. 
Or does the king whose deeds are worthy of esteem and praise 
Know peace amid the storms or cares that darken all his days?
The welfare of his native land and heirs brings him delight; 
His aim in life's to keep the honour of his country bright... 
If death holds glory in its power and the world to void is whirled, 
Then on whose lips will lie the sin and glory of the world?
If mortals of this world we are and bear the form of man, 
Our duty is to serve our land and walk the ways of man. 
Unworthy is the one who's but a mass of worthless clay, 
Who dares to shun all mortal cares, yet in this world does stay!

       TO A CHONGURI
Thy strains of woe — a mournful flow —
At times they groan, at times they moan;
Each throb recalls the vanished hour and bids the soul to thought!
Oh! Chonguri! if e'er thy voice 
Would flood my ear with murmuring joys, 
And soothe the heart that sorrow sways and turn its tears away!
Where can I find thy smile so fair, 
Adorned with joy and beauty rare? 
I hear but sobs that anguish feeds hurled from a heart that bleeds! 

                     AN EARRING

A butterfly gay 
Like a wing-spread fay 
Sways a flower in white array; 
Thus fairy light 
Two earrings bright 
With curtsying shadows play.
O happy the mind
That calm may find 
And solace in that shade.
The earring's sway
Like winds in May 
Makes cares and troubles fade.
O earring fair,
That passions snare, 
Whose lips thy shade will kiss?
Who'll quaff fore'er
Gods' nectar rare? 
Who'll cling to thee in bliss? 

               A SOUL   FORLORN

Let none bewail the bitterness of orphancy, 
Nor weep if destitute of friend or kin is he, 
But pity him whose soul's bereaved by ruthless fate; 
Once lost — 'tis hard to find again a worthy mate.
Deprived of kin and friend the heart seems lone and dead, 
Yet soon it finds another one to love instead; 
But if the soul is left alone, then it must bear 
The curse of yielding all its hopes to black despair.
His faith is lost, he trusts no more this world of woe; 
Distraught and wild, he shuns mankind, and does not know 
To whom to trust the secrets of his troubled breast, 
Afraid to feel again the faith it once possessed.
'Tis hard to bear the anguish of a soul forlorn, 
To shun all worldly joys and smiles or pleasures scorn; 
The lonely soul forever mourns its friend and mate, 
And heavy sighs bring calm to him thus doomed by fate.

                  MERANI
It runs; it flies; it bears me on; it heeds no trail nor spoor; 
A raven black behind me croaks with ominous eyes of doom. 
Speed thee on and onward fly with a gallop that knows no bound, 
Fling to the winds my stormy thoughts in raging darkness found.
Go onward! onward! cleaving through roaring wind and rain 
O'er many a mount and many a plain, short'ning my days of pain. 
Seek not shelter, my flying steed, from scorching skies or storm; 
Pity not thy rider sad, by self-immolation worn.
I bid farewell to parents, kin, to friends and sweet-heart dear 
Whose gentle voice did soothe my hopes to a hot and bitter tear. 
Where the night falls, there let it dawn, there let my country be; 
Only the heavenly stars above my open heart will see.
The sighs that burn, that rend the heart to violent waves I hurl; 
To thy inspired, wild maddened flight love's waning passions whirl. 
Speed thee on, and onward fly with a gallop that knows no bound, 
Fling to the winds my stormy thoughts, in raging darkness found.
In foreign lands thou lay me low, not where my fathers sleep, 
Nor shed thou tears, nor grieve, my love, nor o'er my body weep; 
Ravens grim will dig my grave and whirlwinds wind a shroud 
There, on desert plains where winds will howl in wailings loud.
No lover's tears but only dew will moist my bed of gloom; 
No dirge but vultures' shrieks will sound above my lowly tomb. 
Bear me far beyond the bounds of fate, my Merani, 
Fate whose slave I never was, and henceforth — ne'er shall be!
By fate repulsed, oh bury me in a dark and lonely grave. 
My bloody foe, I fear thee not — thy flashing sword I brave. 
Speed thee on and onward fly with a gallop that knows no bound, 
Fling to the winds my stormy thoughts in raging darkness found.
The yearnings of my restless soul will not in vain have glowed, 
For, dashing on, my steed has paved a new untrodden road. 
He who follows in our wake, a smoother path will find; 
Daring all, his fateful steed shall leave dark fate behind.
It runs; it flies; it bears me on; it heeds no trail nor spoor; 
A raven black behind me croaks with ominous eyes of doom. 
Speed thee on and onward fly with a gallop that knows no bound, 
Fling to the winds my stormy thoughts, in raging darkness found.

            O EVIL SPIRIT!

O evil spirit! thou fiend of hell! who bade thee be my guide, 
To storm my life, to burn my brain and every joy to hide? 
Why didst thou steal my peace and calm, my soul besteep in grief? 
Why didst thou crush my youthful heart and kill its faith, belief?
Is this the pledge, the promised bliss you had in store for me,
My soul to wing in fancied joy to realms of liberty?
Midst burning tears and woe-rent fears bright smiles I thought to find;
In hell I sought a paradise-to truth my eyes were blind.
Thy words so false, though wondrous bright, where have they gone or fled? 
Why didst thou tempt my wishes true — to be by furies led? 
Reply! thou fiend! thou'rt silent now? 'tis late to slink away; 
Thy power to charm, to lure, to blind, why has it lost its sway?
O curst be that day when I blindly placed my faith and trust in thee, 
And yielded up my fondest hopes and let them martyred be! 
Henceforth my soul is agitated; its peace I flung away; 
Its raging fires, its hopes, desires, no passion's flame can slay!
A vaunt! Begone! O demon false! Thou harbinger of woe!
At random driven, my tortured soul no safe retreat doth know.
My mind lacks faith, my heart mistrusts, my soul in pain sinks low!
O woe to him who feels the sting of thy deadly smiting blow!

                 CHINNARI

An aloe stands in solitude upon a lofty precipice.
The sunbeams mingling with the shade the myriad boughs caress and kiss. 
'Tis joy to dream beneath her shade — a refuge from this world of woe — 
Where rustling leaves give soft response to murmurings of the stream below.
The aloe bends before the wind; the river hums in harmony. 
And all these sounds sweet slumber lure, where dreams expire in   melody 
'Midst nature's things there is a tongue — the essence of a flow divine; 
In vain can mortal lips express a sound more eloquent and fine!
In hopeless love the Mtkvari heaves; the rushing waters swish and hiss; 
It cannot reach its loved one's feet and beats with wrath the precipice. 
The fair chinnari from its height in proud and haughty dignity 
Inclines its head and sadly sighs as Mtkvari groans in agony.
As gentle breezes sway the tree, the waters, whirled from passions deep, 
By jealous frenzy rendered white, burst on and lash the rocky steep... 
The heart must suffer endless pain if love sincere within it hides, 
And if the love thus cherished dear in scorching fires of passion bides!

                SKY-BLUE

The azure blue, the heavenly hue, 
The first created realm of blue; 
And o'er its radiance divine 
My soul does pour its love sublime.
My heart that once with laughter glowed 
Of grief, now bears a heavy load. 
But yet it thrills and loves anew 
To view again the sapphire blue.
I love to gaze on lovely eyes 
That swim in azure from the skies; 
The heavens lend this colour fair, 
And leave a dream of gladness there.
Enamoured of the limpid sky,
My thoughts take wing to regions high,
And in that blue of liquid fire
In raptured ecstasy expire.
When I am dead no tears will flow 
Upon my lonely grave below, 
But from above the aerial blue 
Will scatter o'er me tears of dew.
The mists about my tomb will wind 
A veil of pearl with shadows twined, 
But lured by sunbeams from on high 
'Twill melt into the azure sky.






 Nicoloz Baratashvili, a poet of genius, came of a noble family. On his mother's side, the  poet was a descendant of the illustrious King Irakli II who was nicknamed "The Lion of Asia". The future poet's mother, a great connoisseur  of ancient Georgian  literature, inspired him with a love for literature. At the same time, the poet's intellectual development was influenced by the circle of friends who frequented their house — famous Georgian writers and public men. In 1835 the poet finished the school  for children of the  nobility in Tbilisi and entered service as an official in the Law Courts. In 1845 he was transferred to Ganja as deputy governor of that province. He fell ill and died there, far from his home and kin. His remains were brought back to Georgia in 1893. His funeral turned into a great national demonstration. N. Baratashvili is buried in Tbilisi, in the cemetery of Georgian writers on Mtatsminda, on the slope of the mount he loved so dearly. In his poems, Baratashvili sings of high moral ideals and seeks his own path — the path of the human being whose duty is to contribute to the welfare of his country. The poet's mighty struggle against the powers of darkness finds  expression in his poem "Merani", a symbol of progress and eternal movement onwards .  V.U