(1786–1846). Poet, military commander, and prominent
public figure. The son of Garsevan Chavchavadze, the
Georgian ambassador to the Russian court, he initially
opposed Russian rule in Georgia and was arrested and
exiled to Tambov in 1805. After being pardoned, he
studied in the Pages Corps in 1809 and served as an
adjutant to General Mikhail Barclay de Tolly during the
Napoleonic Wars from 1813–1815. He participated in the
Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 but was later exiled to
Tambov for involvement in a conspiracy against Russian
interests in 1832. He remained in exile for two years,
and upon returning to Georgia, he held high
administrative posts in government. His home soon turned
into a meeting place of many Russian and Georgian
writers and public figures. The famous Russian writer
Alexander Griboedov married Chavchavadze’s daughter
Nino. Chavchavadze’s poetry established him as the
father of Georgian romanticism. His poems, Gogcha,
Vakh droni, droni, Isminet msmenno, Kavkasia, and
others, lament the lost past of Georgia. while his Siqvarulo
dzalsa shensa (O Love Divine) remains one of the
most romantic poems in Georgian literature.
O LOVE DIVINE!
O love! O mighty love! your power enslaves and holds the heart in thrall.
Even monarchs bend their knees to you, and on your shrine prostrating fall.
Exquisite pain, exquisite bliss and passions sweet the heart o'erflows,
So, can you blame the nightingale that pours love's essence o'er the rose?
O love! your fires inspire the souls of all created 'neath the sky;
Adored are you by great and small, by gallants, kings and gods on high;
Where'er you go a throne awaits you decked with tears and sweet delight;
You are the lord of hearts impassioned; all fall 'neath your conquering might.
Has ever slave thus bound to you, thus fettered down, for freedom pined
Though wild desires invade the heart and madness penetrates the mind?
Though passions make me nigh expire, let ecstasy of love be mine;
And let me live or die for you, your willing slave, O love divine!