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Grigol Orbeliani

 

 

ORBELIANI, GRIGOL (1804Ė1883). Georgian romantic poet. Related to the Bagrationi royal family, he received an excellent education and began military service in the Russian army in the 1820s. Orbeliani participated in the Russo-Persian and Russo-Turkish Wars, distinguishing himself and quickly advancing through the ranks. In 1832, however, he was implicated in the conspiracy of Georgian nobles seeking the restoration of the Bagrationi dynasty and was exiled for six years. Returning to Georgia, he distinguished himself in the Russian campaigns against Imam Shamil in Chechnya and served as a governor of Avaria and Daghestan. In later years, he attained the rank of general and performed the functions of the governor of Georgia. In the 1880s, he played a leading role in establishing a standard text for Shota Rustaveliís Vepkhistkaosani (The Knight in Panther's Skin) poem. Orbelianiís poetry is noteworthy for its patriotism and humanity, and his major works include Iaralis, Mukhambazi and Sadghegrdzelo anu omis shemdeg ghame lkhini Erevnis siakhloves.

BEFORE THE FRESCO PAINTING OF QUEEN TAMARI IN
THE CHURCH OF BETANIA

Thy saintly face
In beauteous grace
Doth shine with virgin beauty sweet.
I humbly pray
And homage pay,
O'erwhelmed by sorrow at thy feet.
In joy I gaze,
In grief I gaze,
Oh, let me gaze thus e'er on thee.
Oh, let me sleep
In slumber deep,
My country's downfall not to see!
A bower sublime,
This realm of thine;
Thy glory o'er it shines no more!
No splendour bright
Doth pierce with light
The gloom that shrouds its fame of yore!
Though like a dream,
A flashing gleam
A glorious sunset hid by night,
Thy past inspires
And kindles fires
In souls devoid of joy and light!
Though grieved and mute,
In solitude,
Hear thou my prayer of deep distress...
Thy land restore
To joy once more,
And once again thy country bless.
Let valour grand
Inspire thy land
And make it as of yore renowned
With faith divine
And language fine,
With knowledge deep and wisdom crowned!
Let victory's cry,
Resounding high,
Redeem thy might of former time!
With eager ear
We crave to hear
Great Rustaveli's word sublime!
We beg of thee
To make us free
And lead us on to liberty...
But woe, thy eyes
See but the skies
And not thy son in slavery!
Thus humbled low,
Thy son below,
A wretch unmanned, is stricken mute!
All hopes have fled,
All joy is dead:
By cruel despair I stand subdued!
Woe if thy name
And gloried fame
Will never rise again to bloom...
Perchance what fell
Was hurled to hell
By ravens black to death and doom!
A world of lies
Where honour dies,
And all that fades ne'er revives...
Of glory's flame
That crowned thy name
Is this the relic that survives?
Midst grass and weeds
And tangled reeds
The temple's ruins stand grim and tall,
Where Tamari's face
In hallowed grace
Is traced upon a crumbling wall!

WHEN I WAKE


Thy features every vision of my sleep adorn,
And when I wake the eyelash of my eyes adorn.
Thy willing slave, devoted am I e'er to thee,
Thou mayest slay me, yet such death is life to me.
Thou art the sweetest flower that ever grew for me.
Thy breath the fragrance of the rose does seem to me.
Thou art the gleaming star that lights the dark for me.
Thy features every vision of my sleep adorn,
And when I wake the eyelash of my eyes adorn.
Thy slender waist's a graceful aloe branch to me.
The girdle round it twined a rainbow seems to me.
Thy sparkling eyes dark flashing lightning seem to me.
Thy snow-white bosom is a realm of bliss to me!
The echo of thy voice is music sweet to me.
Thy features every vision of my sleep adorn,
And when I wake the eyelash of my eyes adorn.
My ways in life so manifold all lead to thee!
Before my every thought and dream thy face I see!
What makes my heart a flaming ball? O it is thee!
Let me in one long kiss draw thy whole soul to me!
The very essence of my joy thou art to me.
Thy features every vision of my sleep adorn,
And when I wake the eyelash of my eyes adorn.
In Ortachala thou canst see, dear, what I am:
A gallant knight of wondrous strength and might I am;
The champion in every contest fair I am.
With bowl in hand a tamada of skill I am.
O wouldst thou come and see but once how brave I am
And then perhaps thou'lt say how bold and dear I am-
Thy features every vision of my sleep adorn,
And when I wake the eyelash of my eyes adorn.



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