Twilight Over Mtatsminda
Meditations By The River Mtkvari
To A Chonguri
O Evil Spirit
Nikoloz (Tato) Baratashvili (1817-1844) was a Georgian poet, whose works are considered to be the high point of Georgian romanticism. In the opinion of Ilia Chavchavadze, the works of Nikoloz Baratashvili mark the introduction of Europeanism into the Georgian literature.One of the greatest Georgian Romantic poets, often described as the “Georgian Byron.” He was born on 4 December 1817 in Tbilisi, to the family of impoverished aristocrat who was a loyal servant of the emperor, on his mother's side Efemia, the sister of Grigol Orbeliani, was the granddaughter of King Erekle II. His mother inspired him with a love of literature and the young Baratashvili was influenced by the circle of famous Georgian writers and statesmen who frequented their house in Tbilisi. He was taught by Solomon Dodashvili, who influenced him greatly, in a Tbilisi gymnasium from 1827-1835.
Because his family had little money, he was unable to fulfill his desire to continue his education in Russia. Due to a bodily defect, he also was unable to march in the front-line forces, as he wished to do. With the threat of poverty looming over his family, he was forced to start working as an ordinary clerk. Baratashvili also had a dramatic private life, including intense involvement with Ekaterine Chavchavadze. All this left deep marks on the poet’s soul, as is reflected in his private letters.In 1844, he was transferred to Ganja as deputy governor of that province where he became seriously ill with of malaria and at the age of 27 On 21 October died. His poetry was mostly unpublished and unnoticed by the time he died, but as poems were published posthumously, he came to be idolized. His remains were brought back to Georgia in 1893 and his funeral turned into a great national celebration. Since 1938 his ashes have lain in the Mtastminda pantheon. At 22, he wrote his longest poem, Bedi kartlisa, in which he lamented the tragic fate of his native land. A key insight into the weltanschauung of N. Baratashvili can be found in his poem “Fate of Georgia” (1839). This poem is based on a real historical event: the ruining of Tbilisi by Aga-Mohamed Khan in 1795. However, national problems considered in this work are viewed with a modern approach; the poem considers not only Georgia’s past, but also its future in the aftermath of the failed revolt of 1832. In this poem, Erekle II, a realist politician, realizes Georgia should join with Russia, and that this event is inevitable. Another character, Solomon Leonidze, thinks that this will result in the loss of Georgia’s national identity. The sympathies of the poet and reader both fall on Solomon’s side, but the objectively rational decision of the king prevails. Despite leaving only some 40 poems and lyrics, Baratashvili is considered the preeminent poet of Georgian romanticism. His ingenuous squib portrayed a complex inner world of the human soul. The feeling of loneliness run thorough his early poems (Twilight over the Mtatsminda, 1836, and Reflections on the Kura's Banks, 1837) and reached its climax in the poem Lonely Soul (1839). In his poems, Baratashvili sang of high moral ideals and sought his own path to improve society. The poet's struggle against the powers of pessimism and darkness found expression in one of his best poems, Merani, which has been influential on later Georgian poets. With its mystical vision of the future, it also served as a symbol of progress and eternal movement forward. “Merani” is a prominent work of Georgian romanticism both from an ethical-philosophical view, and from an artistic-aesthetic point of view.