David Guramishvili

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Guramishvili, David


Born 1705 in the village of Saguramo, near Mtskheta; died July 21 (Aug. 1), 1792, in Mirgorod. Georgian poet. Descendant of an ancient princely family.

To judge from his verse, Guramishvili received an excellent education. As a youth he was captured by the Lezghians and taken off into the hills. He escaped and at the shores of the Terek River was aided by a local Russian settler. In 1729 and 1730, Guramishvili was in Moscow as part of the entourage of King Vakhtang VI. After the king’s death in 1738, Guramishvili became a Russian subject and was made a private in the Georgian Hussar Regiment. He fought in some of the European campaigns of the time and was a prisoner of the Prussians for about a year after 1758. He retired in 1760 and farmed the lands granted to him around Mirgorod (Ukraine).

Guramishvili is the author of the celebrated autobiographical collection Davitiani, dated September 1787, which consists of two long narrative poems and a number of shorter lyrics. The narrative poem Woes of Georgia gives a faithful representation of the tragic period of Georgian history in the first half of the 18th century; the author’s own misfortunes are subtly woven into the narrative. Guramishvili appears as the citizen poet and patriot. He condemns the internecine wars and the corrupt feudal nobility, both secular and clerical, and deplores the fate of his beloved homeland, suffering from internal disorder and invasions of the Turks and Persians. The lofty simplicity and folk quality of the poetic form as well as the tense drama of the narrative made The Woes of Georgia an influence on the Georgian poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Guramishvili’s bucolic narrative poem The Shepherd Katsviia describes in an appealing and effortless way the idyllic life of peasants and shepherds against magnificent descriptions of Ukrainian steppe landscapes. He was attracted by the spiritual simplicity and moral virtues of the healthy and happy village toilers. Guramishvili was the first to free Georgian poetry from Oriental exoticism and bookish mannerism, by introducing elements of folk speech into Georgian poetry. The Shepherd Katsviia is noteworthy for the freshness of its theme, lively development, and sense of humor. Most of Guramishvili’s lyrics are close to the song form and are based on themes from folk love songs. Guramishvili’s verse is light, melodious, and elegant. It enjoys great popularity among the Georgian people; in 1949 a monument was erected to the poet upon his grave in Mirgorod.


Guramishvili, D. Davit’iani, t’xzulebat’a sruli krebuli. Tbilisi, 1955. Davit’iani. Tbilisi, 1964.
In Russian translation:
Davitiani: Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Tbilisi, 1954. (Translated from Georgian by N. Zabolotskii.)
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. Leningrad, 1956. (Translation from Georgian, introduction, and footnotes by G. Leonidze.)
In Ukranian translation:
Davitiani. Translated by M. Bazhan. Kiev, 1955.


Baramidze, A. G. D. Guramishvili: Kratkii ocherk zhizni i tvorchest-va. Tbilisi, 1955.
Kekelize, K. K’art’uli literaturis istoria, vol. 2: Zveli literatura. Tbilisi, 1958.
Kosariki, D. Davit’ Guramishvili ukrainashi. Tbilisi, 1957.
Natroshvili, G. Vit’a davgamdi, ise gavt’endi: Cigni Davit’ Guramishvilis c’xovrebasa da semok’medebaze. Tbilisi, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.