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Armenian Legends and Poems [1916] at

The occupation of the Armenian provinces by Russia in 1828, with the attendant emigration of thousands from Persia and Turkey into Russian Armenia, strengthened the nation. National schools were soon opened, supported by the Armenians themselves. An Armenian Academy was established in Moscow in 1815 and a Seminary in Tiflis in 1826. Many Armenians went to Moscow and Petrograd, and also to foreign universities, especially to those of Germany, Switzerland, and France. The educational revival produced a new era, and a new Armenian literature came into being. Many Armenian newspapers and reviews were founded and published in different places. Tiflis was the centre of the literature and learning of Russian Armenia. A similar revival of letters occurred in Turkish Armenia. In 1860 a national and ecclesiastical constitution was granted to the Armenians in Turkey. For Turkish Armenians the literary centres were Constantinople and Smyrna. In the latter city, good work was done in translating western classics, but Constantinople was the chief seat of Armenian culture in Turkey. Thus Armenian literature became divided into two branches--Russian Armenian and Turkish Armenian--each of which has its own peculiarities of language, style, and tone. It was poetry that first burst into bloom and reached maturity soonest. At first the motifs of the poems were mainly national. The imagination of the poets was kindled by the past, present, and future of Armenia, its sufferings, its national beauty, its shortcomings. They looked forward to a national regeneration. They were apostles of light, science, learning; and pointed out new paths of national salvation. The result of all this was the production of some beautiful national songs. These songs are not triumphant anthems like those of other countries; they are songs of suffering, but with a note of hope. Then Armenian poetry developed a truer relation with what had been created in literature and art, and the poets looked at things in a new way, and assumed new poetical forms. It combined poetry and imagination with passionate feeling for life and truth. Some of the poems of this period are of exquisite workmanship, breathing the very spirit of the time.

As we have said, Armenian poetry of the nineteenth century is so full of merit and of such intense interest that it would be impossible to do it justice without writing at great length. We have already exhausted the space at our disposal, and hope to devote a separate work to it.

Persian and Arabic poetry are things of the past, but Armenian poetry, like the Armenian nation, has an unquenchable vitality, ever advancing towards new horizons, and soaring to loftier heights.

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