The famous English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement Lord Byron, was a great admirer of Armenian culture. He learned the Armenian language in Venice from the Mechitarist Order, wrote substantially about the Armenian language and history, contributing to it’s improvement and translated ancient Armenian text into English. I stumbled upon this wonderful book of his Armenian exercises and poetry. The work is written in English as well as Armenian. A very interesting read containing many elements of Armenian culture and history, translated into English by one of the histories greatest poets.
The following is a small part from this work. Unfortunately Wordpress doesn’t allow embedding readers, but if you follow THIS link you can read the original work in its entirety.
FROM THE LETTERS 2 January 1817
“On my arrival at Venice in the year 1816, I found my mind in a state which required study, and study of a nature which should leave little scope for the imagination, and furnish some difficulty in the pursuit. – At this period I was much struck – in common, I believe, with every other travaller – with the Society of the Convent of St. Lazarus, which appears to unite all the advantages of the monastic institution, without any of its vices. — The neatness, the comfort, the gentleness, the unaffected devotion, the accomplishments, and the virtues of the brethren of the order, are well fitted to strike the man of the world with the conviction that there is another and a better even in this life. — These men are the priesthood of an oppressed and a noble nation, which has partaken of the proscription and bondage of the Jews and of the Greeks, without the sullenness of the former or the servility of the latter.
This people has attained riches without usury, and all the honours that can be awarded to slavery without intrigue. But they have long occupied, nevertheless, a part of the House of Bondage, who has lately multiplied her many mansions. It would be difficult, perhaps, to find the annals of a nation less stained with crimes than those of the Armenians , whose virtues have those of peace, and their vices those of compulsion. But whatever may have been their destiny – and it has been bitter – whatever it may be in future, their country must ever be one of the most interesting, on the globe ; and perhaps their language only requires to be more studied to become more attractive. If the Scriptures are rightly understood, it was in Armenia that Paradise was placed. – Armenia, which has paid as dearly as the descendants of Adam for that fleeting participation of its soil in the happiness of him who was created from its dust. It was in Armenia that the flood first abated, and the dove alighted. But with the disappearance of Paradise itself may be dated almost the unhappiness of the country ; for though long a powerful kingdom, it was scarcely ever an indipendent one, and the satraps of Persia and the pachas of Turkey have alike desolated the region where God created man in his own image.“