2x: Mouochet batonebo Lamazi bat’onebia, ia da vardi p’enia Tetri tskhvari da tkhis jogi
2x: Morbis tsikanma ikht’una Gaukhardat botonebsa da utsbat piri ibruna
Lords, have mercy, have mercy Lords, Beautiful Lords, Violets and roses are on your paths
White sheep and a herd of goats, the lamb is jumping around. This pleased the Lords, and they turned away and left us.
Lords, have mercy, have mercy, Lords
The commonly accepted version of the lyrics to this western Georgian healing song need a little tweeking:
– Bat’onebo mouokhe, mouokhe bat’onebo Lamazi bat’onebia, ia da vardi penia
– Tetri tskhvaris da tkhis jogi, modis, tik’anma ikht’una Gaukharda bat’onebsa da utsbad p’iri ibruna
– Oh, lords, help, have mercy, oh lords. Beautiful lords, bedecked with violets and roses.
– White sheep and a herd of goats, a lamb came jumping The lords enjoyed this, and turning away, left us.
These are the first and last verses (there are at least two more verses not often performed in concert settings) of this well-known traditional healing song (or ritual lullaby) addressed to the supernatural beings that traditional Caucasians dreaded more than any others. The word “lords” (bat’onebi—bat’onebo is the vocative form) is a euphemism for those contagious diseases—measles, mumps and smallpox—which exacted such a horrible toll of death and disfigurement among the children of the Caucasus. The room where an ill child lay was strewn with flowers and lit with candles, while the women caring for the child would sing songs like this one as part of creating both calm and beauty in the room, with which to appease the ‘lords’ and make them go away. The song should be performed slowly and gently.