Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Evening Meditation on the Northern Lights

Mikhail Vasilevich Lomonosov, Evening Meditation of the Majesty of God on the Occasion of the Great Northern Lights:

The day conceals its countenance,
Dark night has covered over fields;
Black shade has climbed the mountains' heights;
The sun's rays have inclined from us;
A star-filled vault has opened up;
No number is there to the stars,
No bottom is there to the vault.

A grain of sand in waves of sea,
A small spark in eternal ice,
A light dust in a roaring wind,
A feather in a raging fire
Am I, engulfed in this abyss,
As worn by thought, I lose my way.

The mouths of sages do proclaim
A multitude of worlds are there;
Innumerable suns burn bright;
And people live and die as we;
And to God's glory ever more,
There nature has an equal force.

But where, O Nature, is your law?
The dawn comes up from northern lands!
Does not the sun set there its throne?
Do icy seas not stir the fire?
We have been cloaked by a cold flame!
At night, day came upon the earth!

O You, whose swift gaze penetrates
The volume of eternal laws,
To whom the small sign of a thing
Reveals a principle of life:
To you the planets' course is known.
What is it so disturbs us, tell?

At night, what vibrates lucid rays?
What subtle flame cuts firmament?
And without stormy thunderclouds,
Wherefrom does lightning rush to earth?
How can it be that frozen steam
In midst of winter brings forth fire?

Dense fog and water quarrel there;
Or brightly glitter rays of sun,
Inclining to us through thick air.
Or tops of fertile mountains burn;
Or zephyrs cease to blow the sea,
And tranquil waves the ether beat.

Your answer is replete with doubts
About the places nearest man.
Pray tell us, how vast is the world?
What lies beyond the smallest stars?
In creatures' end unknown to You?
Pray tell, how great is God Himself?

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