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Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov

(1711 - 1765 / Russia)

An Evening Reflection


1
The day conceals its brilliant face,
And dark night covers up the fields,
Black shadows creep upon the hills,
Light's rays recede from us.
Before us gapes a well of stars -
Stars infinite, well fathomless.

2
A grain of sand in ocean swells,
A tiny glint in endless ice,
Fine ash caught in a mighty gale,
A feather in a raging fire,
So I am lost in this abyss,
Oppressed by thoughts profound.

3
The mouths of wise men call to us:
"A multitude of worlds dwell there,
Among them burning suns untold,
And peoples, and the wheel of time:
There, all of nature's strength
Exists God's glory to proclaim"

4
But where, O nature, is your law?
Dawn breaks from out of northern lands!
Is this the home of our sun's throne?
Or are the icy oceans burning?
Behold, cold fire envelops us!
Behold, now day has entered night.

5
O thou, whose lively gaze can see
Into the book of law eternal,
For whom the smallest part of things
Reveals the code in all of nature,
Thou comprehendeth planets' course,
Now tell us what disturbs our souls?

6
Why do these bright rays sparkle in the night?
Why does fine flame assault the land?
Without a thundercloud can lightning
Rise from the earth up toward the heavens?
How can it be that frozen steam
Gives birth to fire from winter's depths?

7
There, oily darkness battles water,
Or rays of sunlight sparkle bright,
Bend toward us through the thickened air;
Or do the peaks of stout hills glow,
Or have the sea winds ceased their song,
And smooth waves struck the space.

8
Regarding what lies right before us
Thine answer's full of doubts
O, tell us, how enormous is the world?
What lies beyond the smallest stars?
Are thou aware of all creation's end?
Tell us, how great is our Creator?

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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