Friday, 26 October 2007

One day at Derzhavin Museum in St. Petersburg

Reading the poem "God" by Derzhavin

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Derzhavin Museum in St. Petersburg, named after the famous poet during the times of the Catherine the Great. I was invited there by Mr. Michael Tcheriatiev from the International League for the protection of culture who was very kind to guide me through the collections of this museum. There I got to see the photographs of the first cultural performance in the space at the "MIR" space station by the Russian astronauts. He also introcuded me to a number of poets, painters, scientists who have dealt with the cosmos in their work.

There I also got the opportunity to read the original text of the poem "GOD" by Derzhavin. Later Mr. Tcheriatiev sent me the English translation of the poem done by none other than Nicholas Roehrich. The poem is one of the best poems in the Russian language and has been translated into a number of foreign languages. I am posting the English translation of this poem done by Nicholas Roehrich for you all. Wish you a great reading!
For more pictures please PICTURESQUE

O thou eternal One ! Whose presence bright
All space doth occupy, all motion guide;
Unchanged thru time’s all-devastating flight;
Thou only God ! There is no God beside !
Being above all being ! Mighty One !
Whom none can comprehend, and none explore;
Who fill’st existence with Thyself alone;
Embracing all, supporting, ruling o’er;
Being whom we call God - and know no more !
In its sublime research, philosophy
May measure out the ocean deep, may count
The sands or the sun’s rays - but God ! For Thee
There is no weight nor measure ! None can mount
Up to Thy mysteries, Reason’s brightest spark,
Though kindled by thy light, in vain would try
To trace Thy counsels, infinite and dark;
And thought is lost ere thought can soar so high;
E’en like past moments in eternity.
Thou from primeval nothingness didst call
First chaos, then existence; Lord, in Thee
Eternity had its foundation; all
Sprang forth from Thee - of light, joy, harmony,
Sole origin, all life, all beauty, Thine.
Thy word created all, and doth create;
Thy splendour fills all space with rays divine.
Thou art, and wert and shall be ! Glorious, Great,
Light-giving, life-sustaining Potentate !
Thy chains the unmeasured Universe surrounds,
Upheld by Thee, by Thee inspired with breath,
Thou the beginning with the end hast bound,
And beautifully mingled life with death !
As sparks mount upward from the fiery blaze,
And as the spangles in the sunny rays
Shine round the silver snow, the pageantry
Of Heaven’s bright army glitters in Thy praise.
A million torches lighted by Thy hand,
Wander unwearied thru the blue Abyss !
They own Thy power, accomplished Thy command,
All gay with life, all eloquent with bliss,
What shall we call them ? Pyres or crystal light,
A glorious company of golden streams,
Lamps of celestial ether, burning bright,
Suns lighting systems with their joyous beams ?
But Thou to these art as the moon to night.
Yes ! As a drop of water in the sea,
All this magnificence in Thee is lost -
What are ten thousand worlds compared to Thee ?
What am I, then ? Heaven’s unnumbered host,
Tho’ multiplied by myriads, and arrayed
In all the glory of sublimest thought,
Is but an atom in the balance weighed
Against Thy greatness - is a cipher brought
Against Infinity ! What am I, then-naught
Even to the eternal throne of Thy divinity,
I am, O God ! And surely Thou must be !
Thou art directing, guiding all, Thou art !
Direct my understanding, then to Thee;
Control my spirit, guide my wandering heart;
Tho' but an atom midst immensity,
Still I am something fashioned by Thy hand;
I hold a middle rank ‘twixt heaven and earth
On the last verge of mortal being stand
Close to realm where angels have their birth,
Just on the boundary of the spirit land !
The chain of Being is complete in me;
In me is matter’s last gradation lost,
And the next step is Spirit-Deity !
I can command the lightning, and am dust !
A monarch and a slave; a worm, a God !
Whence came I here, and how ? So marvellously
Thy light, Thy love, in their bright plenitude,
Filled me with an immortal Soul, to spring
Over the abyss of Death, and bade it wear
The garment of eternal day, and wing
Its heavenly flight beyond the little sphere,
Even to its source, to Thee its author there.
O thought ineffable ! O vision blest,
Though worthless our conception all of Thee
Yet shall Thy shadowed image fill our breast,
And waft its homage to Thy Deity.
God ! Thus alone my lowly thoughts can soar;
Thus seek Thy presence - Being, wise and good;
Midst Thy vast works admire, obey, adore !
And when the tongue is eloquent no more,
The soul shall speak in tears its gratitude.


Blogger Suzan Abrams said...

Hi Abhay,
How wonderful to be reading you after such a long time. I have been busy sorting out affairs and have not been able to blog for a long while. So nice to read of your accomplishments and what a wonderful poem. Looks like I have a lot to catch up on.
I have a simpler blog now for a different stage of my life. I'm pursuing my writing again seriously and am in the UK currently.

26/10/07 7:16 pm  
Anonymous kimberley said...

Thank you for sharing this. You have a beautiful blog here - I will be visiting again and again. I found you through poets who blog.

26/10/07 8:33 pm  

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