We present this work in honor of National Unity Day.

Mikhail Lomonosov
1711 – 1765


on the birthday of her majesty, the sovereign empress Elisaveta Petrovna, autocrat of all Russia, in the year 1746

This very day, most blessèd Russia,
A pleasing land in heaven’s eyes,
This very day from holy heights
Elisaveta’s given thee.
To raise our Peter posthumously,
To crush our foes’ o’erweening pride
And cast them also into horror,
To make thee safe from dire misfortunes,
To place thee judge above the kingdoms
And elevate thee o’er the clouds.

Oh child of Him who thunders above us,
Mother of all the tribes of earth,
Oh Nature, marvelous in actions,
As if you judge me to be worthy
To know the deepest of your secrets,
And if the weak engine of thoughts
May penetrate into your mansions,
Present to me that fateful epoch
And the stars’ whole course in order,
As He most high gave us this token.

Through stormy clouds of former sadness,
Which cruèl fate brought unto us,
Oh, how the mountains wept for Peter
And Pontus roared within its banks,
Through changes dreadful for the Rossians,
Through the dust that wars disturbed,
I see that bright and radiant moment:
There ’round the young Elisaveta
Shine planets bearing happy fate,
I hear the voice of Nature present.

How clear the sun when that first time
Upon you shone its gleaming ray,
Already fortune stretched her hand
With love for all your pleasant ways,
She held the crown above your head
And elevated there before you
The trophies of your fathers’ conquests,
Most glorious to the ends of earth.
How fortunate was Russia then
When first upon the world you gazed!

Then from Poltava, filled with gladness,
The sound of Rossian vict’ry roared,
Then all the universe’s limits
Could not contain the fame of Peter,
Then the heads of vanquished vandals
Bowed low as they were herded past,
E’en when you were in swaddling clothes;
Then it was that fate made known,
The regiments of their descendants
Would fall before you tremorously.

But lo, the various tongues and peoples
From the great rivers and the seas
Lift up harmonious exclamations,
To you, their monarch and their lady,
They spread out wide their hearts and hands,
And many a time do they repeat:
“Long live the great Elisaveta,
Born on this day for Rossian glory,
And may the heavens fortify her
Through multitudes of happy years.”

Translation by Sibelan Forrester

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