A Prayer by Dániel Berzsenyi

O, God, whom no wise man in thought can reach,
Thou whom his yearning hope can barely trace;
Thy being, like the sun, pervades all life.
But human eyes can never see Thy face.

The highest heaven and ether’s Uranus
Around Thee in revolving order course;
The very worms unseen beneath the sod
Proclaim Thy wondrous wisdom and Thy force.

The myriad orbs from nothing Thou hast called,
Thy glance brings worlds to life or sends to death,
And measures the swift-flowing tides of time,
Whose ocean-waves are even as Thy breath.

Zenith and Nadir glorify Thy name,
Strong tempests breeding strife o’er sea and land.
Thunder and lightning, dews and flowering boughs,
Alike proclaim them creatures of Thy hand.

In pious guise I kneel before Thy grace;
When once my soul from its abode doth part,
And near approaches Thee, O, then, I know
I shall attain the yearning of my heart.

Till then I dry my tears and simply tread
The pathway of my life ordained by Thee —
The pathway of all good and noble souls,
Until my soul, like theirs, gains strength to flee.

Though awful, yet I view the grave’s dark night,
Which cannot all be evil, now in trust,
Because, e’en dead, Thy creatures still are Thine,
Whose gracious hands protect even bones and dust.

From: Loew, William N. (ed. and transl.), Magyar Poetry. Selections from Hungarian Poets, 1899, Author-Translator’s Edition, p. 149.
(https://archive.org/details/magyarpoetrysel00loewgoog/)

Date: 1807-1810 (original in Hungarian); 1899 (translation in English)

By: Dániel Berzsenyi (1776-1836)

Translated by: William Noah Loew (1847-1922)

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