Selections From Skovoroda's
Garden of Divine Songs

Song 16

On this theme: "I do set my bow in the cloud." [1]

The clouds have gone. The rainbow is radiant.
All anguish has gone. Our light shines. [2]
Joy of heart [3] is the pure light of fine weather [a], [4]
If the gloom and din of the worldly wind has passed. [5]

O lovely world! You to me are an ocean, a gulf.
You are gloom, cloud, whirlwind, anguish, woe.
This beautiful rainbow shines to me fine weather.
The heart's dove presages to me peace.

Good-bye, o grief! Good-bye, good-bye, evil belly! [6]
I have stood on my feet [7], I have risen from the grave.
O branch of David! You are to me shore and rock,
You are rainbow, life, fine weather to me, light, peace, olive.

[a]  Fine weather (vedro) means heavenly brightness and purity of air;  it entered the Slavic language from the Greek; among the Greeks brightness of air is said: . . . .

[1] Genesis 9:13
[2] 1 John 2:8
[3] Sirach 30:16
[4] Acts 14:17
[5] Matthew 14:32; Isaiah 64:6
[6] Sirach 51:5; Jonah 2:2
[7] 2 Kings 13:21; Revelation 11:11

Song 17

"Seeing the worldly sea raised up" etc. [1]

I, seeing this life's misery
Seething, like the Red Sea,
With a storm of sorrows, misfortunes, and perils,
Aghast, grew weak, paled.
O woe to those abiding in it! [2]

In my feeble flight I turned hurriedly,
So as not to vanish with the pharaoh in the sea. [3]
Lo, to the quiet haven I fly
And with a tearful howl cry,
Holding up my hands.

O Christ! Don't let me rot in hell! [4]
Let me in your heavenly city dwell, [5]
Let me not be lured
By the whore world, this dark light! [6]
O deep of mercy!

[1] From an irmos
[2] Cf. Rev. 8:13
[3] Cf. Exod. 14:23
[4] Ps. 15:10
[5] Heb. 12:22
[6] Luke 11:35

Song 29

To this end: "He maketh the storm a calm," etc. [1] "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" [2]

The whirlwind of the storm rocks my boat,
Now into the deep, now upward it casts!
Oh, there is no peace for me now
And there is no helmsman for me.
Now the sea is engulfing me!

A mighty wave mounts up to the heavens,
Another goes down to the depths, [3]
My hope is melted,
My soul vanishes. [4]
I waited--and there is none to help! [5]

O comfortable haven,
Quite, sweet, safe!
O son of Mary!
You alone be
The shore to my ship.

You sleep in my ship. [6]
Awake! Here my cry!
Oh, rebuke the sea,
Give me fast help!
Oh, awake, my glory! [7]

Deliver me from temptation, [8]
Calm the corruptible passions of the soul,
Now they torment my soul,
They bring sorrow to my life.
Save me, Peter, I beseech you! [9]

Composed on September 17, 1785, in the village of Velyk Burluk.

[1] Ps. 107:29
[2] Mark 4:41; also Matt. 8:27
[3] Ps. 107:26
[4] Ps. 107:26; Acts 27:20
[5] Ps. 107:12
[6] cf. Jonah 1:6
[7] Ps. 57:8
[8] 2 Pet. 2:9
[9] Matt. 14:30

© 1996 Richard Hantula

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