The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Ode to God, The

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Ode to God, The
Edition of 1920. See also Derzhavin's ode to God on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

ODE TO GOD, The (Russian title ‘Bog’). In the 18th century the Deists of various European nations reveled in singing praises to God. We have such odes by Voltaire, Klopstock, Haller, Brockes, Young; in Russia the fashion was set by Lomonosov's ‘The True God.’ But none of these productions could equal Derzhavin's ‘Bog,’ which was at once translated into most of the European languages and, by Admiral Golovin, into Japanese. There are at least 15 French versions of the poem, while in English we have ‘To God,’ in W. D. Lewis' ‘The Bakchesarian Fountain’ (Philadelphia 1849); ‘Ode to the Deity,’ by J. K. Stallybrass (in The Leisure Hour, London 1870), 2 May; and ‘Ode to God,’ by Dole, N. H. (in The Chautauquan, Vol. X). Derzhavin commenced writing the ode in 1780, but finished it only in 1784, under the influence of a strong religious emotion. It begins with an appeal to God, then extols his infinite power and wisdom. Man is the reflex of the Divinity, hence man is not insignificant. He recognizes his relationship to God and, therefore, is assured of immortality beyond the grave.

Leo Wiener.