Driven by misfortune’s whirlwind,
Having neither oar nor rudder,
By a storm my bark was driven
Out upon the boundless sea.
“midst black clouds a small star sparkled;
“Don’t conceal yourself!” I cried;
But it disappeared, unheeding;
And my anchor was lost, too.
All was clothed in gloomy darkness;
Great swells heaved all round;
In the darkness yawned the depths
I was hemmed in by cliffs.
“There’s no hope for my salvation!”
I bemoaned, with heavy spirit…
Was your secret helmsman.
With a hand invisible,
‘midst the roaring waves,
Through the gloomy, veiled depths
Past the terrifying cliffs,
My all-powerful savior guided me.
Then-all’s quiet ! gloom has vanished;
I behold a paradisical realm…
Three celestial angels.
Providence – O, my protector!
My dejected groaning ceases;
On my knees, in exaltation,
On their image I did gaze.
Who could sing their charm?
Or their power o’er the soul?
All around them holy innocence
And an aura divine.
A delight as yet untasted –
Live and breathe for them;
Take into my soul and heart
All their words and glances sweet.
O fate! I’ve but one desire:
Let them sample every blessing;
Vouchsafe them delight – me suffering;
Only let me die before they do.
Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky (b. Feb. 9 [New Style], 1783, Mishenskoe, near Tula Oblast, Russia – d. 24 April 1852, Baden-Baden, Germany)