You [the sun] whose course the Eternal Spirit has marked out,
you who give growth and feeling to matter,
who measure out time and mete out the day,
king of the wandering worlds who compose your court,
bright and noble image of the God who guides you:
the seasons, their gifts, our riches, are your work.
You prepared the earth to be fertile
when you clothed it with grace and beauty;
soon you mounted to the height
of the heavenly vault and hotter beams,
shed about your path, penetrated the atmosphere,
the depths of the earth and of the seas
from the equator to the pole.
They give birth to innumerable beings,
everything stirs, organizes itself, and is conscious of existence.
Are the sand and the mud filled with life?
In the woods, in the waters, on the burning mountains,
the germs of birds, fish, reptiles,
burst out all at once from their fragile prisons.
Here, the nimble fawn plays with the lamb;
there, the young steed bounds near the kid;
on the opposite edges of those light leaves,
tribes dwell which are foreign to one another;
the calyxes of the flowers, the fruits, are inhabited;
in humble clods of turf, cities spring up;
and an inanimate drop of rain-water
contains an atomy people, an invisible multitude.
As a wave disappears beneath the following wave,
a being is replaced by the being it produces.
They are born, O mighty God, when your life-giving voice
calls them in their turn on to the stage of the world.
Devoured by each other, or destroyed by time,
they have served your purpose for a few moments.
Jean François de Saint-Lambert