LOMONOSOFF

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LOMONOSOFF, Michael Wasilowitz ; the creator of the modern poetical language of his country, and the father of Russian literature; born in 1711, near Cholmogory, in the government of Archangel, in the village of Denissowskaia, where a monument was erected to his memory, in 1825, through the influence of Neophytus, bishop of Archangel. His father was a fisherman, whom he assisted in his labors for the support of the family. In winter a clergyman taught him to read. A poetical spirit and a love of knowledge were awakened in the boy by the singing of the psalms at church, and the reading of the Bible. Without having received any instruction, he conceived the plan of celebrating the wonders of creation and the great deeds of Peter I, in songs similar to those of David. But, hearing that there was a school at Moscow, in which scholars were instructed in Greek, Latin, German and French, he secretly left his father's house, and went to the capital to seek that instruction which his inquisitive spirit demanded. He was then sent to Kiev, and, in 1734, to the newly established academy of literature at St. Petersburg, where he studied natural science and mathematics. Two years later, he went to Germany, studied mathematics, under Christian Wolf, in Marburg, read the German poets, and studied the art ot mining, at Freyberg. On his journey to Brunswick, he was seized by Prussian recruiting officers, and obliged to enter the service; but, having made his escape, he returned, by the way of Holland, to St. Petersburg (1741), where he received a situation in the academy, and was made director of the mineralogical cabinet. Soon after, he published his first celebrated ode (on the Turkish war and the victory of Pultavva). The empress Elizabeth made him professor of chemistry (1745), and, in 1752, he received the privilege of establishing a manufactory for colored glass beads, &c. As he had been the first to encourage an attempt at mosaic work in Russia, the government confided to him the direction of two large pictures in mosaic, intended to commemorate the deeds of Peter I. In 1760, the gymnasiums and the university were put under his inspection; and, in 1764, he was made counsellor of state. He died April 4, 1765. Catharine II caused his. remains to be deposited with great pomp in the monastic church of saint Alexander Newski. Besides odes and other lyric pieces, he wrote Petreide, a heroic poem on Peter I, in two cantos, which is the best work of the kind that Russia has yet produced. Lomonosoffalso wrote a Russian grammar, and several works on mineralogy, metallurgy and chemistry. His Grammar, and his Sketch of Russian History, have been translated into German and French. The Russian academy published his works in 6 vols., 4to. (2d edit, 1804, 3 vols.). Admiral TschitschagofF has written a Life of LomonosofF. (See Bowring's Russian Anthology.)