Felitsa: The Virtue of the Thorn-less Rose

489 words | 2 page(s)

“Felicity” by Gavrila Derzhavin is an ode, a piece of poetry written in a formal manner, ceremonious in nature and one with considerable length (Felitsa by Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin, n.d.). Used for stately occasions, this ode to Catherine the Great focuses on clichés that reflect upon the panegyric tradition of the empress being god-like in nature. Right from the start, the poem opens with “God-like Tsarevna”, and further dotes upon her unmatched wisdom, the wisdom which “opened the true path”. The line that the great leader alone can “create light out of darkness; dividing chaos into harmonious spheres” is a direct reference to the idea of creation by God, lending significant credence yet again to the panegyric tradition.

His writings connect with Eastern Orthodox Christianity, especially the idea that the great leader suffers for her people and does so with quiet humility, something seen when the narrator begs for knowledge from the great leader in the second stanza on how to be happy, how to live in a just manner, how to control ones’ self and no longer be a slave to desire, and instead to search for the thorn-less rose which is virtue, which is the embodiment of the leader. The people are referred to as “weak mortals” who are surrounded by temptation and are stuck “between vanity and vice” unlike the “pure virtue” that embodies their great leader (Felitsa by Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin, n.d.).

puzzles puzzles
Your 20% discount here.

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
"Felitsa: The Virtue of the Thorn-less Rose".

Order Now
Promocode: custom20

Catherine II published a didactic story for her grandson Alexander in 1781 which described the testing of a young Kievan prince by Kirghiz Khan, who sent him in pursuit of a thorn-less rose (Hart, 1978). The boy met the daughter of Khan, Felitsa, whose Latin derivative is felicitas which means happiness. The boy reasoned that the thorn-less rose was that of virtue. This ode relates directly to the tale written by Catherine whereby the Tatar princess is named Felitsa, as seen in the start of the second stanza with “tell me, Felista”. Historically, this poem not only reflects the wisdom that Catherine II shared with her grandson in the didactic story, but also on the Eastern Orthodox religion that embodies Russia (Hart, 1978).

Catherine II was one of the longest ruling female leaders in Russia, one who revitalized Russia during her reign and created the great power across Europe. Her era is right referred to as the Golden Era, as she brought about new cities, modernized the economy and the military. She instituted the first higher education institution for females, the first to be sponsored by the state. She ruled over many wars, and yet brought her people to victory time and time again, protecting the Orthodox Christians throughout the Russian Empire (Evtuhov, 2004).

  • Evtuhov, C. (2004). A history of Russia: Peoples, legends, events, forces. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Felitsa by Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://allpoetry.com/Felitsa
  • Hart, P. (1978). G.R. Derzhavin: A poet’s progress. Columbus, O.: Slavica Publ.

puzzles puzzles
Attract Only the Top Grades

Have a team of vetted experts take you to the top, with professionally written papers in every area of study.

Order Now