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- Boris Godunov - 2/16 -

1ST PERSON. He is inexorable! He thrust from him Prelates, boyars, and Patriarch; in vain Prostrate they fall; the splendour of the throne Affrights him.

2ND PERSON. O, my God, who is to rule us? O, woe to us!

3RD PERSON. See! The Chief Minister Is coming out to tell us what the Council Has now resolved.

THE PEOPLE. Silence! Silence! He speaks, The Minister of State. Hush, hush! Give ear!

SHCHELKALOV. (From the Red Balcony.) The Council have resolved for the last time To put to proof the power of supplication Upon our ruler's mournful soul. At dawn, After a solemn service in the Kremlin, The blessed Patriarch will go, preceded By sacred banners, with the holy ikons Of Donsky and Vladimir; with him go The Council, courtiers, delegates, boyars, And all the orthodox folk of Moscow; all Will go to pray once more the queen to pity Fatherless Moscow, and to consecrate Boris unto the crown. Now to your homes Go ye in peace: pray; and to Heaven shall rise The heart's petition of the orthodox.

(The PEOPLE disperse.)



1ST PERSON. To plead with the tsaritsa in her cell Now are they gone. Thither have gone Boris, The Patriarch, and a host of boyars.

2ND PERSON. What news?

3RD PERSON. Still is he obdurate; yet there is hope.

PEASANT WOMAN. (With a child.) Drat you! Stop crying, or else the bogie-man Will carry you off. Drat you, drat you! Stop crying!

1ST PERSON. Can't we slip through behind the fence?

2ND PERSON. Impossible! No chance at all! Not only is the nunnery Crowded; the precincts too are crammed with people. Look what a sight! All Moscow has thronged here. See! Fences, roofs, and every single storey Of the Cathedral bell tower, the church-domes, The very crosses are studded thick with people.

1ST PERSON. A goodly sight indeed!

2ND PERSON. What is that noise?

3RD PERSON. Listen! What noise is that?--The people groaned; See there! They fall like waves, row upon row-- Again--again-- Now, brother, 'tis our turn; Be quick, down on your knees!

THE PEOPLE. (On their knees, groaning and wailing.) Have pity on us, Our father! O, rule over us! O, be Father to us, and tsar!

1ST PERSON. (Sotto voce.) Why are they wailing?

2ND PERSON. How can we know? The boyars know well enough. It's not our business.

PEASANT WOMAN. (With child.) Now, what's this? Just when It ought to cry, the child stops crying. I'll show you! Here comes the bogie-man! Cry, cry, you spoilt one! (Throws it on the ground; the child screams.) That's right, that's right!

1ST PERSON. As everyone is crying, We also, brother, will begin to cry.

2ND PERSON. Brother, I try my best, but can't.

1ST PERSON. Nor I. Have you not got an onion?

2ND PERSON. No; I'll wet My eyes with spittle. What's up there now?

1ST PERSON. Who knows What's going on?

THE PEOPLE. The crown for him! He is tsar! He has yielded!--Boris!--Our tsar!--Long live Boris!



BORIS. Thou, father Patriarch, all ye boyars! My soul lies bare before you; ye have seen With what humility and fear I took This mighty power upon me. Ah! How heavy My weight of obligation! I succeed The great Ivans; succeed the angel tsar!-- O Righteous Father, King Of kings, look down From Heaven upon the tears of Thy true servants, And send on him whom Thou hast loved, whom Thou Exalted hast on earth so wondrously, Thy holy blessing. May I rule my people In glory, and like Thee be good and righteous! To you, boyars, I look for help. Serve me As ye served him, what time I shared your labours, Ere I was chosen by the people's will.

BOYARS. We will not from our plighted oath depart.

BORIS. Now let us go to kneel before the tombs Of Russia's great departed rulers. Then Bid summon all our people to a feast, All, from the noble to the poor blind beggar. To all free entrance, all most welcome guests.

(Exit, the Boyars following.)

PRINCE VOROTINSKY. (Stopping Shuisky.) You rightly guessed.

SHUISKY. Guessed what?

VOROTINSKY. Why, you remember-- The other day, here on this very spot.

SHUISKY. No, I remember nothing.

VOROTINSKY. When the people Flocked to the Virgin's Field, thou said'st--

SHUISKY. 'Tis not The time for recollection. There are times When I should counsel you not to remember, But even to forget. And for the rest, I sought but by feigned calumny to prove thee, The truelier to discern thy secret thoughts. But see! The people hail the tsar--my absence May be remarked. I'll join them.

VOROTINSKY. Wily courtier!


Cell in the Monastery of Chudov (A.D. 1603)


PIMEN (Writing in front of a sacred lamp.) One more, the final record, and my annals Are ended, and fulfilled the duty laid By God on me a sinner. Not in vain Hath God appointed me for many years A witness, teaching me the art of letters; A day will come when some laborious monk Will bring to light my zealous, nameless toil, Kindle, as I, his lamp, and from the parchment Shaking the dust of ages will transcribe My true narrations, that posterity The bygone fortunes of the orthodox Of their own land may learn, will mention make Of their great tsars, their labours, glory, goodness-- And humbly for their sins, their evil deeds, Implore the Saviour's mercy.--In old age I live anew; the past unrolls before me.-- Did it in years long vanished sweep along, Full of events, and troubled like the deep? Now it is hushed and tranquil. Few the faces Which memory hath saved for me, and few The words which have come down to me;--the rest Have perished, never to return.--But day Draws near, the lamp burns low, one record more, The last. (He writes.)

GREGORY. (Waking.) Ever the selfsame dream! Is 't possible? For the third time! Accursed dream! And ever Before the lamp sits the old man and writes--

Boris Godunov - 2/16

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