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- Boris Godunov - 4/16 -


To do; you doze; the whole night long till daylight The poor monk lies awake; and when in sleep You lose yourself, black dreams disturb the soul; Glad that they sound the bell, that with a crutch They rouse you. No, I will not suffer it! I cannot! Through this fence I'll flee! The world Is great; my path is on the highways never Thou'lt hear of me again.

MONK. Truly your life Is but a sorry one, ye dissolute, Wicked young monks!

GREGORY. Would that the Khan again Would come upon us, or Lithuania rise Once more in insurrection. Good! I would then Cross swords with them! Or what if the tsarevich Should suddenly arise from out the grave, Should cry, "Where are ye, children, faithful servants? Help me against Boris, against my murderer! Seize my foe, lead him to me!"

MONK. Enough, my friend, Of empty babble. We cannot raise the dead. No, clearly it was fated otherwise For the tsarevich-- But hearken; if you wish To do a thing, then do it.

GREGORY. What to do?

MONK. If I were young as thou, if these grey hairs Had not already streaked my beard-- Dost take me?

GREGORY. Not I.

MONK. Hearken; our folk are dull of brain, Easy of faith, and glad to be amazed By miracles and novelties. The boyars Remember Godunov as erst he was, Peer to themselves; and even now the race Of the old Varyags is loved by all. Thy years Match those of the tsarevich. If thou hast Cunning and hardihood-- Dost take me now?

GREGORY. I take thee.

MONK. Well, what say'st thou?

GREGORY. 'Tis resolved. I am Dimitry, I tsarevich!

MONK. Give me Thy hand, my bold young friend. Thou shalt be tsar!

PALACE OF THE PATRIARCH

PATRIARCH, ABBOT of the Chudov Monastery

PATRIARCH. And he has run away, Father Abbot?

ABBOT. He has run away, holy sovereign, now three days ago.

PATRIARCH. Accursed rascal! What is his origin?

ABBOT. Of the family of the Otrepievs, of the lower nobility of Galicia; in his youth he took the tonsure, no one knows where, lived at Suzdal, in the Ephimievsky monastery, departed from there, wandered to various convents, finally arrived at my Chudov fraternity; but I, seeing that he was still young and inexperienced, entrusted him at the outset to Father Pimen, an old man, kind and humble. And he was very learned, read our chronicle, composed canons for the holy brethren; but, to be sure, instruction was not given to him from the Lord God--

PATRIARCH. Ah, those learned fellows! What a thing to say, "I shall be tsar in Moscow." Ah, he is a vessel of the devil! However, it is no use even to report to the tsar about this; why disquiet our father sovereign? It will be enough to give information about his flight to the Secretary Smirnov or the Secretary Ephimiev. What a heresy: "I shall be tsar in Moscow!"... Catch, catch the fawning villain, and send him to Solovetsky to perpetual penance. But this--is it not heresy, Father Abbot?

ABBOT. Heresy, holy Patriarch; downright heresy.

PALACE OF THE TSAR

Two Attendants

1ST ATTENDANT. Where is the sovereign?

2ND ATTENDANT. In his bed-chamber, Where he is closeted with some magician.

1ST ATTENDANT. Ay; that's the kind of intercourse he loves; Sorcerers, fortune-tellers, necromancers. Ever he seeks to dip into the future, Just like some pretty girl. Fain would I know What 'tis he would foretell.

2ND ATTENDANT. Well, here he comes. Will it please you question him?

1ST ATTENDANT. How grim he looks!

(Exeunt.)

TSAR. (Enters.) I have attained the highest power. Six years Already have I reigned in peace; but joy Dwells not within my soul. Even so in youth We greedily desire the joys of love, But only quell the hunger of the heart With momentary possession. We grow cold, Grow weary and oppressed! In vain the wizards Promise me length of days, days of dominion Immune from treachery--not power, not life Gladden me; I forebode the wrath of Heaven And woe. For me no happiness. I thought To satisfy my people in contentment, In glory, gain their love by generous gifts, But I have put away that empty hope; The power that lives is hateful to the mob,-- Only the dead they love. We are but fools When our heart vibrates to the people's groans And passionate wailing. Lately on our land God sent a famine; perishing in torments The people uttered moan. The granaries I made them free of, scattered gold among them, Found labour for them; furious for my pains They cursed me! Next, a fire consumed their homes; I built for them new dwellings; then forsooth They blamed me for the fire! Such is the mob, Such is its judgment! Seek its love, indeed! I thought within my family to find Solace; I thought to make my daughter happy By wedlock. Like a tempest Death took off Her bridegroom--and at once a stealthy rumour Pronounced me guilty of my daughter's grief-- Me, me, the hapless father! Whoso dies, I am the secret murderer of all; I hastened Feodor's end, 'twas I that poisoned My sister-queen, the lowly nun--all I! Ah! Now I feel it; naught can give us peace Mid worldly cares, nothing save only conscience! Healthy she triumphs over wickedness, Over dark slander; but if in her be found A single casual stain, then misery. With what a deadly sore my soul doth smart; My heart, with venom filled, doth like a hammer Beat in mine ears reproach; all things revolt me, And my head whirls, and in my eyes are children Dripping with blood; and gladly would I flee, But nowhere can find refuge--horrible! Pitiful he whose conscience is unclean!

TAVERN ON THE LITHUANIAN FRONTIER

MISSAIL and VARLAAM, wandering friars; GREGORY in secular attire; HOSTESS

HOSTESS. With what shall I regale you, my reverend honoured guests?

VARLAAM. With what God sends, little hostess. Have you no wine?

HOSTESS. As if I had not, my fathers! I will bring it at once. (Exit.)

MISSAIL. Why so glum, comrade? Here is that very Lithuanian frontier which you so wished to reach.

GREGORY. Until I shall be in Lithuania, till then I shall not Be content.

VARLAAM. What is it that makes you so fond of Lithuania! Here are we, Father Missail and I, a sinner, when we fled from the monastery, then we cared for nothing. Was it Lithuania, was it Russia, was it fiddle, was it dulcimer? All the same for us, if only there was wine. That's the main thing!

MISSAIL. Well said, Father Varlaam.

HOSTESS. (Enters.) There you are, my fathers. Drink to your health.


Boris Godunov - 4/16

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