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- Boris Godunov - 5/16 -


MISSAIL. Thanks, my good friend. God bless thee. (The monks drink. Varlaam trolls a ditty: "Thou passest by, my dear," etc.) (To GREGORY) Why don't you join in the song? Not even join in the song?

GREGORY. I don't wish to.

MISSAIL. Everyone to his liking--

VARLAAM. But a tipsy man's in Heaven.* Father Missail! We will drink a glass to our hostess. (Sings: "Where the brave lad in durance," etc.) Still, Father Missail, when I am drinking, then I don't like sober men; tipsiness is one thing--but pride quite another. If you want to live as we do, you are welcome. No?--then take yourself off, away with you; a mountebank is no companion for a priest.

[*The Russian text has here a play on the words which cannot be satisfactorily rendered into English.]

GREGORY. Drink, and keep your thoughts to yourself,* Father Varlaam! You see, I too sometimes know how to make puns.

[*The Russian text has here a play on the words which cannot be satisfactorily rendered into English.]

VARLAAM. But why should I keep my thoughts to myself?

MISSAIL. Let him alone, Father Varlaam.

VARLAAM. But what sort of a fasting man is he? Of his own accord he attached himself as a companion to us; no one knows who he is, no one knows whence he comes-- and yet he gives himself grand airs; perhaps he has a close acquaintance with the pillory. (Drinks and sings: "A young monk took the tonsure," etc.)

GREGORY. (To HOSTESS.) Whither leads this road?

HOSTESS. To Lithuania, my dear, to the Luyov mountains.

GREGORY. And is it far to the Luyov mountains?

HOSTESS. Not far; you might get there by evening, but for the tsar's frontier barriers, and the captains of the guard.

GREGORY. What say you? Barriers! What means this?

HOSTESS. Someone has escaped from Moscow, and orders have been given to detain and search everyone.

GREGORY. (Aside.) Here's a pretty mess!

VARLAAM. Hallo, comrade! You've been making up to mine hostess. To be sure you don't want vodka, but you want a young woman. All right, brother, all right! Everyone has his own ways, and Father Missail and I have only one thing which we care for--we drink to the bottom, we drink; turn it upside down, and knock at the bottom.

MISSAIL. Well said, Father Varlaam.

GREGORY. (To Hostess.) Whom do they want? Who escaped from Moscow?

HOSTESS. God knows; a thief perhaps, a robber. But here even good folk are worried now. And what will come of it? Nothing. They will not catch the old devil; as if there were no other road into Lithuania than the highway! Just turn to the left from here, then by the pinewood or by the footpath as far as the chapel on the Chekansky brook, and then straight across the marsh to Khlopin, and thence to Zakhariev, and then any child will guide you to the Luyov mountains. The only good of these inspectors is to worry passers-by and rob us poor folk. (A noise is heard.) What's that? Ah, there they are, curse them! They are going their rounds.

GREGORY. Hostess! Is there another room in the cottage?

HOSTESS. No, my dear; I should be glad myself to hide. But they are only pretending to go their rounds; but give them wine and bread, and Heaven knows what-- May perdition take them, the accursed ones! May--

(Enter OFFICERS.)

OFFICERS. Good health to you, mine hostess!

HOSTESS. You are kindly welcome, dear guests.

AN OFFICER. (To another.) Ha, there's drinking going on here; we shall get something here. (To the Monks.) Who are you?

VARLAAM. We--are two old clerics, humble monks; we are going from village to village, and collecting Christian alms for the monastery.

OFFICER. (To GREGORY.) And thou?

MISSAIL. Our comrade.

GREGORY. A layman from the suburb; I have conducted the old men as far as the frontier; from here I am going to my own home.

MISSAIL. So you have changed your mind?

GREGORY. (Sotto voce.) Be silent.

OFFICER. Hostess, bring some more wine, and we will drink here a little and talk a little with these old men.

2ND OFFICER. (Sotto voce.) Yon lad, it appears, is poor; there's nothing to be got out of him; on the other hand the old men--

1ST OFFICER. Be silent; we shall come to them presently. --Well, my fathers, how are you getting on?

VARLAAM. Badly, my sons, badly! The Christians have now turned stingy; they love their money; they hide their money. They give little to God. The people of the world have become great sinners. They have all devoted themselves to commerce, to earthly cares; they think of worldly wealth, not of the salvation of the soul. You walk and walk; you beg and beg; sometimes in three days begging will not bring you three half-pence. What a sin! A week goes by; another week; you look into your bag, and there is so little in it that you are ashamed to show yourself at the monastery. What are you to do? From very sorrow you drink away what is left; a real calamity! Ah, it is bad! It seems our last days have come--

HOSTESS. (Weeps.) God pardon and save you! (During the course of VARLAAM'S speech the 1st OFFICER watches MISSAIL significantly.)

1ST OFFICER. Alexis! Have you the tsar's edict with you?

2ND OFFICER. I have it.

1ST OFFICER. Give it here.

MISSAIL. Why do you look at me so fixedly?

1ST OFFICER. This is why; from Moscow there has fled a certain wicked heretic--Grishka Otrepiev. Have you heard this?

MISSAIL. I have not heard it.

OFFICER. Not heard it? Very good. And the tsar has ordered to arrest and hang the fugitive heretic. Do you know this?

MISSAIL. I do not know it.

OFFICER. (To VARLAAM.) Do you know how to read?

VARLAAM. In my youth I knew how, but I have forgotten.

OFFICER. (To MISSAIL.) And thou?

MISSAIL. God has not made me wise.

OFFICER. So then here's the tsar's edict.

MISSAIL. What do I want it for?

OFFICER. It seems to me that this fugitive heretic, thief, swindler, is--thou.

MISSAIL. I? Good gracious! What are you talking about?

OFFICER. Stay! Hold the doors. Then we shall soon get at the truth.

HOSTESS. O the cursed tormentors! Not to leave even the old man in peace!

OFFICER. Which of you here is a scholar?

GREGORY. (Comes forward.) I am a scholar!

OFFICER. Oh, indeed! And from whom did you learn?

GREGORY. From our sacristan.

OFFICER (Gives him the edict.) Read it aloud.

GREGORY. (Reads.) "An unworthy monk of the Monastery Of Chudov, Gregory, of the family of Otrepiev, has fallen into heresy, taught by the devil, and has dared to vex


Boris Godunov - 5/16

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