The Project Gutenberg eBook of Boris Godunov: a drama in verse

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Title: Boris Godunov: a drama in verse

Author: Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin

Translator: Alfred Hayes

Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #5089]
Most recently updated: February 7, 2013

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Stephen D. Leary and David Widger



A Drama in Verse

By Alexander Pushkin

Rendered into English verse by Alfred Hayes





























  BORIS GODUNOV, afterwards Tsar.
  PRINCE SHUISKY, Russian noble.
  PRINCE VOROTINSKY, Russian noble.
  SHCHELKALOV, Russian Minister of State.
  FATHER PIMEN, an old monk and chronicler.
  GREGORY OTREPIEV, a young monk, afterwards the Pretender
  to the throne of Russia.
  THE PATRIARCH, Abbot of the Chudov Monastery.
  MISSAIL, wandering friar.
  VARLAAM, wandering friar.
  FEODOR, young son of Boris Godunov.
  SEMYON NIKITICH GODUNOV, secret agent of Boris Godunov.
  GABRIEL PUSHKIN, nephew of A. M. Pushkin.
  PRINCE KURBSKY, disgraced Russian noble.
  KHRUSHCHOV, disgraced Russian noble.
  KARELA, a Cossack.
  MNISHEK, Governor of Sambor.
  BASMANOV, a Russian officer.
  MARZHERET, officer of the Pretender.
  ROZEN, officer of the Pretender.
  DIMITRY, the Pretender, formerly Gregory Otrepiev.
  MOSALSKY, a Boyar.
  KSENIA, daughter of Boris Godunov.
  NURSE of Ksenia.
  MARINA, daughter of Mnishek.
  ROUZYA, tire-woman of Ksenia.
  HOSTESS of tavern.

Boyars, The People, Inspectors, Officers, Attendants, Guests, a Boy in attendance on Prince Shuisky, a Catholic Priest, a Polish Noble, a Poet, an Idiot, a Beggar, Gentlemen, Peasants, Guards, Russian, Polish, and German Soldiers, a Russian Prisoner of War, Boys, an old Woman, Ladies, Serving-women.

     *The list of Dramatis Personae which does not appear in the
     original has been added for the convenience of the reader—


(FEBRUARY 20th, A.D. 1598)


   VOROTINSKY. To keep the city's peace, that is the task
   Entrusted to us twain, but you forsooth
   Have little need to watch; Moscow is empty;
   The people to the Monastery have flocked
   After the patriarch. What thinkest thou?
   How will this trouble end?

   SHUISKY.                 How will it end?
   That is not hard to tell. A little more
   The multitude will groan and wail, Boris
   Pucker awhile his forehead, like a toper
   Eyeing a glass of wine, and in the end
   Will humbly of his graciousness consent
   To take the crown; and then—and then will rule us
   Just as before.

   VOROTINSKY.   A month has flown already
   Since, cloistered with his sister, he forsook
   The world's affairs. None hitherto hath shaken
   His purpose, not the patriarch, not the boyars
   His counselors; their tears, their prayers he heeds not;
   Deaf is he to the wail of Moscow, deaf
   To the Great Council's voice; vainly they urged
   The sorrowful nun-queen to consecrate
   Boris to sovereignty; firm was his sister,
   Inexorable as he; methinks Boris
   Inspired her with this spirit. What if our ruler
   Be sick in very deed of cares of state
   And hath no strength to mount the throne? What
   Say'st thou?

   SHUISKY. I say that in that case the blood in vain
   Flowed of the young tsarevich, that Dimitry
   Might just as well be living.

   VOROTINSKY.                 Fearful crime!
   Is it beyond all doubt Boris contrived
   The young boy's murder?

   SHUISKY.              Who besides? Who else
   Bribed Chepchugov in vain? Who sent in secret
   The brothers Bityagovsky with Kachalov?
   Myself was sent to Uglich, there to probe
   This matter on the spot; fresh traces there
   I found; the whole town bore witness to the crime;
   With one accord the burghers all affirmed it;
   And with a single word, when I returned,
   I could have proved the secret villain's guilt.

   VOROTINSKY. Why didst thou then not crush him?

   SHUISKY.                        At the time,
   I do confess, his unexpected calmness,
   His shamelessness, dismayed me. Honestly
   He looked me in the eyes; he questioned me
   Closely, and I repeated to his face
   The foolish tale himself had whispered to me.

   VOROTINSKY. An ugly business, prince.

   SHUISKY.                    What could I do?
   Declare all to Feodor? But the tsar
   Saw all things with the eyes of Godunov.
   Heard all things with the ears of Godunov;
   Grant even that I might have fully proved it,
   Boris would have denied it there and then,
   And I should have been haled away to prison,
   And in good time—like mine own uncle—strangled
   Within the silence of some deaf-walled dungeon.
   I boast not when I say that, given occasion,
   No penalty affrights me. I am no coward,
   But also am no fool, and do not choose
   Of my free will to walk into a halter.

   VOROTINSKY. Monstrous misdeed! Listen; I warrant you
   Remorse already gnaws the murderer;
   Be sure the blood of that same innocent child
   Will hinder him from mounting to the throne.

   SHUISKY. That will not baulk him; Boris is not so timid!
   What honour for ourselves, ay, for all Russia!
   A slave of yesterday, a Tartar, son
   By marriage of Maliuta, of a hangman,
   Himself in soul a hangman, he to wear
   The crown and robe of Monomakh!—

   VOROTINSKY.                   You are right;
   He is of lowly birth; we twain can boast
   A nobler lineage.

   SHUISKY.        Indeed we may!

   VOROTINSKY. Let us remember, Shuisky, Vorotinsky
   Are, let me say, born princes.

   SHUISKY.                     Yea, born princes,
   And of the blood of Rurik.

   VOROTINSKY.              Listen, prince;
   Then we, 'twould seem, should have the right to mount
   Feodor's throne.

   SHUISKY.       Rather than Godunov.

   VOROTINSKY. In very truth 'twould seem so.

   SHUISKY.                      And what then?
   If still Boris pursue his crafty ways,
   Let us contrive by skilful means to rouse
   The people. Let them turn from Godunov;
   Princes they have in plenty of their own;
   Let them from out their number choose a tsar.

   VOROTINSKY. Of us, Varyags in blood, there are full many,
   But 'tis no easy thing for us to vie
   With Godunov; the people are not wont
   To recognise in us an ancient branch
   Of their old warlike masters; long already
   Have we our appanages forfeited,
   Long served but as lieutenants of the tsars,
   And he hath known, by fear, and love, and glory,
   How to bewitch the people.

   SHUISKY. (Looking through a window.) He has dared,
   That's all—while we—Enough of this. Thou seest
   Dispersedly the people are returning.
   We'll go forthwith and learn what is resolved.



   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—
   And not all night, 'twould seem, from drowsiness,
   Hath closed his eyes. I love the peaceful sight,
   When, with his soul deep in the past immersed,
   He keeps his chronicle. Oft have I longed
   To guess what 'tis he writes of. Is 't perchance
   The dark dominion of the Tartars? Is it
   Ivan's grim punishments, the stormy Council
   of Novgorod? Is it about the glory
   Of our dear fatherland?—I ask in vain!
   Not on his lofty brow, nor in his looks
   May one peruse his secret thoughts; always
   The same aspect; lowly at once, and lofty—
   Like some state Minister grown grey in office,
   Calmly alike he contemplates the just
   And guilty, with indifference he hears
   Evil and good, and knows not wrath nor pity.

   PIMEN. Wakest thou, brother?

   GREGORY.             Honoured father, give me
   Thy blessing.

   PIMEN.      May God bless thee on this day,
   Tomorrow, and for ever.

   GREGORY.              All night long
   Thou hast been writing and abstained from sleep,
   While demon visions have disturbed my peace,
   The fiend molested me. I dreamed I scaled
   By winding stairs a turret, from whose height
   Moscow appeared an anthill, where the people
   Seethed in the squares below and pointed at me
   With laughter. Shame and terror came upon me—
   And falling headlong, I awoke. Three times
   I dreamed the selfsame dream. Is it not strange?

   PIMEN. 'Tis the young blood at play; humble thyself
   By prayer and fasting, and thy slumber's visions
   Will all be filled with lightness. Hitherto
   If I, unwillingly by drowsiness
   Weakened, make not at night long orisons,
   My old-man's sleep is neither calm nor sinless;
   Now riotous feasts appear, now camps of war,
   Scuffles of battle, fatuous diversions
   Of youthful years.

   GREGORY.         How joyfully didst thou
   Live out thy youth! The fortress of Kazan
   Thou fought'st beneath, with Shuisky didst repulse
   The army of Litva. Thou hast seen the court,
   And splendour of Ivan. Ah! Happy thou!
   Whilst I, from boyhood up, a wretched monk,
   Wander from cell to cell! Why unto me
   Was it not given to play the game of war,
   To revel at the table of a tsar?
   Then, like to thee, would I in my old age
   Have gladly from the noisy world withdrawn,
   To vow myself a dedicated monk,
   And in the quiet cloister end my days.

   PIMEN. Complain not, brother, that the sinful world
   Thou early didst forsake, that few temptations
   The All-Highest sent to thee. Believe my words;
   The glory of the world, its luxury,
   Woman's seductive love, seen from afar,
   Enslave our souls. Long have I lived, have taken
   Delight in many things, but never knew
   True bliss until that season when the Lord
   Guided me to the cloister. Think, my son,
   On the great tsars; who loftier than they?
   God only. Who dares thwart them? None. What then?
   Often the golden crown became to them
   A burden; for a cowl they bartered it.
   The tsar Ivan sought in monastic toil
   Tranquility; his palace, filled erewhile
   With haughty minions, grew to all appearance
   A monastery; the very rakehells seemed
   Obedient monks, the terrible tsar appeared
   A pious abbot. Here, in this very cell
   (At that time Cyril, the much suffering,
   A righteous man, dwelt in it; even me
   God then made comprehend the nothingness
   Of worldly vanities), here I beheld,
   Weary of angry thoughts and executions,
   The tsar; among us, meditative, quiet
   Here sat the Terrible; we motionless
   Stood in his presence, while he talked with us
   In tranquil tones. Thus spake he to the abbot
   And all the brothers: "My fathers, soon will come
   The longed-for day; here shall I stand before you,
   Hungering for salvation; Nicodemus,
   Thou Sergius, Cyril thou, will all accept
   My spiritual vow; to you I soon shall come
   Accurst in sin, here the clean habit take,
   Prostrate, most holy father, at thy feet."
   So spake the sovereign lord, and from his lips
   Sweetly the accents flowed. He wept; and we
   With tears prayed God to send His love and peace
   Upon his suffering and stormy soul.—
   What of his son Feodor? On the throne
   He sighed to lead the life of calm devotion.
   The royal chambers to a cell of prayer
   He turned, wherein the heavy cares of state
   Vexed not his holy soul. God grew to love
   The tsar's humility; in his good days
   Russia was blest with glory undisturbed,
   And in the hour of his decease was wrought
   A miracle unheard of; at his bedside,
   Seen by the tsar alone, appeared a being
   Exceeding bright, with whom Feodor 'gan
   To commune, calling him great Patriarch;—
   And all around him were possessed with fear,
   Musing upon the vision sent from Heaven,
   Since at that time the Patriarch was not present
   In church before the tsar. And when he died
   The palace was with holy fragrance filled.
   And like the sun his countenance outshone.
   Never again shall we see such a tsar.—
   O, horrible, appalling woe! We have sinned,
   We have angered God; we have chosen for our ruler
   A tsar's assassin.

   GREGORY.         Honoured father, long
   Have I desired to ask thee of the death
   Of young Dimitry, the tsarevich; thou,
   'Tis said, wast then at Uglich.

   PIMEN.                        Ay, my son,
   I well remember. God it was who led me
   To witness that ill deed, that bloody sin.
   I at that time was sent to distant Uglich
   Upon some mission. I arrived at night.
   Next morning, at the hour of holy mass,
   I heard upon a sudden a bell toll;
   'Twas the alarm bell. Then a cry, an uproar;
   Men rushing to the court of the tsaritsa.
   Thither I haste, and there had flocked already
   All Uglich. There I see the young tsarevich
   Lie slaughtered: the queen mother in a swoon
   Bowed over him, his nurse in her despair
   Wailing; and then the maddened people drag
   The godless, treacherous nurse away. Appears
   Suddenly in their midst, wild, pale with rage,
   Judas Bityagovsky. "There, there's the villain!"
   Shout on all sides the crowd, and in a trice
   He was no more. Straightway the people rushed
   On the three fleeing murderers; they seized
   The hiding miscreants and led them up
   To the child's corpse yet warm; when lo! A marvel—
   The dead child all at once began to tremble!
   "Confess!" the people thundered; and in terror
   Beneath the axe the villains did confess—
   And named Boris.

   GREGORY.       How many summers lived
   The murdered boy?

   PIMEN.          Seven summers; he would now
   (Since then have passed ten years—nay, more—twelve years)
   He would have been of equal age to thee,
   And would have reigned; but God deemed otherwise.
   This is the lamentable tale wherewith
   My chronicle doth end; since then I little
   Have dipped in worldly business. Brother Gregory,
   Thou hast illumed thy mind by earnest study;
   To thee I hand my task. In hours exempt
   From the soul's exercise, do thou record,
   Not subtly reasoning, all things whereto
   Thou shalt in life be witness; war and peace,
   The sway of kings, the holy miracles
   Of saints, all prophecies and heavenly signs;—
   For me 'tis time to rest and quench my lamp.—
   But hark! The matin bell. Bless, Lord, Thy servants!
   Give me my crutch.


   GREGORY.         Boris, Boris, before thee
   All tremble; none dares even to remind thee
   Of what befell the hapless child; meanwhile
   Here in dark cell a hermit doth indite
   Thy stern denunciation. Thou wilt not
   Escape the judgment even of this world,
   As thou wilt not escape the doom of God.


        *This scene was omitted by Pushkin from the published
        version of the play.

   GREGORY and a Wicked Monk

   GREGORY. O, what a weariness is our poor life,
   What misery! Day comes, day goes, and ever
   Is seen, is heard one thing alone; one sees
   Only black cassocks, only hears the bell.
   Yawning by day you wander, wander, nothing
   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!


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.


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!


   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!


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.

   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

   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
   the holy brotherhood by all kinds of iniquities and acts
   of lawlessness. And, according to information, it has
   been shown that he, the accursed Grishka, has fled to the
   Lithuanian frontier."

   OFFICER. (To MISSAIL.) How can it be anyone but you?

   GREGORY. "And the tsar has commanded to arrest him—"

   OFFICER. And to hang!

   GREGORY. It does not say here "to hang."

   OFFICER. Thou liest. What is meant is not always put into
   writing. Read: to arrest and to hang.

   GREGORY. "And to hang. And the age of the thief
   Grishka" (looking at VARLAAM) "about fifty, and his
   height medium; he has a bald head, grey beard, fat

   (All glance at VARLAAM.)

   1ST OFFICER, My lads! Here is Grishka! Hold him!
   Bind him! I never thought to catch him so quickly.

   VARLAAM. (Snatching the paper.) Hands off, my lads!
   What sort of a Grishka am I? What! Fifty years old,
   grey beard, fat belly! No, brother. You're too young
   to play off tricks on me. I have not read for a long time
   and I make it out badly, but I shall manage to make it
   out, as it's a hanging matter. (Spells it out.) "And his
   age twenty." Why, brother, where does it say fifty?—
   Do you see—twenty?

   2ND OFFICER. Yes, I remember, twenty; even so it was
   told us.

   1ST OFFICER. (To GREGORY.) Then, evidently, you like a
   joke, brother.

   (During the reading GREGORY stands with downcast
   head, and his hand in his breast.)

   VARLAAM. (Continues.) "And in stature he is small, chest
   broad, one arm shorter than the other, blue eyes, red
   hair, a wart on his cheek, another on his forehead."
   Then is it not you, my friend?

   (GREGORY suddenly draws a dagger; all give way
   before him; he dashes through the window.)

   OFFICERS. Hold him! Hold him!

   (All run out in disorder.)


SHUISKY. A number of Guests. Supper

   SHUISKY. More wine! Now, my dear guests.

   (He rises; all rise after him.)

                         The final draught!
   Read the prayer, boy.

   Boy.                Lord of the heavens, Who art
   Eternally and everywhere, accept
   The prayer of us Thy servants. For our monarch,
   By Thee appointed, for our pious tsar,
   Of all good Christians autocrat, we pray.
   Preserve him in the palace, on the field
   Of battle, on his nightly couch; grant to him
   Victory o'er his foes; from sea to sea
   May he be glorified; may all his house
   Blossom with health, and may its precious branches
   O'ershadow all the earth; to us, his slaves,
   May he, as heretofore, be generous.
   Gracious, long-suffering, and may the founts
   Of his unfailing wisdom flow upon us;
   Raising the royal cup, Lord of the heavens,
   For this we pray.

   SHUISKY. (Drinks.) Long live our mighty sovereign!
   Farewell, dear guests. I thank you that ye scorned not
   My bread and salt. Farewell; good-night.

   (Exeunt Guests: he conducts them to the door.)

   PUSHKIN. Hardly could they tear themselves away; indeed,
   Prince Vassily Ivanovitch, I began to think that we
   should not succeed in getting any private talk.

   SHUISKY. (To the Servants.) You there, why do you stand
   Gaping? Always eavesdropping on gentlemen! Clear
   the table, and then be off.

   (Exeunt Servants.)

                             What is it, Athanasius

   PUSHKIN.    Such a wondrous thing!
   A message was sent here to me today
   From Cracow by my nephew Gabriel Pushkin.

   SHUISKY. Well?

   PUSHKIN. 'Tis strange news my nephew writes. The son
   Of the Terrible—But stay—

   (Goes to the door and examines it.)

                             The royal boy,
   Who murdered was by order of Boris—

   SHUISKY. But these are no new tidings.

   PUSHKIN.                        Wait a little;
   Dimitry lives.

   SHUISKY.     So that's it! News indeed!
   Dimitry living!—Really marvelous!
   And is that all?

   PUSHKIN.       Pray listen to the end;
   Whoe'er he be, whether he be Dimitry
   Rescued, or else some spirit in his shape,
   Some daring rogue, some insolent pretender,
   In any case Dimitry has appeared.

   SHUISKY. It cannot be.

   PUSHKIN.             Pushkin himself beheld him
   When first he reached the court, and through the ranks
   Of Lithuanian gentlemen went straight
   Into the secret chamber of the king.

   SHUISKY. What kind of man? Whence comes he?

   PUSHKIN.                             No one knows.
   'Tis known that he was Vishnevetsky's servant;
   That to a ghostly father on a bed
   Of sickness he disclosed himself; possessed
   Of this strange secret, his proud master nursed him,
   From his sick bed upraised him, and straightway
   Took him to Sigismund.

   SHUISKY.             And what say men
   Of this bold fellow?

   PUSHKIN.           'Tis said that he is wise,
   Affable, cunning, popular with all men.
   He has bewitched the fugitives from Moscow,
   The Catholic priests see eye to eye with him.
   The King caresses him, and, it is said,
   Has promised help.

   SHUISKY.         All this is such a medley
   That my head whirls. Brother, beyond all doubt
   This man is a pretender, but the danger
   Is, I confess, not slight. This is grave news!
   And if it reach the people, then there'll be
   A mighty tempest.

   PUSHKIN.        Such a storm that hardly
   Will Tsar Boris contrive to keep the crown
   Upon his clever head; and losing it
   Will get but his deserts! He governs us
   As did the tsar Ivan of evil memory.
   What profits it that public executions
   Have ceased, that we no longer sing in public
   Hymns to Christ Jesus on the field of blood;
   That we no more are burnt in public places,
   Or that the tsar no longer with his sceptre
   Rakes in the ashes? Is there any safety
   In our poor life? Each day disgrace awaits us;
   The dungeon or Siberia, cowl or fetters,
   And then in some deaf nook a starving death,
   Or else the halter. Where are the most renowned
   Of all our houses, where the Sitsky princes,
   Where are the Shestunovs, where the Romanovs,
   Hope of our fatherland? Imprisoned, tortured,
   In exile. Do but wait, and a like fate
   Will soon be thine. Think of it! Here at home,
   Just as in Lithuania, we're beset
   By treacherous slaves—and tongues are ever ready
   For base betrayal, thieves bribed by the State.
   We hang upon the word of the first servant
   Whom we may please to punish. Then he bethought him
   To take from us our privilege of hiring
   Our serfs at will; we are no longer masters
   Of our own lands. Presume not to dismiss
   An idler. Willy nilly, thou must feed him!
   Presume not to outbid a man in hiring
   A labourer, or you will find yourself
   In the Court's clutches.—Was such an evil heard of
   Even under tsar Ivan? And are the people
   The better off? Ask them. Let the pretender
   But promise them the old free right of transfer,
   Then there'll be sport.

   SHUISKY.              Thou'rt right; but be advised;
   Of this, of all things, for a time we'll speak
   No word.

   PUSHKIN. Assuredly, keep thine own counsel.
   Thou art—a person of discretion; always
   I am glad to commune with thee; and if aught
   At any time disturbs me, I endure not
   To keep it from thee; and, truth to tell, thy mead
   And velvet ale today have so untied
   My tongue...Farewell then, prince.

   SHUISKY.                 Brother, farewell.
   Farewell, my brother, till we meet again.

   (He escorts PUSHKIN out.)


The TSAREVICH is drawing a map. The TSAREVNA. The NURSE of the Tsarevna

   KSENIA. (Kisses a portrait.) My dear bridegroom, comely
   son of a king, not to me wast thou given, not to thy
   affianced bride, but to a dark sepulchre in a strange
   land; never shall I take comfort, ever shall I weep for

   NURSE. Eh, tsarevna! A maiden weeps as the dew falls;
   the sun will rise, will dry the dew. Thou wilt have
   another bridegroom—and handsome and affable. My
   charming child, thou wilt learn to love him, thou wilt
   forget Ivan the king's son.

   KSENIA. Nay, nurse, I will be true to him even in death.

   (Boris enters.)

   TSAR. What, Ksenia? What, my sweet one? In thy girlhood
   Already a woe-stricken widow, ever
   Bewailing thy dead bridegroom! Fate forbade me
   To be the author of thy bliss. Perchance
   I angered Heaven; it was not mine to compass
   Thy happiness. Innocent one, for what
   Art thou a sufferer? And thou, my son,
   With what art thou employed? What's this?

   FEODOR.                           A chart
   Of all the land of Muscovy; our tsardom
   From end to end. Here you see; there is Moscow,
   There Novgorod, there Astrakhan. Here lies
   The sea, here the dense forest tract of Perm,
   And here Siberia.

   TSAR.           And what is this
   Which makes a winding pattern here?

   FEODOR.                           That is
   The Volga.

   TSAR.    Very good! Here's the sweet fruit
   Of learning. One can view as from the clouds
   Our whole dominion at a glance; its frontiers,
   Its towns, its rivers. Learn, my son; 'tis science
   Which gives to us an abstract of the events
   Of our swift-flowing life. Some day, perchance
   Soon, all the lands which thou so cunningly
   Today hast drawn on paper, all will come
   Under thy hand. Learn, therefore; and more smoothly,
   More clearly wilt thou take, my son, upon thee
   The cares of state.

   (SEMYON Godunov enters.)

                     But there comes Godunov
   Bringing reports to me. (To KSENIA.) Go to thy chamber
   Dearest; farewell, my child; God comfort thee.

   (Exeunt KSENIA and NURSE.)

   What news hast thou for me, Semyon Nikitich?

   SEMYON G. Today at dawn the butler of Prince Shuisky
   And Pushkin's servant brought me information.

   TSAR. Well?

   SEMYON G. In the first place Pushkin's man deposed
   That yestermorn came to his house from Cracow
   A courier, who within an hour was sent
   Without a letter back.

   TSAR.                Arrest the courier.

   SEMYON G. Some are already sent to overtake him.

   TSAR. And what of Shuisky?

   SEMYON G.               Last night he entertained
   His friends; the Buturlins, both Miloslavskys,
   And Saltikov, with Pushkin and some others.
   They parted late. Pushkin alone remained
   Closeted with his host and talked with him
   A long time more.

   TSAR.           For Shuisky send forthwith.

   SEMYON G. Sire, he is here already.

   TSAR.                       Call him hither.

   (Exit SEMYON Godunov.)

   Dealings with Lithuania? What means this?
   I like not the seditious race of Pushkins,
   Nor must I trust in Shuisky, obsequious,
   But bold and wily—

   (Enter SHUISKY.)

                    Prince, I must speak with thee.
   But thou thyself, it seems, hast business with me,
   And I would listen first to thee.

   SHUISKY.                        Yea, sire;
   It is my duty to convey to thee
   Grave news.

   TSAR.     I listen.

   SHUISKY. (Sotto voce, pointing to FEODOR.)
                     But, sire—

   TSAR.                      The tsarevich
   May learn whate'er Prince Shuisky knoweth. Speak.

   SHUISKY. My liege, from Lithuania there have come
   Tidings to us—

   TSAR.        Are they not those same tidings
   Which yestereve a courier bore to Pushkin?

   SHUISKY. Nothing is hidden from him!—Sire, I thought
   Thou knew'st not yet this secret.

   TSAR.                           Let not that
   Trouble thee, prince; I fain would scrutinise
   Thy information; else we shall not learn
   The actual truth.

   SHUISKY.        I know this only, Sire;
   In Cracow a pretender hath appeared;
   The king and nobles back him.

   TSAR.                       What say they?
   And who is this pretender?

   SHUISKY.                 I know not.

   TSAR. But wherein is he dangerous?

   SHUISKY.                         Verily
   Thy state, my liege, is firm; by graciousness,
   Zeal, bounty, thou hast won the filial love
   Of all thy slaves; but thou thyself dost know
   The mob is thoughtless, changeable, rebellious,
   Credulous, lightly given to vain hope,
   Obedient to each momentary impulse,
   To truth deaf and indifferent; it feedeth
   On fables; shameless boldness pleaseth it.
   So, if this unknown vagabond should cross
   The Lithuanian border, Dimitry's name
   Raised from the grave will gain him a whole crowd
   Of fools.

   TSAR. Dimitry's?—What?—That child's?—Dimitry's?
   Withdraw, tsarevich.

   SHUISKY.           He flushed; there'll be a storm!

   FEODOR. Suffer me, Sire—

   TSAR.                  Impossible, my son;
   Go, go!

   (Exit FEODOR.)

         Dimitry's name!

   SHUISKY.            Then he knew nothing.

   TSAR. Listen: take steps this very hour that Russia
   Be fenced by barriers from Lithuania;
   That not a single soul pass o'er the border,
   That not a hare run o'er to us from Poland,
   Nor crow fly here from Cracow. Away!

   SHUISKY.                           I go.

   TSAR. Stay!—Is it not a fact that this report
   Is artfully concocted? Hast ever heard
   That dead men have arisen from their graves
   To question tsars, legitimate tsars, appointed,
   Chosen by the voice of all the people, crowned
   By the great Patriarch? Is't not laughable?
   Eh? What? Why laugh'st thou not thereat?

   SHUISKY.                               I, Sire?

   TSAR. Hark, Prince Vassily; when first I learned this child
   Had been—this child had somehow lost its life,
   'Twas thou I sent to search the matter out.
   Now by the Cross and God I do adjure thee,
   Declare to me the truth upon thy conscience;
   Didst recognise the slaughtered boy; was't not
   A substitute? Reply.

   SHUISKY.           I swear to thee—

   TSAR. Nay, Shuisky, swear not, but reply; was it
   Indeed Dimitry?

   SHUISKY.      He.

   TSAR.           Consider, prince.
   I promise clemency; I will not punish
   With vain disgrace a lie that's past. But if
   Thou now beguile me, then by my son's head
   I swear—an evil fate shall overtake thee,
   Requital such that Tsar Ivan Vasilievich
   Shall shudder in his grave with horror of it.

   SHUISKY. In punishment no terror lies; the terror
   Doth lie in thy disfavour; in thy presence
   Dare I use cunning? Could I deceive myself
   So blindly as not recognise Dimitry?
   Three days in the cathedral did I visit
   His corpse, escorted thither by all Uglich.
   Around him thirteen bodies lay of those
   Slain by the people, and on them corruption
   Already had set in perceptibly.
   But lo! The childish face of the tsarevich
   Was bright and fresh and quiet as if asleep;
   The deep gash had congealed not, nor the lines
   Of his face even altered. No, my liege,
   There is no doubt; Dimitry sleeps in the grave.

   TSAR. Enough, withdraw.

   (Exit SHUISKY.)

                   I choke!—let me get my breath!
   I felt it; all my blood surged to my face,
   And heavily fell back.—So that is why
   For thirteen years together I have dreamed
   Ever about the murdered child. Yes, yes—
   'Tis that!—now I perceive. But who is he,
   My terrible antagonist? Who is it
   Opposeth me? An empty name, a shadow.
   Can it be a shade shall tear from me the purple,
   A sound deprive my children of succession?
   Fool that I was! Of what was I afraid?
   Blow on this phantom—and it is no more.
   So, I am fast resolved; I'll show no sign
   Of fear, but nothing must be held in scorn.
   Ah! Heavy art thou, crown of Monomakh!



   PRETENDER. Nay, father, there will be no trouble. I know
   The spirit of my people; piety
   Does not run wild in them, their tsar's example
   To them is sacred. Furthermore, the people
   Are always tolerant. I warrant you,
   Before two years my people all, and all
   The Eastern Church, will recognise the power
   Of Peter's Vicar.

   PRIEST.         May Saint Ignatius aid thee
   When other times shall come. Meanwhile, tsarevich,
   Hide in thy soul the seed of heavenly blessing;
   Religious duty bids us oft dissemble
   Before the blabbing world; the people judge
   Thy words, thy deeds; God only sees thy motives.

   PRETENDER. Amen. Who's there?

   (Enter a Servant.)

                     Say that we will receive them.

   (The doors are opened; a crowd of Russians and Poles enters.)

   Comrades! Tomorrow we depart from Cracow.
   Mnishek, with thee for three days in Sambor
   I'll stay. I know thy hospitable castle
   Both shines in splendid stateliness, and glories
   In its young mistress; There I hope to see
   Charming Marina. And ye, my friends, ye, Russia
   And Lithuania, ye who have upraised
   Fraternal banners against a common foe,
   Against mine enemy, yon crafty villain.
   Ye sons of Slavs, speedily will I lead
   Your dread battalions to the longed-for conflict.
   But soft! Methinks among you I descry
   New faces.

   GABRIEL P. They have come to beg for sword
   And service with your Grace.

   PRETENDER.                 Welcome, my lads.
   You are friends to me. But tell me, Pushkin, who
   Is this fine fellow?

   PUSHKIN.           Prince Kurbsky.

   PRETENDER. (To KURBSKY.)    A famous name!
   Art kinsman to the hero of Kazan?

   KURBSKY. His son.

   PRETENDER. Liveth he still?

   KURBSKY.                  Nay, he is dead.

   PRETENDER. A noble soul! A man of war and counsel.
   But from the time when he appeared beneath
   The ancient town Olgin with the Lithuanians,
   Hardy avenger of his injuries,
   Rumour hath held her tongue concerning him.

   KURBSKY. My father led the remnant of his life
   On lands bestowed upon him by Batory;
   There, in Volhynia, solitary and quiet,
   Sought consolation for himself in studies;
   But peaceful labour did not comfort him;
   He ne'er forgot the home of his young days,
   And to the end pined for it.

   PRETENDER.                 Hapless chieftain!
   How brightly shone the dawn of his resounding
   And stormy life! Glad am I, noble knight,
   That now his blood is reconciled in thee
   To his fatherland. The faults of fathers must not
   Be called to mind. Peace to their grave. Approach;
   Give me thy hand! Is it not strange?—the son
   Of Kurbsky to the throne is leading—whom?
   Whom but Ivan's own son?—All favours me;
   People and fate alike.—Say, who art thou?

   A POLE. Sobansky, a free noble.

   PRETENDER.              Praise and honour
   Attend thee, child of liberty. Give him
   A third of his full pay beforehand.—Who
   Are these? On them I recognise the dress
   Of my own country. These are ours.

   KRUSHCHOV. (Bows low.)           Yea, Sire,
   Our father; we are thralls of thine, devoted
   And persecuted; we have fled from Moscow,
   Disgraced, to thee our tsar, and for thy sake
   Are ready to lay down our lives; our corpses
   Shall be for thee steps to the royal throne.

   PRETENDER. Take heart, innocent sufferers. Only let me
   Reach Moscow, and, once there, Boris shall settle
   Some scores with me and you. What news of Moscow?

   KRUSHCHOV. As yet all there is quiet. But already
   The folk have got to know that the tsarevich
   Was saved; already everywhere is read
   Thy proclamation. All are waiting for thee.
   Not long ago Boris sent two boyars
   To execution merely because in secret
   They drank thy health.

   PRETENDER.           O hapless, good boyars!
   But blood for blood! And woe to Godunov!
   What do they say of him?

   KRUSHCHOV.             He has withdrawn
   Into his gloomy palace. He is grim
   And sombre. Executions loom ahead.
   But sickness gnaws him. Hardly hath he strength
   To drag himself along, and—it is thought—
   His last hour is already not far off.

   PRETENDER. A speedy death I wish him, as becomes
   A great-souled foe to wish. If not, then woe
   To the miscreant!—And whom doth he intend
   To name as his successor?

   KRUSHCHOV.              He shows not
   His purposes, but it would seem he destines
   Feodor, his young son, to be our tsar.

   PRETENDER. His reckonings, maybe, will yet prove wrong.
   Who art thou?

   KARELA.     A Cossack; from the Don I am sent
   To thee, from the free troops, from the brave hetmen
   From upper and lower regions of the Cossacks,
   To look upon thy bright and royal eyes,
   And tender thee their homage.

   PRETENDER.                  Well I knew
   The men of Don; I doubted not to see
   The Cossack hetmen in my ranks. We thank
   Our army of the Don. Today, we know,
   The Cossacks are unjustly persecuted,
   Oppressed; but if God grant us to ascend
   The throne of our forefathers, then as of yore
   We'll gratify the free and faithful Don.

   POET. (Approaches, bowing low, and taking Gregory by the
   hem of his caftan.)
   Great prince, illustrious offspring of a king!

   PRETENDER. What wouldst thou?

   POET.                       Condescendingly accept
   This poor fruit of my earnest toil.

   PRETENDER.                        What see I?
   Verses in Latin! Blest a hundredfold
   The tie of sword and lyre; the selfsame laurel
   Binds them in friendship. I was born beneath
   A northern sky, but yet the Latin muse
   To me is a familiar voice; I love
   The blossoms of Parnassus, I believe
   The prophecies of singers. Not in vain
   The ecstasy boils in their flaming breast;
   Action is hallowed, being glorified
   Beforehand by the poets! Approach, my friend.
   In memory of me accept this gift.

   (Gives him a ring.)

   When fate fulfils for me her covenant,
   When I assume the crown of my forefathers,
   I hope again to hear the measured tones
   Of thy sweet voice, and thy inspired lay.
   Musa gloriam Coronat, gloriaque musam.
   And so, friends, till tomorrow, au revoir.

   ALL. Forward! Long live Dimitry! Forward, forward!
   Long live Dimitry, the great prince of Moscow!



   Dressing-Room of Marina

   MARINA, ROUZYA (dressing her), Serving-Women

   (Before a mirror.) Now then, is it ready? Cannot
   you make haste?

   ROUZYA. I pray you first to make the difficult choice;
   Will you the necklace wear of pearls, or else
   The emerald half-moon?

   MARINA.              My diamond crown.

   ROUZYA. Splendid! Do you remember that you wore it
   When to the palace you were pleased to go?
   They say that at the ball your gracious highness
   Shone like the sun; men sighed, fair ladies whispered—
   'Twas then that for the first time young Khotkevich
   Beheld you, he who after shot himself.
   And whosoever looked on you, they say
   That instant fell in love.

   MARINA.                  Can't you be quicker?

   ROUZYA. At once. Today your father counts upon you.
   'Twas not for naught the young tsarevich saw you;
   He could not hide his rapture; wounded he is
   Already; so it only needs to deal him
   A resolute blow, and instantly, my lady,
   He'll be in love with you. 'Tis now a month
   Since, quitting Cracow, heedless of the war
   And throne of Moscow, he has feasted here,
   Your guest, enraging Poles alike and Russians.
   Heavens! Shall I ever live to see the day?—
   Say, you will not, when to his capital
   Dimitry leads the queen of Moscow, say
   You'll not forsake me?

   MARINA.              Dost thou truly think
   I shall be queen?

   ROUZYA.         Who, if not you? Who here
   Dares to compare in beauty with my mistress?
   The race of Mnishek never yet has yielded
   To any. In intellect you are beyond
   All praise.—Happy the suitor whom your glance
   Honours with its regard, who wins your heart—
   Whoe'er he be, be he our king, the dauphin
   Of France, or even this our poor tsarevich
   God knows who, God knows whence!

   MARINA.                        The very son
   Of the tsar, and so confessed by the whole world.

   ROUZYA. And yet last winter he was but a servant
   In the house of Vishnevetsky.

   MARINA.                     He was hiding.

   ROUZYA. I do not question it: but still do you know
   What people say about him? That perhaps
   He is a deacon run away from Moscow,
   In his own district a notorious rogue.

   MARINA. What nonsense!

   ROUZYA.              O, I do not credit it!
   I only say he ought to bless his fate
   That you have so preferred him to the others.

   WAITING-WOMAN. (Runs in.) The guests have come already.

   MARINA.                           There you see;
   You're ready to chatter silliness till daybreak.
   Meanwhile I am not dressed—

   ROUZYA.                   Within a moment
   'Twill be quite ready.

   (The Waiting-women bustle.)

   MARINA. (Aside.)     I must find out all.



   MNISHEK. With none but my Marina doth he speak,
   With no one else consorteth—and that business
   Looks dreadfully like marriage. Now confess,
   Didst ever think my daughter would be a queen?

   VISHNEVETSKY. 'Tis wonderful.—And, Mnishek, didst thou think
   My servant would ascend the throne of Moscow?

   MNISHEK. And what a girl, look you, is my Marina.
   I merely hinted to her: "Now, be careful!
   Let not Dimitry slip"—and lo! Already
   He is completely tangled in her toils.

   (The band plays a Polonaise. The PRETENDER and
   MARINA advance as the first couple.)

   MARINA. (Sotto voce to Dimitry.) Tomorrow evening at eleven, beside
   The fountain in the avenue of lime-trees.

   (They walk off. A second couple.)

   CAVALIER. What can Dimitry see in her?

   DAME.                                How say you?
   She is a beauty.

   CAVALIER.      Yes, a marble nymph;
   Eyes, lips, devoid of life, without a smile.

   (A fresh couple.)

   DAME. He is not handsome, but his eyes are pleasing,
   And one can see he is of royal birth.

   (A fresh couple.)

   DAME. When will the army march?

   CAVALIER.                     When the tsarevich
   Orders it; we are ready; but 'tis clear
   The lady Mnishek and Dimitry mean
   To keep us prisoners here.

   DAME.                    A pleasant durance.

   CAVALIER. Truly, if you...

   (They walk off; the rooms become empty.)

   MNISHEK.          We old ones dance no longer;
   The sound of music lures us not; we press not
   Nor kiss the hands of charmers—ah! My friend,
   I've not forgotten the old pranks! Things now
   Are not what once they were, what once they were!
   Youth, I'll be sworn, is not so bold, nor beauty
   So lively; everything—confess, my friend—
   Has somehow become dull. So let us leave them;
   My comrade, let us go and find a flask
   Of old Hungarian overgrown with mould;
   Let's bid my butler open an old bottle,
   And in a quiet corner, tete-a-tete,
   Let's drain a draught, a stream as thick as fat;
   And while we're so engaged, let's think things over.
   Let us go, brother.

   VISHNEVETSKY.     Yes, my friend, let's go.



   PRETENDER. (Enters.) Here is the fountain; hither will she come.
   I was not born a coward; I have seen
   Death near at hand, and face to face with death
   My spirit hath not blenched. A life-long dungeon
   Hath threatened me, I have been close pursued,
   And yet my spirit quailed not, and by boldness
   I have escaped captivity. But what
   Is this which now constricts my breath? What means
   This overpowering tremor, or this quivering
   Of tense desire? No, this is fear. All day
   I have waited for this secret meeting, pondered
   On all that I should say to her, how best
   I might enmesh Marina's haughty mind,
   Calling her queen of Moscow. But the hour
   Has come—and I remember naught, I cannot
   Recall the speeches I have learned by rote;
   Love puts imagination to confusion—
   But something there gleamed suddenly—a rustling;
   Hush—no, it was the moon's deceitful light,
   It was the rustling of the breeze.

   MARINA. (Enters.)                Tsarevich!

   PRETENDER. 'Tis she. Now all the blood in me stands still.

   MARINA. Dimitry! Is it thou?

   PRETENDER.                 Bewitching voice!

   (Goes to her.)

   Is it thou, at last? Is it thou I see, alone
   With me, beneath the roof of quiet night?
   How slowly passed the tedious day! How slowly
   The glow of evening died away! How long
   I have waited in the gloom of night!

   MARINA.                            The hours
   Are flitting fast, and time is precious to me.
   I did not grant a meeting here to thee
   To listen to a lover's tender speeches.
   No need of words. I well believe thou lovest;
   But listen; with thy stormy, doubtful fate
   I have resolved to join my own; but one thing,
   Dimitry, I require; I claim that thou
   Disclose to me thy secret hopes, thy plans,
   Even thy fears, that hand in hand with thee
   I may confront life boldly—not in blindness
   Of childlike ignorance, not as the slave
   And plaything of my husband's light desires,
   Thy speechless concubine, but as thy spouse,
   And worthy helpmate of the tsar of Moscow.

   PRETENDER. O, if it be only for one short hour,
   Forget the cares and troubles of my fate!
   Forget 'tis the tsarevich whom thou seest
   Before thee. O, behold in me, Marina,
   A lover, by thee chosen, happy only
   In thy regard. O, listen to the prayers
   Of love! Grant me to utter all wherewith
   My heart is full.

   MARINA.         Prince, this is not the time;
   Thou loiterest, and meanwhile the devotion
   Of thine adherents cooleth. Hour by hour
   Danger becomes more dangerous, difficulties
   More difficult; already dubious rumours
   Are current, novelty already takes
   The place of novelty; and Godunov
   Adopts his measures.

   PRETENDER.         What is Godunov?
   Is thy sweet love, my only blessedness,
   Swayed by Boris? Nay, nay. Indifferently
   I now regard his throne, his kingly power.
   Thy love—without it what to me is life,
   And glory's glitter, and the state of Russia?
   On the dull steppe, in a poor mud hut, thou—
   Thou wilt requite me for the kingly crown;
   Thy love—

   MARINA. For shame! Forget not, prince, thy high
   And sacred destiny; thy dignity
   Should be to thee more dear than all the joys
   Of life and its allurements. It thou canst not
   With anything compare. Not to a boy,
   Insanely boiling, captured by my beauty—
   But to the heir of Moscow's throne give I
   My hand in solemn wise, to the tsarevich
   Rescued by destiny.

   PRETENDER.        Torture me not,
   Charming Marina; say not that 'twas my rank
   And not myself that thou didst choose. Marina!
   Thou knowest not how sorely thou dost wound
   My heart thereby. What if—O fearful doubt!—
   Say, if blind destiny had not assigned me
   A kingly birth; if I were not indeed
   Son of Ivan, were not this boy, so long
   Forgotten by the world—say, then wouldst thou
   Have loved me?

   MARINA.      Thou art Dimitry, and aught else
   Thou canst not be; it is not possible
   For me to love another.

   PRETENDER.            Nay! Enough—
   I have no wish to share with a dead body
   A mistress who belongs to him; I have done
   With counterfeiting, and will tell the truth.
   Know, then, that thy Dimitry long ago
   Perished, was buried—and will not rise again;
   And dost thou wish to know what man I am?
   Well, I will tell thee. I am—a poor monk.
   Grown weary of monastic servitude,
   I pondered 'neath the cowl my bold design,
   Made ready for the world a miracle—
   And from my cell at last fled to the Cossacks,
   To their wild hovels; there I learned to handle
   Both steeds and swords; I showed myself to you.
   I called myself Dimitry, and deceived
   The brainless Poles. What say'st thou, proud Marina?
   Art thou content with my confession? Why
   Dost thou keep silence?

   MARINA.               O shame! O woe is me!


   PRETENDER. (Sotto voce.) O whither hath a fit of anger led me?
   The happiness devised with so much labour
   I have, perchance, destroyed for ever. Idiot,
   What have I done? (Aloud.) I see thou art ashamed
   Of love not princely; so pronounce on me
   The fatal word; my fate is in thy hands.
   Decide; I wait.

   (Falls on his knees.)

   MARINA.       Rise, poor pretender! Think'st thou
   To please with genuflex on my vain heart,
   As if I were a weak, confiding girl?
   You err, my friend; prone at my feet I've seen
   Knights and counts nobly born; but not for this
   Did I reject their prayers, that a poor monk—

   PRETENDER. (Rises.) Scorn not the young pretender; noble virtues
   May lie perchance in him, virtues well worthy
   Of Moscow's throne, even of thy priceless hand—

   MARINA. Say of a shameful noose, insolent wretch!

   PRETENDER. I am to blame; carried away by pride
   I have deceived God and the kings—have lied
   To the world; but it is not for thee, Marina,
   To judge me; I am guiltless before thee.
   No, I could not deceive thee. Thou to me
   Wast the one sacred being, before thee
   I dared not to dissemble; love alone,
   Love, jealous, blind, constrained me to tell all.

   MARINA. What's that to boast of, idiot? Who demanded
   Confession of thee? If thou, a nameless vagrant
   Couldst wonderfully blind two nations, then
   At least thou shouldst have merited success,
   And thy bold fraud secured, by constant, deep,
   And lasting secrecy. Say, can I yield
   Myself to thee, can I, forgetting rank
   And maiden modesty, unite my fate
   With thine, when thou thyself impetuously
   Dost thus with such simplicity reveal
   Thy shame? It was from Love he blabbed to me!
   I marvel wherefore thou hast not from friendship
   Disclosed thyself ere now before my father,
   Or else before our king from joy, or else
   Before Prince Vishnevetsky from the zeal
   Of a devoted servant.

   PRETENDER.          I swear to thee
   That thou alone wast able to extort
   My heart's confession; I swear to thee that never,
   Nowhere, not in the feast, not in the cup
   Of folly, not in friendly confidence,
   Not 'neath the knife nor tortures of the rack,
   Shall my tongue give away these weighty secrets.

   MARINA. Thou swearest! Then I must believe. Believe,
   Of course! But may I learn by what thou swearest?
   Is it not by the name of God, as suits
   The Jesuits' devout adopted son?
   Or by thy honour as a high-born knight?
   Or, maybe, by thy royal word alone
   As a king's son? Is it not so? Declare.

   PRETENDER. (Proudly.) The phantom of the Terrible hath made me
   His son; from out the sepulchre hath named me
   Dimitry, hath stirred up the people round me,
   And hath consigned Boris to be my victim.
   I am tsarevich. Enough! 'Twere shame for me
   To stoop before a haughty Polish dame.
   Farewell for ever; the game of bloody war,
   The wide cares of my destiny, will smother,
   I hope, the pangs Of love. O, when the heat
   Of shameful passion is o'erspent, how then
   Shall I detest thee! Now I leave thee—ruin,
   Or else a crown, awaits my head in Russia;
   Whether I meet with death as fits a soldier
   In honourable fight, or as a miscreant
   Upon the public scaffold, thou shalt not
   Be my companion, nor shalt share with me
   My fate; but it may be thou shalt regret
   The destiny thou hast refused.

   MARINA.                      But what
   If I expose beforehand thy bold fraud
   To all men?

   PRETENDER. Dost thou think I fear thee? Think'st thou
   They will believe a Polish maiden more
   Than Russia's own tsarevich? Know, proud lady,
   That neither king, nor pope, nor nobles trouble
   Whether my words be true, whether I be
   Dimitry or another. What care they?
   But I provide a pretext for revolt
   And war; and this is all they need; and thee,
   Rebellious one, believe me, they will force
   To hold thy peace. Farewell.

   MARINA.                    Tsarevich, stay!
   At last I hear the speech not of a boy,
   But of a man. It reconciles me to thee.
   Prince, I forget thy senseless outburst, see
   Again Dimitry. Listen; now is the time!
   Hasten; delay no more, lead on thy troops
   Quickly to Moscow, purge the Kremlin, take
   Thy seat upon the throne of Moscow; then
   Send me the nuptial envoy; but, God hears me,
   Until thy foot be planted on its steps,
   Until by thee Boris be overthrown,
   I am not one to listen to love-speeches.

   PRETENDER. No—easier far to strive with Godunov.
   Or play false with the Jesuits of the Court,
   Than with a woman. Deuce take them; they're beyond
   My power. She twists, and coils, and crawls, slips out
   Of hand, she hisses, threatens, bites. Ah, serpent!
   Serpent! 'Twas not for nothing that I trembled.
   She well-nigh ruined me; but I'm resolved;
   At daybreak I will put my troops in motion.


(OCTOBER 16TH, 1604)

PRINCE KURBSKY and PRETENDER, both on horseback. Troops approach the Frontier

   KURBSKY. (Galloping at their head.)
   There, there it is; there is the Russian frontier!
   Fatherland! Holy Russia! I am thine!
   With scorn from off my clothing now I shake
   The foreign dust, and greedily I drink
   New air; it is my native air. O father,
   Thy soul hath now been solaced; in the grave
   Thy bones, disgraced, thrill with a sudden joy!
   Again doth flash our old ancestral sword,
   This glorious sword—the dread of dark Kazan!
   This good sword—servant of the tsars of Moscow!
   Now will it revel in its feast of slaughter,
   Serving the master of its hopes.

   PRETENDER. (Moves quietly with bowed head.) How happy
   Is he, how flushed with gladness and with glory
   His stainless soul! Brave knight, I envy thee!
   The son of Kurbsky, nurtured in exile,
   Forgetting all the wrongs borne by thy father,
   Redeeming his transgression in the grave,
   Ready art thou for the son of great Ivan
   To shed thy blood, to give the fatherland
   Its lawful tsar. Righteous art thou; thy soul
   Should flame with joy.

   KURBSKY.             And dost not thou likewise
   Rejoice in spirit? There lies our Russia; she
   Is thine, tsarevich! There thy people's hearts
   Are waiting for thee, there thy Moscow waits,
   Thy Kremlin, thy dominion.

   PRETENDER.               Russian blood,
   O Kurbsky, first must flow! Thou for the tsar
   Hast drawn the sword, thou art stainless; but I lead you
   Against your brothers; I am summoning
   Lithuania against Russia; I am showing
   To foes the longed-for way to beauteous Moscow!
   But let my sin fall not on me, but thee,
   Boris, the regicide! Forward! Set on!

   KURBSKY. Forward! Advance! And woe to Godunov.

   (They gallop. The troops cross the frontier.)


The TSAR, the PATRIARCH and Boyars

   TSAR. Is it possible? An unfrocked monk against us
   Leads rascal troops, a truant friar dares write
   Threats to us! Then 'tis time to tame the madman!
   Trubetskoy, set thou forth, and thou Basmanov;
   My zealous governors need help. Chernigov
   Already by the rebel is besieged;
   Rescue the city and citizens.

   BASMANOV.                   Three months
   Shall not pass, Sire, ere even rumour's tongue
   Shall cease to speak of the pretender; caged
   In iron, like a wild beast from oversea,
   We'll hale him into Moscow, I swear by God.

   (Exit with TRUBETSKOY.)

   TSAR. The Lord of Sweden hath by envoys tendered
   Alliance to me. But we have no need
   To lean on foreign aid; we have enough
   Of our own warlike people to repel
   Traitors and Poles. I have refused.—Shchelkalov!
   In every district to the governors
   Send edicts, that they mount their steeds, and send
   The people as of old on service; likewise
   Ride to the monasteries, and there enlist
   The servants of the churchmen. In days of old,
   When danger faced our country, hermits freely
   Went into battle; it is not now our wish
   To trouble them; no, let them pray for us;
   Such is the tsar's decree, such the resolve
   Of his boyars. And now a weighty question
   We shall determine; ye know how everywhere
   The insolent pretender hath spread abroad
   His artful rumours; letters everywhere,
   By him distributed, have sowed alarm
   And doubt; seditious whispers to and fro
   Pass in the market-places; minds are seething.
   We needs must cool them; gladly would I refrain
   From executions, but by what means and how?
   That we will now determine. Holy father,
   Thou first declare thy thought.

   PATRIARCH.                    The Blessed One,
   The All-Highest, hath instilled into thy soul,
   Great lord, the spirit of kindness and meek patience;
   Thou wishest not perdition for the sinner,
   Thou wilt wait quietly, until delusion
   Shall pass away; for pass away it will,
   And truth's eternal sun will dawn on all.
   Thy faithful bedesman, one in worldly matters
   No prudent judge, ventures today to offer
   His voice to thee. This offspring of the devil,
   This unfrocked monk, has known how to appear
   Dimitry to the people. Shamelessly
   He clothed himself with the name of the tsarevich
   As with a stolen vestment. It only needs
   To tear it off—and he'll be put to shame
   By his own nakedness. The means thereto
   God hath Himself supplied. Know, sire, six years
   Since then have fled; 'twas in that very year
   When to the seat of sovereignty the Lord
   Anointed thee—there came to me one evening
   A simple shepherd, a venerable old man,
   Who told me a strange secret. "In my young days,"
   He said, "I lost my sight, and thenceforth knew not
   Nor day, nor night, till my old age; in vain
   I plied myself with herbs and secret spells;
   In vain did I resort in adoration
   To the great wonder-workers in the cloister;
   Bathed my dark eyes in vain with healing water
   From out the holy wells. The Lord vouchsafed not
   Healing to me. Then lost I hope at last,
   And grew accustomed to my darkness. Even
   Slumber showed not to me things visible,
   Only of sounds I dreamed. Once in deep sleep
   I hear a childish voice; it speaks to me:
   `Arise, grandfather, go to Uglich town,
   To the Cathedral of Transfiguration;
   There pray over my grave. The Lord is gracious—
   And I shall pardon thee.'  `But who art thou?'
   I asked the childish voice. `I am the tsarevich
   Dimitry, whom the Heavenly Tsar hath taken
   Into His angel band, and I am now
   A mighty wonder-worker. Go, old man.'
   I woke, and pondered. What is this? Maybe
   God will in very deed vouchsafe to me
   Belated healing. I will go. I bent
   My footsteps to the distant road. I reached
   Uglich, repair unto the holy minster,
   Hear mass, and, glowing with zealous soul, I weep
   Sweetly, as if the blindness from mine eyes
   Were flowing out in tears. And when the people
   Began to leave, to my grandson I said:
   `Lead me, Ivan, to the grave of the tsarevich
   Dimitry.' The boy led me—and I scarce
   Had shaped before the grave a silent prayer,
   When sight illumed my eyeballs; I beheld
   The light of God, my grandson, and the tomb."
   That is the tale, Sire, which the old man told.

   (General agitation. In the course of this speech Boris
   several times wipes his face with his handkerchief.)

   To Uglich then I sent, where it was learned
   That many sufferers had found likewise
   Deliverance at the grave of the tsarevich.
   This is my counsel; to the Kremlin send
   The sacred relics, place them in the Cathedral
   Of the Archangel; clearly will the people
   See then the godless villain's fraud; the might
   Of the fiends will vanish as a cloud of dust.


   PRINCE SHUISKY. What mortal, holy father, knoweth the ways
   Of the All-Highest? 'Tis not for me to judge Him.
   Untainted sleep and power of wonder-working
   He may upon the child's remains bestow;
   But vulgar rumour must dispassionately
   And diligently be tested; is it for us,
   In stormy times of insurrection,
   To weigh so great a matter? Will men not say
   That insolently we made of sacred things
   A worldly instrument? Even now the people
   Sway senselessly this way and that, even now
   There are enough already of loud rumours;
   This is no time to vex the people's minds
   With aught so unexpected, grave, and strange.
   I myself see 'tis needful to demolish
   The rumour spread abroad by the unfrocked monk;
   But for this end other and simpler means
   Will serve. Therefore, when it shall please thee, Sire,
   I will myself appear in public places,
   I will persuade, exhort away this madness,
   And will expose the vagabond's vile fraud.

   TSAR. So be it! My lord Patriarch, I pray thee
   Go with us to the palace, where today
   I must converse with thee.

   (Exeunt; all the boyars follow them.)

   1ST BOYAR. (Sotto voce to another.) Didst mark how pale
   Our sovereign turned, how from his face there poured
   A mighty sweat?

   2ND BOYAR.    I durst not, I confess,
   Uplift mine eyes, nor breathe, nor even stir.

   1ST BOYAR. Prince Shuisky has pulled it through. A
   splendid fellow!


(DECEMBER 21st, 1604)


   SOLDIERS. (Run in disorder.) Woe, woe! The Tsarevich!
   The Poles! There they are! There they are!

   (Captains enter: MARZHERET and WALTHER ROZEN.)

   MARZHERET. Whither, whither? Allons! Go back!

   ONE OF THE FUGITIVES. You go back, if you like, cursed

   MARZHERET. Quoi, quoi?

   ANOTHER. Kva! kva! You like, you frog from over the
   sea, to croak at the Russian tsarevich; but we—we are

   MARZHERET. Qu'est-ce a dire "orthodox"? Sacres gueux,
   maudite canaille! Mordieu, mein Herr, j'enrage; on
   dirait que ca n'a pas de bras pour frapper, ca n'a que des
   jambes pour fuir.

   ROZEN. Es ist Schande.

   MARZHERET. Ventre-saint gris! Je ne bouge plus d'un pas;
   puisque le vin est tire, il faut le boire. Qu'en dites-vous,
   mein Herr?

   ROZEN. Sie haben Recht.

   MARZHERET. Tudieu, il y fait chaud! Ce diable de "Pretender,"
   comme ils l'appellent, est un bougre, qui a du
   poil au col?—Qu'en pensez-vous, mein Herr?

   ROZEN. Ja.

   MARZHERET. He! Voyez donc, voyez donc! L'action s'engage
   sur les derrieres de l'ennemi. Ce doit etre le brave
   Basmanov, qui aurait fait une sortie.

   ROZEN. Ich glaube das.

   (Enter Germans.)

   MARZHERET. Ha, ha! Voici nos allemands. Messieurs!
   Mein Herr, dites-leur donc de se raillier et, sacrebleu,

   ROZEN. Sehr gut. Halt! (The Germans halt.) Marsch!

   THE GERMANS. (They march.) Hilf Gott!

   (Fight. The Russians flee again.)

   POLES. Victory! Victory! Glory to the tsar Dimitry!

   DIMITRY. (On horseback.) Cease fighting. We have
   conquered. Enough! Spare Russian blood. Cease



   ONE OF THE PEOPLE. Will the tsar soon come out of the

   ANOTHER. The mass is ended; now the Te Deum is going on.

   THE FIRST. What! Have they already cursed him?

   THE SECOND. I stood in the porch and heard how the deacon
   cried out:—Grishka Otrepiev is anathema!

   THE FIRST. Let him curse to his heart's content; the
   tsarevich has nothing to do with the Otrepiev.

   THE SECOND. But they are now singing mass for the repose
   of the soul of the tsarevich.

   THE FIRST. What? A mass for the dead sung for a living
   Man? They'll suffer for it, the godless wretches!

   A THIRD. Hist! A sound. Is it not the tsar?

   A FOURTH. No, it is the idiot.

   (An idiot enters, in an iron cap, hung round with
   chains, surrounded by boys.)

   THE BOYS. Nick, Nick, iron nightcap! T-r-r-r-r—

   OLD WOMAN. Let him be, you young devils. Innocent one,
   pray thou for me a sinner.

   IDIOT. Give, give, give a penny.

   OLD WOMAN. There is a penny for thee; remember me in
   thy prayers.

   IDIOT. (Seats himself on the ground and sings:)

                  The moon sails on,
                   The kitten cries,
                   Nick, arise,
                  Pray to God.

   (The boys surround him again.)

   ONE OF THEM. How do you do, Nick? Why don't you
   take off your cap?

   (Raps him on the iron cap.)

   How it rings!

   IDIOT. But I have got a penny.

   BOYS. That's not true; now, show it.

   (They snatch the penny and run away.)

   IDIOT. (Weeps.) They have taken my penny, they are
   hurting Nick.

   THE PEOPLE. The tsar, the tsar is coming!

   (The TSAR comes out from the Cathedral; a boyar in
   front of him scatters alms among the poor. Boyars.)

   IDIOT. Boris, Boris! The boys are hurting Nick.

   TSAR. Give him alms! What is he crying for?

   IDIOT. The boys are hurting me...Give orders to slay
   them, as thou slewest the little tsarevich.

   BOYARS. Go away, fool! Seize the fool!

   TSAR. Leave him alone. Pray thou for me, Nick.


   IDIOT. (To himself.) No, no! It is impossible to pray for
   tsar Herod; the Mother of God forbids it.


The PRETENDER, surrounded by his supporters

   PRETENDER. Where is the prisoner?

   A POLE.                         Here.

   PRETENDER. Call him before me.

   (A Russian prisoner enters.)

   Who art thou?

   PRISONER.   Rozhnov, a nobleman of Moscow.

   PRETENDER. Hast long been in the service?

   PRISONER.                               About a month.

   PRETENDER. Art not ashamed, Rozhnov, that thou hast drawn
   The sword against me?

   PRISONER.           What else could I do?
   'Twas not our fault.

   PRETENDER.         Didst fight beneath the walls
   Of Seversk?

   PRISONER. 'Twas two weeks after the battle
   I came from Moscow.

   PRETENDER.        What of Godunov?

   PRISONER. The battle's loss, Mstislavsky's wound, hath caused him
   Much apprehension; Shuisky he hath sent
   To take command.

   PRETENDER.     But why hath he recalled
   Basmanov unto Moscow?

   PRISONER.           The tsar rewarded
   His services with honour and with gold.
   Basmanov in the council of the tsar
   Now sits.

   PRETENDER. The army had more need of him.
   Well, how go things in Moscow?

   PRISONER.                    All is quiet,
   Thank God.

   PRETENDER. Say, do they look for me?

   PRISONER.                          God knows;
   They dare not talk too much there now. Of some
   The tongues have been cut off, of others even
   The heads. It is a fearsome state of things—
   Each day an execution. All the prisons
   Are crammed. Wherever two or three forgather
   In public places, instantly a spy
   Worms himself in; the tsar himself examines
   At leisure the denouncers. It is just
   Sheer misery; so silence is the best.

   PRETENDER. An enviable life for the tsar's people!
   Well, how about the army?

   PRISONER.               What of them?
   Clothed and full-fed they are content with all.

   PRETENDER. But is there much of it?

   PRISONER.                         God knows.

   PRETENDER.                          All told
   Will there be thirty thousand?

   PRISONER.                    Yes; 'twill run
   Even to fifty thousand.

   (The Pretender reflects; those around him glance at
   one another.)

   PRETENDER.            Well! Of me
   What say they in your camp?

   PRISONER.                 Your graciousness
   They speak of; say that thou, Sire, (be not wrath),
   Art a thief, but a fine fellow.

   PRETENDER. (Laughing.)        Even so
   I'll prove myself to them in deed. My friends,
   We will not wait for Shuisky; I wish you joy;
   Tomorrow, battle.


   ALL.            Long life to Dimitry!

   A POLE. Tomorrow, battle! They are fifty thousand,
   And we scarce fifteen thousand. He is mad!

   ANOTHER. That's nothing, friend. A single Pole can challenge
   Five hundred Muscovites.

   PRISONER.              Yes, thou mayst challenge!
   But when it comes to fighting, then, thou braggart,
   Thou'lt run away.

   POLE.           If thou hadst had a sword,
   Insolent prisoner, then (pointing to his sword) with this I'd soon
   Have vanquished thee.

   PRISONER.           A Russian can make shift
   Without a sword; how like you this (shows his fist), you fool?

   (The Pole looks at him haughtily and departs in
   silence. All laugh.)



(In the background lies a dying horse)

   PRETENDER. Ah, my poor horse! How gallantly he charged
   Today in the last battle, and when wounded,
   How swiftly bore me. My poor horse!

   PUSHKIN. (To himself.)            Well, here's
   A great ado about a horse, when all
   Our army's smashed to bits.

   PRETENDER.                Listen! Perhaps
   He's but exhausted by the loss of blood,
   And will recover.

   PUSHKIN.        Nay, nay; he is dying.

   PRETENDER. (Goes to his horse.)
   My poor horse!—what to do? Take off the bridle,
   And loose the girth. Let him at least die free.

   (He unbridles and unsaddles the horse. Some Poles

   Good day to you, gentlemen! How is't I see not
   Kurbsky among you? I did note today
   How to the thick of the fight he clove his path;
   Around the hero's sword, like swaying ears
   Of corn, hosts thronged; but higher than all of them
   His blade was brandished, and his terrible cry
   Drowned all cries else. Where is my knight?

   POLE.                                     He fell
   On the field of battle.

   PRETENDER.            Honour to the brave,
   And peace be on his soul! How few unscathed
   Are left us from the fight! Accursed Cossacks,
   Traitors and miscreants, you, you it is
   Have ruined us! Not even for three minutes
   To keep the foe at bay! I'll teach the villains!
   Every tenth man I'll hang. Brigands!

   PUSHKIN.                           Whoe'er
   Be guilty, all the same we were clean worsted,

   PRETENDER. But yet we nearly conquered. Just
   When I had dealt with their front rank, the Germans
   Repulsed us utterly. But they're fine fellows!
   By God! Fine fellows! I love them for it. From them
   I'll form an honourable troop.

   PUSHKIN.                     And where
   Shall we now spend the night?

   PRETENDER.                  Why, here, in the forest.
   Why not this for our night quarters? At daybreak
   We'll take the road, and dine in Rilsk. Good night.

   (He lies down, puts a saddle under his head, and falls

   PUSHKIN. A pleasant sleep, tsarevich! Smashed to bits,
   Rescued by flight alone, he is as careless
   As a simple child; 'tis clear that Providence
   Protects him, and we, my friends, will not lose heart.



   TSAR. He is vanquished, but what profit lies in that?
   We are crowned with a vain conquest; he has mustered
   Again his scattered forces, and anew
   Threatens us from the ramparts of Putivl.
   Meanwhile what are our heroes doing? They stand
   At Krom, where from its rotten battlements
   A band of Cossacks braves them. There is glory!
   No, I am ill content with them; thyself
   I shall despatch to take command of them;
   I give authority not to birth, but brains.
   Their pride of precedence, let it be wounded!
   The time has come for me to hold in scorn
   The murmur of distinguished nobodies,
   And quash pernicious custom.

   BASMANOV.                  Ay, my lord
   Blessed a hundredfold will be that day
   When fire consumes the lists of noblemen
   With their dissensions, their ancestral pride.

   TSAR. That day is not far off; let me but first
   Subdue the insurrection of the people.

   BASMANOV. Why trouble about that? The people always
   Are prone to secret treason; even so
   The swift steed champs the bit; so doth a lad
   Chafe at his father's ruling. But what then?
   The rider quietly controls the steed,
   The father sways the son.

   TSAR.                   Sometimes the horse
   Doth throw the rider, nor is the son at all times
   Quite 'neath the father's will; we can restrain
   The people only by unsleeping sternness.
   So thought Ivan, sagacious autocrat
   And storm-subduer; so his fierce grandson thought.
   No, no, kindness is lost upon the people;
   Act well—it thanks you not at all; extort
   And execute—'twill be no worse for you.

   (Enter a boyar.)

   What now?

   BOYAR.  The foreign guests are come.

   TSAR.                              I go
   To welcome them. Basmanov, wait, stay here;
   I still have need to speak: a word with thee.


   BASMANOV. High sovereign spirit! God grant he may subdue
   The accurst Otrepiev; and much, still much
   Of good he'll do for Russia. A great thought
   Within his mind has taken birth; it must not
   Be suffered to grow cold. What a career
   For me when the ancestral horn he breaks
   Of the nobility. I have no rivals
   In war. I shall stand closest to the throne—
   And it may chance—But what is that strange sound?

   (Alarum. Boyars and court-attendants run in
   disorder, meet each other and whisper.)

   ONE. Fetch a physician!

   ANOTHER.              Quickly to the Patriarch!

   A THIRD. He calls for the tsarevich, the tsarevich!

   A FOURTH. A confessor!

   BASMANOV.            What has happened?

   A FIFTH AND SIXTH.                    The tsar is ill,
   The tsar is dying.

   BASMANOV.        Good God!

   A FIFTH.                 Upon the throne
   He sat, and suddenly he fell; blood gushed
   From his mouth and ears.

   (The TSAR is carried in on a chair. All the Tsar's
   household; all the boyars.)

   TSAR.                  Let all depart—alone
   Leave the tsarevich with me. (All withdraw.) I am dying;
   Let us embrace. Farewell, my son; this hour
   Thou wilt begin to reign.—O God, my God!
   This hour I shall appear before Thy presence—
   And have no time to purge my soul with shrift.
   But yet, my son, I feel thou art dearer to me
   Than is my soul's salvation—be it so!
   A subject was I born; it seemed ordained
   That I should die a subject in obscurity.
   Yet I attained to sovereignty; but how?
   Ask not. Enough that thou art innocent.
   In justice now thou'lt reign; and I alone
   Am answerable for all to God. Dear son,
   Cherish no false delusion, of thy free will
   Blind not thyself. Stormy the days wherein
   Thou dost assume the crown. He is dangerous,
   This strange pretender; with a fearful name
   He is armed. For many a year experienced
   In rule, I could restrain revolt and treason;
   They quaked with fear before me; treachery
   Dared not to raise its voice; but thou, a boy,
   An inexperienced ruler, how wilt thou
   Govern amid the tempests, quench revolt,
   Shackle sedition? But God is great! He gives
   Wisdom to youth, to weakness strength.—Give ear;
   Firstly, select a steadfast counsellor,
   Of cool, ripe years, loved of the people, honoured
   Mid the boyars for birth and fame—even Shuisky.
   The army craves today a skilful leader;
   Basmanov send, and firmly bear the murmurs
   Of the boyars. Thou from thy early years
   Didst sit with me in council, thou dost know
   The formal course of government; change not
   Procedure. Custom is the soul of states.
   Of late I have been forced to reinstate
   Bans, executions—these thou canst rescind;
   And they will bless thee, as they blessed thy uncle
   When he obtained the throne of the Terrible.
   At the same time, little by little, tighten
   Anew the reins of government; now slacken;
   But let them not slip from thy hands. Be gracious,
   Accessible to foreigners, accept
   Their service trustfully. Preserve with strictness
   The Church's discipline. Be taciturn;
   The royal voice must never lose itself
   Upon the air in emptiness, but like
   A sacred bell must sound but to announce
   Some great disaster or great festival.
   Dear son, thou art approaching to those years
   When woman's beauty agitates our blood.
   Preserve, preserve the sacred purity
   Of innocence and proud shamefacedness;
   He, who through passion has been wont to wallow
   In vicious pleasures in his youthful days,
   Becomes in manhood bloodthirsty and surly;
   His mind untimely darkens. Of thy household
   Be always head; show honour to thy mother,
   But rule thy house thyself; thou art a man
   And tsar to boot. Be loving to thy sister—
   Thou wilt be left of her the sole protector.

   FEODOR. (On his knees.) No, no; live on, my father, and reign long;
   Without thee both the folk and we will perish.

   TSAR. All is at end for me—mine eyes grow dark,
   I feel the coldness of the grave—

   (Enter the PATRIARCH and prelates; behind them all
   the boyars lead the TSARITSA by the hand; the
   TSAREVNA is sobbing.)

                                    Who's there?
   Ah, 'tis the vestment—so! The holy tonsure—
   The hour has struck. The tsar becomes a monk,
   And the dark sepulchre will be my cell.
   Wait yet a little, my lord Patriarch,
   I still am tsar. Listen to me, boyars:
   To this my son I now commit the tsardom;
   Do homage to Feodor. Basmanov, thou,
   And ye, my friends, on the grave's brink I pray you
   To serve my son with zeal and rectitude!
   As yet he is both young and uncorrupted.
   Swear ye?

   BOYARS. We swear.

   TSAR.           I am content. Forgive me
   Both my temptations and my sins, my wilful
   And secret injuries.—Now, holy father,
   Approach thou; I am ready for the rite.

   (The rite of the tonsure begins. The women are
   carried out swooning.)



   BASMANOV. Here enter, and speak freely. So to me
   He sent thee.

   PUSHKIN.    He doth offer thee his friendship
   And the next place to his in the realm of Moscow.

   BASMANOV. But even thus highly by Feodor am I
   Already raised; the army I command;
   For me he scorned nobility of rank
   And the wrath of the boyars. I have sworn to him

   PUSHKIN.  To the throne's lawful successor
   Allegiance thou hast sworn; but what if one
   More lawful still be living?

   BASMANOV.                  Listen, Pushkin:
   Enough of that; tell me no idle tales!
   I know the man.

   PUSHKIN.      Russia and Lithuania
   Have long acknowledged him to be Dimitry;
   But, for the rest, I do not vouch for it.
   Perchance he is indeed the real Dimitry;
   Perchance but a pretender; only this
   I know, that soon or late the son of Boris
   Will yield Moscow to him.

   BASMANOV.               So long as I
   Stand by the youthful tsar, so long he will not
   Forsake the throne. We have enough of troops,
   Thank God! With victory I will inspire them.
   And whom will you against me send, the Cossack
   Karel or Mnishek? Are your numbers many?
   In all, eight thousand.

   PUSHKIN.              You mistake; they will not
   Amount even to that. I say myself
   Our army is mere trash, the Cossacks only
   Rob villages, the Poles but brag and drink;
   The Russians—what shall I say?—with you I'll not
   Dissemble; but, Basmanov, dost thou know
   Wherein our strength lies? Not in the army, no.
   Nor Polish aid, but in opinion—yes,
   In popular opinion. Dost remember
   The triumph of Dimitry, dost remember
   His peaceful conquests, when, without a blow
   The docile towns surrendered, and the mob
   Bound the recalcitrant leaders? Thou thyself
   Saw'st it; was it of their free-will our troops
   Fought with him? And when did they so? Boris
   Was then supreme. But would they now?—Nay, nay,
   It is too late to blow on the cold embers
   Of this dispute; with all thy wits and firmness
   Thou'lt not withstand him. Were't not better for thee
   To furnish to our chief a wise example,
   Proclaim Dimitry tsar, and by that act
   Bind him your friend for ever? How thinkest thou?

   BASMANOV. Tomorrow thou shalt know.

   PUSHKIN.                          Resolve.

   BASMANOV.                                Farewell.

   PUSHKIN. Ponder it well, Basmanov.


   BASMANOV.                        He is right.
   Everywhere treason ripens; what shall I do?
   Wait, that the rebels may deliver me
   In bonds to the Otrepiev? Had I not better
   Forestall the stormy onset of the flood,
   Myself to—ah! But to forswear mine oath!
   Dishonour to deserve from age to age!
   The trust of my young sovereign to requite
   With horrible betrayal! 'Tis a light thing
   For a disgraced exile to meditate
   Sedition and conspiracy; but I?
   Is it for me, the favourite of my lord?—
   But death—but power—the people's miseries...

   (He ponders.)

   Here! Who is there? (Whistles.) A horse here!
   Sound the muster!


PUSHKIN enters, surrounded by the people

   THE PEOPLE. The tsarevich a boyar hath sent to us.
   Let's hear what the boyar will tell us. Hither!

   PUSHKIN. (On a platform.) Townsmen of Moscow! The tsarevich
   Bids me convey his greetings to you. (He bows.) Ye know
   How Divine Providence saved the tsarevich
   From out the murderer's hands; he went to punish
   His murderer, but God's judgment hath already
   Struck down Boris. All Russia hath submitted
   Unto Dimitry; with heartfelt repentance
   Basmanov hath himself led forth his troops
   To swear allegiance to him. In love, in peace
   Dimitry comes to you. Would ye, to please
   The house of Godunov, uplift a hand
   Against the lawful tsar, against the grandson
   Of Monomakh?

   THE PEOPLE. Not we.

   PUSHKIN.          Townsmen of Moscow!
   The world well knows how much ye have endured
   Under the rule of the cruel stranger; ban,
   Dishonour, executions, taxes, hardships,
   Hunger—all these ye have experienced.
   Dimitry is disposed to show you favour,
   Courtiers, boyars, state-servants, soldiers, strangers,
   Merchants—and every honest man. Will ye
   Be stubborn without reason, and in pride
   Flee from his kindness? But he himself is coming
   To his ancestral throne with dreadful escort.
   Provoke not ye the tsar to wrath, fear God,
   And swear allegiance to the lawful ruler;
   Humble yourselves; forthwith send to Dimitry
   The Metropolitan, deacons, boyars,
   And chosen men, that they may homage do
   To their lord and father.

   (Exit. Clamour of the People.)

   THE PEOPLE.             What is to be said?
   The boyar spake truth. Long live Dimitry, our father!

   A PEASANT ON THE PLATFORM. People! To the Kremlin!
   To the Royal palace!
   The whelp of Boris go bind!

   THE PEOPLE. (Rushing in a crowd.)
                             Bind, drown him! Hail
   Dimitry! Perish the race of Godunov!


A GUARD on the Staircase. FEODOR at a Window

   BEGGAR. Give alms, for Christ's sake.

   GUARD. Go away; it is forbidden to speak to the prisoners.

   FEODOR. Go, old man, I am poorer than thou; thou art at

   (KSENIA, veiled, also comes to the window.)

   ONE OF THE PEOPLE. Brother and sister—poor children, like
   birds in a cage.

   SECOND PERSON. Are you going to pity them? Accursed

   FIRST PERSON. The father was a villain, but the children are

   SECOND PERSON. The apple does not fall far from the

   KSENIA. Dear brother! Dear brother! I think the boyars
   are coming to us.

   FEODOR. That is Golitsin, Mosalsky. I do not know the

   KSENIA. Ah! Dear brother, my heart sinks.

   behind them three archers.)

   THE PEOPLE. Make way, make way; the boyars come.
   (They enter the house.)

   ONE OF THE PEOPLE. What have they come for?

   SECOND. Most like to make Feodor Godunov take the oath.

   THIRD. Very like. Hark! What a noise in the house!
   What an uproar! They are fighting!

   THE PEOPLE. Do you hear? A scream! That was a
   woman's voice. We will go up. We will go up!—The
   doors are fastened—the cries cease—the noise continues.

   (The doors are thrown open. MOSALSKY appears on
   the staircase.)

   MOSALSKY. People! Maria Godunov and her son Feodor
   have poisoned themselves. We have seen their dead

   (The People are silent with horror.)

   Why are ye silent? Cry, Long live the tsar Dimitry

   (The People are speechless.)