Boris Godunov by Alexander Pushkin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov – Contents

< < < Open Space In Front Of The Cathedral In Moscow
A Forest > > >

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.

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.)

< < < Open Space In Front Of The Cathedral In Moscow
A Forest > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

If you liked this site, subscribe , put likes, write comments!

Share on social networks

Check out Our Latest Posts

© 2023 Akirill.com – All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s