Boris Godunov by Alexander Pushkin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov – Contents

< < < Moscow. Palace Of The Tsar
Public Square In Moscow > > >



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!

< < < Moscow. Palace Of The Tsar
Public Square In Moscow > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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