Boris Godunov by Alexander Pushkin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov – Contents

< < < Palace Of The Patriarch
Tavern On The Lithuanian Frontier > > >


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!

< < < Palace Of The Patriarch
Tavern On The Lithuanian Frontier > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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