Boris Godunov

Boris Godunov
A Drama in Verse

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Boris Godunov by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin

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Boris Godunov
A Drama in Verse

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Book Excerpt

inding 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Have gladly from the noisy world withdrawn,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 mo

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