Boris Godunov

by Alexsander Pushkin

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A Forest


(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.


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