Boris Godunov

by Alexsander Pushkin

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Open Space in Front of the Cathedral in Moscow


   ONE OF THE PEOPLE. Will the tsar soon come out of the

   ANOTHER. The mass is ended; now the Te Deum is going on.

   THE FIRST. What! Have they already cursed him?

   THE SECOND. I stood in the porch and heard how the deacon
   cried out:—Grishka Otrepiev is anathema!

   THE FIRST. Let him curse to his heart's content; the
   tsarevich has nothing to do with the Otrepiev.

   THE SECOND. But they are now singing mass for the repose
   of the soul of the tsarevich.

   THE FIRST. What? A mass for the dead sung for a living
   Man? They'll suffer for it, the godless wretches!

   A THIRD. Hist! A sound. Is it not the tsar?

   A FOURTH. No, it is the idiot.

   (An idiot enters, in an iron cap, hung round with
   chains, surrounded by boys.)

   THE BOYS. Nick, Nick, iron nightcap! T-r-r-r-r—

   OLD WOMAN. Let him be, you young devils. Innocent one,
   pray thou for me a sinner.

   IDIOT. Give, give, give a penny.

   OLD WOMAN. There is a penny for thee; remember me in
   thy prayers.

   IDIOT. (Seats himself on the ground and sings:)

                  The moon sails on,
                   The kitten cries,
                   Nick, arise,
                  Pray to God.

   (The boys surround him again.)

   ONE OF THEM. How do you do, Nick? Why don't you
   take off your cap?

   (Raps him on the iron cap.)

   How it rings!

   IDIOT. But I have got a penny.

   BOYS. That's not true; now, show it.

   (They snatch the penny and run away.)

   IDIOT. (Weeps.) They have taken my penny, they are
   hurting Nick.

   THE PEOPLE. The tsar, the tsar is coming!

   (The TSAR comes out from the Cathedral; a boyar in
   front of him scatters alms among the poor. Boyars.)

   IDIOT. Boris, Boris! The boys are hurting Nick.

   TSAR. Give him alms! What is he crying for?

   IDIOT. The boys are hurting me...Give orders to slay
   them, as thou slewest the little tsarevich.

   BOYARS. Go away, fool! Seize the fool!

   TSAR. Leave him alone. Pray thou for me, Nick.


   IDIOT. (To himself.) No, no! It is impossible to pray for
   tsar Herod; the Mother of God forbids it.


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