Boris Godunov

by Alexsander Pushkin

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The Lithuanian Frontier

(OCTOBER 16TH, 1604)

PRINCE KURBSKY and PRETENDER, both on horseback. Troops approach the Frontier
   KURBSKY. (Galloping at their head.)
   There, there it is; there is the Russian frontier!
   Fatherland! Holy Russia! I am thine!
   With scorn from off my clothing now I shake
   The foreign dust, and greedily I drink
   New air; it is my native air. O father,
   Thy soul hath now been solaced; in the grave
   Thy bones, disgraced, thrill with a sudden joy!
   Again doth flash our old ancestral sword,
   This glorious sword—the dread of dark Kazan!
   This good sword—servant of the tsars of Moscow!
   Now will it revel in its feast of slaughter,
   Serving the master of its hopes.

   PRETENDER. (Moves quietly with bowed head.) How happy
   Is he, how flushed with gladness and with glory
   His stainless soul! Brave knight, I envy thee!
   The son of Kurbsky, nurtured in exile,
   Forgetting all the wrongs borne by thy father,
   Redeeming his transgression in the grave,
   Ready art thou for the son of great Ivan
   To shed thy blood, to give the fatherland
   Its lawful tsar. Righteous art thou; thy soul
   Should flame with joy.

   KURBSKY.             And dost not thou likewise
   Rejoice in spirit? There lies our Russia; she
   Is thine, tsarevich! There thy people's hearts
   Are waiting for thee, there thy Moscow waits,
   Thy Kremlin, thy dominion.

   PRETENDER.               Russian blood,
   O Kurbsky, first must flow! Thou for the tsar
   Hast drawn the sword, thou art stainless; but I lead you
   Against your brothers; I am summoning
   Lithuania against Russia; I am showing
   To foes the longed-for way to beauteous Moscow!
   But let my sin fall not on me, but thee,
   Boris, the regicide! Forward! Set on!

   KURBSKY. Forward! Advance! And woe to Godunov.

   (They gallop. The troops cross the frontier.)


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