Shall I no longer taste sugared foods,

6 Jul

Why is all so sad here in Moscow,
Why are they tolling the great bell?
The tsar is displeased with the tsaritsa,
He is banishing the tsaritsa from his sight,
Away into the town of Suzdal,
Away into the Pokrovvski convent.
As the tsaritsa wandered through the palace,
She lamented mournfully:
‘Alas, you palace of stone, and faceted!
Can it be that I shall no more wander about you, dear palace,
Shall I no longer sit at tables made of cypress-wood,
Shall I no longer taste sugared foods,
And no more carve the white swan?’
Then the tsaritsa went out on to the staircase
And cried out at the top of her little voice:
‘O you young squires,
You young squires, you grooms,
Make ready the coach–but do not hurry;
Drive away from Moscow–but do not hurry;
Perchance the tsar may even yet relent,
Perchance he will order me to return!’
Then the young squires replied;
‘Alas, our mother the tsaritsa,
Marfa Matveevna!
Little hope is there that the tsar will relent!
Little hope is there that he will bid you return!’
They welcomed the tsaritsa with a peal of bells,
And the abbess approached,
Surrounded by her nuns,
She has taken her by her white hands,
She has conducted her into her cell.
Then the orthodox tsaritsa addressed them:
‘Away ! Away ! abbess and nuns!
It is not for an hour that I have come to visit you,
It is not for one dark night that I have come to lodge,
I have come to you to remain for ever!

Recorded from Simbirsk
Kireevski,Pesni, pt Vi, p 202 f.

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