Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Xenia Borisovna Godunova. Song of the Princess Kseniya. Daughter of Tsar Boris Godunov. A song of her plight.

A Tsarevna 1582-1622.  This is one Unsung who is found to have a Song, this found in the Richard James collection from 1619-1620 CE. Richard James did his own collecting, and this one honors the plight of Princess Kseniya Borisovna Godunova, daughter of Tsar Boris Godunov:

 Song of the Princess Kseniya Borisovna.

There weepeth a little bird,
A little white quail:
"Alas that I so young must grieve!
They wish to burn the green oak,
To destroy my little nest,
To kill my little ones *
To catch me, quail.
In Moscow, the princess weepeth:
"Alas that I so young must grieve!
For there comes to Moscow the traitor,
Grishka Otrepev Rozstriga **
Who wants to take me captive,
And having captured make me a nun,
To send me into the monastery.
But I do not wish to become a nun
To go into a monastery:
 I shall keep my dark cell open,
To look at the fine fellows.
O our beautiful corridors!
Who will walk over you
After our tsarian life
And after Boris Godunov?
O our beautiful palace halls!
Who will be sitting in you
After our tsarian life
And after Boris Godunov?"
And in Moscow the princess weepeth
The daughter of Boris Godunov;
"O God, our merciful Savior!
Wherefore is our tsardom perished, --
Is it for father's sinning,
Or for mother's not praying? ***
And you beloved palace halls!
Who will rule in you,
After our tsarian life?
Fine stuffs of drawn lace! --
Shall we wind you around the birches?
Fine, gold-worked towels!
Shall we throw you into the woods?
Fine earrings of hyacinth.
Shall we hang you on branches,
After our tsarian life,
After the reign of our father,
Glorious Boris Godunov?
Wherefore comes to Moscow Rosztriga,
And wants to break down the palaces,
And take me, princess, captive,
And to send me to Ustyuzhna Zheleznaya,
To make me, princess, a nun,
To place me behind a walled garden?
Why must I grieve,
As they take me to the dark cell,
And the Abbess gives me her blessing? "

The song: This appears in Anthology of Russian Literature from the Earliest Period to the Present Time by Leo Weiner 1902 (see table of contents at page xiii): Obviously out of copyright, and from page 132:

Tsar Boris Godunov,  Find his excellent biography at  http://ruhistory.narod.ru/history/tsar/borisG.html.  When Tsar Boris died, his son, Tseniya's brother Fedor, became Tsar, as Tsar Fedor II, thus establishing the Godunov Dynasty.

Tsar Fedor II, however, age 16 or so, was murdered within months, and before some formalities were concluded, and by resentful boyars and other plotters. Upon the murder of her brother, and her mother, Xenia was abused and humiliated by the usurper, and eventually sent to a monastery. Formal sources now dismiss the two Godunov tsars during 1598-1605 period, before Mikhail I Romanov in 1613. Just leave out the dates, see gaps at https://orthodoxwiki.org/Michael_of_Russia

The circumstance is the Kremlin, Moscow, 1605 CE, soon after the murder of Xenia's brother, Tsar Fedor II, and after the death of her father, Tsar Boris Godunov. Soon to occur: her subjection (rape, concubinage) at the hands and the rest of the usurper, False Dmitry I; and her being forced into a convent. See http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/history-and-mythology/boris-godunov/.  The song takes an unusual slant: both anticipating, and already knowing and looking back upon, tragedies.

A song of and for her, Tseniya, Xenia. The people clearly remembered her in 1619-1620, when they were into the reign of Mikhail I Romanov (and his father, go search), first of the Dynasty after the Rurikids and the Goduovs; and not all was roses. The song recalls Boris Godunov as a fine tsar. Allegations of a dastardly deed were unproven at the time, even found not to be so, and not since. Tsar Boris: A tsar downed by rumor and the fates of famine, is that so.

Xenia had refused the throne (I understand: looking back for the cite), but it is not clear her supporters would have prevailed against all the might arrayed about against. She is buried, with the rest of the family of Boris Godunov, the Godunov Dynasty of Two (that is enough), inexplicably except for spite, outside the Kremlin and at Trinity Monastery, Everyman's summary of her life is at Wiki.  See the plaque honoring her, The Nun Olga Borisovna,

The Kremlin: that is where tsars, including one of the usurpers here, who did become tsar briefly (Vasily Shuisky, Vasily IV), is indeed interred). Put Godunov back in.  It was his first resting place, immediately after his death, and the later ambitious traitors who had him removed should not have the last say.

* I see no evidence of children for Xenia herself.
** Rozstriga: he abandoned his tonsure, a defrocked monk.
*** Note to Xenia.  Was this rewrite of history because your father was not 100% Slavic, and power must be kept in the "family" -- Slavs, Rurikids, not Others. 

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