Mozart and Salieri
Твори О.С. Пушкіна.Переклад англійською мовою.> Mozart and Salieri

 

Mozart and Salieri


SCENE I


A room.


SALIERI

They say: there is no justice here on earth.
But there is none — hereafter. To my mind
This truth is elementary as a scale.
I was born with a great love of music;
When I was still a child and heard the organ
Resounding through the ancient church at home
I listened — lost in listening — and wept
Involuntary tears of pure delight.
Full early I renounced all idle pleasures
And to all sciences but that of music
I made myself a stranger; with dour pride
I turned my back on them to give myself
Wholly to music. Hard is the first step
And lonely the beginning of the road.
I weathered the first storms. And as a footstool
To art I set perfection in my craft.
And I became a craftsman: taught my fingers
A disciplined, dry fluency, my ear
Exact discrimination. Music I
Dissected like a corpse. Proved its harmonies
Like higher mathematics.
And only then, well-versed in theory,
Did I permit myself the luxury
Of composition. I began
To work; but secretly, but in retirement,
Not daring to so much as think of fame.
And times there were when I would sit alone
Two, three days, with no thought of food or sleep,
In tears, in ecstasies of inspiration,
Then burn my work and watch indifferently
How all my thoughts, the sounds born of my labour,
Would flare and vanish in a puff of smoke.
But what of that? Why — when the mighty Gluck
Appeared to introduce us to new secrets
(Such fathomless, such captivating secrets)
Did I not set at naught all I had learnt,
All I had loved, all I had so believed in?
Did I not follow him with eager tread,
As uncomplaining as an erring traveller
Chance-met with one who better knows the road?
By diligence and unremitting effort,
I rose through the infinity of art,
Attaining high degree. Fame looked my way
And smiled; my harmonies began to find
An echo, a response in people's hearts.
And I was happy: I took quiet pleasure
In work, success and fame; rejoicing also
To see the work of friends crowned by success,
My colleagues in the service of high art.
No! Never did I know the sting of envy.
Oh, never! Neither when Piccini charmed
The ear and favour of barbaric Paris,
Nor yet when I first heard the cadences
Of my great teacher's Iphigenia.
Who dares to say that proud Salieri ever
Was subject to the most despised of vices,
Impotent envy, writhing, weak, down-trodden,
A dust-choked serpent on the public highway?
Why — no one! But today — myself I say it —
Today I envy I am consumed by deep,
Tormenting envy. Oh, celestial Justice!
Where are you now when the most sacred gift,
Immortal genius, is not sent to bless
The ardent lover, the devout ascetic,
A fit reward for toil and prayerful vigil,
But haloes a gregarious trifler's head,
A carefree lunatic's — Oh, Mozart, Mozart!

Enter MOZART.


MOZART

Aha! You saw me! And I meant to treat you
To a surprise, something to make you laugh.

SALIERI

You here! — When did you come?

MOZART

Just now. I have
Something to show you and was on my way here
When, as I passed the inn, a fiddler's scraping
Assailed my ears... Oh no, my friend, Salieri!
You never in your life heard anything
So comical... A tavern fiddler struggling,
To execute voi che sapete. Marvellous!
I simply had to bring the man along
To treat you to a sample of his art.
Come in!

Enter an old blind man with a fiddle.

Now, be so good, something from Mozart.

The old man plays an aria from DON JUAN. Mozart is overcome with laughter.


SALIERI

And you can laugh at that?

MOZART

My dear Salieri,
But how can you help laughing?

SALIERI

Easily.
It does not make me laugh when a poor painter
Attempts to copy Raphael's Madonna.
It does not make me laugh when a vile rhymster
Dishonours Dante by bad imitation.
Be gone, old man.

MOZART

One moment, here, take this
And drink my health, good fellow.

Exit the old man.

You, Salieri,
Are out of sorts today. I'll come to see you
Some other time.

SALIERI

What did you have to show me?

MOZART

Oh — nothing much, a trifle. The other night
I could not get to sleep — my old insomnia —
And two or three ideas came to my mind.
Today I wrote them down. I would have liked you
To give me your opinion of them, but
You are not in the mood.

SALIERI

Ah Mozart, Mozart!
Not in the mood to hear you play?! Sit down;
I'm listening.

MOZART

(at the fortepiano)

Imagine ... whom you would...
Me, if you like — but just a little younger;
In love — but not too deeply, just a fancy;
A Beauty, or a friend — say, you — beside me,
In high spirits... Then, suddenly: a darkness,
A vision of the grave, or some such thing...
Well, better listen.

Plays.


SALIERI

You brought that to me
And on the way could stop outside a tavern
To hear that old blind fiddler scrape!.. Good God!
You, Mozart, are not worthy of yourself.

MOZART

You like it then?

SALIERI

But what profundity!
What boldness and what harmony of form!
You, Mozart, are a god and do not know it;
But I know, I.

MOZART

Bah! Do you think so?
But now my godship badly wants its dinner.

SALIERI

I have a notion: Let us dine together.
The Golden Lion's a decent inn.

MOZART

With pleasure;
I should enjoy that. But first I must go home
And tell my wife not to expect me back
To dine today.

Exit.

SALIERI

I shall expect you; fail not.
No! I can no more resist the fate
To which I am appointed; it is my task
To stop him. If I do not, all of us,
The priests, the celebrants of music, perish.
Not I alone with my small part of fame...
What is the use if Mozart is to live
And to attain new heights, undreamed of summits?
Will he by this raise music? No, he will not.
It will fall back again with his extinction.
For he will leave no heir to lead us on.
What use is he? Like some bright Cherub
He came down with a sheaf of songs divine
But to wake wingless longings in the hearts
Of us poor sons of dust — then fly away!
Fly, fly then Mozart! Fly! As soon as may be.

Here's poison, the last gift of my Izora.
I've kept it by me now for eighteen years –
How often in this span has life inflicted
Wounds unendurable; how often have I sat
At board with an all-unsuspecting foe,
Yet never hearkened to the insistent whisper
Of sharp temptation, though I am no coward,
Though deeply sensitive to injury,
Though I hold life but cheap. Still I delayed.
And when the death-wish came to torture me,
Why, what is death? I thought: it may be life
Will shower me yet with unexpected gifts;
It may be ecstasy will come again,
And rapture, and a night of inspiration;
It may be some new Haydn will compose
Some work of greatness that will give me pleasure...
Or, when I feasted with some odious guest,
Perhaps I thought to meet an enemy
More deadly; some more deadly injury, perhaps,
Might strike me from the contumelious heights –
Then, then Izora's gift would prove most useful.
And I was right! And now at last I've found
My enemy, and a new Haydn has
Awoken me to ecstasy divine!
Now — it is time! Oh, cherished gift of love,
Today you pass into the cup of friendship.

SCENE II


Private room at the inn; a fortepiano. MOZART and SALIERI at table.

SALIERI

You're dull today and gloomy! Why?

MOZART

I? No!

SALIERI

Has something happened, Mozart, to upset you?
The dinner's good, the wine is of the best,
But you sit silent, frowning...

MOZART

I confess
It is my Requiem perturbs me.

SALIERI

Ah!
You are composing a Requiem! Since when?

MOZART

A long time now — three weeks. But was rather strange.
Did not I tell you?

SALIERI

No.

MOZART

Then listen.
Three weeks ago today I came home late
And I was told: a visitor had called
To see me. He did not state his business.
All night I wondered: who could it have been?
What did he want of me? And the next day
He called again. Again I was from home.
The third day I was playing on the floor
With my small son. Somebody called me out.
I came. A man, all dressed in mourning black,
Gave me a civil bow, requested me
To write a Requiem, and left. I set
To work at once... But since that time the man
In black has never come to claim his order...
And, in a way, I'm glad. I should be sorry
To see my work pass on. The Requiem,
However, is quite ready. But I...

SALIERI

But you?

MOZART

I feel ashamed now to admit it...

SALIERI

What?

MOZART

By night and day my man in black still haunts
Me. Like a shadow he trails after me
Wherever I direct my steps. Ev'n now
It seems to me he makes a third with us
At table.

SALIERI

Oh, come! A childish fancy, nothing more!
Such fears are groundless. Shake them off! My friend
Beaumarchais used to say: "Brother Salieri,
When black thoughts trouble you, the golden cure
Is to uncork a bottle of champagne
Or read Le Manage de Figaro."

MOZART

Of course! Beaumarchais was a friend of yours;
It was for him that you composed Tarare,
A pleasant opera. There is one tune there...
I always hum it when I'm feeling happy...
La la la la... Ah, is it true, Salieri,
That Beaumarchais once poisoned somebody?

SALIERI

I do not think so: he was too amusing
For such grim business.

MOZART

He was a genius,
Like you and me. And villainy and genius
Are incompatibles. Am I not right?

SALIERI

You think so?

Shakes the poison into MOZART's glass.

But you do not drink.

MOZART

Your health,
My friend, and long live the true tie
Which binds together Mozart and Salieri,
Two sons of harmony, of music.

Drinks.

SALIERI

Wait!
Wait, wait!.. Ah, you have drunk it!.. Without me?

MOZART

Casts his napkin on the table.

Enough, I want no more.

Goes to the fortepiano.

And now, Salieri,
My Requiem.

Plays.

You're weeping?

SALIERI

I have never
Wept tears like these before, both sweet and bitter,
As though a dreadful weight of obligation
Had fallen from me, or the healing knife
Had mercifully severed a spoilt limb!
Good Mozart, do not heed these tears. Go on,
Make haste to satiate my soul with sounds...

MOZART

If only everyone so felt the power
Of harmony! But no: for then, most likely,
The world would stop: no one would take the trouble
To care for the base needs of common life;
All would devote themselves to art in freedom,
How few we are: the carefree and elect
Who can afford to scorn utility
And serve as zealots of the one God — Beauty.
Is that not so? But I'm not well today.
A heaviness is on me; I will go and sleep.
Good-bye then!

SALIERI

Fare you well.

Alone.

Your sleep will last
A long while, Mozart! Could it be he's right
And I no genius? Villainy and genius
Are incompatibles. It cannot be.
And Buonarotti? Was he calumniated
By foolish rumour? Did the man who built
The Vatican in fact commit no murder?


1830


 

Оригінал твору

Бібліотека ім. О. С. Пушкіна (м. Київ).
А.С. Пушкин. Полное собрание сочинений в десяти томах