TO THE POET
Thou shalt not, poet, prize the people's love
The noise of their applause will quickly die;
Then shalt thou hear the judgment of the fool
And chilling laughter from the multitude.
But stand thou firm, untroubled and austere;
Thou art a king and kings must live alone.
Thine own free spirit calls to thee; pass on,
Make perfect the fair blossom of my dreams,
Nor ask for praises of achievement won.
Praise lives within; 'tis thou that art the judge,
And thine the strictest judgement of them all.
Art thou content? Then leave the herd to howl;
Leave them to spit upon thine altar fires
And on the dancing incense of thy shrine.
A.S. Pushkin, 1830
translated by Constance Garnett
K.S. STANISLAVSKI ON PUSHKIN'S SALIERI
Many, excited by Pushkin's rhyme, had undermined the content of Pushkin's poetry. I, on the other hand, tried to mine into the deepest folds of the content of the drama itself. It seemed to me insufficient to present Salieri simply as an envious man. To my mind he was a high priest of his art, and he was a mortal ideological fiend to the one who seemed to rock the basis of his art. My Salieri, from the moment the curtains open, does not enjoy the luxury of morning tea or don a powdered wig. The audience sees him in his dress robe, hair uncombed, and face gaunt from unproductively burning the midnight oil. A hard worker, Salieri has every right to expect heaven's reward and to envy the lazy Mozart who seems effortlessly to conjure masterpieces out of thin air. Salieri envies him, yet he wrestles with such evil feelings. Most of all he adores Mozart's genius. Therefore it is harder for him to decide on murder, and his horror is greater when he realizes his mistake. In such fashion, I have not built the role on envy, but on the wrestling between the criminal's conscience and adorations of genius.
K.S. Stanislavski, "My Life In Art"
Translated by Natasha Vuchurovich Djukic