“Kochubei is rich and glorious, / Its meadows are boundless,” he owns many treasures, but the main wealth of Kochubei is his daughter Maria, which is equal in all Poltava. Maria is not the only beauty, but everyone knows her gentle nature. A lot of suitors are wooing to her, but Maria’s heart is unapproachable. And here hetman Mazeppa sends her matchmakers for her. The hetman is already old, but in him emotions, not changeable feelings of youth, simmers the heat, which does not cool down until death.
Maria’s parents are indignant, they are outraged by the behavior of the elder, because Maria is the hetman’s godson. Maria’s mother says that Mazepa is an impious person, that marriage can not be a question. Hearing this
Soon the terrible news came to Kochubei that his daughter had fled to Mazepa. Only now did the old people understand the reason for the emotional confusion of their daughter. And Kochubei planned a revenge plan for the hetman.
“There was that vague time, / When Russia is young, / In the struggles of strength straining, / Muzhila with the genius of Peter.” In the fight against the Swedish king Charles XII, Rus strengthened. Ukraine was worried, there were many supporters of ancient liberty who demanded from the hetman that he break the treaty with Russia and become an ally of Karl, but Mazepa “did not seem to listen to the rumor” and “remained / the obedient subject of Peter.”
The youth grumbled at the hetman, dreaming, united with Karl, “to burst the war / To the hated Moscow!”. But no one knew the secret plans of the treacherous and vindictive Mazepa. For a long time he has been hatching the plan of betrayal, not revealing it to anyone, but his secret intentions were
Such a person was found among Poltava Cossacks, once rejected by Maria, but still loving her even in her shame and hating her seducer. He sets out on a journey with Kochubei’s denunciation of a traitor-hetman sewn in his cap. Mazepa, unaware of the terrible danger, weaves political intrigue, negotiating with the Jesuit messenger, anger the Cossacks on the Don, raising Crimea, Poland and Turkey against Moscow. And in the midst of these insidious cares Russian nobles sent him a denunciation of him, written in Poltava and left by Peter without attention. Justifying himself before Peter and persuading him of his loyalty, Mazepa demands the execution of scammers, the execution of his beloved father, “… but the father does not redeem the daughter’s love.” Maria, however, loves Mazepa and despises the rumor. Only sometimes sadness grips her at the thought of parents.
Mazepa is grim, and “his mind / embarrassed by cruel dreams.” Even the caresses of Mary are not able to dispel his terrible thoughts, he remains cold to them. Offended Mary rebukes him, saying that for his sake ruined his own happiness, disgraced himself. Mazepa tries to calm Maria with words of love, but she accuses him of cunning and pretense. She is even jealous of him to some Dulskaya. Maria wants to know the reason Mazepina coldness. And Mazepa reveals to her his plans for Ukraine’s uprising against the rule of Moscow. Maria is delighted and eager to see the beloved with the royal crown on her head. She will keep him faithful and in misfortune and even go with him on the block. And Mazepa is subjecting Mary to a terrible test: he asks who is more dear to her-father or husband? He tries to force her to an unambiguous answer, puts her in front of a terrible choice: whose death she prefers, if she is destined to choose whom to send to execution. And the coveted answer is received.
“Quiet Ukrainian night”. In the old castle in Bila Tserkva, Kochubei is tied in a tower and awaits execution, which is not afraid of him – he is oppressed by shame, loss of honor. He was given by the king to be deceived by the enemy, not being able to bequeath his revenge to the offender. The door of his dungeon opens, and the bloodthirsty Orlik enters. Mazepa knows that Kochubei hid treasures, and Orlik came to find out where they were hiding. Kochubei replies that his treasures were his honor, the honor of his daughter, but these treasures are taken away by torture and Mazepa, and the third treasure is holy revenge – he is preparing to tear down God, Orlik tries to find out where the money is hidden, but without success, and Kochubei is given into the hands of the executioner.
Maria, caressed by Mazepa, does not yet know about the terrible fate of her father, and Mazepa shudders at the thought of what will happen to her when everything opens. He repents that he deceived her, that he tried to harness a “horse and quivering deer” in one cart. Leaving Mary sitting in ignorance, tormented by doubts, Mazepa leaves the palace.
At dawn in the peace where Maria slept, her mother crept in and opened her daughter’s terrible news. Mother can not believe that her daughter is not known, she asks Mary to fall at the feet of Mazepa and beg him to spare his father. Unable to suffer mental anguish, Maria is deprived of feelings.
A huge crowd gathered at the scene of the execution. On the cart brought convicts Kochubei and Iskra. The martyrs rise on the block, the hangman cuts their heads and, holding them by the forelocks, shows the crowd. When the place of execution has already emptied, two women come running, but, alas, they are late.
Returning home after a terrible execution, Mazepa finds Maria’s orchestra empty. He sends the Cossacks to search, but all is vain: no one has ever seen Mary.
Sincere grief does not prevent the hetman from carrying out his political plans. Continuing his relations with the Swedish king, Mazeppa pretends to be deadly sick, but he promptly rises from the death bed when Carl transfers military operations to Ukraine. Now Mazepa leads the regiments against Peter. Peter himself leads the squads to Poltava, and here are two armies against each other, ready for the morning battle. The night before the battle, Mazepa converses with Orlik and talks about his disappointment in Karl, who does not seem to him to be a state husband who can compete with an autocratic giants. Orlik replies that it is not too late to go over to Peter’s side, but Mazepa rejects this offer and reveals the reason for his hatred of the Russian Tsar. Once at a feast in response to a boldly spoken word, Peter grabbed Mazepa by the mustache. For this insult and vowed to avenge Peter Mazepa.
The Poltava battle begins in the morning, in which fighting happiness serves the Russian troops. Encouraged by the appearance of Peter, the Russian regiments are crowding the Swedes. Mazepa silently watches the battle, and suddenly a shot is heard behind him. This Voynarovsky battled a young Cossack who was rushing from the saber to Mazepa, who, dying, whispered the name of Mary.
The battle is over, Pyotr is feasting in his tent, “and for his teachers / He raises a cup of gorges,” but there are none among the feasting Karl and Mazepa. They ride on horseback, fleeing persecution. Suddenly, the farm, past which the fugitives race, frightens Mazepa: he will know the place where he once feasted and from where he brought Mary out into the steppe on a dark night. The fugitives spend the night in the steppe on the banks of the Dnieper, when suddenly someone calls to Mazepa in the night silence. He opens his eyes and sees Mary. She is in rags, with her hair down, sparkling sunken eyes. Maria lost her mind. She does not recognize Mazepa, says that it is someone else, and disappears in the night darkness. In the morning Karl and Mazeppa jump further.
A century had passed, and only Peter remained in history, but there was not even a memory of Mazepa and Mary.