Act the first


Scene the first

The hall of Cedric. Evening. At the high table stands Cedric. His Men are making ready for supper.


Cedric, Men, Oswald



Each day this realm of England faints and fails.  

The king is wandering who knows where; his knights,

his Norman knights like robbers waste the land,

and drive our herds within their castle walls.

O Wilfred, o my son, o Ivanohe,

hadst thou not crossed my will and flouted me,

daring to raise thine eyes to my royal ward,

I had not been left a lonely man

amid these thieving Normans.

Alone am I: I have no son.

(A knocking at the gate.)

Who knocks? Out, knaves, and see! And now to supper.

To all, was hael!

(He drinks.)



(getting to the table)  

Was hael! drink hael!

Supper and song so runs the stave;

supper and song for knight and knave;

drink deep, drink deep!

Eat, drink, and sleep

till daylight peep!

Drink to the house of Cedric!

Hoch! the house of Cedric!

Drink hael! Was hael!

Hoch! Hoch! Was hael!

Enter Isaac.

<- Isaac



Good thane, most noble thane, I pray  

for food and shelter from the night.

Isaac of York am I, a Jew, but poor,

and poorest shelter all I dare to ask.


Not even one of thy accursed race

must fail our Saxon hospitality!

To supper with what greed thou hast!

(A knocking at the gates.)


Now heaven keep me cool! What bolder knaves

break in upon us with untimely din?

Go, some of you, and see who knocks so loud.

Enter De Bracy's Squire.

<- The squire



Brian de Bois Guilbert,  

knight of the holy Order of the temple,

and the most valiant lord, Maurice De Bracy,

journeying to the tourney,

now to be held at Ashby de la Zouche,

by order of their royal lord, Prince John

ask food and shelter of the Saxon thane,

Cedric of Rotherwood.


What cockrel crows so loud?

Go, Oswald, and the rest, and lead these knights

within the hall:

(exeunt Squire, Oswald, etc.)

The squire, Oswald ->



a better welcome were it

if I might meet these Normans sword in hand.

Enter the knights, with attendants, and with them Ivanohe in palmer's dress.

<- De Bracy, Brian, Ivanohe, Attendants



Welcome, sir knights! I pray ye pardon me

for lack of Norman courtesy.

Sit ye beside me here,

and fall to supper ~ to our Saxon fare.

(As the knights sit, Ivanohe goes aside.)


I see but one thing wanting to our fare,

and that the fairest fair, thy beauteous ward.

I do assure thee, Brian, England knows

no lovelier lady than this Saxon rose.

My friend and I had wager by the way,

no Syrian damsel fair

nor courtly lady gay

might with thy ward compare.

Was it not so, sir templar?


Since I took ship from Palestine,

I have seen but one fair maid to vie

with the soft almond eyes of Syrian girls,

and she was Jewess-born.


Jehovah guard

our daughters from the temple!


And I'll warrant me,

from all the country

come throngs of suitors

to the fair Rowena!


My friends and neighbours know

that if the lady deign to wed,

her mate must be of royal Saxon blood,

as she is royal and Saxon.

The great doors are thrown open.

<- Oswald, Rowena



Room for the lady Rowena! room!  

(All rise as Rowena comes in. She takes her place at the high table. Before the bold looks of the knights she draws her veil across her face.)


Forgive, fair maid, the votaries of the sun,

that on thy beauty they too boldly gaze;

or, if thou need'st must veil, declare it done,

to save our eyes from those celestial rays.


Fair knight, I pray thee of thy courtesy

speak simple truth in homely maiden's praise;

my tongue was never framed to vie with thee

in compliment or courtly Norman phrase.

(As Brian bows and touches his cup with his lips, Cedric starts to his feet, cup in hand.)


Drink, drink ye all

in this our ancient hall

to the bold deeds of heroes long ago,

to those who fight and those who fall

where battles ebb and flow!

Well do I mind the day

when I have seen the armies in array,

and the earth shook with horsemen, and the sword

leapt from the scabbard at my armed side,

and loud the ravens cried

at scent of blood.

Drink to the brave, or boor or lord!

Drink to the warrior's noble mood,

the battle glory and the minstrel's song!

But now, ah me! gone is the ancient fame

and fair-haired warrior strong,

the Saxon glory and the Saxon name. ~



Then fill the cup, fill high,    

and drink to those who strive, and those who die,

Saxon or Norman. fighting for the cross!



Glory to those who fight for the true cross!


Glory to those who battle for the cross,

and most to those, the bravest and the best,

wonder of land and sea, of east and west,

knights of the holy Order of the temple.

(He pledges Brian.)


Glory to those who battle for the cross!

Glory to those who fight or fail

who win the prize or bear the loss!

Drink hael! Was hael!



Were there no English knights in Palestine,  

no children of our happy woods and hills,

who might compare even with the temple knights?


Fair lady, with King Richard throve,

full many a gallant knight and strong;

well worthy minstrels' song

and lady's love,

and second only to our temple knights.


Second to none!

(A silence. Then a general movement of excitement.)


The palmer! the holy palmer! hear him! hear him!

(Cedric motions them to silence.)


Second to none were good King Richard's men;

I tell but what mine eyes have seen.

After, the taking of Saint Jean d'Acre

I saw King Richard and his chosen knights,

a gallant show as ever eyes did see,

hold tourney 'gainst all comers:

and all that came went down before their arms,

templars and all ~ Brian de Bois Guilbert,

bear witness if I lie.

(Brian tries to speak, but fury stops him; he lays hand on sword.)


The English knights, the English knights,  

to them the prize of song and story!

The champions of a thousand fights,

to them the glory!

Hail to King Richard and his English knights!



Their names, their names, good palmer!  


King Richard, first in rank and glory;

the second, the Earl of Leicester;

the third, Sir Thomas Multon.


A Saxon he!


The fourth, Sir Foulk Doilly.


A Saxon mother bore him. And the next?


Sir Edwin Turneham.


By the soul of Hengist

Saxon by sire and dame!

The last! the last! Pray he be Saxon too.


The last I cannot call to mind,

perchance he was of lesser fame ~

some nameless knight, whom happy chance

made one of that high company.


Not so, by heaven!

Before no nameless knight I fell.

'Twas my horse's fault ~ he is food for dogs ere this ~

and yet I fell before as stout a lance

as Richard led.


His name? his name?


Wilfred of Ivanohe!

(A movement in hall. A clash of steel is heard as men spring totheir feet. Cedric throws up his arm, and there is silence.)


I have named his name, and were he here,

I'd challenge him with sword or spear!


And, when he come, I pledge my troth

he will abide thy challenge.


And who art thou,

a beggarly and wandering knave,

that thou shouldst answer for the brave?

Show me thy pledge, bold pilgrim.


This holy relic here I lay

as pledge that he will meet thee on thy day,

on horseback or on foot, with spear or sword.

And god defend the right!


By this gold chain, which here I lay,

I swear to meet this Ivanohe

on horse or foot, with sword or spear,

come when he may.

And if, being come to English ground,

he answer not my challenge, he shall be

coward and traitor to the name of knight.

(Movement in hall. Silence. Then Rowena speaks.)


No word for Ivanohe! Then I will speak

and pledge my word no coward knight is he,

but brave and true. And if he come again

he will abide thy challenge in the lists.

And god defend the right!



Rowena! Rowena! All hail to our Lady Rowena!  

Wilfred! Wilfred! Our Lord of Ivanohe!



Peace, peace, I say! Can I not speak if need be?  

Be silent, churls! My Norman guests,

ye do no honour to our Saxon cups.

I pledge ye once again.


I'll drink no more.

Thy Saxon cups are potent, and to-morrow

we must be stirring with the birds' first song.


Then fare ye well! Good rest be yours!

My servants will attend ye.

Good night to all!


A kind good night to all!

(Exit Rowena, followed by Cedric.)

Rowena, Cedric ->



Is she not fair? And she is rich withal,  

a bride that's worth the winning.

Were it not rare to seize her, as they come

from the lists at Ashby? A score of my free-lances,

and thou, my templar, with thy dusky knaves,

and it were done. Wilt swoop with me, my falcon?


Aye, that will I!

By good Saint Denis, it would like me well

to drive these Saxon hogs and prick them home

to Norman keeping! More of this anon.


Aye, when the tourney's done.

Good night, most noble comrade,

good dreams attend thee!


Good night!

(Exeunt knights, attended.)

De Bracy, Brian, Attendants ->



And so to sleep  

till lagging daylight peep.

So ends the song,

with sleep till daylight peep.

So ends the song.


Scene the second

An ante-room in Cedric's house.
Enter Rowena.



<- Rowena



O moon, art thou clad in silver mail    

like armour of my true knight;

o moon, is my lover's face so pale

as thy wan light?

Shine fair on my lover's tent, that is white by the whiter foam,

and woo him away from the South

to the woods of his Island home!

O wind, that awakest soft and low,

where the heart o' the wood is stirred,

far over the dreaming waters go

like wild sea-bird;

and pause at my lover's tent, where in broods by the Syrian,

and whisper the words of love, the words that I dare not say!


Her women bring in Ivanohe. He kneels at her feet.

<- Women, Ivanohe



Rise, holy palmer! 'Tis not meet  

that thou shouldst kneel to me.

He who defends the absent should stand high

in Cedric's hall.

Good palmer, thou didst speak of one I knew

in days gone by.

I must be brief. I would but ask of thee ~

Thou knowest him ~ hast seen him? He is well?

I speak of Ivanohe.


Ah, lady fair!

I knew but little of the knight ~

I would 'twere more, since thou cost care

to hear of him.


Is he much changed?


Burnt by Syrian suns,

and somewhat worn by war; but that's not much ~

'tis said he bears some sorrow at the heart.


Is he not happy, then?


Ah, what know I?

Perchance ~ forgive me, if I speak too bold ~

thou knowest best his chance of happiness.


God keep him safe, and bring the wanderer home.


Amen to that sweet prayer!


If thou dost see him, tell him there are those

that think on him.


And shall I bid him hope?


Hope is for all the world.


But not for him.



Hope is for all the world ~ a distant light,    

now lost, now seen above a restless sea,

sound of a string we follow with delight

to utmost melody.


Sfondo schermo () ()


Ah! then if he beyond the ocean foam

stare like a ghost across the barren sea,

yet may he hope some day for welcome home,

for home, perchance for thee.


I do believe that he will come again,

and yet I fear.

I would speak further with thee, but not now.

I thank thee, holy palmer, and farewell.


Farewell, most gentle lady.

(Exit Rowena with her women.)

Rowena ->

Like mountain lark my spirit upward springs,  

and with quick pulsing wings

beats the still air to music. O my heart,

beat not too wild for thinking on my dear!

But if we two must part,

for day or week or year,

yet now I know my dear love loveth me,

and happy shall we be

ere death close all, and life be ended here.

Now must I leave my father's home and go

forth to the moonless night of forest boughs.

(Calling low at a door)

Isaac! Isaac, I say!

Enter Isaac.

<- Isaac



Thou must away with me, and quickly.  

Hearken! I heard the templar bid his slaves

to seize thee on the road to-morrow morn,

and bear thee to the keep of Torquilstone.


Of Torquilstone! O name of dread!

Castle of torment!

Woe's me! I feel their irons tear my flesh!



I will away ~ good youth, dear youth, befriend me;  

I will reward thee well ~ nay, hear me!

The Jew hath eyes, and holy palmer's frock

sways to a knightly stride. A horse and armour?

Said I not well? A horse and goodly arms!


A wizard thou to guess so well!

The sword and spear, the sword and spear!

Grant me these, Jew, and do not fear,

but I will bring thee safe anon

through all thy foes of Babylon.

Away with me!


Aye, I will follow thee.


On to the lists at Ashby with good cheer!

(They steal out.)

Ivanohe, Isaac ->


Scene the third

One end of the lists at Ashby. Second day of the tournament. High seats are prepared for Prince John and for Rowena, who has been chosen queen of love and beauty on the first day. Cedric is in his place in a gallery, where are other Norman knights and ladies, and few Saxons of wealth and rank. In the crowd are the Friar and Locksley.


Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds



Will there be no more fighting?  

They are too strong, the challengers.

All have gone down before them!

Who comes here?

The black knight! The black knight!

He won the prize of yesterday!

Hail to the black knight!

Hail to the great unknown!

Hail to the sable warrior!

Enter the King disguised as the black knight. He is on foot, walking down the lists, as if to go.

<- King



Whither away, sir sluggard? Hola!  

Get thee to horse and strike the yemplar's shield!

Don't steal so coward-like away. Hola!

Hola! I say, sir sluggard.


What bull-frog croaks so loud?


Bull-frog, quotha!

You'd find me a stout ox, if you would throw me.

Hast had too much of fighting?


Enough to satisfy a peaceful friar.


Thou knight of courtesy,

thy dam will warrant thee

a very peaceful knight.


I am a man of peace, tis true;

but if thou anger me, I'll come

and fright thee in thy woodland home.

I know thee, hermit, hunter of the deer,

and if I come to thee, thou need'st not fear

but I wilt baste thy fat sides well!


Ha, ha! the knight has spoken well:

to him, friar, book and bell!


And by Saint Dunstan, if thou come

I'll send thy long legs limping home.

Come thou my way, and heaven give light,

and I will fight thee day and night;

with any weapon I'll not fail,

from Gideon's sword to Jael's tenpenny nail.


Well said, old hart of grease, and fare thee well,

till I ask lodging of thee.


Aye, lodging shalt thou have, and hermit's fare;

I love thee though I'll beat thee.


Farewell, most warlike friar!


Farewell, most peaceful knight!

(Exit the King.)

King ->

A flourish of trumpets. Enter down the lists Prince John, De Bracy, and gay Companions; also Rowena, as queen of beauty, with Youths and Maidens.

<- John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens




Hail the lords of land and sea,

England and fair Normandy!


Fair and lovely is the may

blushing 'neath the kiss of day;

lovelier, fairer blooms the rose

dreaming in the garden close;

fairest, loveliest is the bloom

of the golden-gloried broom.

Set the rose above the may;

set the broom above the rose;

where the golden beauty glows,

glorious as the pomp of day,

high above the rose be set

golden broom, Plantagenet!

Lords o' the land, and Kings o' the sounding sea,

Princes of England and of Normandy!

Plantagenesta! Plantagenesta!

Hail to the golden broom!

Isaac is pushing forward in the crowd. With him is Rebecca.

<- Isaac, Rebecca



Isaac, my Jew, my purse of gold,  

hail, king of brokers!

(Isaac bends low.)

And ah! what hast thou there? By Solomon,

the very bride of Canticles, a maid

more priceless than thy gold!

Shall she be crushed i'the crowd?

(To Cedric and his party in the gallery.)

Room there, ye Saxon hinds!

Room for my king of brokers and his child!


(starting to his feet)

If he come up,

by Sigurd's sword, I'll fling him down again!


(drawing the prince aside)

My liege! my liege!

The man is thane of Rotherwood,

held high among the Saxons,

and guardian of the great heiress,

the fair Rowena. I do entreat, my liege,

press not the Jew upon them.


The rose of Sharon, she shall choose the place

where she may bloom most fair.


Most gracious prince,

nearest the earth best fits our hapless race.


But fits not thee.

Such beauty may claim room amid the best.

The sweetest rose climbs high.


But Judah's rose is of the lowly vale;

she groweth best where humble flowers bloom

by lonely waters. I entreat our prince

to leave us lowly here.

Enter a messenger, booted and splashed from quick travel. He kneels and presents a letter to Prince John.

<- messenger

messenger ->



'Tis from our royal brother, Louis of France.  

"Look to thyself! The devil has broken loose!"

My brother has escaped!

Heaven grant he be not yet on English ground!

That sable knight who fought so well i' the melée?

My mind misgave me then. It cannot be;

I will not think it. On with the sport, I say!

You Saxon sluggards here,

you're proud when seated at the show,

but by the headlong swine of Galilee

you're slow to show us sport!

Will no one meet our Norman challengers?

(Cedric starts in his place, but his people entreat him, and Prince John, with a mocking salutation, passes on and ascends to the seats prepared for him and his suite.)


Love of ladies!

Death of champions!

On, gallant knights!

Bright eyes approve your deeds.


If ladies' love be worthy prize

will ye not battle, then?

Look up, ye knights, where loving eyes

approve the deeds of men!


(from the gallery)

Heralds sound the challenge!

(Trumpets sound a challenge.)

Again the challenge!

Enter the lists, Ivanohe on horseback, in complete steel, with vizard down; on his shield an uprooted oak-sapling, with the motto, "Il Desdichado." He salutes the prince by lowering the point of his spear.

<- Ivanohe



Il Desdichado! Il Desdichado!  

The disinherited! The disinherited knight!


Alas, poor boy! Strike Ralph de Vipont's shield;

he is the weakest of the challengers.

De Vipont is the man for thee.


By heaven,

he has struck the shield of the templar!

Well done, bold boy!

(Exit Ivanohe up the lists.)


And see, the mighty templar

comes from his tent in armour,

a splendid man-at-arms.

A man of men!


Now, heaven guard the boy!

Exit Brian up the lists. A trumpet sounds.

<- Brian



The combat! The combat! They back their horses:  

and now, like thunderbolts of war,

maddening they dash together!


O great Saint Dunstan, what a crash of arms!


Neither is down!

Again! Again! Another such an onset!

(The trumpet sounds again.)


II Desdichado! The templar!


By heaven, the templar's down!

II Desdichado! The disinherited knight!

The templar leaps to his feet and draws his sword.


Springs from his horse the disinherited knight.


They are to it with their swords!


Lay on, lay on, like gallant knights!

Lay on, lay on, for chivalry!

(Enter down the lists Ivanohe and Brian on foot, fighting. Prince, who has risen in his place, throws down his baton.)


Stop the combat!

(A trumpet sounds, and heralds part the combatants.)

Since, by mishance, the gallant Bois Guilbert

was first unhorsed, we do proclame this knight,

this nameless knight, the victor in our lists.

And now, sir conqueror,

do thou thy knightly duty!

'Tis thine to kneel before the fairest fair,

whom yesterday we crowned our pageant's queen

our queen of love and beauty:

and from her pride of place, thy queen and ours

shall crown thee with this crown.

(The crown is presented to Rowena.)


Rowena! Rowena! Our Saxon princess! Hail!


Off with his helmet, herald!

Bareheaded must he take the crown!

(In spite of protest, the herald lifts the helmet from his head.)


Wilfred! Ivanohe!


My son! My son!


Wilfred! Ivanohe, Hail!


Saxon cheer for Saxon knight!  

Hero of the gallant fight!

Joy to the Saxon stout and good,

joy to the house of Rotherwood

Saxon arm for strongest blow:

hail, lord of Ivanohe!

Wilfred of Ivanohe


(Ivanohe falls fainting.)
End of act the first.

The end (Act the first)

Act the first Act the second Act the third

Hall of Cedric.

Cedric, Men, Oswald

Each day this realm of England faints and fails.

Cedric, Men, Oswald
<- Isaac

Good thane, most noble thane, I pray

Cedric, Men, Oswald, Isaac
<- The squire

Brian de Bois Guilbert

Cedric, Men, Isaac
The squire, Oswald ->

Cedric, Men, Isaac
<- De Bracy, Brian, Ivanohe, Attendants

(Ivanohe is in palmer's dress)

(The great doors are thrown open)

Cedric, Men, Isaac, De Bracy, Brian, Ivanohe, Attendants
<- Oswald, Rowena

Room for the lady Rowena! room!

Cedric, Men, De Bracy
Then fill the cup, fill high

Were there no English knights in Palestine

Their names, their names, good palmer!

Peace, peace, I say! Can I not speak if need be?

Men, Isaac, De Bracy, Brian, Ivanohe, Attendants, Oswald
Rowena, Cedric ->

Is she not fair? And she is rich withal

Men, Isaac, Ivanohe, Oswald
De Bracy, Brian, Attendants ->

An ante-room in Cedric's house.

<- Rowena
<- Women, Ivanohe

Rise, holy palmer! 'Tis not meet

Women, Ivanohe
Rowena ->
Women, Ivanohe
<- Isaac

Thou must away with me, and quickly.

Ivanohe, Isaac ->

One end of the lists at Ashby.

Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds
Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds
<- King

(King Richard is disguised as the black knight)

Whither away, sir sluggard? Hola!

Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds
King ->
Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds
<- John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens
Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds, John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens
<- Isaac, Rebecca

Isaac, my Jew, my purse of gold

Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds, John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens, Isaac, Rebecca
<- messenger
Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds, John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens, Isaac, Rebecca
messenger ->

Tis from our royal brother, Louis of France.

Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds, John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens, Isaac, Rebecca
<- Ivanohe

Il Desdichado! Il Desdichado!

Cedric, Norman knights, Norman ladies, Saxons, Friar, Locksley, Crowd, Heralds, John, De Bracy, Companions, Rowena, Youths, Maidens, Isaac, Rebecca, Ivanohe
<- Brian

The combat! The combat! They back their horses

(Ivanohe falls fainting)

Scene the first Scene the second Scene the third
Hall of Cedric. An ante-room in Cedric's house. One end of the lists at Ashby. The Friar’s hut in the forest. A passage-way in Torquilstone. A turret chamber in Torquilstone. A room in Torquilstone. In the forest. The preceptory of the templars.
Act the second Act the third

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