Act the second


Scene the first

Outside the Friar’s hut in the forest.
Enter King Richard.



<- King



Strange lodging this for England's King,  

a thievish friar for his host,

and for his food his own dun deer,

by outlaw's moonlight arrow slain.

Yet better than the pomp of kings

is this free life in forest glade;

and better far my burly host

than the false Louis, King of France,

or Austria's Duke, or mine own brother John.

Till I have learned that brother's plans,

here will I lie and take mine ease,

couched like a stag in greenwood coverture.

Ho, jolly host! Where art thou?

Enter the Friar, bearing a huge pitcher of water.

<- Friar



Here am I!  

I bring thee water from the well,

wherein twixt dawn and set of sun

holy Saint Dunstan did baptize

five hundred red-haired heathen Danes.


In truth a wonder-working well,

whose crystal waters can so paint

a hermit's face with roseate hues!

If thou wert not so strict a saint,

stoutly I'd swear by book and bell,

the winecup thou didst not refuse.


Peace, idle man! wert thou as I,

on pulse and water would'st thou dine;

but since thy carnal thoughts incline

beyond my strict sobriety,

I do bethink me of a pie

of venison, and a stoup of rosy wine,

which a good keeper gave me one fine day,

lest a poor weary traveller came my way.


That weary traveller am I;

so let's to supper presently.

A hand, mine host; let's hale thy table forth,

and eat like freemen in the forest air.

Out with thy venison pasty and thy wine!

(They drag the table forth; the Friar places on it food and wine. As the King eats, the Friar watches him with greedy eyes, munching some dry beans.)

There is a custom in the east,

when strangers meet in merry feast,

that host should never fail to share

with stranger guest his goodly fare,

to prove no taint of poison there.


If truly 'tis the custom, I

will do myself some violence,

and for the nonce will share thy meal.

Drink fair, I pray thee.

(Putting his hand on the cup.)

Skoal to my honoured guest! Was hael!


Drink hael, most rosy friar!

(They fall eating and drinking; after a time the Friar falls back in his seat.)


Now I bethink me,

thou didst come here to fight with me:

hast thou forgot thy valour?


Nay, we will fight to-morrow.

To-day will I contend with thee

in peaceful art of minstrelsy.

Reach me yon harp, I pray thee.


But first drink deep!


So be it, jovial wine-skin!

Another draught for me, and so

the harp to my heart!


I ask nor wealth nor courtier's praise,  

that woos a weary king,

if I may ride the woodland way

and breathe the airs of spring.

An ashen spear in strong right hand,

good horse between the knees;

what treasure can a king command

more glorious than these?

I rouse me with the dawn's first light,

and breast the shadowed hill;

I know the forest's deep delight

when all the leaves are still.

There would I bend with whisper low,

to woo the nut-brown maid,

and see her blushes come and go

beneath the dappled shade.

And there I'd ride 'neath living green

to hear the throstle sing;

for bird and wandering knight, I ween,

are happier than the king!



Not bad, say I, nor badly sung!  

I drink to wandering knights-at-arms,

and to all gallant men indeed!

But thou art none, not thou, I swear,

who pourest water in good wine!


Didst thou not say 'twas from Saint Dunstan's well?

Shall I not qualify my cup

with liquor loved of holy saint?


'Tis true! Full many heathen in that well

did the saint plunge for their eternal good;

but neither chronicle nor popular tale

doth state he drank its water.

Now hear me sing, and own thyself a crow.


The wind blows cold across the moor,    

with driving rain and rending tree:

it smites the pious hermit's door,

but not a jot cares he,

for close he sits within,

and makes his merry din,

with his "Ho, jolly Jenkin,

I spy a knave in drinkin',

and trowl the brown bowl to me!”

The wind a roaring song may sing,

in crashing wood or frightened town:

it whirls the mantle of a king

as 'twere a beggar's gown;

but caring not a jot,

we sing and drain the pot,

with our "Ho, jolly Jenkin,

I spy a knave in drinkin',

and pour the good drink adown!"


As he sings, the Outlaws gather; when he ends, they take up his stave.

<- Outlaws



Then ho, jolly Jenkin,  

I spy a knave in drinkin',

and trowl the brown bowl to me!



And now for combat! Where's this friend of mine?  

No friendship stands till blows have passed.

What say'st thou, friend? Broadsword or quarter-staff?


Nay, I'll not hurt thee!

I do protest I love thee so,

I would not crack thy shaven crown.

But if thou need'st a proof, I'll stand,

and thou shalt strike me with thy hand,

and after thou shalt bide my blow.


No "after" shall there be. A se'nnight long

thou shalt lie gasping, ere thou rise again.

Stand, and stand firm!

(He deals him a buffet.)

By all the saints in Saxon calendar,

he must be rooted like an ancient oak!


Stand, and stand firm!

He deals him a buffet. The Friar rolls upon the ground. The Outlaws shout with laughter. Enter Locksley.

<- Locksley



What folly have we here? Arise,  

thou rolling cask! Up, up, I say!

This is no time for revelry.

And thou, sir knight ~ in Ashby's lists

thou wert a man indeed!

Now of thy manhood I demand

succour for Cedric, thane of Rotherwood,

and for his ward, Rowena, falsely ta'en

by vizored knaves and borne to Torquilstone.

And by a strange mischance, Cedric's own son,

borne in the litter of a wealthy Jew,

was captured with his hosts, and lies interned

and wounded in the same accursed walls!

I ask thy aid for gallant Ivanohe.


My aid for Ivanohe? Why waste your words?

Gather your men! Be speedy! On my soul,

if but a hair be harmed of Wilfred's head,

I'll tear their castle piecemeal with my hands

and give their bodies to the kite. My friend,

my friend of friends! Let there be no delay!

To Torquilstone! Sound bugles and away!


To Torquilstone!


Scene the second

A passage-way in Torquilstone.
Enter De Bracy and followers masked, bringing Cedric and Rowena prisoners.


<- De Bracy, Followers, Cedric, Rowena



Will not our captor dare to show his face?  


Aye, that dare I.

(He unmasks, laughing.)


De Bracy! Traitor! Who hast broken bread

in mine own hall!


I do beseech thee,

in mercy let us go;

as thou art knight of noble name and blood,

I do entreat thee let us hence in safety!


The fate of war, the wile of love!

I here declare myself the loyal lover

of this most lovely lady; and I bear

the sanction of our sovereign liege, Prince John;

and she shall be De Bracy's honoured bride.


By heaven, rather would I see

this lady lifeless on her bier

than yield her to thee! Faithless knight,

is this thy Norman chivalry

to make weak women mad with fear,

and woo them in a dungeon's gloom?


Peace, friend, I pray thee!

Speak not so loudly:

dost thou not fear to peril thine own son?


My son? This is some idle tale

to frighten me! I say I have no son.



He, whom his father left to die or live,  

was succoured by a kindly Jew, and nursed

by a fair Jewess; and by fate of war

Jewess and Jew, and wounded christian knight

are here interned. None knows his name but I;

and if I breathe the name of Ivanohe,

short were his shrift. So, good my friend, be patient.

And, if this lady fair will smile on me,

then will I save thy son.


(after a moment)

My son defied me; he is dead to me.

I will not buy his life with a foul bargain!


Thou art his father; pity him ~ and me!

Oh, gallant knight, I pray thee,

be deaf to him, and to thine own worse thoughts;

and save this wounded knight of Ivanohe;

and I will pray for thee. In mercy save him!

(She falls weeping at De Bracy's feet.)


Kneel not to him! Remember who thou art,

of the bloody royal. That thou should kneel not to him,

a robber of the highway!


Remember, fairest lady,

in thy fair hands is life of Ivanohe!

Exeunt men with Cedric and Rowena. Brian enters.

Followers, Cedric, Rowena ->

<- Brian



Welcome, sir templar! But I may not stay;  

I must be gone to woo my captive fair!

(Exit De Bracy.)

De Bracy ->



Woo thou thy snowflake till she melt for thee;  

another and a wilder bliss be mine!

My lovely Jewess!

Oh, she has drawn a spell about my heart

and whelmed my soul with love!

Her southern splendour, like the Syrian moon,

draws the full tide of my rebellious blood!

Though death should clasp me close ere set of sun,

this hour is mine, and mine the tyrant's mood,

and I will woo her as the lion woos,

to bring his wild mate docile to his side;

and I will win her as the lion wins

that in the desert leads his tawny bride.

O maid of Judah, trembling in my arms,

proud is thy fate to own my conquering sword:

though hell oppose with all its dire alarms,

this hour is mine, and I thy ruthless lord.

If death be host, I'll drain his cup for wine ~

come night, come death, so this wild hour be mine!

(Exit Brian.)

Brian ->


Scene the third

A turret chamber in Torquilstone.
Rebecca. Ulrica spinning; as she spins she sings fragments of song.


Rebecca, Ulrica



Whet the keen axes,  

sons of the dragon!

Kindle the torches,

daughters of Hengist!

Wave your long tresses,

maids of Valhalla!

Many a war-chief

mighty in combat,

pale from the death-blow,

wends to your greeting,

light ye the torches,

maids of Valhalla!



Good mother, of thy pity say  

what fate is mine? speak, as thou art a woman!

In mercy answer me!


Evil and dark thy fate shall be,

dark as the fate which long ago,

befell a noble Saxon maid.

Look on me! In this cursed place

my father, and my brethren twain,

their fair curls clotted with their blood,

fought till they fell; and ere the stair

was washed from that most holy stain,

I, the sole daughter of their race,

I, who was once as proud as fair,

was sport of conqueror's wanton mood.

If such my fate, what hope for thee?


Is there no way of safety?

Have mercy on me! Point me out a way!

Be it through tortuous paths, where death may lie,

and I no more behold the light of day;

be it through ghostly night or whelming flood,

I will essay it.

Is there no way of safety?


No way but through the gates of death;

and they do open late, too late!

My task is done,

my thread is spun,

farewell! I leave thee to thy fate.


O stay with me, in mercy stay!

Curse me, but leave me not! Thy presence here

were surely some protection in my need.


Not e'en the presence of the mother of god

(She points to a rude image of the virgin.)

can save thee from thy doom! Go, kneel to her,

and see if she will save a Jewish girl.

(Exit Ulrica. Rebecca goes quickly to the door, and tries it, but Ulrica has barred it behind her. Then she goes to the window. She peers over the low parapet, and starts back into the room with her hands over her eyes.)

Ulrica ->



O awful depth below the castle wall!  

Sheer down it falls and bare; no smallest weed

can find a cranny there. O for the wings,

of which the psalmist sang, that I might fly,

and hide me from all eyes.

O lord Jehovah! aid me in this hour!


Lord of our chosen race,    

in hour of deep distress

and utter loneliness,

I lift weak hands and pray thee of thy grace,

guard me, Jehovah, guard me!

Lord, on thy name I cry

from depths where no man hears,

and half distraught with fears;

stretch forth thine arm to save me or I die.

Guard me, Jehovah, guard me!

Spirit, who movest everywhere,

o thou, who know'st the deeps o' the sea

and climbest the heights o' the air,

now, in this narrow place,

I pray thee of thy grace

descend to me!

Guard, in mercy guard me!


Sfondo schermo () ()

The door opens, and Brian enters, his mantle held to shield his face. At sight of him she tears the jewels from her arms and throat, and advancing, offers them to him.

<- Brian



Take thou these jewels; here is wealth enow  

to give thee life of happy days;

and when I leave these castle walls

for every gem a thousand shall be thine.


Now, nay, fair flower of Palestine,

thou dost mistake me; I am one

more apt to hang thy neck with orient pearl

than to take jewels from thee.

I love thee, I love thee! By my soul, I swear

that not for all the wealth of all thy tribe

will I resign thy beauty.


As thou dost hope for mercy at the last,

stand back and hear me!

I am a Jewess, thou a christian knight;

accursed in the sight of god and man

were our unholy marriage.


Fair girl, I would not wed with thee,

wert thou the queen of Sheba, Jewess-born;

nor wert thou christian damsel, would I wed,

my vow forbids me. See, on my heart the cross!


Thou would'st appeal to thy most holy sign?


Thou art a Jewess; the cross is naught to thee.


I hold my father's faith, and if I err,

may god forgive me ~ and he will forgive.

But thou, a christian knight, wilt thou appeal

to thine own cross to aid thee in thy sins?


Preach me no more,

daughter of Sirach! Let it suffice for thee

that thou art captive to my bow and spear.


If thou dost wrong me, then by heaven I swear

I will proclaim thy deathless infamy

till each preceptory, each chapter of thy Order,

ring with thy shame!


And loud must be thy tongue

if it be heard beyond these castle walls.

Yield to thy fate!

(He advances upon her.)


Never! The god of Abraham

opens a path of safety,

even from the pit of infamy.

(She leaps upon the parapet.)

Stand back, proud man! If thou but stir,

I will leap down to death; and thou shalt know

the Jewish girl would rather yield her soul

to god than trust her honour to the templar.

(A pause. He stands regarding her.)


Now, by my sword, art thou a noble heart!

I swear I will not wrong thee.

Mine must thou be, for now I know thy soul,

and know it mate for mine; I will not wrong thee.

Attend and hear! Our holy Order grows

in power greater than the pomp of kings;

and of this Order I will be the head.

My mailed foot shall climb the throne of kings,

and my steel gauntlet pluck their sceptres down.

And thou shalt share my glory and my pride;

for I will make thee empress of the east,

carve thee a throne more fair than Solyman's;

and thou and I, fearing nor man nor god,

shall sit, on high, the crowned monarchs of the world.


Blaspheme no more! Thy Order of the temple

was formed for poverty and chastity.

Beware, rash man! Blaspheme no more!

God's arrows fly afar to smite the proud.

And know, if there were truth in thy wild words,

and thou couldst throne me o'er the necks of kings,

rather would I go forth to mourn my life

with Jephthah's daughter on the lonely hills,

than sit with thee on thy imperial throne.

God judge thee, and not I!

(A bugle sounds.)


What sound is that?

(The bugle sounds again.)


A summons, as I live!

I must be gone to see who sounds so bold!


If 'twere some hope of safety!



Hope not at all, or hope to mate with me.    

Though the archangel's trumpet sounded war,

I would return and dare his fiery sword,

ere I would cease to claim thee for mine own.



And if thou camest with all the lords of hell,

I would defy them in the name of him

who set his bounds e'en to the eternal sea.

(Exit Brian. Rebecca kneels in prayer.)

Brian ->

End of act the second.

The end (Act the second)

Act the first Act the second Act the third

The Friar’s hut in the forest.

<- King

Strange lodging this for England's King

<- Friar

Here am I! / I bring thee water from the well

Not bad, say I, nor badly sung!

King, Friar
<- Outlaws

And now for combat! Where's this friend of mine?

King, Friar, Outlaws
<- Locksley

What folly have we here? Arise

A passage-way in Torquilstone.

King, Friar, Outlaws, Locksley
<- De Bracy, Followers, Cedric, Rowena

Will not our captor dare to show his face?

King, Friar, Outlaws, Locksley, De Bracy
Followers, Cedric, Rowena ->
King, Friar, Outlaws, Locksley, De Bracy
<- Brian

Welcome, sir templar! But I may not stay

King, Friar, Outlaws, Locksley, Brian
De Bracy ->
King, Friar, Outlaws, Locksley
Brian ->

A turret chamber in Torquilstone.

Rebecca, Ulrica

Good mother, of thy pity say

Ulrica ->

O awful depth below the castle wall!

<- Brian

Take thou these jewels; here is wealth enow

Brian ->
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 first Act the third

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