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Libretto by Julian STURGIS.
Music by Arthur SULLIVAN.

First performance: 31 January 1891, London.

Dramatis Personae:

Richard Coeur-de-leon KING of England, disguised as black knight


Prince JOHN


Sir BRIAN de Bois-Guilbert, commander of the Order of knights templars


Maurice DE BRACY


Lucas de Beaumanoir GRAND MASTER of the templars


CEDRIC the Saxon, thane of Rotherwood


Wilfred, knight of IVANOHE his son, disguised as a palmer




ISAAC of York






The lady ROWENA ward of Cedric




REBECCA daughter of Isaac of York


Act the first
Scene the first

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


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.


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.


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.)

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.


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.


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.)


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.)

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.


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.)

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.


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.


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.)

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.



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, 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.


'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.


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.


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.

Act the second
Scene the first

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Welcome, sir templar! But I may not stay;

I must be gone to woo my captive fair!

(Exit 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.)

Scene the third

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


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.)


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!

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.


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.)

End of act the second.

Act the third
Scene the first

A room in Torquilstone.
Ivanohe is alone. He leans on his bed, pale and weak from his wound.

Happy with winged feet,

comes the morning softly stealing in;

and to my darling's chamber sweet

this happy light will win!

O, fair procession of the morning hours,

go, bid my love awake with all the flowers.

But let me sleep awhile,

and dream my only wound is from love's dart,

and cunningly my thought beguile,

to deem that thou, fair queen, my gaoler art;

so prison bars and wounds more dear shall be

than all the world, if there I find not thee.

Come, sleep, and let me see my ladt's face;

come, gentle sleep!

Ivanohe falls asleep. Presently Ulrica steals into the room, followed by Rebecca.


Tend thou the knight thou lovest:

another and a nobler work be mine!

Look for thy bridal torches!

(Exit Ulrica.)


Aye, she speaks truth; I love him.

Now, in this hour of doubt and danger,

to my weak heart I say, "Be still, I love him."

Ah, would that thou and I might lead our sheep

amid the folded hills!

The winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

the singing birds are come beside the rills.

Arise, beloved one!

I love thee, I love thee; o my love,

my Asahel, o swift as the wild roe,

and terrible as armed hosts that go

with banners onward waving.

How fair and pleasant art thou, o my love ~

A shadow of the rock, a happy fountain springing;

a bird his glad song winging

up to high heaven in a maze of light!

Sleep fountain, bird, and love, for surely sleep is best;

sleep, while I guard thy rest

by day or night;

for only in thy sleep art thou my love.

Ah me, for many waters

quench not the fire of love; and, when he wakes,

his eyes are not for me.

Rest, rest, beloved!

(Ivanohe wakes. He raises himself on his bed.)


And is it thou, dear maiden?

My gentle nurse!

Now is all well with me since thou art near.

But hark! what sound is in mine ear?

I dreamed, but dream no more. And now

our friends renew their onset.


Peace, be still!

I hear no sound of combat.


'Tis but the pause before the onset,

the stillness ere the thunder break in the air.

Anon 'twill break in fury.

(He rises from the bed.)

I pray thee, gentle maiden,

help me to yonder window.


Nay, rest, I pray thee! I will stand

at yonder window, and will tell

how flow the tides of war. Fear not for me!


Nay, gentle heart, it must not be,

that thou dare danger for my sake.

My whole life long should I go mourning thee,

wert thou to sleep in death and I to wake.


Thy shield then! Proudly will I bear

the glorious shield of Ivanohe!

(She takes his shield upon her arm, and mounts to the window. Ivanohe sinks back upon the bed.)

I see them now; the dark wood moves with bows.

(Far off the bugle sounds assault. The Norman trumpets answer.)

O god of Israel, shield us in this hour!

On, on they come with bended bows triumphant;

on, on they drive, and now the quiver rattleth;

the noise of the captains and the shouting!


(in the distance)

De Bracy, De Bracy!

On, free companions!

The temple, the temple!

Strike for the templar!


And I must lie like palsied monk

while the great game is playing!

What of the sable knight? Does he ride forth

like one who goes a-maying,

with joy of battle and the pride of war?


With giant blows he hews the palisade;

a mighty axe swings in his mailed hand,

his black plume floats afar,

a raven o'er the stormy fight!

The palisade falls; he enters in ~

onward he drives, a Joab in the battle!

Lion of war ~ now fall his foes before him,

bending like corn that bends before the whirlwind.

They fly, they fly across the moat,

and hurl the plank away; the outwork's won!

Ah woe! The poor men left o' the other side!

They fling them down! they pierce them through!

O god of Israel, pardon in this hour

the men whom thou hast made.

(She lets fall the shield, and comes from the window, her hands before her eyes. Ivanohe rises to meet her.)


How canst thou know what pain it is to lie

all helpless here, while deeds of chivalry

are done so near and yet so far away?

What life is there but in the battle brave,

and who would live one day

of sloth and shame, that in the clash of fight,

the battle's fierce delight,

might find 'mid warriors bold the glory and the grave?


Ah me! not thus did Judah's warriors go

forth to the fight, but breathing prayer and praise

not in the shield nor sword

they trusted, but in him whose mighty arm

rolled back the flood, till pharaoh's hosts of war

were whelmed in rushing waters.

But now, alas! no Jewish girl may see

the warriors of her rice go forth to war.

Our harps are hung upon the willow tree,

and all our songs of sorrow; Judah's star

is sunk in vasty night.

And yet be witness, heaven, with what delight,

what rapture would I give

my life-blood drop, so I might live

but for one hour to see

Judah redeemed from her captivity.



De Bracy, De Bracy!

The temple, the temple!

Cross-bows and lances,

brave hearts and noble,

strike for the templar!



Saint George for merry England!

Arrowa and sword play!

On for Saint George!


But see! What angry redness

flushes the heaven above us?

The castle burns with fire.

Now do I know thee,

fiend with thy briding torches!

The door is flung open. Enter Brian.


The castle burns. Away with me!

(Ivanohe seizes a sword, but Brian strikes it from his hand. Ivanohe falls fainting. Brian seizes Rebecca, and drags her away.)


In mercy save him!

Wilfred! Wilfred!

Exit Brian, with Rebecca. The walls begin to burn and fall. Enter through the ruins King Richard and Yeomen.


(on his knees)

The king! The king!

Long live the king!

(The Outlaws fall back in amazement, then uncover.)


The king! It is the king!

Richard the lion-hearted, the black knight!

Pardon! Pardon! Long live the king!

More ruin falls, and on high is seen Ulrica, a burnt-out torch in hand.


Far leaps the fire-flame, render of forests;

far floats the smoke-wreath, wings of the eagle;

whet the bright steel, then,

sons of the dragon!

Kindle the torches,

daughters of Hengist!

I come, o Zernebock, I come in glory!

(She leaps down and disappears.)

Scene the second

In the forest.
Outlaws cross the glade singing and dancing.


Light foot upon the dancing green,

light hand upon the bow,

with glancing eye and laughing mien

adown the glade we go.

And, marching, sing like yeomen true,

"Our bows are made of English yew."

Like merry birds our arrow fly,

a shadow from the sun,

and where they light the foemen die,

and so the battle's won.

We march and sing beneath the blue,

“Our bows are made of English yew.”

Enter King Richard, lute in hand. Ivanohe follows him.


Oh, I would be an outlaw bold,

to strike the flying deer,

or leave the lover's tale half told

in lingering maiden's ear.

(To Ivanohe.)

Hither, dear lad, and lean on me;

this air of woodland wild and free

shall brace the arm that hangs so weak,

and bring the wild rose to thy cheek.

Here will we rest and wile the time away

with dainty lute and jocund roundelay.


Thy love is more to me, my king,

than breath of May that poets sing,

and dear as maiden's love to me

the hope to live and fight for thee


(to his lute)

Oh, forest ways are dark enow,

though shine the silver moon,

and dark beneath the forest bough,

the stricken deer shall swoon.

(To Ivanohe.)

Here seat thee, lad, and rest thy bones;

this knoll shall be the best of thrones;

and 'neath my canopy of singing birds

I'll judge me like a king o' the ancient world.

What ho! What ho, there! Bring my prisoner forth.

Enter De Bracy, guarded.


Maurice De Bracy, faithless knight,

since thou didst seize upon the road

ladies and liegemen of the king,

now tell me why, in heaven's sight,

of noble tree a thankless load

thou shouldst not swing?


My liege, I have no word to say,

but only of thy mercy pray,

cover my face; I would not fright

the little birds from their delight;

cover my face, and let me swing

the highest servant of my king.


Maurice De Bracy, I pronounce thy doom:

get thee to horse, strike spur and ride away!


To horse! and free!

Surely my king doth jest with me!


Not I. I bid thee up and fly!

Ride as the fiend were after thee!

Ride till thou find my brother John,

thy whilom play-fellow:

charge him he yield him to our grace

ere ten days pass, or, by the holy cross,

I will so maul him that his Louis o' France

shall know him not, and I'll so bend his neck

that his back break. Go! Let thy horse be fleet!

Kneele not, speak not, but live in honesty.

(Exit De Bracy.)

(to Ivanohe)

Look, where thy moody father walks apart,

and by his side thy gentle lady fair,

like fawn that scents the happy woodland air,

and moves in dappled light.

Lad, will thy sire forgive thee?


Alas, my liege, I fear.


We'll bend him yet. Look, where he comes this way;

stand thou apart, and I will strive with him

Enter Cedric and Rowena.


Cedric, good friend, didst thou not promise me

a boon for lusty fighting? What if I ask

free pardon for thy son and a fair wife?


I am grown infirm of purpose; I know not ~

If for the love of woman's face

my life-long task must ended be,

and lost the hope of Harold's race,

what work remains for me,

beneath the sun?


Maiden, if e'er in forest free

the sun shone fair for love's delight,

kneel down and pray for charity,

for so by thy brave knight

shall bride be won.


Cedric, o father, hear me pray

by days of childhood's lost delight,

when he and I were wont to play,

forgive thy son.


Cedric, o father, hear me pray

that I find favour in thy sight,

and take me to thy heart to-day,

true man, and trusty knight,

and thine own son.


Be it as thou wilt! God knows I pardon thee!

Wilfred, my son ~ but let me hence awhile ~

follow me not! I pray thee, let me go!



The pliant willow waves,

but the oak groans in bending.

And I'll go too, for well wot I

that man and lily maid

well met i' the forest shade,

desire no king for company.

Oh! I would be an outlaw bold,

to strike the flying deer;

for hearts are young in forest old,

and spring in all the year.

(Exit King Richard.)


How oft beneath the far-off Syrian skies

have I looked up and seen amid the stars,

twin lights of home in land of distant wars,

these star-like eyes.


How oft, when thou wert far beyond the foam,

and mine was woman's part of weary rest,

dreamed I my head lay happy on this breast,

thy heart my home!

Enter Isaac, pale and in haste.


Knight, Knight of Ivanohe, I come for thee!

My child is doomed to die.


To die!


Nay, hear me. When the fierce templar

snatched her from burning Torquilstone, he bore her

to the next house of the Order.

There have they sat in judgment on my child,

for witchcraft practiced on that evil knight,

and she must die by fire.

My child has asked a champion; thou wilt come ~

I pray thee at thy feet ~ away with me!


Wilfred, bethink thee, thou art weak with wounds.

In mercy stay with me ~ Wilfred, my love!


And shall she die by fire?

She led me back to life and love of thee.

Though I were weaker than an ailing girl,

must I not go?


I would not have thee stay

with me and shame. O Wilfred, o my love,

go, go, lest I entreat thee back again!


My heart, my queen!

Be brave till next I clasp thee in my arms.

Farewell, dear love!

(He embraces Rowena, and rushes out followed by Isaac. Rowena falls fainting.)

Scene the third

The preceptory of the templars.
A funeral pile. A crowd of common folk kept back by temple servants. The Templars enter in order singing.. Rebecca is led in with them. Among them is Brian, silent and pale, armed but without his helmet.


Fremuere principes,

irruere turbidi:

in hoc templo una spes,

una salus domini!

Nobis sit victoria,

nostro templo gloria,

gloria sancto nomini!

Cordibus ac mentibus

proni veneramur te:

salus esto gentibus

in hoc templo, domine!

Nobis sit victoria,

nostro templo gloria,

gloria sancto nomine!

(When the templars have taken their seats, their Grand master remains standing.


Thou Jewish girl, who art condemned to die

for practice of thy vile unholy arts

against a noble christian knight, attend.

Thou didst demand a champion, and our Order

erring perchance, as 'tis most meet to err,

in mercy, heard thy prayer;

wherefore we named our tried and valiant brother,

Brian, the knight of whom thou art accused,

to meet thy champion, should a champion come.

But now the hours decline, and sinks the sun

as sinks thy life. The hour of doom is near.

Repent and free thy soul! Confess thy crime.


I am innocent.

Now, if god will, even in this last dark hour

he will appoint a champion.

But if no champion come, I bow

before his holy will, and am content to die.


Sound trumpets!

(A flourish of trumpets ~ then a pause.)

Now since no champion makes answer here,

draw near and bind the maiden to the stake;

for surely she shall die.

(As the servants approach Rebecca, Brian comes quickly down.)


It shall not be.

Fools! Dotards! Will ye slay the innocent?

Butchers and burners!

She is mine, I say; I say she shall not burn.


What need of further proof? The witchcraft works

even in his lips, and breeds their blasphemy.

Take her and bind her to the stake.


(to servants)

Back! as you hope to live!

(to Rebecca)

Swear to be mine, and I will save thee now.

My horse is nigh at hand, Zamor my horse

who never failed me yet; and he will bear thee

to life and love. One word, and thou shalt live!


(in prayer)

Guard me, Jehovah, guard me!

Brian covers his face and turns aside. Rebecca offers her hands to the servants. They bind her to the stake. They are about to fire the pile, when there is a movement in the crowd, and a great shout.)


A champion! A champion!

Through the crowd comes Ivanohe on foot, pale, dusty, with drawn sword.


Forbear, forbear!

I come, her champion, ere set of sun,

Wilfred of Ivanohe.


He is weak and wounded,

he must not fight for me;

oh! as you hope for mercy at the last,

forbid the combat!


This is the man she loves!

Now is the hour,

death-hour for him or me.

Look to thy life, thou wretch of Ivanohe!

He attacks Ivanohe with fury. The Grand master rises as if to stop the combat, but stands gazing. Enter King Richard, Cedric, Rowena, Isaac, and Others. Ivanohe gives ground, fighting desperately. He is beaten to his knee. Brian swings his sword for a last blow, then drops the point and stands. A silence; then Brian falls. Ivanohe goes to him, wondering, and kneels beside him.


Dead! He is dead!


A judgment! A judgment!

The evil passions warring in his soul

have rent him like the seven fiends of hell:

bow down before the judgment of the lord!

(They unbind Rebecca. She moves towards Ivanohe, but stops as he goes towards Rowena. Isaac goes timidly and touches the hand of Rebecca, who is gazing at Ivanohe and Rowena. At his touch, she turns and takes his hand in hers.)


I charge thee, Conrad, master of the temple,

on whose foul sport we have intruded here,

up and begone, thou and thy trait'rous knights,

and at your peril shame our coasts no more.


And dost thou banish me?


The temple stands above the wrath of kings!

We will appeal to Rome!


Appeal! Appeal!

But if I find thee yet on English ground,

I will so harry thee, thou foreign knight,

that thou shalt have no voice to plead in Rome.

See where the banner of England floats afar

above thy temple pennants!

(The royal banner of England is raised.)



Wide as the world our temple stands,

to mock the pride of kings!


Our temple was not made with hands,

but high as heaven it springs.


O Love, that holdst the world in fee,

and strongest knights in thrall,

our hymn we raise to thee,

and hail thee lord of all!

End of opera.

End of the libretto.

Generazione pagina: 18/12/2017
Pagina: ridotto, rid
Versione H: 3.00.40 (D)

Locandina Act the first Scene the first Scene the second Scene the third Act the second Scene the first Scene the second Scene the third Act the third Scene the first Scene the second Scene the third