« السابقةمتابعة »
« My father, I am as one doomed to die for that which my soul knoweth not-even for the crime of witchcraft. My father, if a strong man can be found to do battle for my cause wiib sword and spear, according to the custom of the Nazarenes, and that within the lists of Godstowe, on the third day from this time, peradventure our fathers' God will give him strength to defend .the innocent, and her who hath none to help her. But if this may no be, let the virgins of our people mourn for me as for one cast of od for the hart that is stricken by the hunter, and for the flower is cut down by the scythe of the mower. Wherefore look now w at thou doest, and whether there be any rescue. One Nazarene warrior might indeed bear arms in my behalf, even Wilfrid, son of Cedric, whom the Gentiles call Ivanhoe. But he may not yet endure the weight of his armour. Nevertheless, send the tidings unto him, my father; for he hath favour among the strong men of his people, and, as he was our companion in the house of bondage, he may find some one to do battle for my sake. And say unto him, even unto him, even unto Wilfrid, the son of Cedric, that if Rebecca live, or if Rebecca die, she liveth or dieth wholly free of the guilt she is charged withal. . And if it be the will of God that thou shalt be deprived of thy daughter, do not thou tarry, old man, in this land of bloodshed and cruelty ; but betake thyself to Cordova, where thy brother liveth in safety, under the shadow of the throne, even of the throne of Boabdil the Saracen ; for less cruel are the cruelties of the Moors unto the race of Jacob, than the cruelties of the Nazarenes of England. III. 198200.
There is a superb scene between her and the Templar, in which he urges her to fly with him; and offers, for her sake, to renounce all his darling and long-cherished schemes of ambition, and to devote his life to her happiness and honour. When this is rejected with calm and compassionate disdain, he informs her that he must then enter the lists against her,-since he can make this great sacrifice for nothing less than her. We can give but the close of this noble dialogue, which, with a very little alteration, would make a more striking scene in tragedy, than any that has been offered for the stage for more than a century.. The whole strain of it is dramatic and poetical, and the interest of the most exalted description. Towards the close, when the Templar says, that when he looks on her, he could almost wish that he had been born one of her degraded and ignoble race, and never known the pride of honourable daring, the national pride of the devoted maiden is kindled, even in that hour of personal misery; and she bids him
“ Know, proud knight, we number names amongst us to which your boasted northern nobility is as the gourd compared with the cedar--names that ascend far back to those high times when the Divine Presence shook the mercy-seat between the cherubim, and which de
rive their splendour from no earthly prince, but from the awful Voice, which bade their fathers be nearest of the congregation to the Vision -Such were the princes of the House of Jacob. Rebecca's colour rose as she boasted the ancient glories of her race, but faded as she added, with a sigh, “Such were the princes of Judah, now such no more !— They are tra pled down like the shorn grass, and mixed with the mire of the ways. Yet are there those among them who shame not such high descent, and of such shall be the daughter of Isaac the son of Adonikam !- Farewell !—I envy not thy blood-won honours--I envy not thy barbarous descent from northern heathens
envy thee not thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth, but never in thy heart nor in thy practice."-" There is a spell on me, by Heaven!” said Bois-Guilbert. “ I well nigh think yon besotted skele. ton spoke truth, and that the reluctance with which I part from thee hath something in it more than is natural.— Fair creature!” he said, approaching naar her, but with great respect," so young, so beautiful, so fearless of death! and yet doomed to die, and with infamy and agony! Who would not weep for thee?— The tear, that has been a stranger to these 'eyelids for twenty years, moistens them as I gaze on thee. But it must be nothing may now save thy life. Thou and I are but the blind instruments of some irresistible fatality, that hurries us along, like goodly vessels driving before the storm, which are dashed against each other, and so perish. Forgive me, then, and let us part at least as friends part. I have assailed thy resolution in vain, and mine own is fixed as the adamantine decrees of fate. r. Thus,
said Rebecca, 56 do men throw on fate the issue of their own wild passions. But I do forgive thee, Bois-Guilbert, though the author of my early death. There are noble things which cross over thy powerful mind; but it is the garden of the sluggard, and the weeds have rushed up, and conspired to choak the fair and wholesome blossom.
“ Yes,” said the Templar, “ I am, Rebecca, as thou hast spoken me. I have been a child of battle from my youth upward, high in my views, steady and inflexible in pursuing them. Such must I remain-proud, inflexible, and unchanging; and of this the world shall have proof. But thou forgivest me, Rebecca ? ” " As freely as ever victim forgave her executioner. Farewell, then,” said the Templar, and left the apartment.' III. 221–224.
The appointed day at last arrives. Rebecca is led out to the scaffold-faggots are prepared by the side of the lists--and in the lists appears the relentless Templar, mounted and armed for the encounter. No champion appears for Rebecca; and the heralds ask her if she yields herself as justly condemned.
« « Say to the Grand Master,” replied Rebecca, “ that I maintain my
innocence, and do not yield me as justly condemned, lest I become guilty of mine own blood. Say to him, that I challenge such delay as his forms will permit, to see if God, whose opportunity is in man's extremity, will raise me up a deliverer; and when such uttermost space is passed, may his Holy will be done !” The herald re
tired to carry this answer to the Grand Master. --~ God forbid, * said Lucas Beaumanoir, “ that Jew or Pagan should impeach us of injustice. Until the shadows be cast from the west to the eastward, will we wait to see if a champion will appear for this unfortunate woman, When the day is so far passed, let her prepare for death. The herald communicated the words of the Grand Master to Rebecca, who bowed her head submissively, folded her arms, and, looking up towards heaven, seemed to expect that aid from above which she could scarce promise herself from man.' III. 234, 235: · The hours pass away—and the shadows begin to pass to the eastward. The assembled multitudes murmur with impatience
and compassion--and the Judges whisper to each other, that it i is time to proceed to doom.
• At this instant a knight, urging his horse to speed, äppeared on the plain advancing towards the lists. An hundred voices exclaim
• A champion ! a champion !” And, despite the prepossession and prejudices of the multitude, they shouted unanimously as the knight rode into the tilt-yard. The second glance, however, served to destroy the hope that his timely arrival kad excited. His horse, urged for many miles to its utmost speed, appeared to reel from fatigue, and the rider, however undauntedly he presented himself in the lists, either from weakness, weariness, or both, seemed scarce able to support himself in the saddle. To the summons of the he. rald, who demanded his rank, his name, and purpose, the stranger knight answered readily and boldly, “ I am a good knight and noble, come hither to sustain with lance and sword the just and lawful quarrel of this damisel, Rebecca, daughter of Isaac of York; to uphold the doom pronounced against her to be false and truthless, and to defy Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, as a traitor, murtherer, and liar ; as I will prove in this field with my body against his, by the aid of God, of Our Lady, and of Monseigneur Saint George, the good knight." “The stranger must first show,” said Malvoisin, that he is a good Knight, and of honourable lineage. The Temple sendeth not forth her champions against nameless men. My name," said the Knight, raising his helmet, “ is better known, my lineage more pure, Malvoisin, than thine own, Í am Wilfrid of Ivanhoe.
“ I will not fight with thee,” said the Templar, in a changed and hollow voice. “ Get thy wounds healed, purvey thee a better horse, and it may be I will hold it worth my while to scourge out of thee this boyish spirit of bravade." -" Ha! proud Templar, said Ivanhoe, “ hast thou forgotten that twice didst thou fail before this lance ? Remember the lists at Acre-remember the Passage of Arnis at Ashby-remember thy proud vaunt in the halis of Rotherwood, and the gage of your gold chain against my reliquary, that thou wouldst do battle with Wilfrid of Ivanhoe, and recover the honour thou hadst lost! By that reliquary, and ile holy relique it contains, I will proclaim thee, Templar, a coward in every court in Europe in every
VOL. XXXIII, No. 65.
66 I do,
Preceptory of thine Order-unless thou do battle without farther de. lay,” Bois-Guilbert turned, his countenance irresolutely towards Rebecca, and then exclaimed, looking fiercely at Ivanhoe, “ Dog of a Saxon, take thy lance, and prepare for the death thou hast drawn
" Does the Grand Master allow me the combat ?" said Ivanhoe. “ I may not deny what you have challenged,” said the Grand Master, “ providing the maiden accepts thee as her champion. Yet I would thou wert in better plight to do battle. An enemy of our Order hast thou ever been, yet would I have thee ho. nourably met with. “ Thus-thus as I am, and not otherwise,' said Ivanhoe; " it is the judgment of God—to his keeping I commend myself.-Rebecca,” said he, riding up to the fatal chair, “ doest thou accept of me for thy champion ?” said " I do, fluttered by an emotion which the fear of death had been unable to produce, “ I do accept thee as the champion whom Heaven hath sent me. Yet, no-no---thy wounds are uncuredMeet not that proud man-why shouldst thou perish also ?” But Ivanhoe was already at his post, and had closed his visor, and assumed his lance.' III. 339–342.
We cannot make room for the whole of this catastrophe. The overtired horse of Ivanhoe falls in the shock; but the Templar, though scarcely touched by the lance of his adversary, reels, and falis also ;--and, when they seek to raise him, is found to be utterly dead !-a victim to his own contending passions.
We will give but one scene more-and it is in honour of the divine Rebecca--for the fate of all the rest may easily be divined. Richard forgives his brother; and Wilfrid weds Rowena.
• It was upon the second morning after this happy bridal, that the Lady Rowena was made acquainted by her handmaid Elgitha, that a damsel desired admission to her presence, and solicited that their
par: ley might be without witness. Rowena wondered, hesitated, became curious, and ended by commanding the damsel to be admitted, and her attendants to withdraw.” She entered a noble and commanding figure, the long white veil in which she was shrouded, oversha. dowing rather than concealing the elegance and majesty of her shape. Her demeanour was that of respect, unmingled by the least shade either of fear, or of a wish to propitiate favour. Rowena was ever ready to acknowledge the claims, and attend to the feelings of others. She arose, and would have conducted the lovely stranger to a seat ; but she looked at Elgitha, and again intimated a wish to discourse with the Lady Rowena alone. Elgitha had no sooner retired with unwilling steps, than, to the surprise of the Lady of Ivanhoe, her fair visitant kneeled on one knee, pressed her hands to her forehead, and, bending her head to the ground, in spite of Rowena's resistance, kissed the embroidered hem of her tunic. " What means this?" said the surprised bride; " or why do you offer to me a deference so
. unusual ? "_"Because to you, Lady of Ivanhoe,” said Rebecca, rising up and resuming the usual quiet dignity of her manner, “ I may lawfully, and without rebuke, pay the debt of gratitude which I owe to Wilfrid of Ivanhoe. I am--forgive the boldness which has offered to you the homage of my country-I am the unhappy Jewess, for whom your husband hazarded his life against such fearful odds in the tilt-yard of Teniplestowe.” –“ Damsel,” said Rowena,“ Wilfrid of Ivanhoe on that day rendered back but in a slight measure your unceasing charity towards him in his wounds and misfortunes. Speak, is there aught remains in which he and I can serve thee?"_“Nothing, said Rebecca, calmy, “unless you will transmit to him my grateful farer well.”_“ You leave England, then,” said Rowena, scarce recovering the surprise of this extraordinary visit. " I leave it, lady, ere this moon again changes. My father hath a brother high in favour with Mohammed Boabdil, King of Grenada-thither we go, secure of peace and protection, for the payment of such ransom as the Moslem exact from our people." -“ And are you not then as well protected in England ? ” said Rowena. My husband has favour with the King
-the King himself is just and generous.”—“ Lady,” said Rebecca, “ I doubt it not-but the people of England are a fierce race, quarrelling ever with their neighbours or among themselves, and ready to plunge the sword into the bowels of each other. Such is no safe abode for the children of my people. Ephraim is an heart. less dove-Issachar an over-laboured drudge, which stoops between two burthens. Not in a land of war and blood, surrounded by hostile neighbours, and distracted by internal factions, can Israel hope to rest during her wanderings." -“ But you, maiden,” said Rowena—" you surely can have nothing to fear. She who nursed the sick-bed of Ivanhoe," she continued, rising with enthusiasm — “ she can have nothing to fear in England, where Saxon and Norman will contend who shall most do her honour.” " Thy speech is fair, lady,” said Rebecca, “ and thy purpose fairer ; but it may not be - there is a gulph betwixt us. Our breeding, our faith, alike forbid either to pass over it. Farewell—yet, ere I go, indulge me one request. The bridal-veil hangs over thy face ; raise it, and let me see the features of which fame speaks so highly. They are scarce worthy of being looked upon, said Rowena; “ but, expecting the same from my visitant, I remove the veil.” She took it off accordingly, and partly from the consciousness of beauty, partly from bashfulness, she blushed so intensely, that cheek, brow, neck, and bosom, were suffused with crimson. Rebecca blushed also, but it was a momentary feeling; and, mastered by higher emotions, past slowly from her features like the crimson cloud, which changes colour when the sun sinks beneath the horizon.
“ Lady,” she said, “ the countenance you have deigned to show me will long dwell in my remembrance. There reigns in it gen. tleness and goodness; and if a tinge of the world's pride or vanities may mix with an expression so lovely, how may we chide