Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

keep, Ulrica nas climbed to the battle his designs when an unexpected inment, there, on its summit, to await, in strument of present protection from a wild triumphant bitterness of spirit, the guilty will of Bois-Guilbert is the issue of her deed. “ Her long raised up for her in the presence of the dishevelled grey,

hair flies back from grand-master of the Templars, Lucasher uncovered 'head, and the ine- de-Beaumanoir, who arrives from briating delight of gratified vengeance France to raise contributions for the contends in her eyes with the fire of war of Palestine, and to reform abuses insanity;" and she sings a northern among the degenerate and luxurious hymn of death and slaughter, than brethren of his order. Beaumanoir which nothing in the whole relics of is a character drawn with great truth Norse Minstrelsy is more terrific. It and skill, and admirably contrasted is perhaps in this point of the author's with those among whom he is called representation, that the enmity be- upon to mingle grave, severe, bigottween the Saxon and Norman race is ed, proud—but sincere, earnest, deset forth with the highest effect of vout, adhering in word and deed to tragical dignity. This is the last the old ascetic observances of the stanza of the hymn.

Temple, with a firm and sorrowful " All must perish !

constancy, which produces a very paThe sword cleaveth the helmet ;

thetic effect. We wish we durst The strong armour is pierced by the lance ; quote some of the descriptions of his Fire devoureth the dwelling of princes, person, or some part of his conversa Engines break down the fences of the battle. tions with his dissolute brethren ; but All must perish!

this is impossible. The circumstances The race of Hengist is gone

of a young and beautiful female being The name of Horsa is no more ! Shrink not then from your doom, sons of lodged in a house of the order, by å the sword !

religious knight of such eminence as Let your blades drink blood like wine ;

Brian de Bois-Guilbert, appears to this Feast ye in the banquet of slaughter.

old man to be a scandal of the deepest By the light of the blazing halls !

dye-and the Templar is preserved Strong be your swords while your blood is froin instant punishment, only by the warm, :

suggestion, easily listened to by his And spare neither for pity nor fear,

superstitious superior, that witchcraft For vengeance hath but an hour ;

had been exerted against his virtue as Strong hate itself shall expire ! I also must perish.

well as womanly beauty.' Rebecca, in The towering flames had now surmount brief, is believed to be a sorceress, and ed every obstruction and rose to the even

the report of her medical skill adds ing skies one huge and burning beacon, much confirmation to the absurd beseen far and wide through the adjacent lief. She must be tried for her imacountry. Tower after tower crashed down, ginary, crime; and unless she can with blazing roof and rafter, and the com- prove her innocence, she must die the batants were driven from the court-yard. death of the faggot, in presence of the The vanquished, of whom very few re- relentless Beaumanoir. "While, howmained, scattered and escaped into the neighbouring wood. The victors, assem

ever, she is yet standing before this bling in large bands, gazed with wonder, merciless judge, a slip of paper is put not unmixed with fear, upon the flames, in into her handsit comes from Boiswhich their own ranks and arms glanced Guilbert-and in obedience to its suge dusky red. The maniac figure of the Sax- gestion, the damsel demands leave to on Ulrica was for a long time visible on defend her innocence within three days the lofty stand she had chosen, tossing her by a champion. It had been the inarms abroad with wild exultation, as if she tention of Bois-Guilbert himself to apreigned empress of the conflagration which pear in disguise, and act this part on she had raised. At length, with a terrific the day of trial for Rebecca ; but this perished in the flames which had consumed plan is broken by the grand-master, her tyrant. An awful pause of horror si- who appoints Bois-Guilbert to be on lenced each mummur of the armed specta- that day the champion, not of Rebectors, who, for the space of several minutes, ca, but of the Temple

and the artstirred not a finger, save to sign the cross.' ful interference of some other brethren

But the interest of the tale, as we of the order prevents the fiery lover have said, is all with Rebecca. Her from being able to refuse this hateful fierce lover has lodged her safely in part. the Preceptory of Templestowe, and At night, nevertheless, when the looks forward to the near fulfilment of preceptory is still, the Templar gains access, through darkness and silence, the bonds of the Order of which he is a to the cell of Rebecca—and one of the sworn member, in order to gratify an unmost touching scenes in the romance ruly passion for the daughter of another is the interview which takes place be- people. Put not a price on my deliverance, tween them. Before he enters, the Sir Knight-sell not a deed of generosity voice of the damsel heard singing, and not for a selfish advantage-Go to the

protect the oppressed for the sake of charity, in her solitude, a hymn of oriental throne of England, Richard will listen to sublimity, and full also of female gen- my appeal from these cruel men. tleness-in which the dignity of her ** Never, Rebecca,' said the Templar, old and chosen race is loftily and fiercely: 'If I renounce my Order, for mournfully contrasted with the pre- thee alone will I renounce it-Ambition sent forlorn condition of her kindred shall remain mine, if thou refuse my love ; and herself. The Templar bursts in I will not be fooled on all hands. --Stoop and throws himself at her feet-he is my crest to Richard ?-ask a boon of that

heart of pride ?-Never, Rebecca, will I willing, even now after all that has place the Order of the Temple at his fee passed, to sacrifice every thing for her

in my person. I may forsake the Order, sake, so she but requite his love, I never will degrade or betray it.'. and be willing to share the fate which “« • Now God be gracious to me,' said he would wilfully render degraded. Rebecca, “ for the succour of man is well

“. I weigh not these evils,' said Rebec. nigh hopeless ! ca, afraid to provoke the wild knight, yet

*** It is indeed,' said the Templar ; " for equally determined neither to endure his proud as thou art, thou has in me found passion, nor even feign to endure it. • Be thy match. If I enter the lists with my a man, be a Christian ! If indeed thy faith spear in rest, think not any human consi. recommends that mercy which rather your deration shall prevent my putting forth my tongues than your actions pretend, save me strength ; and think then upon thine own from this dreadful death, without seeking a fate-to die the dreadful death of the worst requital which would change thy magnani- of criminals—to be consumed upon a blazmity into base barter.'

ing pile-dispersed to the elements of which "No, damsel !' said the proud Tem- our strange forms are so mysticaliy compoplar, springing up, thou shalt not thus sed not a relique left of that graceful impose on me-if I renounce present fame frame, from which we could say this lived and future ambition, I renounce it for thy and moved !—Rebecca, it is not in woman sake, and we will escape in company. Lis.

to sustain this prospect—thou wilt yield to ten to me, Rebecca,' he said, again soften. my suit.' ing his tone; · England, Europe,-is not “ • Bois-Guilbert,' answered the Jewess, the world. There are spheres in which we

* thou knowest not the heart of woman, may act, ample enough even for my am- or hast only conversed with those who are bition. We will go to Palestine, where lost to her best feelings. I tell thee, proud Conrade, Marquis of Montserrat, is my Templar, that not in thy fiercest battles friend a friend free as myself from the do- hast thou displayed more of thy vaunted ting scruples which fetter our free-born rea- courage, than has been shown by woman son-rather with Saladin will we league when called upon to suffer by affection or ourselves, than endure the scorn of the bi. duty. I am myself a woman, tenderly nur. gots whom we contemn-I will form new tured, naturally fearful of danger, and impaths to greatness,' he continued, again tra- patient of pain—yet, when we enter those versing the room with hasty strides — Eu- fatal lists, thou to fight and I to suffer, I rope shall hear the loud step of him she has feel the strong assurance within me, that driven from her sons !-Not the millions my courage shall mount higher than thine. whom her crusaders send to slaughter, can

Farewell I waste no more words on thee; do so much to defend Palestine-not the the time that remains on earth to the daughsabres of the thousands and ten thousands ter of Jacob must be otherwise spent-she of Saracens can hew their way so deep into must seek the Comforter, who may hide that land for which nations are striving, as his face from his people, but who ever the strength and policy of me and those opens his ear to the cry of those who seek brethren, who, in despite of yonder old bi- him in sincerity and in truth.'. got, will adhere to me in good and evil.- " • We part then thus,' said the TemThou shalt be a queen, Rebeccamon Mount plar, after a short pause ; • would to HeaCarmel shall we pitch the throne which my ven that we had never met, or that thou valour will gain for you, and I will ex. hadst been noble in birth, and Christian in change my long desired batton for a sceptre.” faith !-Nay, by Heaven! when I gaze on

... A dream,' said Rebecca ; an empty thee, and think when and how we are next vision of the night, which, were it a waking to meet, I could even wish myself one of reality, affects me not-enough that the thine own degraded nation ; my hand conpower which thou mightest acquire, I will versant with ingots and shekels, instead of never share ; nor hold I so light of country spear and shield; my head bent down before or religious faith, as to esteem him who is each petty noble, and my look only terrible willing to barter these ties, and cast away to the shivering and bankrupt debtor--this

[ocr errors]

could I wish, Rebecca, to be near to thee in « • Yet,' said the Templar, I am, Relife, and to escape the fearful share I must becca, as thou hast spoken me, untaught, have in thy death.'

untamed and proud, that, amidst a shoal of "• Thou has spoken the Jew,' said Re- empty fools and crafty bigots, I have retainbecca, as the persecution of such as thou ed the pre-eminent fortitude that places me art has made him. Heaven in ire has driven above them. I have been a child of battle, him from his country ; but industry has from my youth upward ; high in my views, opened to him the only road to power and steady and inflexible in pursuing them. to influence, which oppression has left un- Such must I remain-proud, inflexible, barred. Read the ancient history of the and unchanging; and of this the world people of God, and tell me, if those, by shall have proof. But thou forgivest me, whom Jehovah wrought such marvels among Rebecca ?' the nations, were then a people of misers “ • As freely as ever victim forgave her and of usurers !-And know, proud knight, executioner.' we number names amongst us, to which Farewell, then,' said the Templar, your boasted northern nobility, is as the and left the apartment. gourd compared with the cedar-names that

The appointed day arrives, and no ascend far back to those high times, when the Divine Presence shook the mercy-seat beautiful Jewess. The lists are pre

succour has yet been heard of for the between the cherubim ; and which derive their splendour from no earthly prince, but pared for the combat, on whose issue from the awful voice, which bade their fa- her fate depends—but hour follows thers be nearest of the congregation to the hour in silence; and the immense vision-Such were the princes of the house multitude assembled are at length conof Jacob.'

vinced that no Christian knight has • • Rebecca's colour rose as she boasted deemed the quarrel of an unbelieving the ancient glories of her race, but faded as maiden fit occasion for the exhibition she added, with a sigh, . Such were the of his valour. But Isaac, the old faprinces of Judah, now such no more !- ther of Rebecca, has had intelligence They are trampled down like the shorn grass, and mixed with the mire of the ways.

of his daughter's situation; and his Yet are there those among them who shame endeavours to secure her a champion not such high descent, and of such shall be the have not been unavailing. The shadaughter of Isaac the son of Adonikam !- dows are beginning to fall from west Farewell !-I envy not thy blood-won-ho- eastward, the signal that the time of nours—I envy not thy barbarous descent tarrying was near its close. Rebecca, from northern heathens-I envy thee not in this the hour of her extremity, thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth, but

“ folds her arms, and looking up tonever in thy heart nor in thy practice.' “6 • There is a spell on me, by Heaven !'

wards Heaven, seems to expect that said Bois-Guilbert. I well nigh think aid from above which she can scarce yon besotted skeleton spoke truth, and that promise herself from man.”

Boisthe reluctance with which I part from thee, Guilbert approaches her, and whispers hath something in it more than is natural.. once more in her ear, that if she will Fair creature !' he said, approaching near spring on his courser behind him and her, but with great respect — so young, fly, all may yet be well; but the so beautiful, so fearless of death ! and yet maiden turns her from the Tempter, doomed to die, and with infamy and agony. and prepares to die. At this moment Who would not weep for theeThe tear; the sound of a horn is heard--a knight that has been a stranger to these eye-lids rides full speed into the lists, and defor twenty years, moistens them as

gaze on thee. But it must be nothing may now

mands to combat on the side of the save thy life. Thou and I are but the blind Jewess. instruments of some irresistible fatality, that " " The stranger must first show,' said hurries us along, like goodly vessels driving Malvoisin, that he is good Knight, and of before the storm, which are dashed against honourable lineage. The Temple sendeth each other, and so perish. Forgive me, then, not forth her champions against nameless and let us part, at least, as friends part. I men.' have assailed thy resolution in vain, and My name,' said the Knight, raising mine own is fixed as the adamantine decrees his helmet, • is better known, my lineage of fate."

more pure, Malvoisin, than thine own. I • Thus,' said Rebecca, · do men throw am Wilfrid of Ivanhoe.' on fate the issue of their own wild sions. . I will not fight with thee,' said the But I do forgive thee, Bois-Guilbert, though Templar, in a changed and hollow voice. the author of my early death. There are • Get thy wounds healed, purvey thee a noble things which cross over thy powerful better horse, and it may be I will hold it mind; but it is the garden of the sluggard, worth my while to scourge out of thee this and the weeds have rushed up, and con- boyish spirit of bravade. spired to choak the fair and wholesome blos- «« « Ha! proud Templar,' said Ivanhoe, som.'

• hast thou forgotten that twice didst thou

answer.

fall before this lance ? Remember the lists beheld it, reeled in his saddle, lost his at Acre-remember the Passage of Arms at stirrups, and fell in the lists. Ashby-remember thy proud vaunt in the “ Ivanhoe, extricating himself from his halls of Rotherwood, and the gage of your fallen horse, was soon on foot, hastening to gold chain against my reliquary, that thou mend bis fortune with his sword; but his wouldst do battle with Wilfrid of Ivanhoe, antagonist arose not. Wilfrid, placing his and recover the honour thou hadst lost! By foot on his breast, and the sword's point to that reliquary, and the holy relique it con- his throat, commanded him to yield him, or tains, I will proclaim thee, Templar, a die on the spot. Bois-Guilbert returned no coward in every court in Europe in every Preceptory of thine Order-unless thou do Slay him not, Sir Knight,' cried the battle without farther delay.'

Grand Master, unshriven and unabsolved “ Bois-Guilbert turned his countenance -kill not body and soul. We allow him irresolutely towards Rebecca, and then ex- vanquished.' claimed, looking fiercely at Ivanhoe, · Dog “He descended into the lists, and com. of a Saxon ! take thy lance, and prepare for manded them to unhelm the conquered the death thou hast drawn upon thee!' champion. His eyes were closed the dark

" • Does the Grand Master allow me the red flush was still on his brow. As they combat ?' said Ivanhoe.

looked on him in astonishment, the eyes “I may not deny what you have chal- opened but they were fixed and glazed. lenged,' said the Grand Master, providing The flush passed from his brow, and gave the maiden accepts thee as her champion. way to the pallid hue of death. Unscathed Yet I would thou were in better plight to by the lance of his enemy, he had died a do battle. An enemy of our Order hast victim to the violence of his own contendthou ever been, yet would I have thee ho- ing passions. nourably met with.'

*** This is indeed the judgment of God,' “ • Thus thus as I am, and nototherwise,' said the Grand Master, looking upwardssaid Ivanhoe ; . it is the judgment of God Fiat voluntas tua!'to his keeping I commend himself.-Re- Immediately after the death of Boisbecca,' said he, riding up to the fatal chair, Guilbert, King Richard arrives at • doest thou accept of me for thy champion ? the preceptory-for he too has heard

“ * I do,' she said — I do,' fluttered by of the danger of Rebecca, and an emotion which the fear of death had been unable to produce, • I do accept thee believing, Ivanhoe to be still disaas the champion whom Heaven hath sent bled by his wounds, has come himme. Yet, ‘nono-thy wounds are un- self to reak a spear in her cause. cured.Meet not that proud man—why Amidst the tumult of the royal arshouldst thou perish also ?'

rival, and amidst the still greater tu“ But Ivanhoe was already at his post, mult of her own emotions, the maiden and had closed his visor, and assumed his prays her father to remove her-for lance. Bois-Guilbert did the same ; and she is afraid of many things—most of his esquire remarked, as he clasped his visor, all, she is afraid that she might say that his face, which had, notwithstanding the variety of emotions by which he had too inuch were she to trust herself to been agitated, continued during the whole speak with her deliverer. morning of an ashy paleness, was now be

On his way to Templestowe, King come suddenly very much flushed.

Richard has been beset by a party of “ The herald, then, seeing each cham- assassins—the instruments of his bropion in his place, uplifted his voice, repeat ther's meanness—and bas escaped from ing thrice- Faites vos devoirs, preux che. them chiefly by means of Robin Hood valiers. After the third cry, he withdrew and his archers, who happened to be to one side of the lists, and again proclaim- near them in the wood. It is attended, that none, on peril of instant death, should dare, by word, cry, or action, to ined by these outlaws as his bodyterfere with or disturb this fair field of com- guard, that Cæur de Lion re-assumes bat. The Grand Master, who held in his the state and title of his birth-right; hand the gage of battle, Rebecca's glove, and one of his first acts is to reward now threw it into the lists, and pronounced his faithful friend and follower, Ivanthe fatal signal words, Laissez aller. “ The trumpets sounded, and the knights graces of his father, and celebrating

hoe, by restoring him to the good charged each other in full career. The wearied horse of Ivanhoe, and its no less But we cannot enter upon the minor

his marriage with the Lady Rowena. exhausted rider, went down, as all had expected, before the well aimed lance and vi. parts of the Romance--The eye of the gorous steed of the Templar. This issue of reader still follows Rebacca. the combat all had expected ; but although “ It was upon the second morning after the spear of Ivanhoe did but, in comparison, this happy bridal, that the Lady Rowena touch the shield of Bois-Guilbert, that was made acquainted by her hand-maid champion, to the astonishment of all who Elgitha, that a damsel desired admission to

her présence, and solicited that their parley dove--- Issachar an over-laboured drudge, might be without witness. Rowena won- which stoops between two burthens. Not dered, hesitated, became curious, and ended in a land of war and blood, surrounded by commanding the damsel to be admitted, by hostile neighbours, and distracted by and her attendants to withdraw.

internal factions, can Israel hope to rest “ She entered a noble and commanding during her wanderings.' figure, the long white veil in which she was “ . But you, maiden,' said Rowena shrouded, overshadowing rather than con- you surely can have nothing to fear. She cealing the elegance and majesty of her who nursed the sick-bed of Ivanhoe,' she shape. Her demeanour was that of respect, continued, rising with enthusiasm she unmingled by the least shade either of fear, can have nothing to fear in England, where or of a wish to propitiate favour. Rowena Saxon and Norman will contend who shall was ever ready to acknowledge the claims, most do her honour.' and attend to the feelings of others. She Thy speech is fair, lady,' said Rem arose, and would have conducted the lovely becca, and thy purpose fairer; but it may stranger to a seat, but she looked at Elgi- not be there is a gulph betwixt us. Our tha, and again intimated a wish to dis- breeding, our faith, alike forbid either to course with the Lady Rowena alone. El. pass over it. Farewell-yet, e'er I go, in. githa had no sooner retired with unwilling dulge me one request. The bridal-veil steps, than, to the surprise of the Lady of hangs over thy face ; raise it, and let me Ivanhoe, her fair visitant kneeled on one see the features of which fame speaks so knee, pressed her hands to her forehead, highly.' and bending her head to the ground, in They are scarce worthy of being lookspite of Rowena's resistance, kissed the em- ed upon,' said Rowena ; • but, expectin broidered hem of her tunic.

the same from my visitant, I remove the 66 - What means this ?' said the sur- veil.' prised bride; • or why do you offer to me “ She took it off accordingly, and partly a deference so unusual ?

from the consciousness of beauty, partly from s« • Because to you, Lady of Ivanhoe,' bashfulness, she blushed so intensely, that said Rebecca, rising up and resuming the cheek, brow, neck, and bosom, were sufusual quiet dignity of her manner, 'I may fused with crimson. Rebecca blushed also, lawfully and without rebuke pay the but it was a momentary feeling; and, masdebt of gratitude which I owe to Wilfrid of tered by higher emotions, past slowly from Ivanhoe. I am-forgive the boldness which her features like the crimson cloud, which has offered to you the homage of my coun- changes colour when the sun sinks beneath try-I am the unhappy Jewess, for whom the horizon. your husband hazarded his life against such Lady,' she said, “ the countenance fearful odds in the tilt-yard of Temple, you have deigned to shew me will long stowe.'

dwell in my remembrance. There reigns " * Damsel,' said Rowena ; Wilfrid of in it gentleness and goodness; and if a tinge Ivanhoe on that day rendered back but in of the world's pride or vanities may mix slight measure your unceasing charity to- with an expression so lovely, how may we wards him in his wounds and misfortunes.. chide that which is of earth for bearing some Speak, is there aught remains in which he colour of its original ? Long, long will i and I can serve thee?'

remember your features, and bless God that Nothing, said Rebecca, calmly, 'un- I leave my noble deliverer united withless you will transmit to him my grateful “ She stopped short-her eyes filled with farewell.'

tears. She hastily wiped them, and an“ • You leave England, then,' said Row. swered to the anxious enquiries of Rowena ena, scarce recovering the surprise of this - I am well, lady-well. But my heart extraordinary visit.

swells when I think of Torquilistone and * • I leave it, lady, ere this moon again the lists of Templestowe.—Farewell. One, changes. My father hath a brother high the most trifling part of my duty, remains in favour with Mohammed Boabdil, King undischarged. Accept this casket-startle of Grenada—thither we go, secure of peace not at contents.' and protection, for the payment of such " Rowena opened the small silver-chased ransom as the Moslem exact from our peo- casket, and perceived a carcanet, or neckple.

lace, with ear-jewels, of diamonds, which “And are you not then as well pro-. were visibly of immense value. tected in England ?' said Rebecca. My " • It is impossible,' she said, tendering husband has favour with the King—the back the casket. “ I dare not accept a gift King himself is just and generous.'

of such consequence.” "Lady,' said Rebecca, ' I doubt it " " Yet keep it, lady,' returned Rebecca not-but the people of England are a fierce - You have power, rank, command, inrace, quarrelling ever with their neighbours fluence; we have wealth, the source both or among themselves, and ready to plunge of our strength and weakness ; the value of the sword into the bowels of each other. these toys, ten times multiplied, would not Such is no safe abode for the children of influence half so much as your slightest my people. Ephraim is an heartless wish. To you, therefore, the gift is of little

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »