Ivanhoe

 
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Act 1 Scene 1

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The Hall of CEDRIC. Evening. At the high table stands CEDRIC. His men are making ready for supper.

CEDRIC:
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 Ivanhoe,
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.)

MEN: (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!
Drink to the house of Cedric!
Hoch! the house of Cedric!
Hoch! the house of Cedric!
Drink hael! Drink hael! Was hael! Was hael!
Drink hael! Hoch! Was hael!
Hoch! Hoch! Was hael!
Hoch! Hoch! Was hael!
Drink hael!

Enter ISAAC.

ISAAC:
Good Thane, most noble Thane, I pray
For food and shelter from the night.
Isaac of York am I,

MEN:
A Jew?

ISAAC:
A Jew, but poor,
And poorest shelter all I dare to ask.

CEDRIC:
Not even one of thine 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 knock so loud.

Enter DE BRACY'S SQUIRE.

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 Zouch,
By order of their Royal Lord, Prince John
Ask food and shelter of the Saxon Thane,
Cedric of Rotherwood.

CEDRIC:
What cockrel crows so loud?
Go and lead these knights
Within the hall: (exit SQUIRE.)
A better welcome were it
If I might meet these Normans sword in hand.

Enter the Knights, with Attendants, and with them IVANHOE in Palmer's dress.

Welcome, Sir Knights!
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, IVANHOE goes aside.

De Bracy
 
Charles Kenningham
as De Bracy
 
DE BRACY:
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?

BRIAN:
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.

ISAAC: (apart)
Jehovah guard
Our daughters from the Temple!

DE BRACY:
And I'll warrant me,
From all the country
Come throngs of suitors
To the fair Rowena!

CEDRIC:
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 doors are thrown open.

WOMEN: (behind the scenes.)
Room for the Lady Rowena!

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.

Rowena
 
Kate Harrington
as Rowena
 
MEN:
More light is there for lord and thrall,
For lord and thrall,
When lady fair comes into hall.
When lady fair comes into hall.

BRIAN:
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.

ROWENA:
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, in compliment, or courtly, courtly Norman phrase.

As BRIAN bows and touches his cup with his lips, CEDRIC starts to his feet, cup in hand.

CEDRIC:
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,

MEN:
Fill the cup,

CEDRIC:
Fill the cup, fill high,

MEN:
Fill high,

CEDRIC:
And drink to those who strive, and those who die,

MEN:
Fill the cup,

CEDRIC:
Saxon or Norman. fighting for the Cross!

MEN:
Glory to those who fight for the true Cross!

DE BRACY:
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.)

MEN:
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! Drink hael!

BRIAN, DE BRACY, MEN:CEDRIC:
Glory to those who fight for the true Cross!
Glory! Glory to those who fight
for the true cross! Glory,
Fill the cup, fill high, Fill the cup, fill high,
Glory to those who battle for the Cross!
Glory to those who fight for the true Cross!
ALL:
Glory to those who fight for the true Cross!

ROWENA:
Were there no English knights in Palestine,
No children of our happy woods and hills,
Who might compare even with the Temple Knights?

BRIAN:
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.

IVANHOE:
Second to none!

A silence. Then a general movement of excitement.

MEN:
The Palmer! the holy Palmer!
Hear him! hear him!
The Palmer, the holy Palmer!
Hear him! Hear him! the holy Palmer! (CEDRIC motions them to silence.)

IVANHOE:
Second to none were good King Richard's men;
I tell but what mine eyes have seen.
After, the taking of St. 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 rises to speak, but fury stops him; he lays hand on sword.

MEN:
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!

CEDRIC:
Their names, their names, good Palmer!

IVANHOE:
King Richard, first in rank and glory;
The second, the Earl of Leicester
The third, Sir Thomas Multon.

CEDRIC:
A Saxon he!

IVANHOE:
The fourth, Sir Foulk Doilly.

CEDRIC:
A Saxon mother bore him. And the next?

IVANHOE:
Sir Edwin Turneham.

CEDRIC:
By the soul of Hengist
Saxon by sire and dame!
The last! the last! Pray he be Saxon too.

IVANHOE:
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.

BRIAN:
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.

CEDRIC and MEN:
His name? His name?

The Templar
 
Eugène Oudin as
Brian de Bois Guilbert
(The Templar)
 
BRIAN:
Wilfred of Ivanhoe!

A movement in hall. A clash of steel is heard as men spring to their feet. CEDRIC throws up his arm, and there is silence.

BRIAN:
I have named his name, and were he here,
I'd challenge him with sword or spear!

IVANHOE:
And, when he come, I pledge my troth
He will abide thy challenge.

BRIAN:
And who art thou,
A beggarly and wandering knave,
That thou shouldst answer for the brave?
Show me thy pledge, thou graceless pilgrim.

IVANHOE:
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!

BRIAN:
By this gold chain, which here I lay,
I swear to meet this Ivanhoe
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.

ROWENA:
No word for Ivanhoe! 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!

MEN:
Rowena! Rowena! All hail to our Lady Rowena!
Wilfred! Wilfred! Our Lord of Ivanhoe!

CEDRIC:
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.

DE BRACY:
I'll drink no more.
Thy Saxon cups are potent, and to-morrow
We must be stirring with the birds' first song.

CEDRIC:
Then fare ye well! Good rest be yours!
My servants will attend ye.
Good night to all! Good night to all!

ROWENA:
A kind good night to all!

Exit ROWENA, followed by CEDRIC.

DE BRACY:
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?

BRIAN:
Aye, that will I! By good St. Denis, it would like me well
To drive these Saxon hogs and prick them home
To Norman keeping! More of this anon.

DE BRACY:
Aye, when the tourney's done.
Good night, most noble comrade,
Good dreams attend thee!

BRIAN:
Good night!

Exeunt Knights, attended.

MEN:
And so to sleep
Till lagging daylight peep.
So ends the song,
So ends the song,
With sleep till daylight peep.
So ends the song,
So ends the song.


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Page created 10 October 2003