O maid, unrelenting and cold as thou art,
My bosom is proud as thine own.
It was in the twilight of the day when her trial, if it could be
called such, had taken place, that a low knock was heard at the
door of Rebecca's prison-chamber. It disturbed not the inmate,
who was then engaged in the evening prayer recommended by her
religion, and which concluded with a hymn we have ventured thus
to translate into English.
When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out of the land of bondage came,
Her father's God before her moved,
An awful guide, in smoke and flame.
By day, along the astonish'd lands
The cloudy pillar glided slow;
By night, Arabia's crimson'd sands
Return'd the fiery column's glow.
There rose the choral hymn of praise,
And trump and timbrel answer'd keen,
And Zion's daughters pour'd their lays,
With priest's and warrior's voice between.
No portents now our foes amaze,
Forsaken Israel wanders lone;
Our fathers would not know THY ways,
And THOU hast left them to their own.
But, present still, though now unseen;
When brightly shines the prosperous day,
Be thoughts of THEE a cloudy screen
To temper the deceitful ray.
And oh, when stoops on Judah's path
In shade and storm the frequent night,
Be THOU, long-suffering, slow to wrath,
A burning, and a shining light!
Our harps we left by Babel's streams,
The tyrant's jest, the Gentile's scorn;
No censer round our altar beams,
And mute our timbrel, trump, and horn.
But THOU hast said, the blood of goat,
The flesh of rams, I will not prize;
A contrite heart, and humble thought,
Are mine accepted sacrifice.
When the sounds of Rebecca's devotional hymn had died away in
silence, the low knock at the door was again renewed. "Enter,"
she said, "if thou art a friend; and if a foe, I have not the
means of refusing thy entrance."
"I am," said Brian de Bois-Guilbert, entering the apartment,
"friend or foe, Rebecca, as the event of this interview shall
Alarmed at the sight of this man, whose licentious passion she
considered as the root of her misfortunes, Rebecca drew backward
with a cautious and alarmed, yet not a timorous demeanour, into
the farthest corner of the apartment, as if determined to retreat
as far as she could, but to stand her ground when retreat became
no longer possible. She drew herself into an attitude not of
defiance, but of resolution, as one that would avoid provoking
assault, yet was resolute to repel it, being offered, to the
utmost of her power.
"You have no reason to fear me, Rebecca," said the Templar; "or
if I must so qualify my speech, you have at least NOW no reason
to fear me."
"I fear you not, Sir Knight," replied Rebecca, although her
short-drawn breath seemed to belie the heroism of her accents;
"my trust is strong, and I fear thee not."
"You have no cause," answered Bois-Guilbert, gravely; "my former
frantic attempts you have not now to dread. Within your call are
guards, over whom I have no authority. They are designed to
conduct you to death, Rebecca, yet would not suffer you to be
insulted by any one, even by me, were my frenzy---for frenzy it
is---to urge me so far."
"May Heaven be praised!" said the Jewess; "death is the least of
my apprehensions in this den of evil."
"Ay," replied the Templar, "the idea of death is easily received
by the courageous mind, when the road to it is sudden and open.
A thrust with a lance, a stroke with a sword, were to me little
---To you, a spring from a dizzy battlement, a stroke with a
sharp poniard, has no terrors, compared with what either thinks
disgrace. Mark me---I say this---perhaps mine own sentiments of
honour are not less fantastic, Rebecca, than thine are; but we
know alike how to die for them."
"Unhappy man," said the Jewess; "and art thou condemned to expose
thy life for principles, of which thy sober judgment does not
acknowledge the solidity? Surely this is a parting with your
treasure for that which is not bread---but deem not so of me.
Thy resolution may fluctuate on the wild and changeful billows of
human opinion, but mine is anchored on the Rock of Ages."
"Silence, maiden," answered the Templar; "such discourse now
avails but little. Thou art condemned to die not a sudden and
easy death, such as misery chooses, and despair welcomes, but a
slow, wretched, protracted course of torture, suited to what the
diabolical bigotry of these men calls thy crime."
"And to whom---if such my fate---to whom do I owe this?" said
Rebecca "surely only to him, who, for a most selfish and brutal
cause, dragged me hither, and who now, for some unknown purpose
of his own, strives to exaggerate the wretched fate to which he
"Think not," said the Templar, "that I have so exposed thee; I
would have bucklered thee against such danger with my own bosom,
as freely as ever I exposed it to the shafts which had otherwise
reached thy life."
"Had thy purpose been the honourable protection of the innocent,"
said Rebecca, "I had thanked thee for thy care---as it is, thou
hast claimed merit for it so often, that I tell thee life is
worth nothing to me, preserved at the price which thou wouldst
exact for it."
"Truce with thine upbraidings, Rebecca," said the Templar; "I
have my own cause of grief, and brook not that thy reproaches
should add to it."
"What is thy purpose, then, Sir Knight?" said the Jewess; "speak
it briefly.---If thou hast aught to do, save to witness the
misery thou hast caused, let me know it; and then, if so it
please you, leave me to myself---the step between time and
eternity is short but terrible, and I have few moments to prepare
"I perceive, Rebecca," said Bois-Guilbert, "that thou dost
continue to burden me with the charge of distresses, which most
fain would I have prevented."
"Sir Knight," said Rebecca, "I would avoid reproaches---But what
is more certain than that I owe my death to thine unbridled
"You err---you err,"---said the Templar, hastily, "if you impute
what I could neither foresee nor prevent to my purpose or agency.
---Could I guess the unexpected arrival of yon dotard, whom some
flashes of frantic valour, and the praises yielded by fools to
the stupid self-torments of an ascetic, have raised for the
present above his own merits, above common sense, above me, and
above the hundreds of our Order, who think and feel as men free
from such silly and fantastic prejudices as are the grounds of
his opinions and actions?"
"Yet," said Rebecca, "you sate a judge upon me, innocent---most
innocent---as you knew me to be---you concurred in my
condemnation, and, if I aright understood, are yourself to appear
in arms to assert my guilt, and assure my punishment."
"Thy patience, maiden," replied the Templar. "No race knows so
well as thine own tribes how to submit to the time, and so to
trim their bark as to make advantage even of an adverse wind."
"Lamented be the hour," said Rebecca, "that has taught such art
to the House of Israel! but adversity bends the heart as fire
bends the stubborn steel, and those who are no longer their own
governors, and the denizens of their own free independent state,
must crouch before strangers. It is our curse, Sir Knight,
deserved, doubtless, by our own misdeeds and those of our
fathers; but you---you who boast your freedom as your birthright,
how much deeper is your disgrace when you stoop to soothe the
prejudices of others, and that against your own conviction?"
"Your words are bitter, Rebecca," said Bois-Guilbert, pacing the
apartment with impatience, "but I came not hither to bandy
reproaches with you.---Know that Bois-Guilbert yields not to
created man, although circumstances may for a time induce him to
alter his plan. His will is the mountain stream, which may
indeed be turned for a little space aside by the rock, but fails
not to find its course to the ocean. That scroll which warned
thee to demand a champion, from whom couldst thou think it came,
if not from Bois-Guilbert? In whom else couldst thou have excited
"A brief respite from instant death," said Rebecca, "which will
little avail me---was this all thou couldst do for one, on whose
head thou hast heaped sorrow, and whom thou hast brought near
even to the verge of the tomb?"
"No maiden," said Bois-Guilbert, "this was NOT all that I
purposed. Had it not been for the accursed interference of yon
fanatical dotard, and the fool of Goodalricke, who, being a
Templar, affects to think and judge according to the ordinary
rules of humanity, the office of the Champion Defender had
devolved, not on a Preceptor, but on a Companion of the Order.
Then I myself---such was my purpose---had, on the sounding of the
trumpet, appeared in the lists as thy champion, disguised indeed
in the fashion of a roving knight, who seeks adventures to prove
his shield and spear; and then, let Beaumanoir have chosen not
one, but two or three of the brethren here assembled, I had not
doubted to cast them out of the saddle with my single lance.
Thus, Rebecca, should thine innocence have been avouched, and to
thine own gratitude would I have trusted for the reward of my
"This, Sir Knight," said Rebecca, "is but idle boasting---a brag
of what you would have done had you not found it convenient to do
otherwise. You received my glove, and my champion, if a creature
so desolate can find one, must encounter your lance in the lists
---yet you would assume the air of my friend and protector!"
"Thy friend and protector," said the Templar, gravely, "I will
yet be---but mark at what risk, or rather at what certainty, of
dishonour; and then blame me not if I make my stipulations,
before I offer up all that I have hitherto held dear, to save the
life of a Jewish maiden."
"Speak," said Rebecca; "I understand thee not."
"Well, then," said Bois-Guilbert, "I will speak as freely as ever
did doting penitent to his ghostly father, when placed in the
tricky confessional.---Rebecca, if I appear not in these lists I
lose fame and rank---lose that which is the breath of my
nostrils, the esteem, I mean, in which I am held by my brethren,
and the hopes I have of succeeding to that mighty authority,
which is now wielded by the bigoted dotard Lucas de Beaumanoir,
but of which I should make a different use. Such is my certain
doom, except I appear in arms against thy cause. Accursed be he
of Goodalricke, who baited this trap for me! and doubly accursed
Albert de Malvoisin, who withheld me from the resolution I had
formed, of hurling back the glove at the face of the
superstitious and superannuated fool, who listened to a charge so
absurd, and against a creature so high in mind, and so lovely in
form as thou art!"
"And what now avails rant or flattery?" answered Rebecca. "Thou
hast made thy choice between causing to be shed the blood of an
innocent woman, or of endangering thine own earthly state and
earthly hopes---What avails it to reckon together?---thy choice
"No, Rebecca," said the knight, in a softer tone, and drawing
nearer towards her; "my choice is NOT made---nay, mark, it is
thine to make the election. If I appear in the lists, I must
maintain my name in arms; and if I do so, championed or
unchampioned, thou diest by the stake and faggot, for there lives
not the knight who hath coped with me in arms on equal issue, or
on terms of vantage, save Richard Coeur-de-Lion, and his minion
of Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe, as thou well knowest, is unable to bear his
corslet, and Richard is in a foreign prison. If I appear, then
thou diest, even although thy charms should instigate some
hot-headed youth to enter the lists in thy defence."
"And what avails repeating this so often?" said Rebecca.
"Much," replied the Templar; "for thou must learn to look at thy
fate on every side."
"Well, then, turn the tapestry," said the Jewess, "and let me see
the other side."
"If I appear," said Bois-Guilbert, "in the fatal lists, thou
diest by a slow and cruel death, in pain such as they say is
destined to the guilty hereafter. But if I appear not, then am I
a degraded and dishonoured knight, accused of witchcraft and of
communion with infidels---the illustrious name which has grown
yet more so under my wearing, becomes a hissing and a reproach.
I lose fame, I lose honour, I lose the prospect of such greatness
as scarce emperors attain to---I sacrifice mighty ambition, I
destroy schemes built as high as the mountains with which
heathens say their heaven was once nearly scaled---and yet,
Rebecca," he added, throwing himself at her feet, "this greatness
will I sacrifice, this fame will I renounce, this power will I
forego, even now when it is half within my grasp, if thou wilt
say, Bois-Guilbert, I receive thee for my lover."
"Think not of such foolishness, Sir Knight," answered Rebecca,
"but hasten to the Regent, the Queen Mother, and to Prince John
---they cannot, in honour to the English crown, allow of the
proceedings of your Grand Master. So shall you give me
protection without sacrifice on your part, or the pretext of
requiring any requital from me."
"With these I deal not," he continued, holding the train of her
robe---"it is thee only I address; and what can counterbalance
thy choice? Bethink thee, were I a fiend, yet death is a worse,
and it is death who is my rival."
"I weigh not these evils," said Rebecca, afraid to provoke the
wild knight, yet equally determined neither to endure his
passion, nor even feign to endure it. "Be a man, be a Christian!
If indeed thy faith recommends that mercy which rather your
tongues than your actions pretend, save me from this dreadful
death, without seeking a requital which would change thy
magnanimity into base barter."
"No, damsel!" said the proud Templar, springing up, "thou shalt
not thus impose on me---if I renounce present fame and future
ambition, I renounce it for thy sake, and we will escape in
company. Listen to me, Rebecca," he said, again softening his
tone; "England,---Europe,---is not the world. There are spheres
in which we may act, ample enough even for my ambition. We will
go to Palestine, where Conrade, Marquis of Montserrat, is my
friend---a friend free as myself from the doting scruples which
fetter our free-born reason----rather with Saladin will we league
ourselves, than endure the scorn of the bigots whom we contemn.
---I will form new paths to greatness," he continued, again
traversing the room with hasty strides---"Europe shall hear the
loud step of him she has driven from her sons!---Not the millions
whom her crusaders send to slaughter, can do so much to defend
Palestine---not the sabres of the thousands and ten thousands of
Saracens can hew their way so deep into that land for which
nations are striving, as the strength and policy of me and those
brethren, who, in despite of yonder old bigot, will adhere to me
in good and evil. Thou shalt be a queen, Rebecca---on Mount
Carmel shall we pitch the throne which my valour will gain for
you, and I will exchange my long-desired batoon for a sceptre!"
"A dream," said Rebecca; "an empty vision of the night, which,
were it a waking reality, affects me not. Enough, that the power
which thou mightest acquire, I will never share; nor hold I so
light of country or religious faith, as to esteem him who is
willing to barter these ties, and cast away the bonds of the
Order of which he is a sworn member, in order to gratify an
unruly passion for the daughter of another people.---Put not a
price on my deliverance, Sir Knight---sell not a deed of
generosity---protect the oppressed for the sake of charity, and
not for a selfish advantage---Go to the throne of England;
Richard will listen to my appeal from these cruel men."
"Never, Rebecca!" said the Templar, fiercely. "If I renounce my
Order, for thee alone will I renounce it---Ambition shall remain
mine, if thou refuse my love; I will not be fooled on all hands.
---Stoop my crest to Richard?---ask a boon of that heart of
pride?---Never, Rebecca, will I place the Order of the Temple at
his feet in my person. I may forsake the Order, I never will
degrade or betray it."
"Now God be gracious to me," said Rebecca, "for the succour of
man is well-nigh hopeless!"
"It is indeed," said the Templar; "for, proud as thou art, thou
hast in me found thy match. If I enter the lists with my spear
in rest, think not any human consideration shall prevent my
putting forth my strength; and think then upon thine own fate
---to die the dreadful death of the worst of criminals---to be
consumed upon a blazing pile---dispersed to the elements of which
our strange forms are so mystically composed---not a relic left
of that graceful frame, from which we could say this lived and
moved!---Rebecca, it is not in woman to sustain this prospect
---thou wilt yield to my suit."
"Bois-Guilbert," answered the Jewess, "thou knowest not the heart
of woman, or hast only conversed with those who are lost to her
best feelings. I tell thee, proud Templar, that not in thy
fiercest battles hast thou displayed more of thy vaunted courage,
than has been shown by woman when called upon to suffer by
affection or duty. I am myself a woman, tenderly nurtured,
naturally fearful of danger, and impatient of pain---yet, when we
enter those fatal lists, thou to fight and I to suffer, I feel
the strong assurance within me, that my courage shall mount
higher than thine. Farewell---I waste no more words on thee; the
time that remains on earth to the daughter of Jacob must be
otherwise spent---she must seek the Comforter, who may hide his
face from his people, but who ever opens his ear to the cry of
those who seek him in sincerity and in truth."
"We part then thus?" said the Templar, after a short pause;
"would to Heaven that we had never met, or that thou hadst been
noble in birth and Christian in faith!---Nay, by Heaven! when I
gaze on thee, and think when and how we are next to meet, I could
even wish myself one of thine own degraded nation; my hand
conversant with ingots and shekels, instead of spear and shield;
my head bent down before each petty noble, and my look only
terrible to the shivering and bankrupt debtor---this could I
wish, Rebecca, to be near to thee in life, and to escape the
fearful share I must have in thy death."
"Thou hast spoken the Jew," said Rebecca, "as the persecution of
such as thou art has made him. Heaven in ire has driven him from
his country, but industry has opened to him the only road to
power and to influence, which oppression has left unbarred. Read
the ancient history of the people of God, and tell me if those,
by whom Jehovah wrought such marvels among the nations, were then
a people of misers and of usurers!---And 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 derive 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 at sigh, "Such WERE the
princes of Judah, now such no more!---They are trampled 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---I envy thee not thy
faith, which is ever in thy mouth, but never in thy heart nor in
"There is a spell on me, by Heaven!" said Bois-Guilbert. "I
almost think yon besotted skeleton 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 near 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."
"Thus," said Rebecca, "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 choke the fair and
"Yes," said the Templar, "I am, Rebecca, as thou hast spoken me,
untaught, untamed---and proud, that, amidst a shoal of empty
fools and crafty bigots, I have retained the preeminent fortitude
that places me above them. 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,
"As freely as ever victim forgave her executioner."
"Farewell, then," said the Templar, and left the apartment.
The Preceptor Albert waited impatiently in an adjacent chamber
the return of Bois-Guilbert.
"Thou hast tarried long," he said; "I have been as if stretched
on red-hot iron with very impatience. What if the Grand Master,
or his spy Conrade, had come hither? I had paid dear for my
complaisance.---But what ails thee, brother?---Thy step totters,
thy brow is as black as night. Art thou well, Bois-Guilbert?"
"Ay," answered the Templar, "as well as the wretch who is doomed
to die within an hour.---Nay, by the rood, not half so well---for
there be those in such state, who can lay down life like a
cast-off garment. By Heaven, Malvoisin, yonder girl hath
well-nigh unmanned me. I am half resolved to go to the Grand
Master, abjure the Order to his very teeth, and refuse to act the
brutality which his tyranny has imposed on me."
"Thou art mad," answered Malvoisin; "thou mayst thus indeed
utterly ruin thyself, but canst not even find a chance thereby to
save the life of this Jewess, which seems so precious in thine
eyes. Beaumanoir will name another of the Order to defend his
judgment in thy place, and the accused will as assuredly perish
as if thou hadst taken the duty imposed on thee."
"'Tis false---I will myself take arms in her behalf," answered
the Templar, haughtily; "and, should I do so, I think, Malvoisin,
that thou knowest not one of the Order, who will keep his saddle
before the point of my lance."
"Ay, but thou forgettest," said the wily adviser, "thou wilt have
neither leisure nor opportunity to execute this mad project. Go
to Lucas Beaumanoir, and say thou hast renounced thy vow of
obedience, and see how long the despotic old man will leave thee
in personal freedom. The words shall scarce have left thy lips,
ere thou wilt either be an hundred feet under ground, in the
dungeon of the Preceptory, to abide trial as a recreant knight;
or, if his opinion holds concerning thy possession, thou wilt be
enjoying straw, darkness, and chains, in some distant convent
cell, stunned with exorcisms, and drenched with holy water, to
expel the foul fiend which hath obtained dominion over thee.
Thou must to the lists, Brian, or thou art a lost and dishonoured
"I will break forth and fly," said Bois-Guilbert---"fly to some
distant land, to which folly and fanaticism have not yet found
their way. No drop of the blood of this most excellent creature
shall be spilled by my sanction."
"Thou canst not fly," said the Preceptor; "thy ravings have
excited suspicion, and thou wilt not be permitted to leave the
Preceptory. Go and make the essay---present thyself before the
gate, and command the bridge to be lowered, and mark what answer
thou shalt receive.---Thou are surprised and offended; but is it
not the better for thee? Wert thou to fly, what would ensue but
the reversal of thy arms, the dishonour of thine ancestry, the
degradation of thy rank?---Think on it. Where shall thine old
companions in arms hide their heads when Brian de Bois-Guilbert,
the best lance of the Templars, is proclaimed recreant, amid the
hisses of the assembled people? What grief will be at the Court
of France! With what joy will the haughty Richard hear the news,
that the knight that set him hard in Palestine, and well-nigh
darkened his renown, has lost fame and honour for a Jewish girl,
whom he could not even save by so costly a sacrifice!"
"Malvoisin," said the Knight, "I thank thee---thou hast touched
the string at which my heart most readily thrills!---Come of it
what may, recreant shall never be added to the name of
Bois-Guilbert. Would to God, Richard, or any of his vaunting
minions of England, would appear in these lists! But they will
be empty---no one will risk to break a lance for the innocent,
"The better for thee, if it prove so," said the Preceptor; "if no
champion appears, it is not by thy means that this unlucky damsel
shall die, but by the doom of the Grand Master, with whom rests
all the blame, and who will count that blame for praise and
"True," said Bois-Guilbert; "if no champion appears, I am but a
part of the pageant, sitting indeed on horseback in the lists,
but having no part in what is to follow."
"None whatever," said Malvoisin; "no more than the armed image of
Saint George when it makes part of a procession."
"Well, I will resume my resolution," replied the haughty Templar.
"She has despised me---repulsed me---reviled me---And wherefore
should I offer up for her whatever of estimation I have in the
opinion of others? Malvoisin, I will appear in the lists."
He left the apartment hastily as he uttered these words, and the
Preceptor followed, to watch and confirm him in his resolution;
for in Bois-Guilbert's fame he had himself a strong interest,
expecting much advantage from his being one day at the head of
the Order, not to mention the preferment of which Mont-Fitchet
had given him hopes, on condition he would forward the
condemnation of the unfortunate Rebecca. Yet although, in
combating his friend's better feelings, he possessed all the
advantage which a wily, composed, selfish disposition has over a
man agitated by strong and contending passions, it required all
Malvoisin's art to keep Bois-Guilbert steady to the purpose he
had prevailed on him to adopt. He was obliged to watch him
closely to prevent his resuming his purpose of flight, to
intercept his communication with the Grand Master, lest he should
come to an open rupture with his Superior, and to renew, from
time to time, the various arguments by which he endeavoured to
show, that, in appearing as champion on this occasion,
Bois-Guilbert, without either accelerating or ensuring the fate
of Rebecca, would follow the only course by which he could save
himself from degradation and disgrace.