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Nathan the Wise
by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
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SALADIN.

Well, and the judge, I'm eager now to hear What thou wilt make him say. Go on, go on.

NATHAN.

The judge said, If ye summon not the father Before my seat, I cannot give a sentence. Am I to guess enigmas? Or expect ye That the true ring should here unseal its lips? But hold—you tell me that the real ring Enjoys the hidden power to make the wearer Of God and man beloved; let that decide. Which of you do two brothers love the best? You're silent. Do these love-exciting rings Act inward only, not without? Does each Love but himself? Ye're all deceived deceivers, None of your rings is true. The real ring Perhaps is gone. To hide or to supply Its loss, your father ordered three for one.

SALADIN.

O charming, charming!

NATHAN.

And (the judge continued) If you will take advice in lieu of sentence, This is my counsel to you, to take up The matter where it stands. If each of you Has had a ring presented by his father, Let each believe his own the real ring. 'Tis possible the father chose no longer To tolerate the one ring's tyranny; And certainly, as he much loved you all, And loved you all alike, it could not please him By favouring one to be of two the oppressor. Let each feel honoured by this free affection. Unwarped of prejudice; let each endeavour To vie with both his brothers in displaying The virtue of his ring; assist its might With gentleness, benevolence, forbearance, With inward resignation to the godhead, And if the virtues of the ring continue To show themselves among your children's children, After a thousand thousand years, appear Before this judgment-seat—a greater one Than I shall sit upon it, and decide. So spake the modest judge.

SALADIN.

God!

NATHAN.

Saladin, Feel'st thou thyself this wiser, promised man?

SALADIN.

I dust, I nothing, God!

[Precipitates himself upon Nathan, and takes hold of his hand, which he does not quit the remainder of the scene.]

NATHAN.

What moves thee, Sultan?

SALADIN.

Nathan, my dearest Nathan, 'tis not yet The judge's thousand thousand years are past, His judgment-seat's not mine. Go, go, but love me.

NATHAN.

Has Saladin then nothing else to order?

SALADIN.

No.

NATHAN.

Nothing?

SALADIN.

Nothing in the least, and wherefore?

NATHAN.

I could have wished an opportunity To lay a prayer before you.

SALADIN.

Is there need Of opportunity for that? Speak freely.

NATHAN.

I come from a long journey from collecting Debts, and I've almost of hard cash too much; The times look perilous—I know not where To lodge it safely—I was thinking thou, For coming wars require large sums, couldst use it.

SALADIN (fixing Nathan).

Nathan, I ask not if thou sawst Al-Hafi, I'll not examine if some shrewd suspicion Spurs thee to make this offer of thyself.

NATHAN.

Suspicion -

SALADIN.

I deserve this offer. Pardon, For what avails concealment, I acknowledge I was about -

NATHAN.

To ask the same of me?

SALADIN.

Yes.

NATHAN.

Then 'tis well we're both accommodated. That I can't send thee all I have of treasure Arises from the templar; thou must know him, I have a weighty debt to pay to him.

SALADIN.

A templar! How, thou dost not with thy gold Support my direst foes.

NATHAN.

I speak of him Whose life the sultan -

SALADIN.

What art thou recalling? I had forgot the youth, whence is he, knowest thou?

NATHAN.

Hast thou not heard then how thy clemency To him has fallen on me. He at the risk Of his new-spared existence, from the flames Rescued my daughter.

SALADIN.

Ha! Has he done that; He looked like one that would—my brother too, Whom he's so like, bad done it. Is he here still? Bring him to me—I have so often talked To Sittah of this brother, whom she knew not, That I must let her see his counterfeit. Go fetch him. How a single worthy action, Though but of whim or passion born, gives rise To other blessings! Fetch him.

NATHAN.

In an instant. The rest remains as settled.

SALADIN.

O, I wish I had let my sister listen. Well, I'll to her. How shall I make her privy to all this?

SCENE.—The Place of Palms.

[The TEMPLAR walking and agitated.]

TEMPLAR.

Here let the weary victim pant awhile. - Yet would I not have time to ascertain What passes in me; would not snuff beforehand The coming storm. 'Tis sure I fled in vain; But more than fly I could not do, whatever Comes of it. Ah! to ward it off—the blow Was given so suddenly. Long, much, I strove To keep aloof; but vainly. Once to see her - Her, whom I surely did not court the sight of, To see her, and to form the resolution, Never to lose sight of her here again, Was one—The resolution?—Not 'tis will, Fixt purpose, made (for I was passive in it) Sealed, doomed. To see her, and to feel myself Bound to her, wove into her very being, Was one—remains one. Separate from her To live is quite unthinkable—is death. And wheresoever after death we be, There too the thought were death. And is this love? Yet so in troth the templar loves—so—so - The Christian loves the Jewess. What of that? Here in this holy land, and therefore holy And dear to me, I have already doffed Some prejudices.—Well—what says my vow? As templar I am dead, was dead to that From the same hour which made me prisoner To Saladin. But is the head he gave me My old one? No. It knows no word of what Was prated into yon, of what had bound it. It is a better; for its patrial sky Fitter than yon. I feel—I'm conscious of it, With this I now begin to think, as here My father must have thought; if tales of him Have not been told untruly. Tales—why tales? They're credible—more credible than ever - Now that I'm on the brink of stumbling, where He fell. He fell? I'd rather fall with men, Than stand with children. His example pledges His approbation, and whose approbation Have I else need of? Nathan's? Surely of his Encouragement, applause, I've little need To doubt—O what a Jew is he! yet easy To pass for the mere Jew. He's coming—swiftly - And looks delighted—who leaves Saladin With other looks? Hoa, Nathan!

NATHAN and TEMPLAR.

NATHAN.

Are you there?

TEMPLAR.

Your visit to the sultan has been long.

NATHAN.

Not very long; my going was indeed Too much delayed. Troth, Conrade, this man's fame Outstrips him not. His fame is but his shadow. But before all I have to tell you -

TEMPLAR.

What?

NATHAN.

That he would speak with you, and that directly. First to my house, where I would give some orders, Then we'll together to the sultan.

TEMPLAR.

Nathan, I enter not thy doors again before -

NATHAN.

Then you've been there this while—have spoken with her. How do you like my Recha?

TEMPLAR.

Words cannot tell - Gaze on her once again—I never will - Never—no never: unless thou wilt promise That I for ever, ever, may behold her.

NATHAN.

How should I take this?

TEMPLAR (falling suddenly upon his neck).

Nathan—O my father!

NATHAN.

Young man!

TEMPLAR (quitting him as suddenly).

Not son?—I pray thee, Nathan—ha!

NATHAN.

Thou dear young man!

TEMPLAR.

Not son?—I pray thee, Nathan, Conjure thee by the strongest bonds of nature, Prefer not those of later date, the weaker. - Be it enough to thee to be a man! Push me not from thee!

NATHAN.

Dearest, dearest friend! -

TEMPLAR.

Not son? Not son? Not even—even if Thy daughter's gratitude had in her bosom Prepared the way for love—not even if Both wait thy nod alone to be but one? - You do not speak?

NATHAN.

Young knight, you have surprised me.

TEMPLAR.

Do I surprise thee—thus surprise thee, Nathan, With thy own thought? Canst thou not in my mouth Know it again? Do I surprise you?

NATHAN.

Ere I know, which of the Stauffens was your father?

TEMPLAR.

What say you, Nathan?—And in such a moment Is curiosity your only feeling?

NATHAN.

For see, once I myself well knew a Stauffen, Whose name was Conrade.

TEMPLAR.

Well, and if my father Was bearer of that name?

NATHAN.

Indeed?

TEMPLAR.

My name Is from my father's, Conrade.

NATHAN.

Then thy father Was not my Conrade. He was, like thyself, A templar, never wedded.

TEMPLAR.

For all that -

NATHAN.

How?

TEMPLAR.

For all that he may have been my father.

NATHAN.

You joke.

TEMPLAR.

And you are captious. Boots it then To be true-born? Does bastard wound thine ear? The race is not to be despised: but hold, Spare me my pedigree; I'll spare thee thine. Not that I doubt thy genealogic tree. O, God forbid! You may attest it all As far as Abraham back; and backwarder I know it to my heart—I'll swear to it also.

NATHAN.

Knight, you grow bitter. Do I merit this? Have I refused you ought? I've but forborne To close with you at the first word—no more.

TEMPLAR.

Indeed—no more? O then forgive -

NATHAN.

'Tis well. Do but come with me.

TEMPLAR.

Whither? To thy house? No? there not—there not: 'tis a burning soil. Here I await thee, go. Am I again To see her, I shall see her times enough: If not I have already gazed too much.

NATHAN.

I'll try to be soon back. [Goes.

TEMPLAR.

Too much indeed— Strange that the human brain, so infinite Of comprehension, yet at times will fill Quite full, and all at once, of a mere trifle - No matter what it teems with. Patience! Patience! The soul soon calms again, th' upboiling stuff Makes itself room and brings back light and order. Is this then the first time I love? Or was What by that name I knew before, not love - And this, this love alone that now I feel?

DAYA and TEMPLAR.

DAYA.

Sir knight, sir knight.

TEMPLAR.

Who calls? ha, Daya, you?

DAYA.

I managed to slip by him. No, come here (He'll see us where you stand) behind this tree.

TEMPLAR.

Why so mysterious? What's the matter, Daya?

DAYA.

Yes, 'tis a secret that has brought me to you A twofold secret. One I only know, The other only you. Let's interchange, Intrust yours first to me, then I'll tell mine.

TEMPLAR.

With pleasure when I'm able to discover What you call me. But that yours will explain. Begin -

DAYA.

That is not fair, yours first, sir knight; For be assured my secret serves you not Unless I have yours first. If I sift it out You'll not have trusted me, and then my secret Is still my own, and yours lost all for nothing. But, knight, how can you men so fondly fancy You ever hide such secrets from us women.

TEMPLAR.

Secrets we often are unconscious of.

DAYA.

May be—So then I must at last be friendly, And break it to you. Tell me now, whence came it That all at once you started up abruptly And in the twinkling of an eye were fled? That you left us without one civil speech! That you return no more with Nathan to us - Has Recha then made such a slight impression, Or made so deep a one? I penetrate you. Think you that on a limed twig the poor bird Can flutter cheerfully, or hop at ease With its wing pinioned? Come, come, in one word Acknowledge to me plainly that you love her, Love her to madness, and I'll tell you what.

TEMPLAR.

To madness, oh, you're very penetrating.

DAYA.

Grant me the love, and I'll give up the madness.

TEMPLAR.

Because that must be understood of course - A templar love a Jewess -

DAYA.

Seems absurd, But often there's more fitness in a thing Than we at once discern; nor were this time The first, when through an unexpected path The Saviour drew his children on to him Across the tangled maze of human life.

TEMPLAR.

So solemn that—(and yet if in the stead Of Saviour, I were to say Providence, It would sound true) you make me curious, Daya, Which I'm unwont to be.

DAYA.

This is the place For miracles

TEMPLAR.

For wonders—well and good - Can it be otherwise, where the whole world Presses as toward a centre. My dear Daya, Consider what you asked of me as owned; That I do love her—that I can't imagine How I should live without her—that

DAYA.

Indeed! Then, knight, swear to me you will call her yours, Make both her present and eternal welfare.

TEMPLAR.

And how, how can I, can I swear to do What is not in my power?

DAYA.

'Tis in your power, A single word will put it in your power.

TEMPLAR.

So that her father shall not be against it.

DAYA.

Her father—father? he shall be compelled.

TEMPLAR.

As yet he is not fallen among thieves— Compelled?

DAYA.

Aye to be willing that you should.

TEMPLAR.

Compelled and willing—what if I inform thee That I have tried to touch this string already, It vibrates not responsive.

DAYA.

He refused thee?

TEMPLAR.

He answered in a tone of such discordance That I was hurt.

DAYA.

What do you say? How, you Betrayed the shadow of a wish for Recha, And he did not spring up for joy, drew back, Drew coldly back, made difficulties?

TEMPLAR.

Almost.

DAYA.

Well then I'll not deliberate a moment.

TEMPLAR.

And yet you are deliberating still.

DAYA.

That man was always else so good, so kind, I am so deeply in his debt. Why, why Would he not listen to you? God's my witness That my heart bleeds to come about him thus.

TEMPLAR.

I pray you, Daya, once for all, to end This dire uncertainty. But if you doubt Whether what 'tis your purpose to reveal Be right or wrong, be praiseworthy or shameful, Speak not—I will forget that you have had Something to hide.

DAYA.

That spurs me on still more. Then learn that Recha is no Jewess, that She is a Christian.

TEMPLAR.

I congratulate you, 'Twas a hard labour, but 'tis out at last; The pangs of the delivery won't hurt you. Go on with undiminished zeal, and people Heaven, when no longer fit to people earth.

DAYA.

How, knight, does my intelligence deserve Such bitter scorn? That Recha is a Christian On you a Christian templar, and her lover, Confers no joy.

TEMPLAR.

Particularly as She is a Christian of your making, Daya.

DAYA.

O, so you understand it—well and good - I wish to find out him that might convert her. It is her fate long since to have been that Which she is spoiled for being.

TEMPLAR.

Do explain - Or go.

DAYA.

She is a Christian child—of Christian Parents was born and is baptised.

TEMPLAR (hastily).

And Nathan -

DAYA.

Is not her father.

TEMPLAR.

Nathan not her father - And are you sure of what you say?

DAYA.

I am, It is a truth has cost me tears of blood. No, he is not her father.

TEMPLAR.

And has only Brought her up as his daughter, educated The Christian child a Jewess.

DAYA.

Certainly.

TEMPLAR.

And she is unacquainted with her birth? Has never learnt from him that she was born A Christian, and no Jewess?

DAYA.

Never yet.

TEMPLAR.

And he not only let the child grow up In this mistaken notion, but still leaves The woman in it.

DAYA.

Aye, alas!

TEMPLAR.

How, Nathan, The wise good Nathan thus allow himself To stifle nature's voice? Thus to misguide Upon himself th' effusions of a heart Which to itself abandoned would have formed Another bias, Daya—yes, indeed You have intrusted an important secret That may have consequences—it confounds me, I cannot tell what I've to do at present, Therefore go, give me time, he may come by And may surprise us.

DAYA.

I should drop for fright.

TEMPLAR.

I am not able now to talk, farewell; And if you chance to meet him, only say That we shall find each other at the sultan's.

DAYA.

Let him not see you've any grudge against him. That should be kept to give the proper impulse To things at last, and may remove your scruples Respecting Recha. But then, if you take her Back with you into Europe, let not me Be left behind.

TEMPLAR.

That we'll soon settle, go.



ACT IV.



SCENE.—The Cloister of a Convent. The FRIAR alone.

FRIAR.

Aye—aye—he's very right—the patriarch is - In fact of all that he has sent me after Not much turns out his way—Why put on me Such business and no other? I don't care To coax and wheedle, and to run my nose Into all sorts of things, and have a hand In all that's going forward. I did not Renounce the world, for my own part, in order To be entangled with 't for other people.

FRIAR and TEMPLAR.

TEMPLAR (abruptly entering).

Good brother, are you there? I've sought you long.

FRIAR.

Me, sir?

TEMPLAR.

What, don't you recollect me?

FRIAR.

Oh, I thought I never in my life was likely To see you any more. For so I hoped In God. I did not vastly relish the proposal That I was bound to make you. Yes, God knows, How little I desired to find a hearing, Knows I was inly glad when you refused Without a moment's thought, what of a knight Would be unworthy. Are your second thoughts -

TEMPLAR.

So, you already know my purpose, I Scarce know myself.

FRIAR.

Have you by this reflected That our good patriarch is not so much out, That gold and fame in plenty may be got By his commission, that a foe's a foe Were he our guardian angel seven times over. Have you weighed this 'gainst flesh and blood, and come To strike the bargain he proposed. Ah, God.

TEMPLAR.

My dear good man, set your poor heart at ease. Not therefore am I come, not therefore wish To see the patriarch in person. Still On the first point I think as I then thought, Nor would I for aught in the world exchange That good opinion, which I once obtained From such a worthy upright man as thou art, I come to ask your patriarch's advice -

FRIAR (looking round with timidity).

Our patriarch's—you? a knight ask priest's advice?

TEMPLAR.

Mine is a priestly business.

FRIAR.

Yet the priests Ask not the knights' advice, be their affair Ever so knightly.

TEMPLAR.

Therefore one allows them To overshoot themselves, a privilege Which such as I don't vastly envy them. Indeed if I were acting for myself, Had not t' account with others, I should care But little for his counsel. But some things I'd rather do amiss by others' guidance Than by my own aright. And then by this time I see religion too is party, and He, who believes himself the most impartial, Does but uphold the standard of his own, Howe'er unconsciously. And since 'tis so, So must be well.

FRIAR.

I rather shall not answer, For I don't understand exactly.

TEMPLAR.

Yet Let me consider what it is precisely That I have need of, counsel or decision, Simple or learned counsel.—Thank you, brother, I thank you for your hint—A patriarch—why? Be thou my patriarch; for 'tis the plain Christian, Whom in the patriarch I have to consult, And not the patriarch in the Christian.

FRIAR.

Oh, I beg no further—you must quite mistake me; He that knows much hath learnt much care, and I Devoted me to only one. 'Tis well, Most luckily here comes the very man, Wait here, stand still—he has perceived you, knight.

TEMPLAR.

I'd rather shun him, he is not my man. A thick red smiling prelate—and as stately -

FRIAR.

But you should see him on a gala-day; He only comes from visiting the sick.

TEMPLAR.

Great Saladin must then be put to shame.

[The Patriarch, after marching up one of the aisles in great pomp, draws near, and makes signs to the Friar, who approaches him.]

PATRIARCH, FRIAR, and TEMPLAR.

PATRIARCH.

Hither—was that the templar? What wants he?

FRIAR.

I know not.

PATRIARCH (approaches the templar, while the friar and the rest of his train draw back).

So, sir knight, I'm truly happy To meet the brave young man—so very young too - Something, God helping, may come of him.

TEMPLAR.

More Than is already hardly will come of him, But less, my reverend father, that may chance.

PATRIARCH.

It is my prayer at least a knight so pious May for the cause of Christendom and God Long be preserved; nor can that fail, so be Young valour will lend ear to aged counsel. With what can I be useful any way?

TEMPLAR.

With that which my youth is without, with counsel.

PATRIARCH.

Most willingly, but counsel should be followed.

TEMPLAR.

Surely not blindly?

PATRIARCH.

Who says that? Indeed None should omit to make use of the reason Given him by God, in things where it belongs, But it belongs not everywhere; for instance, If God, by some one of his blessed angels, Or other holy minister of his word, Deign'd to make known a mean, by which the welfare Of Christendom, or of his holy church, In some peculiar and especial manner Might be promoted or secured, who then Shall venture to rise up, and try by reason The will of him who has created reason, Measure th' eternal laws of heaven by The little rules of a vain human honour? - But of all this enough. What is it then On which our counsel is desired?

TEMPLAR.

Suppose, My reverend father, that a Jew possessed An only child, a girl we'll say, whom he With fond attention forms to every virtue, And loves more than his very soul; a child Who by her pious love requites his goodness. And now suppose it whispered—say to me - This girl is not the daughter of the Jew, He picked up, purchased, stole her in her childhood - That she was born of Christians and baptised, But that the Jew hath reared her as a Jewess, Allows her to remain a Jewess, and To think herself his daughter. Reverend father What then ought to be done?

PATRIARCH.

I shudder! But First will you please explain if such a case Be fact, or only an hypothesis? That is to say, if you, of your own head, Invent the case, or if indeed it happened, And still continues happening?

TEMPLAR.

I had thought That just to learn your reverence's opinion This were all one.

PATRIARCH.

All one—now see how apt Proud human reason is in spiritual things To err: 'tis not all one; for, if the point In question be a mere sport of the wit, 'Twill not be worth our while to think it through But I should recommend the curious person To theatres, where oft, with loud applause, Such pro and contras have been agitated. But if the object should be something more Than by a school-trick—by a sleight of logic To get the better of me—if the case Be really extant, if it should have happened Within our diocese, or—or perhaps Here in our dear Jerusalem itself, Why then -

TEMPLAR.

What then?

PATRIARCH.

Then were it proper To execute at once upon the Jew The penal laws in such a case provided By papal and imperial right, against So foul a crime—such dire abomination.

TEMPLAR.

So.

PATRIARCH.

And the laws forementioned have decreed, That if a Jew shall to apostacy Seduce a Christian, he shall die by fire.

TEMPLAR.

So.

PATRIARCH.

How much more the Jew, who forcibly Tears from the holy font a Christian child, And breaks the sacramental bond of baptism; For all what's done to children is by force - I mean except what the church does to children.

TEMPLAR.

What if the child, but for this fostering Jew, Must have expired in misery?

PATRIARCH.

That's nothing, The Jew has still deserved the faggot—for 'Twere better it here died in misery Than for eternal woe to live. Besides, Why should the Jew forestall the hand of God? God, if he wills to save, can save without him.

TEMPLAR.

And spite of him too save eternally.

PATRIARCH.

That's nothing! Still the Jew is to be burnt.

TEMPLAR.

That hurts me—more particularly as 'Tis said he has not so much taught the maid His faith, as brought her up with the mere knowledge Of what our reason teaches about God.

PATRIARCH.

That's nothing! Still the Jew is to be burnt - And for this very reason would deserve To be thrice burnt. How, let a child grow up Without a faith? Not even teach a child The greatest of its duties, to believe? 'Tis heinous! I am quite astonished, knight, That you yourself -

TEMPLAR.

The rest, right reverend sir, In the confessional, but not before. [Offers to go.

PATRIARCH.

What off—not stay for my interrogation - Not name to me this infidel, this Jew - Not find him up for me at once? But hold, A thought occurs, I'll straightway to the sultan Conformably to the capitulation, Which Saladin has sworn, he must support us In all the privileges, all the doctrines Which appertain to our most holy faith, Thank God, we've the original in keeping, We have his hand and seal to it—we - And I shall lead him easily to think How very dangerous for the state it is Not to believe. All civic bonds divide, Like flax fire-touched, where subjects don't believe. Away with foul impiety!

TEMPLAR.

It happens Somewhat unlucky that I want the leisure To enjoy this holy sermon. I am sent for To Saladin.

PATRIARCH.

Why then—indeed—if so -

TEMPLAR.

And will prepare the sultan, if agreeable. For your right reverend visit.

PATRIARCH.

I have heard That you found favour in the sultan's sight, I beg with all humility to be Remembered to him. I am purely motived By zeal in th' cause of God. What of too much I do, I do for him—weigh that in goodness. 'Twas then, most noble sir—what you were starting About the Jew—a problem merely!

TEMPLAR

Problem! [Goes.

PATRIARCH.

Of whose foundation I'll have nearer knowledge. Another job for brother Bonafides. Hither, my son!

[Converses with the Friar as he walks off.

SCENE—A Room in the Palace.

[SLAVES bring in a number of purses and pile them on the floor. SALADIN is present.]

SALADIN.

In troth this has no end. And is there much Of this same thing behind?

SLAVE.

About one half.

SALADIN.

Then take the rest to Sittah. Where's Al-Hafi? What's here Al-Hafi shall take charge of straight. Or shan't I rather send it to my father; Here it slips through one's fingers. Sure in time One may grow callous; it shall now cost labour To come at much from me—at least until The treasures come from AEgypt, poverty Must shift as 't can—yet at the sepulchre The charges must go on—the Christian pilgrims Shall not go back without an alms.

SALADIN and SITTAH.

SITTAH (entering).

Why this? Wherefore the gold to me?

SALADIN.

Pay thyself with it, And if there's something left 'twill be in store. Are Nathan and the templar not yet come?

SITTAH.

He has been seeking for him everywhere - Look what I met with when the plate and jewels Were passing through my hands - [Showing a small portrait.

SALADIN.

Ha! What, my brother? 'Tis he, 'tis he, WAS he, WAS he alas! Thou dear brave youth, and lost to me so early; What would I not with thee and at thy side Have undertaken? Let me have the portrait, I recollect it now again; he gave it Unto thy elder sister, to his Lilah, That morning that she would not part with him, But clasped him so in tears. It was the last Morning that he rode out; and I—I let him Ride unattended. Lilah died for grief, And never could forgive me that I let him Then ride alone. He came not back.

SITTAH.

Poor brother -

SALADIN.

Time shall be when none of us will come back, And then who knows? It is not death alone That balks the hopes of young men of his cast, Such have far other foes, and oftentimes The strongest like the weakest is o'ercome. Be as it may—I must compare this picture With our young templar, to observe how much My fancy cheated me.

SITTAH.

I therefore brought it; But give it me, I'll tell thee if 'tis like. We women see that best.

SALADIN (to a slave at the door).

Ah, who is there? The templar? let him come.

SITTAH (throws herself on a sofa apart and drops her veil).

Not to interfere, Or with my curiosity disturb you.

SALADIN.

That's right. And then his voice, will that be like? The tone of Assad's voice, sleeps somewhere yet - So -

TEMPLAR and SALADIN.

TEMPLAR.

I thy prisoner, sultan,

SALADIN.

Thou my prisoner - And shall I not to him whose life I gave Also give freedom?

TEMPLAR.

What 'twere worthy thine To do, it is my part to hear of thee, And not to take for granted. But, O Sultan, To lay loud protestations at thy feet Of gratitude for a life spared, agrees Not with my station or my character. At all times, 'tis once more, prince, at thy service.

SALADIN.

Only forbear to use it against me. Not that I grudge my enemy one pair more Of hands—but such a heart, it goes against me To yield him. I have been deceived with thee, Thou brave young man, in nothing. Yes, thou art In soul and body Assad. I could ask thee, Where then hast thou been lurking all this time? Or in what cavern slept? What Ginnistan Chose some kind Perie for thy hiding-place, That she might ever keep the flower thus fresh? Methinks I could remind thee here and yonder Of what we did together—could abuse thee For having had one secret, e'en to me - Cheat me of one adventure—yes, I could, If I saw thee alone, and not myself. Thanks that so much of this fond sweet illusion At least is true, that in my sear of life An Assad blossoms for me. Thou art willing?

TEMPLAR.

All that from thee comes to me, whatsoever It chance to prove, lies as a wish already Within my soul.

SALADIN.

We'll try the experiment. Wilt thou stay with me? dwell about me? boots not As Mussulman or Christian, in a turban Or a white mantle—I have never wished To see the same bark grow about all trees.

TEMPLAR.

Else, Saladin, thou hardly hadst become The hero that thou art, alike to all The gardener of the Lord.

SALADIN.

If thou think not The worse of me for this, we're half right.

TEMPLAR.

Quite so. One word.

SALADIN (holds out his hand).

TEMPLAR (takes it).

One man—and with this receive more Than thou canst take away again—thine wholly.

SALADIN.

'Tis for one day too great a gain—too great. Came he not with thee?

TEMPLAR.

Who?

SALADIN.

Who? Nathan.

TEMPLAR (coldly).

No, I came alone.

SALADIN.

O, what a deed of thine! And what a happiness, a blessing to thee, That such a deed was serving such a man.

TEMPLAR.

Yes, yes.

SALADIN.

So cold—no, my young friend—when God Does through our means a service, we ought not To be so cold, not out of modesty Wish to appear so cold.

TEMPLAR.

In this same world All things have many sides, and 'tis not easy To comprehend how they can fit each other.

SALADIN.

Cling ever to the best—Give praise to God, Who knows how they can fit. But, my young man, If thou wilt be so difficult, I must Be very cautious with thee, for I too Have many sides, and some of them perhaps Such as mayn't always seem to fit.

TEMPLAR.

That wounds me; Suspicion usually is not my failing.

SALADIN.

Say then of whom thou harbour'st it, of Nathan? So should thy talk imply—canst thou suspect him? Give me the first proof of thy confidence.

TEMPLAR.

I've nothing against Nathan, I am angry With myself only.

SALADIN.

And for what?

TEMPLAR.

For dreaming That any Jew could learn to be no Jew - For dreaming it awake.

SALADIN.

Out with this dream.

TEMPLAR.

Thou know'st of Nathan's daughter, sultan. What I did for her I did—because I did it; Too proud to reap thanks which I had not sown for, I shunned from day to day her very sight. The father was far off. He comes, he hears, He seeks me, thanks me, wishes that his daughter May please me; talks to me of dawning prospects - I listen to his prate, go, see, and find A girl indeed. O, sultan, I am ashamed -

SALADIN.

A shamed that a Jew girl knew how to make Impression on thee, surely not.

TEMPLAR.

But that To this impression my rash yielding heart, Trusting the smoothness of the father's prate, Opposed no more resistance. Fool—I sprang A second time into the flame, and then I wooed, and was denied.

SALADIN.

Denied! Denied!

TEMPLAR.

The prudent father does not flatly say No to my wishes, but the prudent father Must first inquire, and look about, and think. Oh, by all means. Did not I do the same? Did not I look about and ask who 'twas While she was shrieking in the flame? Indeed, By God, 'tis something beautifully wise To be so circumspect.

SALADIN.

Come, come, forgive Something to age. His lingerings cannot last. He is not going to require of thee First to turn Jew.

TEMPLAR.

Who knows?

SALADIN.

Who? I, who know This Nathan better.

TEMPLAR.

Yet the superstition In which we have grown up, not therefore loses When we detect it, all its influence on us. Not all are free that can bemock their fetters.

SALADIN.

Maturely said—but Nathan, surely Nathan -

TEMPLAR.

The worst of superstitions is to think One's own most bearable.

SALADIN.

May be, but Nathan -

TEMPLAR.

Must Nathan be the mortal, who unshrinking Can face the moon-tide ray of truth, nor there Betray the twilight dungeon which he crawled from.

SALADIN.

Yes, Nathan is that man.

TEMPLAR.

I thought so too, But what if this picked man, this chosen sage, Were such a thorough Jew that he seeks out For Christian children to bring up as Jews - How then?

SALADIN.

Who says this of him?

TEMPLAR.

E'en the maid With whom he frets me—with the hope of whom He seemed to joy in paying me the service, Which he would not allow me to do gratis - This very maid is not his daughter—no, She is a kidnapped Christian child.

SALADIN.

Whom he Has, notwithstanding, to thy wish refused?

TEMPLAR (with vehemence).

Refused or not, I know him now. There lies The prating tolerationist unmasked - And I'll halloo upon this Jewish wolf, For all his philosophical sheep's clothing, Dogs that shall touze his hide.

SALADIN (earnestly.)

Peace, Christian!

TEMPLAR.

What! Peace, Christian—and may Jew and Mussulman Stickle for being Jew and Mussulman, And must the Christian only drop the Christian?

SALADIN (more solemnly).

Peace, Christian!

TEMPLAR (calmly.)

Yes, I feel what weight of blame Lies in that word of thine pent up. O that I knew how Assad in my place would act.

SALADIN.

He—not much better, probably as fiery. Who has already taught thee thus at once Like him to bribe me with a single word? Indeed, if all has past as thou narratest, I scarcely can discover Nathan in it. But Nathan is my friend, and of my friends One must not bicker with the other. Bend - And be directed. Move with caution. Do not Loose on him the fanatics of thy sect. Conceal what all thy clergy would be claiming My hand to avenge upon him, with more show Of right than is my wish. Be not from spite To any Jew or Mussulman a Christian.

TEMPLAR.

Thy counsel is but on the brink of coming Somewhat too late, thanks to the patriarch's Bloodthirsty rage, whose instrument I shudder To have almost become.

SALADIN.

How! how! thou wentest Still earlier to the patriarch than to me?

TEMPLAR.

Yes, in the storm of passion, in the eddy Of indecision—pardon—oh! thou wilt No longer care, I fear, to find in me One feature of thy Assad.

SALADIN.

Yes, that fear. Methinks I know by this time from what failings Our virtue springs—this do thou cultivate, Those shall but little harm thee in my sight. But go, seek Nathan, as he sought for thee, And bring him hither: I must reconcile you. If thou art serious about the maid - Be calm, she shall be thine—Nathan shall feel That without swine's flesh one may educate A Christian child, Go. [Templar withdraws.

SITTAH (rising from the sofa).

Very strange indeed!

SALADIN.

Well, Sittah, must my Assad not have been A gallant handsome youth?

SITTAH.

If he was thus, And 'twasn't the templar who sat to the painter. But how couldst thou be so forgetful, brother, As not to ask about his parents?

SALADIN.

And Particularly too about his mother. Whether his mother e'er was in this country, That is your meaning, isn't it?

SITTAH.

You run on -

SALADIN.

Oh, nothing is more possible, for Assad 'Mong handsome Christian ladies was so welcome, To handsome Christian ladies so attached, That once a report spread—but 'tis not pleasant To bring that up. Let us be satisfied That we have got him once again—have got him With all the faults and freaks, the starts and wildness Of his warm gentle heart—Oh, Nathan must Give him the maid—Dost think so?

SITTAH.

Give—give up!

SALADIN.

Aye, for what right has Nathan with the girl If he be not her father? He who saved Her life so lately has a stronger claim To heir their rights who gave it her at first.

SITTAH.

What therefore, Saladin, if you withdraw The maid at once from the unrightful owner?

SALADIN,

There is no need of that.

SITTAH.

Need, not precisely; But female curiosity inspires Me with that counsel. There are certain men Of whom one is irresistibly impatient To know what women they can be in love with.

SALADIN.

Well then you may send for her.

SITTAH.

May I, brother?

SALADIN.

But hurt not Nathan, he must not imagine That we propose by violence to part them.

SITTAH.

Be without apprehension.

SALADIN.

Fare you well, I must make out where this Al-Hafi is.

SCENE.—The Hall in Nathan's House, as in the first scene; the things there mentioned unpacked and displayed.

DAYA and NATHAN.

DAYA.

O how magnificent, how tasty, charming - All such as only you could give—and where Was this thin silver stuff with sprigs of gold Woven? What might it cost? Yes, this is worthy To be a wedding-garment. Not a queen Could wish a handsomer.

NATHAN.

Why wedding-garment?

DAYA.

Perhaps of that you thought not when you bought it; But Nathan, it must be so, must indeed. It seems made for a bride—the pure white ground, Emblem of innocence—the branching gold, Emblem of wealth—Now is not it delightful?

NATHAN.

What's all this ingenuity of speech for? Over whose wedding-gown are you displaying Your emblematic learning? Have you found A bridegroom?

DAYA.

I -

NATHAN.

Who then?

DAYA.

I—Gracious God!

NATHAN.

Who then? Whose wedding-garment do you speak of? For this is all your own and no one's else.

DAYA.

Mine—is't for me and not for Recha?

NATHAN.

What I brought for Recha is in another bale. Come, clear it off: away with all your rubbish.

DAYA.

You tempter—No—Were they the precious things Of the whole universe, I will not touch them Until you promise me to seize upon Such an occasion as heaven gives not twice.

NATHAN.

Seize upon what occasion? For what end?

DAYA.

There, do not act so strange. You must perceive The templar loves your Recha—Give her to him; Then will your sin, which I can hide no longer, Be at an end. The maid will come once more Among the Christians, will be once again What she was born to, will be what she was; And you, by all the benefits, for which We cannot thank you enough, will not have heaped More coals of fire upon your head.

NATHAN.

Again Harping on the old string, new tuned indeed, But so as neither to accord nor hold.

DAYA.

How so?

NATHAN.

The templar pleases me indeed, I'd rather he than any one had Recha; But—do have patience.

DAYA.

Patience—and is that Not the old string you harp on?

NATHAN.

Patience, patience, For a few days—no more. Ha! who comes here? A friar—ask what he wants.

DAYA (going).

What can he want?

NATHAN.

Give, give before he begs. O could I tell How to come at the templar, not betraying The motive of my curiosity - For if I tell it, and if my suspicion Be groundless, I have staked the father idly. What is the matter?

DAYA (returning).

He must speak to you.

NATHAN.

Then let him come to me. Go you meanwhile.

[Daya goes.

How gladly would I still remain my Recha's Father. And can I not remain so, though I cease to wear the name. To her, to her I still shall wear it, when she once perceives

[Friar enters.

How willingly I were so. Pious brother, What can be done to serve you?

NATHAN and FRIAR.

FRIAR.

O not much; And yet I do rejoice to see you yet So well.

NATHAN.

You know me then -

FRIAR.

Who knows you not? You have impressed your name in many a hand, And it has been in mine these many years.

NATHAN (feeling for his purse).

Here, brother, I'll refresh it.

FRIAR.

Thank you, thank you - From poorer men I'd steal—but nothing now! Only allow me to refresh my name In your remembrance; for I too may boast To mayo of old put something in your hand Not to be scorned.

NATHAN.

Excuse me, I'm ashamed, What was it? Claim it of me sevenfold, I'm ready to atone for my forgetting.

FRIAR.

But before all, hear how this very day I was reminded of the pledge I brought you.

NATHAN.

A pledge to me intrusted?

FRIAR.

Some time since, I dwelt as hermit on the Quarantana, Not far from Jericho, but Arab robbers Came and broke up my cell and oratory, And dragged me with them. Fortunately I Escaped, and with the patriarch sought a refuge, To beg of him some other still retreat, Where I may serve my God in solitude Until my latter end.

NATHAN.

I stand on coals - Quick, my good brother, let me know what pledge You once intrusted to me.

FRIAR.

Presently, Good Nathan, presently. The patriarch Has promised me a hermitage on Thabor, As soon as one is vacant, and meanwhile Employs me as lay-brother in the convent, And there I am at present: and I pine A hundred times a day for Thabor; for The patriarch will set me about all work, And some that I can't brook—as for example -

NATHAN

Be speedy, I beseech you.

FRIAR.

Now it happens That some one whispered in his ear to-day, There lives hard by a Jew, who educates A Christian child as his own daughter.

NATHAN (startled).

How

FRIAR.

Hear me quite out. So he commissions me, If possible to track him out this Jew: And stormed most bitterly at the misdeed; Which seems to him to be the very sin Against the Holy Ghost—That is, the sin Of all most unforgiven, most enormous; But luckily we cannot tell exactly What it consists in—All at once my conscience Was roused, and it occurred to me that I Perhaps had given occasion to this sin. Now do not you remember a knight's squire, Who eighteen years ago gave to your hands A female child a few weeks old?

NATHAN.

How that? In fact such was -

FRIAR.

Now look with heed at me, And recollect. I was the man on horseback Who brought the child.

NATHAN.

Was you?

FRIAR.

And he from whom I brought it was methinks a lord of Filnek - Leonard of Filnek.

NATHAN.

Right!

FRIAR.

Because the mother. Died a short time before; and he, the father, Had on a sudden to make off to Gazza, Where the poor helpless thing could not go with him; Therefore he sent it you—that was my message. Did not I find you out at Darun? there Consign it to you?

NATHAN.

Yes.

FRIAR.

It were no wonder My memory deceived me. I have had Many a worthy master, and this one I served not long. He fell at Askalon - But he was a kind lord.

NATHAN.

O yes, indeed; For much have I to thank him, very much - He more than once preserved me from the sword.

FRIAR.

O brave—you therefore will with double pleasure Have taken up this daughter.

NATHAN.

You have said it.

FRIAR.

Where is she then? She is not dead, I hope - I would not have her dead, dear pretty creature. If no one else know anything about it All is yet safe.

NATHAN.

Aye all!

FRIAR.

Yes, trust me, Nathan, This is my way of thinking—if the good That I propose to do is somehow twined With mischief, then I let the good alone; For we know pretty well what mischief is, But not what's for the best. 'Twas natural If you meant to bring up the Christian child Right well, that you should rear it as your own; And to have done this lovingly and truly, For such a recompense—were horrible. It might have been more prudent to have had it Brought up at second hand by some good Christian In her own faith. But your friend's orphan child You would not then have loved. Children need love, Were it the mute affection of a brute, More at that age than Christianity. There's always time enough for that—and if The maid have but grown up before your eyes With a sound frame and pious—she remains Still in her maker's eye the same. For is not Christianity all built on Judaism? Oh, it has often vexed me, cost me tears, That Christians will forget so often that Our Saviour was a Jew.

NATHAN.

You, my good brother, Shall be my advocate, when bigot hate And hard hypocrisy shall rise upon me - And for a deed—a deed—thou, thou shalt know it - But take it with thee to the tomb. As yet Has vanity ne'er tempted me to tell it To living soul—only to thee I tell it, To simple piety alone; for it Alone can feel what deeds the man who trusts In God can gain upon himself.

FRIAR.

You seem Affected, and your eye-balls swim in water.

NATHAN.

'Twas at Darun you met me with the child; But you will not have known that a few days Before, the Christians murdered every Jew in Gath, Woman and child; that among these, my wife With seven hopeful sons were found, who all Beneath my brother's roof which they had fled to, Were burnt alive.

FRIAR.

Just God!

NATHAN.

And when you came, Three nights had I in dust and ashes lain Before my God and wept—aye, and at times Arraigned my maker, raged, and cursed myself And the whole world, and to Christianity Swore unrelenting hate.

FRIAR.

Ah, I believe you.

NATHAN.

But by degrees returning reason came, She spake with gentle voice—And yet God is, And this was his decree—now exercise What thou hast long imagined, and what surely Is not more difficult to exercise Than to imagine—if thou will it once. I rose and called out—God, I will—I will, So thou but aid my purpose—And behold You was just then dismounted, and presented To me the child wrapt in your mantle. What You said, or I, occurs not to me now - Thus much I recollect—I took the child, I bore it to my couch, I kissed it, flung Myself upon my knees and sobbed—my God, Now have I one out of the seven again!

FRIAR.

Nathan, you are a Christian! Yes, by God You are a Christian—never was a better.

NATHAN

Heaven bless us! What makes me to you a Christian Makes you to me a Jew. But let us cease To melt each other—time is nigh to act, And though a sevenfold love had bound me soon To this strange only girl, though the mere thought, That I shall lose in her my seven sons A second time distracts me—yet I will, If providence require her at my hands, Obey.

FRIAR.

The very thing I should advise you; But your good genius has forestalled my thought.

NATHAN.

The first best claimant must not seek to tear Her from me.

FRIAR.

No most surely not.

NATHAN.

And he, That has not stronger claims than I, at least Ought to have earlier.

FRIAR.

Certainly.

NATHAN.

By nature And blood conferred.

FRIAR.

I mean so too.

NATHAN.

Then name The man allied to her as brother, uncle, Or otherwise akin, and I from him Will not withhold her—she who was created And was brought up to be of any house, Of any faith, the glory—I, I hope, That of your master and his race you knew More than myself.

FRIAR.

I hardly think that, Nathan; For I already told you that I passed A short time with him.

NATHAN.

Can you tell at least The mother's family name? She was, I think, A Stauffen.

FRIAR.

May be—yes, in fact, you're right.

NATHAN.

Conrade of Stauffen was her brother's name - He was a templar.

FRIAR.

I am clear it was. But stay, I recollect I've yet a book, 'Twas my dead lord's—I drew it from his bosom, While we were burying him at Askalon.

NATHAN.

Well!

FRIAR.

There are prayers in't, 'tis what we call A breviary. This, thought I, may yet serve Some Christian man—not me indeed, for I Can't read.

NATHAN.

No matter, to the thing.

FRIAR.

This book is written at both ends quite full, And, as I'm told, contains, in his hand-writing About both him and her what's most material.

NATHAN.

Go, run and fetch the book—'tis fortunate; I am ready with its weight in gold to pay it, And thousand thanks beside—Go, run.

FRIAR.

Most gladly; But 'tis in Arabic what he has written. [Goes.

NATHAN.

No matter—that's all one—do fetch it—Oh! If by its means I may retain the daughter, And purchase with it such a son-in-law; But that's unlikely—well, chance as it may. Who now can have been with the patriarch To tell this tale? That I must not forget To ask about. If 't were of Daya's?

NATHAN and DAYA

DAYA (anxiously breaks in).

Nathan!

NATHAN.

Well!

DAYA.

Only think, she was quite frightened at it, Poor child, a message -

NATHAN.

From the patriarch?

DAYA.

No - The sultan's sister, princess Sittah, sends.

NATHAN.

And not the patriarch?

DAYA.

Can't you hear? The princess Has sent to see your Recha.

NATHAN.

Sent for Recha Has Sittah sent for Recha? Well, if Sittah, And not the patriarch, sends.

DAYA.

Why think of him?

NATHAN.

Have you heard nothing from him lately—really Seen nothing of him—whispered nothing to him?

DAYA.

How, I to him?

NATHAN.

Where are the messengers?

DAYA.

There, just before you.

NATHAN.

I will talk with them Out of precaution. If there's nothing lurking Beneath this message of the patriarch's doing—[Goes.

DAYA.

And I—I've other fears. The only daughter, As they suppose, of such a rich, rich Jew, Would for a Mussulman be no bad thing; I bet the templar will be choused, unless I risk the second step, and to herself Discover who she is. Let me for this Employ the first short moments we're alone; And that will be—oh, as I am going with her. A serious hint upon the road I think Can't be amiss—yes, now or never—yes.



ACT V.



SCENE.—A Room in the Palace; the Purses still in a pile.

SALADIN, and, soon after, several MAMALUKES.

SALADIN (as he comes in).

Here lies the money still, and no one finds The dervis yet—he's probably got somewhere Over a chess-board. Play would often make The man forget himself, and why not, me. Patience—Ha! what's the matter.

SALADIN and IBRAHIM.

IBRAHIM.

Happy news - Joy, sultan, joy, the caravan from Cairo Is safe arrived and brings the seven years' tribute Of the rich Nile.

SALADIN.

Bravo, my Ibrahim, Thou always wast a welcome messenger, And now at length—at length—accept my thanks For the good tidings.

IBRAHIM (waiting).

Hither with them, sultan.

SALADIN.

What art thou waiting for? Go.

IBRAHIM.

Nothing further For my glad news?

SALADIN.

What further?

IBRAHIM.

Errand boys Earn hire—and when their message smiles i' the telling, The sender's hire by the receiver's bounty Is oft outweighed. Am I to be the first Whom Saladin at length has learnt to pay In words? The first about whose recompense The sultan higgled?

SALADIN.

Go, pick up a purse.

IBRAHIM.

No, not now—you might give them all away

SALADIN.

All—hold, man. Here, come hither, take these two - And is he really going—shall he conquer Me then in generosity? for surely 'Tis harder for this fellow to refuse Than 'tis for me to give. Here, Ibrahim - Shall I be tempted, just before my exit, To be a different man—small Saladin Not die like Saladin, then wherefore live so?

ABDALLAH and SALADIN.

ABDALLAH.

Hail, Sultan!

SALADIN.

If thou comest to inform me That the whole convoy is arrived from Egypt, I know it already.

ABDALLAH.

Do I come too late?

SALADIN.

Too late, and why too late? There for thy tidings Pick up a purse or two.

ABDALLAH.

Does that make three?

SALADIN.

So thou wouldst reckon—well, well, take them, take them.

ABDALLAH.

A third will yet be here if he be able.

SALADIN.

How so?

ABDALLAH.

He may perhaps have broke his neck. We three, as soon as certain of the coming Of the rich caravan, each crossed our horses, And galloped hitherward. The foremost fell, Then I was foremost, and continued so Into the city, but sly Ibrahim, Who knows the streets -

SALADIN.

But he that fell, go, seek him.

ABDALLAH.

That will I quickly—if he lives, the half Of what I've got is his. [Goes.

SALADIN.

What a fine fellow! And who can boast such mamalukes as these; And is it not allowed me to imagine That my example helped to form them. Hence With the vile thought at last to turn another.

A third COURIER.

Sultan -

SALADIN.

Was't thou who fell?

COURIER.

No, I've to tell thee That Emir Mansor, who conducts the convoy, Alights.

SALADIN.

O bring him to me—Ah, he's there - Be welcome, Emir. What has happened to thee? For we have long expected thee.

SALADIN and EMIR.

EMIR (after the wont obeisance).

This letter Will show, that, in Thebais, discontents Required thy Abulkassem's sabred hand, Ere we could march. Since that, our progress, sultan, My zeal has sped most anxiously.

SALADIN.

I trust thee - But my good Mansor take without delay - Thou art not loth to go further—fresh protection, And with the treasure on to Libanon; The greater part at least I have to lodge With my old father.

EMIR.

O, most willingly.

SALADIN.

And take not a slight escort. Libanon Is far from quiet, as thou wilt have heard; The templars stir afresh, be therefore cautious. Come, I must see thy troop, and give the orders.

[To a slave.

Say I shall be with Sittah when I've finished.

SCENE—A Place of Palms.

The TEMPLAR walking to and fro.

TEMPLAR.

Into this house I go not—sure at last He'll show himself—once, once they used to see me So instantly, so gladly—time will come When he'll send out most civilly to beg me Not to pace up and down before his door. Psha—and yet I'm a little nettled too; And what has thus embittered me against him? He answered yes. He has refused me nothing As yet. And Saladin has undertaken To bring him round. And does the Christian nestle Deeper in me than the Jew lurks in him? Who, who can justly estimate himself? How comes it else that I should grudge him so The little booty that he took such pains To rob the Christians of? A theft, no less Than such a creature tho'—but whose, whose creature? Sure not the slave's who floated the mere block On to life's barren strand, and then ran off; But his the artist's, whose fine fancy moulded Upon the unowned block a godlike form, Whose chisel graved it there. Recha's true father, Spite of the Christian who begot her, is, Must ever be, the Jew. Alas, were I To fancy her a simple Christian wench, And without all that which the Jew has given, Which only such a Jew could have bestowed - Speak out my heart, what had she that would please thee? No, nothing! Little! For her very smile Shrinks to a pretty twisting of the muscles - Be that, which makes her smile, supposed unworthy Of all the charms in ambush on her lips? No, not her very smile—I've seen sweet smiles Spent on conceit, on foppery, on slander, On flatterers, on wicked wooers spent, And did they charm me then? then wake the wish To flutter out a life beneath their sunshine? Indeed not—Yet I'm angry with the man Who alone gave this higher value to her. How this, and why? Do I deserve the taunt With which I was dismissed by Saladin? 'Tis bad enough that Saladin should think so; How little, how contemptible must I Then have appeared to him—all for a girl. Conrade, this will not do—back, back—And if Daya to boot had prated matter to me Not easy to be proved—At last he's coming, Engaged in earnest converse—and with whom? My friar in Nathan's house! then he knows all - Perhaps has to the patriarch been betrayed. O Conrade, what vile mischiefs thou hast brooded Out of thy cross-grained head, that thus one spark Of that same passion, love, can set so much O' 'th' brain in flame? Quick, then, determine, wretch, What shalt thou say or do? Step back a moment And see if this good friar will please to quit him.

NATHAN and the FRIAR come together out of Nathan's house.

NATHAN.

Once more, good brother, thanks.

FRIAR.

The like to you.

NATHAN.

To me, and why; because I'm obstinate - Would force upon you what you have no use for?

FRIAR.

The book besides was none of mine. Indeed It must at any rate belong to th' daughter; It is her whole, her only patrimony - Save she has you. God grant you ne'er have reason To sorrow for the much you've done for her.

NATHAN.

How should I? that can never be; fear nothing.

FRIAR.

Patriarchs and templars -

NATHAN,

Have not in their power Evil enough to make me e'er repent. And then—But are you really well assured It is a templar who eggs on your patriarch?

FRIAR.

It scarcely can be other, for a templar Talked with him just before, and what I heard Agreed with this.

NATHAN.

But there is only one Now in Jerusalem; and him I know; He is my friend, a noble open youth.

FRIAR.

The same. But what one is at heart, and what One gets to be in active life, mayn't always Square well together.

NATHAN.

No, alas, they do not. Therefore unangered I let others do Their best or worst. O brother, with your book I set all at defiance, and am going Straight with it to the Sultan.

FRIAR.

God be with you! Here I shall take my leave.

NATHAN.

And have not seen her - Come soon, come often to us. If to-day The patriarch make out nothing—but no matter, Tell him it all to-day, or when you will.

FRIAR.

Not I—farewell!

NATHAN.

Do not forget us, brother My God, why may I not beneath thy sky Here drop upon my knees; now the twined knot, Which has so often made my thinkings anxious, Untangles of itself—God, how I am eased, Now that I've nothing in the world remaining That I need hide—now that I can as freely Walk before man as before thee, who only Need'st not to judge a creature by his deeds - Deeds which so seldom are his own—O God!

NATHAN and TEMPLAR.

TEMPLAR (coming forward).

Hoa, Nathan, take me with you.

NATHAN.

Ha! Who calls? Is it you, knight? And whither have you been That you could not be met with at the Sultan's?

TEMPLAR.

We missed each other—take it not amiss.

NATHAN.

I, no, but Saladin.

TEMPLAR.

You was just gone.

NATHAN.

O, then you spoke with him; I'm satisfied.

TEMPLAR.

Yes—but he wants to talk with us together.

NATHAN.

So much the better. Come with me, my step Was eitherwise bent thither.

TEMPLAR.

May I ask, Nathan, who 'twas now left you?

NATHAN.

Did you know him?

TEMPLAR.

Was't that good-hearted creature the lay-brother, Whom the hoar patriarch has a knack of using To feel his way out?

NATHAN.

That may be. In fact He's at the patriarch's.

TEMPLAR.

'Tis no awkward hit To make simplicity the harbinger Of craft.

NATHAN.

If the simplicity of dunces, But if of honest piety?

TEMPLAR.

This last No patriarch can believe in.

NATHAN.

I'll be bound for't This last belongs to him who quitted me. He'll not assist his patriarch to accomplish A vile or cruel purpose.

TEMPLAR.

Such, at least, He would appear—but has he told you then Something of me?

NATHAN.

Of you? No—not by name, He can't well be acquainted with your name.

TEMPLAR.

No, that not.

NATHAN.

He indeed spoke of a templar, Who -

TEMPLAR.

What?

NATHAN.

But by this templar could not mean To point out you.

TEMPLAR.

Stay, stay, who knows? Let's hear.

NATHAN.

Who has accused me to his patriarch.

TEMPLAR.

Accused thee, no, that by his leave is false. Nathan do hear me—I am not the man Who would deny a single of his actions; What I have done, I did. Nor am I one Who would defend all he has done as right - Why be ashamed of failing? Am I not Firmly resolved on better future conduct? And am I not aware how much the man That's willing can improve? O, hear me, Nathan - I am the templar your lay-brother talked of - Who has accused—You know what made me angry, What set the blood in all my veins on fire, The mad-cap that I was—I had drawn nigh To fling myself with soul and body whole Into your arms—and you received me, Nathan— How cold, how lukewarm, for that's worse than cold. - How with words weighed and measured, you took care To put me off; and with what questioning About my parentage, and God knows what, You seemed to answer me—I must not think on't If I would keep my temper—Hear me, Nathan - While in this ferment—Daya steps behind me, Bolts out a secret in my ear, which seemed At once to lend a clue to your behaviour.

NATHAN.

How so?

TEMPLAR.

Do hear me to the end. I fancied That what you from the Christians had purloined You wasn't content to let a Christian have; And so the project struck me short and good, To hold the knife to your throat till -

NATHAN.

Short and good; And good—but where's the good?

TEMPLAR.

Yet hear me, Nathan, I own I did not right—you are unguilty, No doubt. The prating Daya does not know What she reported—has a grudge against you - Seeks to involve you in an ugly business - May be, may be, and I'm a crazy looby, A credulous enthusiast—both ways mad - Doing ever much too much, or much too little - That too may be—forgive me, Nathan.

NATHAN.

If Such be the light in which you view -

TEMPLAR.

In short I to the patriarch went. I named you not. That, as I said, was false. I only stated In general terms, the case, to learn his notion, That too might have been let alone—assuredly. For knew I not the patriarch then to be A knave? And might I not have talked with you? And ought I to have exposed the poor girl—ha! To part with such a father? Now what happens? The patriarch's villainy consistent ever Restored me to myself—O, hear me out - Suppose he was to ferret out your name, What then? What then? He cannot seize the maid, Unless she still belong to none but you. 'Tis from your house alone that he could drag her Into a convent; therefore grant her me - Grant her to me, and let him come. By God - Sever my wife from me—he'll not be rash Enough to think about it. Give her to me, Be she or no thy daughter, Christian, Jewess, Or neither, 'tis all one, all one—I'll never In my whole life ask of thee which she is, Be't as it may.

NATHAN.

You may perhaps imagine That I've an interest to conceal the truth.

TEMPLAR.

Be't as it may.

NATHAN.

I neither have to you Nor any one, whom it behooved to know it, Denied that she's a Christian, and no more Than my adopted daughter. Why, to her I have not yet betrayed it—I am bound To justify only to her.

TEMPLAR.

Of that Shall be no need. Indulge, indulge her with Never beholding you with other eyes - Spare, spare her the discovery. As yet You have her to yourself, and may bestow her; Give her to me—oh, I beseech thee, Nathan, Give her to me, I, only I can save her A second time, and will.

NATHAN.

Yes, could have saved her. But 'tis all over now—it is too late.

TEMPLAR.

How so, too late.

NATHAN.

Thanks to the patriarch.

TEMPLAR.

How Thanks to the patriarch, and for what? Can he Earn thanks of us. For what?

NATHAN.

That now we know To whom she is related—to whose hands She may with confidence be now delivered.

TEMPLAR.

He thank him who has more to thank him for.

NATHAN.

From theirs you now have to obtain her, not From mine.

TEMPLAR.

Poor Recha—what befalls thee? Oh, Poor Recha—what had been to other orphans A blessing, is to thee a curse. But, Nathan, Where are they, these new kinsmen?

NATHAN.

Where they are?

TEMPLAR.

Who are they?

NATHAN.

Who—a brother is found out To whom you must address yourself.

TEMPLAR.

A brother! And what is he, a soldier or a priest? Let's hear what I've to hope.

NATHAN.

As I believe He's neither of the two—or both. Just now I cannot say exactly.

TEMPLAR.

And besides He's -

NATHAN.

A brave fellow, and with whom my Recha Will not be badly placed.

TEMPLAR.

But he's a Christian. At times I know not what to make of you - Take it not ill of me, good Nathan. Will she Not have to play the Christian among Christians; And when she has been long enough the actress Not turn so? Will the tares in time not stifle The pure wheat of your setting—and does that Affect you not a whit—you yet declare She'll not be badly placed.

NATHAN.

I think, I hope so. And should she there have need of any thing Has she not you and me?

TEMPLAR.

Need at her brother's - What should she need when there? Won't he provide His dear new sister with all sorts of dresses, With comfits and with toys and glittering jewels? And what needs any sister wish for else - Only a husband? And he comes in time. A brother will know how to furnish that, The Christianer the better. Nathan, Nathan, O what an angel you had formed, and how Others will mar it now!

NATHAN.

Be not so downcast, Believe me he will ever keep himself Worthy our love.

TEMPLAR.

No, say not that of mine. My love allows of no refusal—none. Were it the merest trifle—but a name. Hold there—has she as yet the least suspicion Of what is going forward?

NATHAN.

That may be, And yet I know not whence.

TEMPLAR.

It matters not, She shall, she must in either case from me First learn what fate is threatening. My fixed purpose To see her not again, nor speak to her, Till I might call her mine, is gone. I hasten -

NATHAN.

Stay, whither would you go?

TEMPLAR.

To her, to learn If this girl's soul be masculine enough To form the only resolution worthy Herself.

NATHAN.

What resolution?

TEMPLAR.

This—to ask No more about her brother and her father, And -

NATHAN.

And -

TEMPLAR.

To follow me. E'en if she were So doing to become a Moslem's wife.

NATHAN.

Stay, you'll not find her—she is now with Sittah, The Sultan's sister.

TEMPLAR.

How long since, and wherefore?

NATHAN.

And would you there behold her brother, come Thither with me.

TEMPLAR.

Her brother, whose then? Sittah's Or Recha's do you mean?

NATHAN.

Both, both, perchance. Come this way—I beseech you, come with me. [Leads off the Templar with him.

SCENE.—The Sultan's Palace. A Room in Sittah's Apartment.

SITTAH and RECHA.

SITTAH.

How I am pleased with thee, sweet girl! But do Shake off this perturbation, be not anxious, Be not alarmed, I want to hear thee talk - Be cheerful.

RECHA.

Princess!

SITTAH.

No, not princess, child. Call me thy friend, or Sittah, or thy sister, Or rather aunt, for I might well be thine; So young, so good, so prudent, so much knowledge, You must have read a great deal to be thus.

RECHA.

I read—you're laughing, Sittah, at your sister, I scarce can read.

SITTAH.

Scarce can, you little fibber.

RECHA.

My father's hand or so—I thought you spoke Of books.

SITTAH.

Aye, surely so I did, of books.

RECHA.

Well really now it puzzles me to read them.

SITTAH.

In earnest?

RECHA.

Yes, in earnest, for my father Hates cold book-learning, which makes an impression With its dead letters only on the brain.

SITTAH.

What say you? Aye, he's not unright in that. So then the greater part of what you know -

RECHA.

I know but from his mouth—of most of it I could relate to you, the how, the where, The why he taught it me.

SITTAH.

So it clings closer, And the whole soul drinks in th' instruction.

RECHA.

Yes, And Sittah certainly has not read much.

SITTAH.

How so? Not that I'm vain of having read; But what can be thy reason? Speak out boldly, Thy reason for it.

RECHA.

She is so right down, Unartificial—only like herself And books do seldom leave us so; my father Says.

SITTAH.

What a man thy father is, my Recha.

RECHA.

Is not he?

SITTAH.

How he always hits the mark.

RECHA.

Does not he? And this father -

SITTAH.

Love, what ails thee?

RECHA.

This father -

SITTAH.

God, thou'rt weeping

RECHA.

And this father - It must have vent, my heart wants room, wants room.

SITTAH.

Child, child, what ails you, Recha?

RECHA.

And this father I am to lose.

SITTAH.

Thou lose him, O no, never: Arise, be calm, how so? It must not be.

RECHA.

So shall thy offer not have been in vain, To be my friend, my sister.

SITTAH.

Maid, I am. Rise then, or I must call for help.

RECHA.

Forgive, My agony made me awhile forgetful With whom I am. Tears, sobbing, and despair, Can not avail with Sittah. Cool calm reason Alone is over her omnipotent; Whose cause that pleads before her, he has conquered.

SITTAH.

Well, then!

RECHA.

My friend, my sister, suffer not Another father to be forced upon me.

SITTAH.

Another father to be forced upon thee - Who can do that, or wish to do it, Recha?

RECHA.

Who? Why my good, my evil genius, Daya, She, she can wish it, will it—and can do it. You do not know this dear good evil Daya. God, God forgive it her—reward her for it; So much good she has done me, so much evil.

SITTAH.

Evil to thee—much goodness she can't have.

RECHA.

O yes, she has indeed.

SITTAH.

Who is she?

RECHA.

Who? A Christian, who took care of all my childhood. You cannot think how little she allowed me To miss a mother—God reward her for it - But then she has so teased, so tortured me.

SITTAH.

And about what? Why, how, when?

RECHA.

The poor woman, I tell thee, is a Christian—and she must From love torment—is one of those enthusiasts Who think they only know the one true road To God.

SITTAH.

I comprehend thee.

RECHA.

And who feel Themselves in duty bound to point it out To every one who is not in this path, To lead, to drag them into it. And indeed They can't do otherwise consistently; For if theirs really be the only road On which 'tis safe to travel—they cannot With comfort see their friends upon another Which leads to ruin, to eternal ruin: Else were it possible at the same instant To love and hate the same man. Nor is 't this Which forces me to be aloud complainant. Her groans, her prayers, her warnings, and her threats, I willingly should have abided longer - Most willingly—they always called up thoughts Useful and good; and whom does it not flatter To be by whomsoever held so dear, So precious, that they cannot bear the thought Of parting with us at some time for ever?

SITTAH.

Most true.

RECHA.

But—but—at last this goes too far; I've nothing to oppose to it, neither patience, Neither reflection—nothing.

SITTAH.

How, to what?

RECHA.

To what she has just now, as she will have it, Discovered to me.

SITTAH.

How discovered to thee?

RECHA.

Yes, just this instant. Coming hitherward We past a fallen temple of the Christians - She all at once stood still, seemed inly struggling, Turned her moist eyes to heaven, and then on me. Come, says she finally, let us to the right Thro' this old fane—she leads the way, I follow. My eyes with horror overran the dim And tottering ruin—all at once she stops By the sunk steps of a low Moorish altar. - O how I felt, when there, with streaming tears And wringing hands, prostrate before my feet She fell

SITTAH.

Good child -

RECHA.

And by the holy Virgin, Who there had hearkened many a prayer, and wrought Many a wonder, she conjured, intreated, With looks of heartfelt sympathy and love, I would at length take pity of myself - At least forgive, if she must now unfold What claims her church had on me.

SITTAH.

Ah! I guessed it.

RECHA.

That I am sprung of Christian blood—baptised - Not Nathan's daughter—and he not my father. God, God, he not my father! Sittah, Sittah, See me once more low at thy feet.

SITTAH.

O Recha, Not so; arise, my brother's coming, rise.

SALADIN, SITTAH, and RECHA.

SALADIN (entering).

What is the matter, Sittah?

SITTAH.

She is swooned— God -

SALADIN.

Who?

SITTAH.

You know sure.

SALADIN.

What, our Nathan's daughter? What ails her?

SITTAH.

Child, come to thyself, the sultan.

RECHA.

No, I'll not rise, not rise, not look upon The Sultan's countenance—I'll not admire The bright reflection of eternal justice And mercy on his brow, and in his eye, Before -

SALADIN.

Rise, rise.

RECHA.

Before he shall have promised -

SALADIN.

Come, come, I promise whatsoe'er thy prayer.

RECHA.

Nor more nor less than leave my father to me, And me to him. As yet I cannot tell What other wants to be my father. Who Can want it, care I not to inquire. Does blood Alone then make the father? blood alone?

SALADIN (raising her).

Who was so cruel in thy breast to shed This wild suspicion? Is it proved, made clear?

RECHA.

It must, for Daya had it from my nurse, Whose dying lips intrusted it to her.

SALADIN.

Dying, perhaps delirious; if 'twere true, Blood only does not make by much the father, Scarcely the father of a brute, scarce gives The first right to endeavour at deserving The name of father. If there be two fathers At strife for thee, quit both, and take a third, And take me for thy father.

SITTAH.

Do it, do it.

SALADIN.

I will be a kind father—but methinks A better thought occurs, what hast thou need Of father upon father? They will die, So that 'tis better to look out by times For one that starts fair, and stakes life with life On equal terms. Knowst thou none such?

SITTAH.

My brother, Don't make her blush.

SALADIN.

Why that was half my project. Blushing so well becomes the ugly, that The fair it must make charming—I have ordered Thy father Nathan hither, and another, Dost guess who 'tis? one other.—Sittah, you Will not object?

SITTAH.

Brother -

SALADIN.

And when he comes, Sweet girl, then blush to crimson.

RECHA.

Before whom - Blush?

SALADIN.

Little hypocrite—or else grow pale, Just as thou willst and canst. Already there?

SITTAH (to a female slave who comes in).

Well, be they ushered in. Brother, 'tis they.

SALADIN, SITTAH, RECHA, NATHAN, and TEMPLAR.

SALADIN.

Welcome, my dear good friends. Nathan, to you I've first to mention, you may send and fetch Your monies when you will.

NATHAN.

Sultan -

SALADIN.

And now I'm at your service.

NATHAN.

Sultan -

SALADIN.

For my treasures Are all arrived. The caravan is safe. I'm richer than I've been these many years. Now tell me what you wish for, to achieve Some splendid speculation—you in trade Like us, have never too much ready cash.

NATHAN (going towards Recha).

Why first about this trifle?—I behold An eye in tears, which 'tis far more important To me to dry. My Recha thou hast wept, What hast thou lost? Thou art still, I trust, my daughter.

RECHA.

My father!

NATHAN.

That's enough, we are understood By one another; but be calm, be cheerful. If else thy heart be yet thy own—if else No threatened loss thy trembling bosom wring Thy father shall remain to thee.

RECHA.

None, none.

TEMPLAR.

None, none—then I'm deceived. What we don't fear To lose, we never fancied, never wished Ourselves possessed of. But 'tis well, 'tis well. Nathan, this changes all—all. Saladin, At thy command we came, but I misled thee, Trouble thyself no further.

SALADIN.

Always headlong; Young man, must every will then bow to thine, Interpret all thy meanings?

TEMPLAR.

Thou hast heard, Sultan, hast seen.

SALADIN.

Aye, 'twas a little awkward Not to be certain of thy cause.

TEMPLAR.

I now Do know my doom,

SALADIN.

Pride in an act of service Revokes the benefit. What thou hast saved Is therefore not thy own, or else the robber, Urged by his avarice thro' fire-crumbling halls, Were like thyself a hero. Come, sweet maid,

[Advances toward Recha in order to lead her up to the Templar.

Come, stickle not for niceties with him. Other—he were less warm and proud, and had Paused, and not saved thee. Balance then the one Against the other, and put him to the blush, Do what he should have done—own thou thy love - Make him thy offer, and if he refuse, Or o'er forgot how infinitely more By this thou do for him than he for thee - What, what in fact has he then done for thee But make himself a little sooty? That (Else he has nothing of my Assad in him, But only wears his mask) that was mere sport, Come, lovely girl.

SITTAH.

Go, go, my love, this step Is for thy gratitude too short, too trifling.

[They are each taking one of Recha's hands when Nathan with a solemn gesture of prohibition says,

NATHAN.

Hold, Saladin—hold, Sittah.

SALADIN.

Ha! thou too?

NATHAN.

One other has to speak.

SALADIN.

Who denies that? Unquestionably, Nathan, there belongs A vote to such a foster-father—and The first, if you require it. You perceive I know how all the matter lies.

NATHAN.

Not all— I speak not of myself. There is another, A very different man, whom, Saladin, I must first talk with.

SALADIN.

Who?

NATHAN.

Her brother.

SALADIN.

Recha's?

NATHAN.

Yes, her's.

RECHA.

My brother—have I then a brother?

[The templar starts from his silent and sullen inattention.

TEMPLAR.

Where is this brother? Not yet here? 'Twas here I was to find him.

NATHAN.

Patience yet a while.

TEMPLAR (very bitterly).

He has imposed a father on the girl, He'll find her up a brother.

SALADIN.

That was wanting! Christian, this mean suspicion ne'er had past The lips of Assad. Go but on -

NATHAN.

Forgive him, I can forgive him readily. Who knows What in his place, and at his time of life, We might have thought ourselves? Suspicion, knight,

[Approaching the templar in a friendly manner.

Succeeds soon to mistrust. Had you at first Favoured me with your real name.

TEMPLAR.

How? what?

NATHAN.

You are no Stauffen.

TEMPLAR.

Who then am I? Speak.

NATHAN.

Conrade of Stauffen is no name of yours.

TEMPLAR.

What is my name then?

NATHAN.

Guy of Filnek.

TEMPLAR.

How?

NATHAN.

You startle -

TEMPLAR.

And with reason. Who says that?

NATHAN.

I, who can tell you more. Meanwhile, observe I do not tax you with a falsehood.

TEMPLAR.

No?

NATHAN.

May be you with propriety can wear Yon name as well.

TEMPLAR.

I think so too. (God—God Put that speech on his tongue.)

NATHAN.

In fact your mother - She was a Stauffen: and her brother's name, (The uncle to whose care you were resigned, When by the rigour of the climate chased, Your parents quitted Germany to seek This land once more) was Conrade. He perhaps Adopted you as his own son and heir. Is it long since you hither travelled with him? Is he alive yet?

TEMPLAR.

So in fact it stands. What shall I say? Yes, Nathan, 'tis all right: Tho' he himself is dead. I came to Syria With the last reinforcement of our order, But—but what has all this long tale to do With Recha's brother, whom -

NATHAN.

Your father -

TEMPLAR.

Him, Him did you know?

NATHAN.

He was my friend.

TEMPLAR.

Your friend? And is that possible?

NATHAN.

He called himself Leonard of Filnek, but he was no German.

TEMPLAR.

You know that too?

NATHAN.

He had espoused a German, And followed for a time your mother thither.

TEMPLAR.

No more I beg of you—But Recha's brother -

NATHAN.

Art thou

TEMPLAR.

I, I her brother -

RECHA.

He, my brother?

SITTAH.

So near akin -

RECHA (offers to clasp him).

My brother!

TEMPLAR (steps back).

Brother to her -

RECHA (turning to Nathan).

It cannot be, his heart knows nothing of it. We are deceivers, God.

SALADIN (to the templar).

Deceivers, yes; All is deceit in thee, face, voice, walk, gesture, Nothing belongs to thee. How, not acknowledge A sister such as she? Go.

TEMPLAR (modestly approaching him).

Sultan, Sultan O do not misinterpret my amazement - Thou never saw'st in such a moment, prince, Thy Assad's heart—mistake not him and me.

[Hastening towards Nathan.

O Nathan, you have taken, you have given, Both with full hands indeed; and now—yes—yes, You give me more than you have taken from me, Yes, infinitely more—my sister—sister.

[Embraces Recha.

NATHAN.

Blanda of Filnek.

TEMPLAR.

Blanda, ha! not Recha, Your Recha now no longer—you resign her, Give her her Christian name again, and then For my sake turn her off. Why Nathan, Nathan, Why must she suffer for it? she for me?

NATHAN.

What mean you? O my children, both my children - For sure my daughter's brother is my child, So soon as he but will it!

[While they embrace Nathan by turns, Saladin draws nigh to Sittah.

SALADIN.

What sayst thou Sittah to this?

SITTAH.

I'm deeply moved.

SALADIN.

And I Half tremble at the thought of the emotion Still greater, still to come. Nathan, a word

[While he converses with Nathan, Sittah goes to express her sympathy to the others.

With thee apart. Wast thou not saying also That her own father was no German born? What was he then? Whence was he?

NATHAN.

He himself Never intrusted me with that. From him I knew it not.

SALADIN.

You say he was no Frank?

NATHAN.

No, that he owned: he loved to talk the Persian.

SALADIN.

The Persian—need I more? 'Tis he—'twas he!

NATHAN.

Who?

SALADIN.

Assad certainly, my brother Assad.

NATHAN.

If thou thyself perceive it, be assured; Look in this book—[Gives the breviary.

SALADIN (eagerly looking.)

O 'tis his hand, his hand, I recollect it well.

NATHAN.

They know it not; It rests with thee what they shall learn of this.

SALADIN (turning over the breviary.)

I not acknowledge my own brother's children, Not own my nephew—not my children—I Leave them to thee? Yes, Sittah, it is they, [Aloud. They are my brother's and thy brother's children. [Rushes to embrace them.

SITTAH.

What do I hear? Could it be otherwise? [The like.

SALADIN (to the templar).

Now, proud boy, thou shalt love me, thou must love me,

[To Recha.

And I am, what I offered to become, With or without thy leave.

SITTAH.

I too—I too.

SALADIN (to the templar.)

My son—my Assad—my lost Assad's son.

TEMPLAR.

I of thy blood—then those were more than dreams With which they used to lull my infancy - Much more.

[Falls at the Sultan's feet.

SALADIN (raising him.)

Now mark his malice. Something of it He knew, yet would have let me butcher him - Boy, boy!



[During the silent continuance of reciprocal embraces the curtain falls.]

THE END

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