Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: IVANHOE CHAPTER I Thus communed these; while to their lowly doms The full-fed swine return'd with evening home; Compell'd, reluctant, to the several sties, With din obstreperous, and ungrateful cries. Pope's Odyssey. In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncas ter. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Warnclifie Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here were fought many of the most desperate bat ties during the Civil Wars of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws, whoa deeds have been rendered so popular in English song. Such being our chief scene, the date of our story refers to a period towards the end of the reign of Richard I., when his return from his long captivity had become an event rather wished than hoped for by his despairing subjects, who were in the meantime subjected to every species of subordinate oppression. The nobles, whose power had become exorbitant during the reign of Stephen, and whom the prudence of Henry the Second had scarce reduced into some degree of subjection to the crown, had now resumed their ancient license in its ut most extent; despising the feeble interference of the English Council of State, fortifying their castles, increasing the nnmbei f their dependants, reducing all around them to a state oS2 vassalage, and striving by every means in their power, to pi act themselves each at the head of such forces as might enable him to make a figure in the national convulsions which appeared to...