Page images
PDF

Sta

he Pope him

advance upon him, but some disaster if Freder;

having a reference to any other triumphs than those of religion. Nothing less than the pacification of the world can excuse such a solecism.

6.
The Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigns-
An Emperor tramples where an Emperor knelt.

Stanza xii. lines 1 and 2. After many vain efforts on the part of the Italians entirely to throw off the yoke of Frederic Barbarossa, and as fruitless attempts of the Emperor to make himself absolute master throughout ihe whole of his Cisalpine dominions, the bloody struggles of four and twenty years were happily brought to a close in the city of Venice. The articles of a trenty had been previously agreed upon between Pope Alexander III. and Barbarossa, and the former having received a safe conduct, had already arrived at Venice from Ferrara, in company with the ambassadors of the king of Sicily and the consuls of the Lombard Jeague. There still remained, however, many points to adjust, and for several days the peace was believed to be impracticable. At this juncture it was suddenly reported that the Emperor had arrived at Chioza, a town fifteen miles from the capital. The Venetians rose tumultuously, and in. sisted upon immediately conducting him to the city. The Lombards took the alarm, and departed towards Treviso. The Pope himself was apprehensive of some disaster if Frederic should suddenly advance upon him, but was reassured by the prudence and address of Sebastian Ziani, the Doge. Several embassies passed between Chioza and the capital, until, at last, the Emperor relaxing some. what of his pretensions, “ laid aside his leonine ferocity, and put on the mildness of the lamb."*

On Saturday, the 23d of July, in the year 1177, six Venetian galleys transferred Frederic, in great pomp, from Chioza to the island of Lido, a mile from Venice. Early the next morning the Pope, accompanied by the Sicilian ambassadors, and by the envoys of Lombardy, whom he had recalled from the main land, together with a great concourse of people, repaired from the patriarchal palace to Saint Mark's church, and solemnly absolved the Emperor and his partisans from the excommunication pronounced against him. The chancellor of the Empire, on the part of his master, renounced the anti popes and their schismatic adherents. Immediately the Doge, with a great suit both of the clergy and laity, got on board the galleys, and waiting on Frederie, rowed him in mighty state from the Lido to the capital. The Emperor descended from the galley at the quay of the Piazzetta. The Doge, the patriarch, bis bishops and clergy, and the people of Venice with their crosses and their standards, marched in solemn procession before him to the church of St. Mark's. Alexander was seated before the vestibule of the basilica, attended by his bishops and cardinals, by the patriarch of Aquileja, by the archbishops and bishops of Lombardy, all of them in state, and clothed in their charch robes. Frederic approached—“ moved by the Holy Spirit, venerating the Almighty in the person of Alexander, laying aside his imperial dignity, and throwing off his mantle, he prostrated himself at full length at the feet of the Pope. Alexander, with tears in his eyes, raised him benignently from the ground, kissed

* "Quibus auditis, imperator, operante eo, qui corda principum sicut vult et quando vult humiliter inclinat, leonina feritate deposita, ovinam mansuetudinem induit.” Romualdi Salernitani, Chronicon. apud Seript. Rer, Ital, Tom. VII, p. 229.

VOL. I.-I

him, blessed him; and immediately the Germans of the train sang. with a loud voice, We praise thee, O Lord.' 'The Emperor then taking the Pope by the right hand, led him to the church, and having received his benediction, returned to the ducal palace." The ceremony of humiliation was repeated the next day. The Pope himself, at the request of Frederic, said mass at Saint Mark's. The Emperor again laid aside his imperial mantle, and, taking a wand in his hand, officiated as verger, driving the laity from the choir, and preceding the pontiff to the altar. Alexander, after reciting the gospel, preached to the people. The Emperor put himself close to the pulpit in the attitude of listening; and the pontiff, touched by this mark of his attention, for he knew that Frederic did not understand a word he said, commanded the patriarch of Aquileja to translate the Latin discourse into the German tongue. The creed was then chanted. Frederic made his oblation and kissed the Pope's feet, and, mass being over, led him by the hand to his white horse. He held the stirrup, and would have led the horse's rein to the water side, had not the Pope accepted of the inclination for the performance, and affectionately dismissed him with his benediction. Such is the substance of the account left by the archbishop of Salerno, who was present at the ceremony, and whose story is confirmed by every subsequent nar ration. It would be not worth so minute a record, were it not the triumph of liberty as well as of superstition. The states of Lombardy owed to it the confirmation of their privileges : and Alexander had reason to thank the Almighty, who had enabled an infirm, unarmed old man to subdue a terrible and potent sove. reign. t

7.
Oh, for one hour of blind old Dandolo!
Th octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering.foe.

Stanza xii, lines 8 and 9. The reader will recollect the exclamation of the highlander. Ok for one hour of Dundee! Henry Dandolo, when elected Doge, in 1192, was eighty-five years of age. When he commanded the Ve netians at the taking of Constantinople, he was consequently ninety-seven years old. At this age he annexed the fourth and a half of the whole empire of Romania, for so the Roman empire was then called, to the title and to the territories of the Venetian Doge. The three-eighths of this empire were preserved in the diplo

Ibid. page 231. + See the above cited Romuald of Salerno. In a second sermon which Alexander preached on the first day of August, before the Emperor, he compared Frederic to the prodigal son, and himself to the forgiving father.

+ Mr. Gibbon has omitted the important æ, and has written Ro. mani instead of Romaniæ. Decline and Fall, cap. Ixi, note 9. But the title acquired by Dandolo runs thus in the Chronicle of his gamesake, the Doge Andrew Dandolo. Ducali titulo addidit. " Quartæ partis et dimidiæ totius imperii Romanice." And. Dand. Chronicon. cap. iii. pars xxxvii. ap. Script. Rer. Ital. tom. xii. page 331. And the Romaniæ is observed in the subsequent acts of the Doges. Indeed the continental possessions of the Greek empire in Europe were then generally known by the name of Romania, and that appellation is still seen in the maps of Turkey as applied to Thrace.

mas until the dukedom of Giovanni Dolfino, who made use of the above designation in the year 1357.*

Dandolo led the attack on Constantinople in person : two ships, the Paradise and the Pilgrim, were tied together, and a drawbridge or ladder let down from their higher yards to the walls. The Doge was one of the first to rush into the city. Then was completed, said the Venetians, the prophecy of the Erythræan sybil. “A gathering together of the powerful shall be made amidst the waves of the Adriatic, under a blind leader; they shall beset the goat-they shall profane Byzantium-they shall blacken her buildings-her spoils shall be dispersed ; a new goat shall bleat until they have measured out and run over fifty-four feet, nine inches and a half.”+

Dandolo died on the first day of June, 1205, having reigned thirteen years, six months, and five days, and was buried in the church of St. Sophia, at Constantinople. Strangely enough it must sound, that the name of the rebel apothecary who received the Doge's sword, and annihilated the ancient government in 1796-7, was Dandolo.

8.

But is not Doria's menace come to pass ?
Are they not bridied?

Stanza xiii. lines 3 and 4, After the loss of the battle of Pola, and the taking of Chioza on the 16th of August, 1379, by the united armament of the Genoese and Francesco da Carrara, Signor of Padua, the Venetians were reduced to the utmost despair. An embassy was sent to the con. querors with a blank sheet of paper, praying them to prescribe what terms they pleased, and leave to Venice only her independence. The Prince of Padua was inclined to listen to these prorosals, but the Genoese, who, after the victory at Pola, had shouted, « to Venice, to Venice, and long live St. George," determined to annihilate their rival, and Peter Doria, their commander in chief, returned this answer to the suppliants: “On God's faith, gentle men of Venice, ye shall have no peace from the Signor of Padua, nor from our commune of Genoa, until we have first put a rein upon those unbridled horses of yours, that are upon the Porch of your evangelist St. Mark. When we have bridled them, we shall keep you quiet. And this is the pleasure of us and of our commune. As for these my brothers of Genoa, that you have brought with you to give up to us, I will not have them : take them back; for, in a few days hence, I shall come and let them out of prison myself, both these and all the others." | In fact, the Genoese did

• See the continuation of Dandolo's Chronicle, ibid. page 498. Mr. Gibbon appears not to include Dolfino, following Sanudo, who says, " il qual titolo si usò fin al Doge Giovanni Dolfino." See Vite de Duchi di Venezia. ap. Script. Rer. Ital. tom. xii. 530. 641.

t" Fiet potentium in aquis Adriaticis congregatio, cæco præduce, Hircum ambigent, Byzantium prophanabunt, ædificia denigrabunt; spolia dispergentur, Hireus novus balabit usque dum LIV pedes et IX pollices, et semis præmensurati discurrant." [Chronicon. ibid. pars xxxiv.]

1" Alla fê di Dio, Signori Veneziani, non haverete mai pace dal Signore di Padoua, ne dal nostro commune di Genova, se primieramente non mettemo le briglie a quelli vostri cavalli sfrenati, che sono su la Reza del Vostro Evangelista S. Marco. Imbrenati che

Tary, 1386 was realiza in o

advance as far as Malamocco, within five miles of the capital; but their own danger and the pride of their enemies gave courage to the Venetians, who made prodigious efforts, and many individual sacrifices, all of them carefully recorded by their historians. Vet. tor Pisani was put at the head of thirty-four galleys. The Geonese broke up from Malamocco, and retired to Chioza in October ; but they again threatened Venice, which was reduced to extremities. Atihis time, the 1st of January, 1380, arrived Carlo Zeno, who had been cruising on the Genoese coast with fourteen galleys, The Venetians were now strong enough to besiege the Genoese, Doria was killed on the 22d of January by a stone bullet 195 pounds weight, discharged from a bombard called the Trevisan. Chioza was then closely invested: 5000 auxiliaries, amongst whom were some English Condottieri, commanded by one Captain Ceccho, joined the Venetians. The Genoese, in their turn, prayed for conditions, but none were granted, until, at last, they surrendered at discretion; and, on the 24th of June, 1380, the Doge Contarini made his triumphal entry into Chioza. Pour thousand prisoners, nineteen galleys, many smaller vessels and barks, with all the ammunition and arms, and outfit of the expedition, fell into the hands of the conquerors, who, had it not been for the inexorable answer of Doria, would have gladly reduced their dominion to the city of Venice. An account of these transactions is found in a work called the war of Chioza, written by Daniel Chinazzo, who was in Venice at the time. *

9.
The Planter of the Lion."

Stanza xiv. line 3. Plant the Lion--that is, the Lion of St. Mark, the standard of the republie, which is the origin of the word Pantaloon--Pianta. leone, Pantaleon, Pantaloon.

. 10.
Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals.

Stanza xv. lines 7 and 8. The population of Venice at the end of the seventeenth century amounted to nearly two hundred thousand souls. At the last census, taken two years ago, it was no more than about one hundred and three thousand, and it diminishes daily. The commerce and the official employments, which were to be the unexhausted source of Venetian grandeur, have both expired.+ Most of the patrician mansions are deserted, and would gradually disappear, had not the government, alarmed by the demolition of seventy-two, during the last two years, expressly forbidden this sad resource of poverty.

gli havremo, vi faremo stare in buona pace. E questa e la intenzione nostra, e del nostro commune. Questi miei fratelli Genovesi che havete menati con voi per donarci, non li voglio; rima. netegli in dietro perche io intendo da qui a pochi giorni venirgli a riscuoter dalle vostre prigioni e loro e gli altri."

* “Chronaca della guerra di Chioza," &c. Script. Rer. Italie. tom. xv. pp. 699 to 804.

+ “ Nonnullorum è nobilitate immensæ sunt opes, adeo ut vix æstimari possint: id quod tribus è rebus oritur, parsimonia, commercio, atque jis emolumentis, quæ e Repub, percipiunt, quæ hanc ob causam diuturna fore creditur."--See de Principatibus Italiæ, Tractatus, edit. 1631.

Mang menen with the wes have sunk, eto " ehe nameelt, but he is

Many remnants of the Venetian nobility are now scattered and confounded with the wealthier Jews upon the banks of the Brenta, whose palladian palaces have sunk, or are sinking in the general decay. Of the “ gentil uomo Veneto," the name is still known and that is all. He is but the shadow of his former self, but he is polite and kind. It surely may be pardoned to him if he is querulous. Whatever may have been the vices of the republic, and although the natural term of his existence may be thought by foreigners to have arrived in the due course of mortality, only one sentiment can be expected from the Venetians themselves. At no time were the subjects of the republic so unanimous in their resolution to rally round the standard of St. Mark, as when it was for the last time unfurled; and the cowardice and the treachery of the few patricians who recommended the fatal neutrality, were confined to the persons of the traitors themselves. The present race can. not be thought to regret the loss of their aristocratical forms, and too despotic government; they only think on their vanished independence. They pine away at the remembrance, and on this subject suspend for a moment their gay good humour. Venice may be said, in the words of the scripture, "to die daily;" and so general and so apparent is the decline, as to become painful to a stranger, not reconciled to the sight of a whole nation expiring as it were before his eyes. So artificial a creation having lost that principle which called it into life and supported its existence, must fall to pieces at once, and sink more rapidly than it rose. The abhorrence of slavery which drove the Venetians to the sea, has, since their disaster, forced them to the land, where they may be at least overlooked amongst the crowd of dependants, and not present the humiliating spectacle of a whole nation loaded with recent chains. Their liveliness, their affability, and that happy indifference which constitution alone can give, for philosophy aspires to it in vain, have not sunk under circumstances; but many pecu. liarities of costume and manner have by degrees been lost, and the nobles, with a pride common to all Italians who have been masters, have not been persuaded to parade their insignificance. That splendour which was a proof and a portion of their power, they would not degrade into the trappings of their subjection. They retired from the space which they had occupied in the eyes of their fellow citizens; their continuance in which would have been a symptom of acquiescence, and an insult to those who suffered by the common misfortune. Those who remained in the degraded capital, might be said rather to haunt the scenes of their departed power, than to live in them. The reflection, “ who and what enthrals, will hardly bear a comment from one who is, nationally, the friend and the ally of the conqueror. It may, however, be allowed to say thus much, that to those who wish to recover their independence, any masters must be an object of detestation ; and it may safely be foretold that this unprofitable aversion will not have been corrected before Venice shall have sunk into the slime of her choaked canals.

Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse.

Stanza xvi. line 3. The story is told in Plutarch's life of Nicias."

12.

And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakespeare's art.

Stanza xvii. line 5. Venice Preserved; Mysteries of Udolpho; the Ghost-seer, or Armenian; the Merchant of Venice; Othello.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »