Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/432

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390
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

Of their heroic dwellers: dost thou flow,
Old Tiber! through a marble wilderness?
Rise, with thy yellow waves, and mantle her distress.[1]


LXXX.

The Goth, the Christian—Time—War—Flood, and Fire,[2]

Have dealt upon the seven-hilled City's pride;
  1. [The reference is to the historical inundations of the Tiber, of which a hundred and thirty-two have been recorded from the foundation of the city down to December, 1870, when the river rose to fifty-six feet—thirty feet above its normal level.]
  2. [The Goths besieged and sacked Rome under Alaric, A.D. 410, and Totila, 546. Other barbarian invaders—Genseric, a Vandal, 455; Ricimer, a Sueve, 472; Vitiges, a Dalmatian, 537; Arnulph, a Lombard, 756—may come under the head of "Goth." "The Christian," "from motives of fanaticism"—Theodosius, for instance, in 426; and Stilicho, who burned the Sibylline books—despoiled, mutilated, and pulled down temples. Subsequently, popes, too numerous to mention, laid violent hands on the temples for purposes of repair, construction, and ornamentation of Christian churches. More than once ancient structures were converted into cannon-balls. There were, too, Christian invaders and sackers of Rome: Robert Guiscard (Hofmann calls him Wiscardus), in 1004; Frederic Barbarossa, in 1167; the Connétable de Bourbon, in 1527, may be instanced. "Time and War" speak for themselves. For "Flood," vide supra. As for "Fire," during the years 1082-84 the Emperor Henry IV. burnt "a great part of the Leonine city;" and Guiscard "burnt the town from the Flaminian gate to the Antonine column, and laid waste the Esquiline to the Lateran; thence he set fire to the region from that church to the Coliseum and the Capitol." Of earthquakes Byron says nothing; but there were earthquakes, e.g. in 422 and 1349. Another foe, a destroying angel who "wasteth at noonday," modern improvement, had not yet opened a seventh seal. (See Historical Illustrations, pp. 91-168.)]