Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/517

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CANTO IV.]
473
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

4.

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 the 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 treaty 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 League. 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 insisted 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 somewhat of his pretensions, "laid aside his leonine ferocity, and put on the mildness of the lamb."[1]

On Saturday, the 23rd 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 St. 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.

  1. "Quibus auditis, imperator, operante eo, qui corda Principum sicut vult, & quando vult, humiliter inclinat, leonina feritate deposita, ovinam mansuetudinem induit."—Romualdi Salernitani Chronicon, apud Script. Rer. Ital., 1725, vii. 230.