Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/519

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
CANTO IV.]
475
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

thank the Almighty, who had enabled an infirm, unarmed old man to subdue a terrible and potent sovereign.[1]


5.

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, "Oh, for one hour of Dundee!" Henry Dandolo, when elected Doge, in 1192, was eighty-five years of age. When he commanded the Venetians 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,[2] 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 diplomas until the Dukedom of Giovanni Dolfino, who made use of the above designation in the year 1357.[3]

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

  1. 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.
  2. Mr. Gibbon has omitted the important æ, and has written Romani instead of Romaniæ.—Decline and Fall, chap. lxi. note 9 (1882, ii. 777, note 1). But the title acquired by Dandolo runs thus in the chronicle of his namesake, the Doge Andrew Dandolo: "Ducali titulo addidit, 'Quartæ partis, & dimidiæ totius Imperii Romaniæ Dominator.'" And. Dand. Chronicon, cap. iii. pars xxxvii. ap. Script. Rer. Ital., 1728, xii. 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.
  3. See the continuation of Dandolo's Chronicle, ibid., p. 498. Mr. Gibbon appears not to include Dolfino, following Sanudo, who says, "Il qual titolo si uso fin al Doge Giovanni Dolfino." See Vite de' Duchi di Venezia [Vitæ Ducum Venetorum Italiæ scriptæ, Auctore Martino Sanuto], ap. Script. Rer. Ital., xxii. 530, 641.