offended at the siege of Acre. This fordid prince
fold him to the Emperor, Henry the Vlth, who had
taken offence at Richard's alliance with the King
of Sicily. The place of his captivity was carefully
concealed by his enemies, but it was discovered by
Blondel, a provencal bard and minstrel, who had
shared his friendship and his bounty. Having tra-
velled over many parts of Europe to learn the
sate of his beloved master, the active Blondel at
length gained intelligence, that m a certain castle
in Germany a noble prisoner was consined, and
closely guarded. The gates of the castle were
barred against him, but he was determined to try
an expedient for making the desired discovery. He
chaunted with a loud voice some verses of a song,
which had been composed partly by Richard and
partly by himself; and to his unspeakable joy,
when he paused, the second part was continued by
the royal captive. This discovery is said to have
led to his release. Vain were the remonstrances of
the Bishops of Normandy to the Pope in his be-
half, exhorting him to draw the sword of St. Peter
against the Emperor, for doing violence to one of
the bravest soldiers of the church. And as inef-
fectual for some time were the spirited letters of
Eleanora, the mother of Richard, to the Pope.
The mercenary Emperor at last, not influenced by
the Pope's threat of excommunication, but by the
offer of a large ransom, restored Richard to liberty,
A. D. 1194, aster the captivity of a year. Pierced
by an arrow at the siege of the castle of Chalies,
his death happened about sive years after, A. D.
, . 6 II99.

r 1199. His formidable name is said to have been continued in proverbial sayings in the east. It was used for sixty years after by the Syrian mother to silence her child; and the rider was wont to exr claim to his starting horse, dost thou think King Richard is in that bush? The Arabian historians have added to his fame, and mention him as one of the bravest champions of the cross.

The exploits of the crusaders, and especially of Richard Cœur de Lion, may be thought to resemble the marvellous stories of romantic times: Yet what has happened in our own days, and even upon the spot where Richard displayed his valour as a warrior of the cross, may be adduced as a strong proof of their truth. Before the walls of Acre, the Turks have again witnessed the perseverance and intrepidity of Britons; for there "the dauntless seaman," with his few brave associates in danger and glory, stopped the progress of a French army, and compelled their leader, baffled and astonished at courage, not surpassed even by the crusaders of Britain, to desist from his darling enterprise, and abandon the conquest of Syria*.

*■ " Ye sainted spirits of the warrior dead, Whofe giant force Britannia's armies led, Whose biek'ring falchions, foremost in the sight, .. . Still pour'd confusion on the Soldan's might;

., Lords of the biting axe, and .beamy spear, ,..: Wide conqu'ring Edward, Lion Richard, hear! At Albion's call your crested pride resume, And burst the ilumbers os the marble tomb:


The Fourth Crusade, 1202.

■ • . .

The French commanded by Baldwin, Count of Flanders, in alliance with- the Venetians, em-: barked in the fourth crusade. They espoused the cause of the young Alexius, the son of the deposed Emperor Isaac. Constantinople was taken by the inferior army of the crusaders, and the timid usurper, basely deferting his fair daughter Irene, and his subjects, carrying away much treasure, privately retreated through the Bosphorus. The old Emperor was restored to his throne only to be again loaded with chains by Alexius Ducas, a relation, who put him and his son to death, and

Your sons, behold! in arm, in heart the fame,
Still press the footsteps of parental fame, ..

'To Salem still their gen'rous aid supply,

And pluck the palm of Syrian chivalry.
When he from tow'ry Malta's yielding ifleX
And the green waters of reluctant Nile,
Tli' Apostate Chief, from Misraim's subject slrorfc
To Acre's walls, his trophied banners bore:
When the pale defart mark'd his proud array,
; And desolation hop'd an ampler sway,

What hero then triumphant Gaul dismay'd?
What arm repell'd the victor renegade?
Britannia's champion !—-Batb'd in hostile blood,
High on the breach the dauntless Seaman stood:
v Admiring Asia saw th' unequal sight,

. 'E'en the pale Crescent bless'd the Christian's might." .

Paltfinc, an Otcford Prize Poem, by Mr. Reginald Heber, 180.3.



assumed the imperial purple. With the consent of the tumultuous populace, the Latins, to revenge these atrocities, again attacked the city; and such was the terror of the Greeks on their approach, that Nicetas, one of their historians, relates that the thousands of troops, who guarded the Emperor's person, fled at the approach of a single French hero. The conquerors, unmoved by the solemn procession and abject supplications of the Greek priests, indulged in the licence allowed to those who take a city by storm, except the effusion of blood. They divided from a common stock the gold, silver, silks, velvets, furs, gems, and spices, and other treasures of the most splendid city in the world, 1204. They profaned the sacred vessels and ornaments of the churches by common use, melted down the beautiful antique statues of brass into money for the payment of their troops, and in the true spirit of the age reserved the heads, bones, crosses, and images of saints as the most precious trophies of their conquest. The Greek provinces were divided among the victorious crusaders of Venice, France, and Lombardy. Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, who had taken a most active part in the enterprise, was proclaimed governor of Romania, and ended at Constantinople his glorious life. Five Latin Emperors of the houses of Flanders and Courtenay, succeeded to the imperial throne, and Constantinople was for sixty years in possession of the Latins. Few of the conquerors recollected their original solemn engagement to succour Jerusalem, and only those

repaired repaired thither, who could gain none of the spoils of the Greeks. Some of the Imperial family of the Comneni preserved the wreck of the empire, and founded two small kingdoms, one at Nice in Bithynia, the other at Trebisond, between the sea and mount Caucasus. They took Villehardouin, prince of Achaia, prisoner, and thus deprived the Latins of their most powerful vassal. The Genoese took part with the Greeks, and some Greek peasants engaged in a stratagem to admit a party of soldiers by a secret way into the city. They succeeded, set it on sire in four places, and caused Baldwin, the affrighted Emperor, precipitately to fly with Justinian the patriarch, and some of his friends, 1261. Michael Palæologus, with the Empress his wife, and his little son Andronicus, entered the city in solemn procession on foot by the golden gate, and regained the throne. He caused Alexius Cæsar his general, by whose address and bravery he had recovered it, to be carried in triumph. He wore a crown scarcely inferior to the imperial diadem, and his statue was placed upon a lofty pillar..

The Fifth Crusade, 1207*

This furnished, at its commencement, another instance of the Christians assuming the badge of the cross, not against insidels, but against those who professed the same faith with themselves. Innocent the Third, who establissied the inquisition, and to whose Legate John King of England resigned

« ElőzőTovább »