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which habit alone can make attractive. The recitative was shrill, screaming, and monotonous; and the gondolier behind assisted his voice by holding his hand to one side of his mouth. The carpenter used a quiet action, which he evidently endeavoured to restrain, but was too much interested in his subject altogether to repress. From these men we learnt that singing is not confined to the gondoliers, and that, although the chaunt is seldom, if ever, voluntary, there are still several amongst the lower classes who are acquainted with a few stanzas.
It does not appear that it is usual for the performers to row and sing at the same time. Although the verses of the Jerusalem are no longer casually heard, there is yet much music upon the Venetian canals; and upon holidays, those strangers who are not near or informed enough to distinguish the words, may fancy that many of the gondolas still resound with the strains of Tasso. The writer of some remarks which appeared in the Curiosities of Literature must excuse his being twice quoted; for, with the exception of some phrases a little too ambitious and extravagant, he has furnished a very exact, as well as agreeable description.
“In Venice the gondoliers know by heart long passages from Ariosto and Tasso, and often chaunt them with a peculiar melody. But this talent seems at present on the decline : at least, after taking some pains, I could find no more than two persons who delivered to me in this way a passage from Tasso. I must add, that the late Mr. Berry once chaunted to me a passage in Tasso in the manner, as he assured me, of the gondoliers.
“There are always two concerned, who alternately sing the strophes. We know the melody eventually by Rousseau, to whose songs it is printed; it has properly no melodious movement, and is a sort of medium between the canto fermo and the canto figurato; it approaches to the former by recitativical declamation, and to the latter by passages and course, by which one syllable is detained and embellished.
“I entered a gondola by moonlight; one singer placed himself forwards, and the other aft, and thus proceeded to St. Georgio. One began the song: when he had ended his strophe, the other took up the lay, and so continued the song alternately. Throughout the whole of it, the same notes invariably returned, but, according to the subject matter of the strophe, they laid a greater or a smaller stress, sometimes on one, and sometimes on another note, and indeed changed the enunciation of the whole strophe as the object of the poem altered.
“On the whole, however, the sounds were hoarse and screaming: they seemed, in the manner of all rude uncivilized men, to make the excellence of their singing in the force of their voice: one seemed desirous of conquering the other by the strength of his lungs; and so far from receiving delight from this scene (shut up as I was in the box of the gondola), I found myself in a very unpleasant situation.
“My companion, to whom I communicated this circumstance, being very desirous to keep up the credit of his countrymen, assured me that this singing was very delightful when heard at a distance. Accordingly we got out upon the shore, leaving one of the singers in the gondola, while the other went to the distance of some hundred paces. They now began to sing against one another, and I kept walking up and down between them both, so as always to leave him who was to begin his part. I frequently stood still and hearkened to the one and to the other.
“ Here the scene was properly introduced. The strong, declamatory, and, as it were, shrieking sound, met the ear from far, and called forth the attention ; the quickly succeeding transitions, which necessarily required to be sung in a lower tone, seemed like plaintive strains succeeding the vociferation of emotion or of pain. The other, who listened attentively, immediately began where the former left off, answering him in milder or more vehement notes, according as the purport of the strophe required. The sleepy canals, the lofty buildings, the splendour of the moon, the deep shadows of the few gondolas that moved like spirits hither and thither, increased the striking peculiarity of the scene; and, amidst all these circumstances, it was easy to confess the character of this wonderful harmony.
“It suits perfectly well with an idle solitary mariner, lying at length in his vessel at rest on one of these canals, waiting for his company or for a fare, the tiresomeness of which situation is somewhat alleviated by the songs and poetical stories he has in memory. He often raises his voice as loud as he can, which extends itself to a vast distance over the tranquil mirror; and as all is still around, he is, as it were, in a so
Jitude in the midst of a large and populous town. Here is no rattling of carriages, vo noise of foot-passengers : a silent gondola glides now and then by him, of which the splashing of the oars is scarcely to be heard.
“At a distance he hears another, perhaps utterly unknown to him. Melody and verse immediately attach the two strangers; he becomes the responsive echo to the former, and exerts himself to be heard as he had heard the other. By.a tacit convention they alternate verse for verse; though the song should last the whole night through, they entertain themselves without fatigue; the hearers, who are passing between the two, take part in the amusement.
“ This vocal performance sounds best at a great distance, and is then inexpressibly charming, as it only fulfils its design in the sentiment of remoteness. It is plaintive, but not dismal in its sound, and at times it is scarcely possible to refrain from tears. My companion, who otherwise was not a very delicately organised person, said quite unexpectedly: ‘è singolare come quel canto intenerisce, e molto più quando lo cantano meglio.'
"I was told that the women of Libo, the long row of islands that divides the Adriatic from the Lagouns," particularly the women of the extreme districts of Malamocco and Palestrina, sing in like manner the works of Tasso, to these and similar tunes.
“ They have the custom, when their husbands are fishing out at sea, to sit along the shore in the evenings and vociferate these songs, and continue to do so with great violence, till each of them can distinguish the responses of her own husband at a distance." +
The love of music and of poetry distinguishes all classes of Venetians, even amongst the tuneful sons of Italy. The city itself can occasionally furnish respectable audiences for two and even three opera-houses at a time; and there are few events in private life that do not call forth a printed and circulated sonnet. Does a physician or a lawyer take his degree, or a clergyman preach his maiden serinon, has a surgeon performed an operation, would a harlequin announce his departure or his benefit, are you to be congratulated on a marriage or a birth, or a law-suit, the Muses are invoked to furnish the same number of syllables, and the individual triumphs blaze abroad in virgin white or party-coloured placards on half the corners of the capital. The last curtsey of a favourite "prima, donna" brings down a shower of these poetical tributes from those upper regions, from which, in our theatres, nothing but cupids and snow-storms are accustomed to descend. There is a poetry in the very life of a Venetian, which, in its common course, is varied with those surprises and changes so recommendable in fiction, but so different from the sober monotony of northern existence; amusements are raised into duties, duties are softened into amusements, and every object being considered as equally making a part of the business of life, is announced and performed with the same earnest indifference and gay assiduity. The Venetian gazette constantly closes its columns with the following triple advertisement:
Exposition of the most Holy Sacrament in the Church of St
St. Luke, repose.
Note 4. Stanza x.
Sparta hath many a worthier son than he. The answer of the mother of Brasidas to the strangers who praised the memory of her son.
The writer meant Lido, which is not a long row of islands, but a long island-litlus, the shore. + Curiosities of Literature, vol. ii. p. 156, edit. 1807 ; and Appendix xxix, to Black's Life of Tasso.
Note 5, Stanza xi.
Stand.The lion has lost nothing by his journey to the Invalides, but the gospel which supported the paw, that now on a level with the other foot. The horses, also, are returned to the ill-chosen spot whence they set out, and are, as before, half hidden under the porch window of St. Mark's Church.
Their history, after a desperate struggle, has been satisfactorily explored. The decisions and doubts of Erizzo and Zanetti, and lastly, of the Count Leopold Cicognara, would have given them a Roman extraction, and a pedigree not more ancient than the reign of Nero. But M. de Schlegel stepped in to teach the Venetians the value of their own treasures, and a Greek vindicated, at last and for ever, the pretension of his countrymen to this noble production. Mr. Mustoxidi has not been left without a reply; but as yet, he has received no answer. It should seem that the horses are irrevocably Chian, and were transferred to Constantinople by Theodosius. Lapidary writing is a favourite play of the Italians, and has conferred reputation on more than one of their literary characters. One of the best specimen of Bodoni's typography is a respectable volume of inscriptions, all written by his friend Pacciaudi. Several were prepared for the recovered horses. It is to be hoped the best was not selected, when the following words were ranged in gold letters above the cathedral porch :
QUATUOR. EQUORUM. SIGNA. A. VENETIS. BYZANTIO. CAPTA. AD. TEMP. D. MAR. A. R. S. MCCIV. POSITA. QUÆ. HOSTILIS. CUPIDITAS. A. MDCCCIII. ABSTULERAT. FRANC. I, IMP. PACIS, ORBI. DATÆ. TROPHÆUM, A. MDCCCXV. VICTOR. REDUXIT,
Nothing shall be said of the Latin; but it may be permitted to observe, that the injustice of the Venetians in transporting the horses from Constantinople was at least equal to that of the French in carrying them to Paris, and that it would have been more prudent to have avoided all allusions to either robbery. An apostolic prince should, perhaps, have objected to affixing, over the principal entrance of a metropolitan church, an inscription having a reference to any other triumphs than those of religion. Nothing less than the pacification of the world can excuse such a solecism.
Note 6. Stanza xü
An emperor tramples where an emperor knelt. 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 fourand-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." +
On Saturday the 23d of July, in the year 1177, six Venetian galleys transferred Frederic, in great pomp, froin Chioza to the island of Lido, a mile from Venice. Early the next morning the Pope, accompanied by the Sicilian ambassadors, and by
* Sui quattro cavalli della Basilica di S. Marco in Venezia. Lettera di Andrea Mustoxidi Corcirese. Padova, per Bettoni e compagni, 1815.
" Quibus auditus, imperator, operante eo, qui corda principum sicut vult et quando vult humiliter in clinat, leonina feritate deposita, ovinam mansuetudinem induit." Romualdi Salernitani. Chronicon. apud Script, Rer. Ital, tom. VII. p. 229.
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. Immediately the doge, with a great suite both of the clergy and laity, got on board the galleys, and waiting on Frederic, rowed him in mighty state from the Lido to the capital.
The emperor descended from the galley at the quay of the Piazetta. The doge, the patriarch, his 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. 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 church 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 benignantly from the ground, kissed 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 chaunted. 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 narration. It would be not worth so minute a record, were it not the triuinph 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 sovereignt
Note 7. Stanza xii.
The octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe. 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, 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 1357.8
* Romualdi Salernitani. Chronicon. apud Script. Rer. Ital. tom. VII. p. 229.
+ 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.
1 Mr. Gibbon has omitted the important æ, and has written Romani instead of Romaniæ :--Decline and Fall, chap. Ixi. note 9. But the title acquired by Dandolo runs thus in the chronicle of his namesake, the Doge Andrew Dapdolo :--Ducali titulo addidit, “ Quartæ partis et dimidiæ totius imperii Romania." And. Dand. Chronicon. cap. iii. pars xxxvii. ap. Script. Rer. Ital. tom. xii. page 331. And the Romanive 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.
$ 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, ap. Script. Rer. Ital. tom. xxii. 530. 641.
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 Byzantiumthey 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.
Note 8. Stanza xij.
Are they not bridled ! 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 conquerors 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 proposals, 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, gentlemen 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
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 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. Vettor Pisani was put at the head of thirty-four galleys. The Genoese broke up from Malamocco, and retired to Chioza in October ; but they again threatened Venice, which was reduced to extremities. At this 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 22nd of January by a stone bullet a hundred and ninety-five pounds weight, discharged from a bombard called the Trevisan. Chioza was then closely invested ; five thousand 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. Four 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 trans
*"Fiet potentium in aquis Adriaticis congregatio, cæco præduce, Hircum ambigent, Byzantium prophanabunt, ædificia denigrabunt, spolia dispergentur; Hircus novus balabit usque dum LIV pedes et IX pollices et semis præmensurati discurrant." Chronicon. ibid. pars xxxiv.
+ “Alla fè di Dio, Signori Veneziani, non averete mai pace dal Signore di Padoua, ne dal nostro comune di Genova, se primieramente non mettemo le briglie a quelli vostri cavalli sfrenati, che sono su la Reza del Vostro Evangelista S. Marco. Infrenati che gli avremo, vi faremo stare in buona pace. E questa e la intenzione nostra, e del nostro comune. Questi miei fratelli Genovesi, che avete menate con voi per donarci, non li voglio; rimanetegli in dietro, perche io intendo da qui a pochi giorni venirgli a riscuotes dalle vostri prigioni, e loro e gli altri."