« PředchozíPokračovat »
“ At last the Emperor Alexis, seeing that we would not move, commenced a retreat. And thereupon those of our host began to ride after them. The battaliæ of the Greeks withdrew in confusion to the rear of an imperial palace called the Philopatrium, which stands outside the town. And, know ye, that never did God bring men out of a peril greater than that in which we were that day! And I can tell you
truly that there was not among us a man so bold but was glad to be out of it. The Emperor Alexis rode back into the city; we, back to our camp. There we took off our armour, and need was, for we were hard travailled and tired. And then did we eat and then drink; and we had flesh meat that night.
“ Now listen and hear how great are the miracles of our Lord, when it pleases him to perform them. In the course of that same night the Emperor Alexis, being a-feared, took with him all the money in the treasury that he could carry, and all the people that would go with him, and got him gone out of the city. And the people in the city remained all astonished and terrified. And, after awhile, they went to the prison where was the dethroned emperor, the brother of Alexis, and by him cruelly blinded; and they drew him out of his prison, and dressed him in imperial robes. And thus they carried him to the imperial palace of Plackierne, and placed him on the high seat, and did reverence to him as their lord. And then they sent messengers to the barons of our host, and to the son of the rightful emperor, to tell them that the usurper Alexis had fled, and that they had restored to his empire the true Emperor Isaac.
“These messengers having been heard, the Marquis Boniface of Montferrat called together all the barons of the host. And when they were all assembled in a great tent, the son of the Emperor related all that had happened. I may not attempt to describe the joy of our barons : for never was there greater joy in this world! And much and most piously did we praise and thank our Lord God, for that he had exalted the humble, and humbled the exalted ; and we said, whom God protects none can injúre.
“ The meeting broke up, and our host began to put on their armour: for we had no confidence in the good faith of the Greeks. But more messengers arrived at our camp, coming by twos and by threes at a time, and they all confirmed the news we had heard, Hereupon the opinions of our barons and the wise Doge of Venice were these :-That envoys from the camp should go into the town, the gates of which were now thrown open to us, as to friends, and see with their own eyes how affairs stood, and whether the Greek messengers had- told us truth; and the envoys were also to tell the restored emperor that he must enter into a convention and send hostages to the camp, without which the barons and pilgrims, and none of the host, would ever enter the city. Then were selected the envoys. Mathieu de Montmorency was one, Geoffroy of Ville-Hardoin, Marshal of Champagne, the other; and the Doge of Venice sent two Venetians with them.
And these envoys were conducted by the Greeks to an open gate. There they dismounted, to go the rest of the way on foot. And the Greeks had drawn up
their English and Danes, with their battle-axes, in double line, all the way from the gate to the palace of Plackierne. And through these lines were the envoys conducted to the palace. And there they found the emperor, who was most richly dressed, and the empress his wife, who was a very handsome lady, and sister to the King of Hungary. And of other men and dames there were so many, that there was scantly room enough in the great hall to turn oneself; and they were all as richly attired as it was possible to be. And every man of them who before had been against the blind emperor, was now for him. The four envoys stood before the emperor.
and his nobles paid them much honour. And the envoys said they would speak in private with the emperor, on the part of his son and the barons of the host. And the emperor rose and retired to another chamber. And he took none with him except the empress, his drogoman, his chancellor, and the four envoys. By selection of the other envoys, Geoffroy, Marshal of Champagne, was orator; and he said to the emperor:
Sire, thou seest the service we have done thy son, and how fairly we have dealt by him. Thy son cannot be restored to thee until thou hast consented to ratify, and perform all the compacts and agreements he hath made with us. And he begs thee, as thy son, to give us assurance that thou wilt keep the treaty he hath made.' And what is that treaty?' quoth the emperor. Quoth the envoy, Thou shalt hear it.-Thy son hath engaged to put the whole Grecian empire in obedience to the church of Rome, even as it was in former times; to give two hundred thousand silver marks to those of our host, and provisions for a year to great and small; to send ten thousand men, horse
and foot, to aid the Crusaders in making war upon the Sultan of Babylon, and to keep at his own expense these ten thousand men for one year; and, afterwards, to keep at his own expense, during his whole lifetime, five hundred horsemen in Palestine, to help defend the Holy Land against the Infidel. This is the treaty thy son hath made with us, and which he hath signed, sealed, and solemnly sworn to.' “Certes,' saith the emperor, • 'tis a weighty treaty, nor can I well see how it is to be executed. Nevertheless ye have done so much for me and my son, that were I to give you the whole of the empire, ye have deserved it.' And in many manners did the emperor repeat this assurance. But the end of all was this :—the father ratified the treaty as the son had ratified it, by oath and by charter, and put his golden bull to the charter. This scroll was delivered to the envoys. They then took leave of the emperor; and, being returned with hostages to the army and the barons, they said that they had done the business.
“ Then mounted our barons their war-horses joyously to conduct the son to the father. The Greeks met them at the gate with much joy and very grand ceremony. The joy of the father and son was very great, for they had been long separated. Certes, there were grand rejoicings, as well among all the people in Constantinople as among the soldiers and pilgrims outside the walls, for the honour and the victory which God had given. And on the morrow the Emperor Isaac begged our princes and barons, for the love of God, to go and quarter themselves and their host on the other side of the port, towards Stanor and Galata; seeing that, if they all lodged themselves in Constantinople, there might be quarrels and mêlées between them and the Greeks, which might end in the burning and ruining of the city. And he told the barons at the same time there was nothing else they could ask that he would refuse. So we went quietly, and lodged ourselves on the other side of the port, and lived there in great plenty.
Now, you must know, many of our army went frequently over to see Constantinople, and its rich palaces and lofty churches, which were more beautiful and far more numerous than in any other city upon earth. As for the holy sanctuaries which then were in Constantinople, I must not speak of them; for there were more than in all the rest of the world. And now the Greeks and Franks traded together in all sorts of merchandizes and commodities."
This good understanding lasted a very short time.
160.-SCENE FROM THE CRITIC.
SHERIDAN. [It is a painful thing to trace such a career as that of Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The wit whose comedies were held by the most refined audiences to surpass all that Wycherley, or Vanbrugh, or Congreve had achieved—the orator after one of whose great speeches the first statesman of his age moved that the House should adjourn, because it was under the wand of the magician—was in all his private dealings with his fellow-men little better than an accomplished swindler. Pitied he unquestionably must be, for he was the slave of the circumstances that surrounded him, and his false ambition could never aspire to the real dignity which the man of genius may always attain through that independence which is the result of the limitation of his desires. Sheridan was born in Dublin in 1751. His father was a teacher of elocution; his mother was a most amiable and accomplished woman, the author of ' Sidney Biddulph' and · Nourjahad.' When he was twoand-twenty, he married the celebrated singer, Miss Linley, whom he compelled to quit her profession. His first comedy was the · Rivals,' which, after a partial failure, was highly successful. · The Duenna, one of the most charming of English operas, followed. By some stroke of policy he became one of the proprietors of Drury Lane Theatre, and in 1777 produced • The School for Scandal,' perhaps the best comedy of wit in our language. The Critic' followed in 1779. The character of Sir Fretful Plagiary, in the extract which we give, is held to be a satire
upon Richard Cumberland, his dramatic contemporary. In 1780 he was brought into Parliament, and uniformly supported the Whig party. The latter years of his life must have been truly miserable. He had no certain means of support: he lived in a perpetual struggle with pecuniary difficulties; his necessities could not be laughed away by his animal spirits; he feasted at the tables of the great, and the luxury in which he occasionally participated only made his own home more cheerless. When sickness and distress had enfeebled his powers, he was deserted by his summer friends. He died in 1816.]
Enter SERVANT. Serv. Sir Fretful Plagiary, sir.
Dangle. Beg him to walk up.-[Exit SERVANT.] Now, Mrs. Dangle, Sir Fretful Plagiary is an author to your own taste.
Mrs. Dangle. I confess he is a favourite of mine, because every body else abuses him.
Sneer. Very much to the credit of your charity, madam, if not of your judgment.
Dangle. But, egad, he allows no merit to any author but himself, that 's the truth on't—though he's my friend.
Sneer. Never. He is as envious as an old maid verging on the desperation of six-and-thirty; and then the insidious humility with which he seduces you to give a free opinion on any of his works can be exceeded only by the petulant arrogance with which he is sure to reject your observations.
Dangle. Very true, egad--though he is my friend.
Sneer. Then his affected contempt of all newspaper strictures ; though at the same time he is the sorest man alive, and shrinks like scorched parchment from the fiery ordeal of true criticism; yet is he so covetous of popularity, that he had rather be abused than not mentioned at all.
Dangle. There's no denying it—though he is my friend.
Dangle. Why, between ourselves, egad, I must own—though he is my friend—that it is one of the most-he's here [Aside]—finished and most admirable perform
Sir Fretful (without). Mr. Sneer with him, did you say?
Enter Sir FRETFUL PLAGIARY.
Dangle. Ah, my dear friend! Egad, we were just speaking of your tragedy. Admirable, Sir Fretful, admirable !
Sneer. You never did any thing beyond it, Sir Fretful-never in
Sir Fret. You make me extremely happy; for, without a compliment, my dear Sneer, there isn't a man in the world whose judgment I value as I do yours—and Mr. Dangle's.
Mrs. Dangle. They are only laughing at you, Sir Fretful, for it was but just now that
Dangle. Mrs. Dangle! Ah, Sir Fretful, you know Mrs. Danglemy friend Sneer was rallying just now.
He knows how she admires