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to instill the desire of martyrdom, and the assurance
by the blaze of their nocturnal fires.
* Phranza quarrels with these Moslem acclamations, not for the name of God, but for that of the prophet : the pious zeal of Voltaire is excessive, and even ridiculous.
timely surrender; anticipated the horrors of their c H. A. P. fate; and sighed for the repose and security of Exxon, Turkish servitude. The noblest of the Greeks, and the bravest of the allies, were summoned to the palace, to prepare them, on the evening of the twenty-eighth, for the duties and dangers of the general assault. The last speech of Palaeologus was the funeral oration of the Roman Empire"; he promised, he conjured, and he vainly attempted to infuse the hope which was extinguished in his own mind. In this world all was comfortless and gloomy; and neither the gospel nor the church Y have proposed any conspicuous recompence to the heroes who fall in the service of their country. But the example of their prince, and the confinement of a siege, had armed these warriors with the courage of despair; and the pathetic scene is described by the feelings of the historian Phranza, who was himself present at this mournful assembly. They wept, they embraced; regardless of their families and fortunes, they devoted their lives; and each commander, departing to his station, maintained all night a vigilant and anxious watch on the rampart. The Emperor, and some faithful companions, entered the domie of St Sophia, which in a few hours was to be converted into a mosch; and devoutly received, with tears and
prayers, the sacrament of the holy communion. X. He reposed some moments in the palace, which Vol. XII. Q resounded
* I am afraid that this discourse was composed by Phranza himself; and it smells so grossly of the sermon and the convent, that I almost doubt whether it was pronounced by Constantine. Leonardus assigns him another speech, in which he addresses himself more respectfully to the Latin auxiliaries.
resounded with cries and lamentations; solicited the pardon of all whom he might have injured “; and mounted on horseback to visit the guards, and explore the motions of the enemy. The distress and fall of the last Constantine are more glorious than the long prosperity of the Byzantine Cæsars. In the confusion of darkness an assailant may sometimes succeed; but in this great and general attack, the military judgement and astrological knowledge of Mahomet advised him to expect the morning, the memorable twenty-ninth of May, in the fourteen hundred and fifty-third year of the Christian aera. The preceding night had been strenuously employed ; the troops, the cannon, and the fascines, were advanced to the edge of the ditch, which, in many parts, presented a smooth and level passage to the breach ; and his fourscore gallies almost touched, with the prows and their scaling-ladders, the less defensible walls of the harbour. Under pain of death, silence was enjoined; but the physical laws of motion and sound are not obedient to discipline or fear; each individual might suppress his voice, and measure his footsteps; but the march and labour of thousands must inevi
tably produce a strange confusion of dissonant cla
mours, which reached the cars of the watchmen of the towers. At day-break, without the customary signal of the morning-gun, the Turks assaulted the
city by sea and land; and the similitude of a twined
* This abasement, which devotion has sometimes extorted from dying princes, is an improvement of the gospel doctrine of the forgiveness of injuries; it is more easy to forgive 493 times, than once to ask pardon of an inferior.
twined or twisted thread has been applied to the c H. A.P.
closeness and continuity of their line of attack". The foremost ranks consisted of the refuse of the host, a voluntary crowd, who fought without order or command; of the feebleness of age or childhood, of peasants and vagrants, and of all who had joined the camp in the blind hope of plunder and martyrdom. The common impulse drove them onwards to the wall; the most audacious to climb were instantly precipitated; and not a dart, not a bullet of the Christians, was idly wasted on the accumulated throng. But their strength and ammunition were exhausted in this laborious defence; the ditch was filled with the bodies of the slain; they supported the footsteps of their companions; and of this devoted vanguard, the death was more serviceable than the life. Under their respective bashaws and sanjaks, the troops of Anatolia and Romania were successively led to the charge; their progress was various and doubtful; but, after a conflict of two hours, the Greeks still maintained, and improved their advantage; and the voice of the Emperor was heard, encouraging his soldiers to atchieve, by a last effort, the deliverance of their country. In that fatal moment, the Janizaries arose, fresh, vigorous, and invincible. The Sultan himself on horseback, with an iron mace in his hand, was the spectator and judge of their valour; he was surrounded by ten thousand of his domestic Q 2 troops, * Besides the 10,000 guards, and the sailors and the
marines, Ducas numbers in this general assault 25o, ooo Turks, both horse and foot.
c H.A.P. troops, whom he reserved for the decisive occa
sions; and the tide of battle was directed and im-