« PreviousContinue »
thousand of the richest citizens, in arms and on c H A p. horseback, came forth to meet him as far as Cha- *** • * renton, in the neighbourhood of the capital. At ; the gates of Paris, he was saluted by the chancellor. o and the parliament; and Charles the Sixth, attended by his princes and nobles, welcomed his brother with a cordial embrace. The successor of Constantine was clothed in a robe of white silk, and mounted on a milk-white steed ; a circumstance, in the French ceremonial, of singular importance. The white colour is considered as the symbol of sovereignty; and, in a late visit, the German Emperor, after an haughty demand and a peevish refusal, had been reduced to content himself with a black courser. Manuel was lodged in the Louvre; a succession of feasts and balls, the pleasures of the banquet and the chace, were ingeniously varied by the politeness of the French, to display their magnificence, and amuse his grief. IIe was indulged in the liberty of his chaptl; and the doctors of the Sorbonne were astonished, and possibly scandalised, by the language, the orites, and the vestments, of his Greek clergy. But the slightest glance on the state of the kingdom, must teach him to despair of any effectual assistance. The unfortunate Charles, though he enjoyed some lucid intervals, continually relapsed into furious or stupid insanity. The reigns of government were alternately seized by his brother and uncle, the Dukes of Orleans and Burgundy, whose factious competition prepared the miseries of civil war. The former was a gay youth, dissolved in luxury and love; the latter was the father of John, Count of
Nevers, who had so lately been ransomed from Turkish captivity; and if the fearless son was ardent to revenge his defeat, the more prudent Burgundy was content with the cost and peril of the first experiment. When Manuel had satiated the curiosity, and perhaps fatigued the patience of the French, he resolved on a visit to the adjacent island. In his progress from Dover, he was entertained at Canterbury with due reverence by the prior and monks of St Austin; and, on Blackheath, King Henry the Fourth, with the English court, saluted the Greek hero, (I copy our old historian), who, during many days, was lodged and treated in London as Emperor of the East". But the state of England was still more adverse to the design of the holy war. In the same year, the hereditary sovereign had been deposed and murdered; the reigning prince was a successful usurper, whose ambition was punished by jealousy and remorse. Nor could Henry of Lancaster withdraw his person or forces from the defence of a throne incessantly shaken by conspiracy and rebellion. He pitied, he praised, he feasted, the Emperor of Constantinople; but if the English monarch assumed the cross, it was
* A short note of Manuel in England, is extracted by Dr Hody from a M.S. at Lambeth, (de Graecis illustribus, p. 14.), C. P. Imperator, diu variisque et horrendis Paganorum insultibus coartatus, ut pro eisdem resistentiam triumphalem perquireret Anglorum Regem visitare decrevit, &c. Rex (says Walsingham, p. 364.) nobili apparatu . . . . suscepit (ut deduit) tantum Heroa, duxitgue Londonias, et per multos dies exhibuit gloriose, pro expensis hospitii sui solvens, et eum respiciens tanto fastigio donativis. He repeats the same in his Upodigma Neustriae, (p. 556).
only to appease his people, and perhaps his con- c 11 A p.
science, by the merit or semblance of this pious in-
* Shakespeare begins and ends the play of Henry IV. with that prince's vow of a crusade, and his belief that he should die in Jerusalem.
+ This fact is preserved in the Historia Politica, A. D. 1391 –1478, published by Martin Crusius (Turco Graecia, p. 1– 43.). The image of Christ, which the Greek Emperor refu&ed to worship, was probably a work of sculpture.
stream of emigration that flowed, and continued to flow, from the unknown climates of the West. The visirs of their last Emperors removed the veil of separation, and they disclosed to their eyes the powerful nations of Europe, whom they no longer presumed to brand with the name of Barbarians. The observations of Manuel, and his more inquisitive followers, have been preserved by a Byzantine historian of the times *. His scattered ideas I shall collect and abridge; and it may be amusing enough, perhaps instructive, to contemplate the rude pictures of Germany, France, and England, whose ancient and modern state are so familiar to our minds. I. GERMANY (says the Greek Chalcondyles) is of ample latitude from Vienna to the Ocean; and it stretches (a strange geography ) from Prague in Bohemia, to the river Tartessus, and the Pyrenaean mountains f. The soil, except in figs and olives, is sufficiently fruitful; the air is salubrious; the bodies of the natives are robust and
* The Greek and Turkish history of Laonicus Chalcondyles ends with the winter of 1463, and the abrupt conclusion seems to mark, that he laid down his pen in the same year. We know that he was an Athenian, and that scine contemporaries of the same name contributed to the revival of the Greek language in Italy. But in his numerous digressions, the modest historian has never introduced himself; and his editor, Leunclavius, as well as Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 474.), seems ignorant of his life and character. For his descriptions of Germany, France, and England, see l. ii. p. 36.37, 44–52.
+ I shall not animadvert on the geographical errors of Chalcondyles. In this instance, he perhaps followed, and mistook Herodotus, (l. ii. c. 33.), whose text may be explained, (Herodote de Larcher, tom. ii. p. 219. 22c.), or whose ignorance may be excused. Had these modern Greeks never read Strabo, or any of their lesser geographers ?
and healthy; and these cold regions are seldom visited with the calamities of pestilence or earthquakes. After the Scythians or Tartars, the Germans are the most numerous of nations; they are brave and patient, and were they united under a single head, their force would be irresistible. By the gift of the Pope, they have acquired the privilege of chusing the Roman Emperor *; nor is any people more devoutly attached to the faith and obedience of the Latin patriarch. The greatest part of
the country is divided among the princes and
prelates; but Strasburgh, Cologne, Hamburgh, and more than two hundred free cities, are governed by sage and equal laws, according to the will, and for the advantage, of the whole community. The use of duels, or single combats on foot, prevails among them in peace and war; their industry excels in all the mechanic arts, and the Germans may boast of the invention of gun-powder and cannon, which is now diffused over the greatest part of the world. II. The kingdom of FRANCE is spread above fifteen or twenty days journey from Germany to Spain, and from the Alps to the British Ocean, containing many flourishing cities, and among these Paris, the seat of the King, which surpasses the rest in riches and luxury. Many princes and lords alternately wait in his palace, and
*. G 2 acknowledge
* A citizen of new Rome, while new Rome survived, would have scorned to dignify the German Prž with the titles of Bazows, or Avrozéaret Pauaia, ; but all pride was extinct in the bosom of Chalcondyles; and he describes the Byzantine prince and his subject, by the proper, though humble names of “Exxzvis, and Bozorov, “EXA4Vay.