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OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

Baudoin IX. Comte de Flandre, premier empereur Romain de Constantinople. Drame historique en cinq Actes, precede de considerations historiques, politiques, et litteraires d'une interessante actualité. Par Julien le Rousseau. Paris,

1856.

The late Turkish war brought forward new objects of interest to recreate the European mind. French and English soldiers stood side by side, mirabile dictu! on a soil where western warriors had not trod in arms since the Crusades. New books of travel, and new sketches replaced the hackTied scenes of France, Italy, the Rhine. Ottoman and Bizantine historians led the reader into paths less trite than those of the Occidental nations: names, that though historic, were unfamiliar, came into notice, or returned to memory: there were fresh themes for poets, and might have been for dramatists, if the drama still maintained the position that once it held there were, indeed, two or three attempts to find subjects for the stage, amid all this novelty, but the attempts were not successful. Of one of them, however, we would write, because the choice of the subject was well made, but badly wrought out; exactly reversing the old saying, "materiem superabit opus." A Frenchman, rejoicing in the cognomen of Le Rousseau (what might be his affinity with Jean Jacques we know not) was struck with the fact of Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, a liege man of the king of France, the Suzerain of his territory, having been raised to the Imperial throne of Constantinople by French arms and French influence; and having founded a dynasty, (short-lived enough, be it owned) of French emperors. There was interest in this to Gallic ears after the lapse of centuries there was another French army in Constantinople: what had been might be again at all events it was pour la gloire de la belle France to recall that event; and Le Rousseau accordingly indited a Tragedy entitled, " Baldwin The IX, Count of Flanders, first Roman Emperor of Constantinople." A true tragic poet could find situations of deep pathos and strong emotion in the strange story of Baldwin and his family; a story which is replete with Terror and Pity, these legitimate elements of Tragedy, according to the ancient canon of criticisin. Among all the passages of mediæval history that have perplexed alike both cotemporaries and posterity, there are none more dark, more fearful,

more mysterious, than those connected with Baldwin and his children. That the reader may form his own estimate of the means afforded by them for the construction of an effective tragedy, we will enter upon a succinct narrative of circumstances, many of which lie removed from the high road, and beaten tracks of every-day readings.

The

Baldwin the Ninth Count of Flanders of that name, was the son of Baldwin, surnamed the Courageous, Count of Hainault, and of Margaret, Countess of Flanders. He was early trained to arms by his father, whom he accompanied at the age of thirteen in a successful campaign against Jacques D'Avênes,* a noble of Hainault, from whom they conquered Condé. son of d'Avênes was afterwards closely and unhappily connected with the family of the Count of Flanders. At seventeen, Baldwin distinguished himself at the battle of Neuville, by which victory he recovered some disputed territories from his father's uncle, the then Count of Namur. He was still but a stripling when he received the honor of knighthood from the royal hands of Philip Augustus of France.

On the death of his mother, in 1194, he succeeded to her dominions as Baldwin IX. of Flanders; and in the following year he succeeded his father as Baldwin VI. of Hainault. On his accession he did homage at Metz to the Emperor of Germany, Henry VI. for the fiefs he possessed under the empire, and afterwards rendered fealty for Flanders to Philip Augustus, who was his brother-in-law, as well as his Suzerain, having been married to Isabella of Hainault, Baldwin's sister, (who had died in 1190). Baldwin, however, soon made war upon Philip, to recover Artois, which had been detached from Flanders, as a marriage portion for Isabella, contrary (as Baldwin asserted) to the constitution of his states. The Count was victorious, and his success against so great a monarch as Philip Augustus, together with the wisdom he evinced in politics, and the renown of his valour in boyhood, won for him that high consideration which eventuated in his elevation to the Imperial dignity.

Pope Innocent III. anxious to recover Jerusalem, which had again fallen into the hands of the Infidels, commissioned

• The fortified town of Avênes, or Avesnes, on the river Hepre in Hainault, gave the title of Count.

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Foulque, Curé of Neuilly-en-Buè to preach a new Crusade. A brilliant tournament was held in 1199, at Ecry-sur-Aisne, in Champagne; thither Foulque repaired, and preached to the noble assembly with so much unction, that knights, princes, all were moved even to tears, and assumed the Cross. Among them were Baldwin, Henry of Hainault, Count of Saorbruck, Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat, Louis, Count of Blois, Hugh, Count de St. Pol, the Count of Champagne, and Simon de Montfort, too well remembered (or too evil) in the history of the Albigenses. The Marquis of Montferrat was nominated leader of the expedition. But the influence of Baldwin was, on all occasions, predominant.

The Count of Flanders was married to Mary of Champagne, and had two daughters, Jane and Margaret. When about to leave home for the East, he committed the care of his dominions, and the guardianship of his children, then very young, to his brother, Philip, Count of Namur, conjointly with Bouchard d'Avênes, the son of that Jaques d'Avêsnes upon whom Baldwin VIII. had formerly made war (as before mentioned). Bouchard had left his own country, and fixed his residence at the court of Baldwin IX. with whom he became an especial favorite, from his great abilities, and his pleasing manners. Little did the unfortunate Bouchard foresee the miseries that would be heaped upon him by those two young girls, the children of his friend. Their mother, carried away by the vehement. eloquence of Foulque de Neuilly, had resolved upon a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; but she did not set out with her husband; she waited for a fleet commanded by John de Nêsle, which was to sail from one of the Flemish ports.

The rendezvous of the soldiers of the Cross, of the different nations, was at Venice, where they were to be provided with shipping and provisions on payment of 85,000 marks of silver. But the Crusaders, on their arrival, found that all the money they could possibly raise, was much below the amount required. After much bargaining with the Venetians, the latter proposed that to make amends for the sum deficient, the Crusaders, before proceeding to Palestine, should assault and recover for Venice, the City of Zara, in Illyria, which had revolted to the Hungarians. Several of the Crusader-chiefs refused to turn aside from their original mission to fight in an inferior cause, and they quitted Venice, to continue their route. to the Holy Land. But Baldwin, fearing that without the aid

of the Venetians the whole expedition would fail, agreed to the proposal, and influenced many of his brother-leaders.

The Doge of Venice at that time was the aged and heroic man celebrated by Lord Byron in the eighth Canto of Childe Harold.

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"Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo !" Henry Dandolo was then beyond 90 years old, and was nearly blind, scarcely distinguishing more than light from darkness, in consequence of the cruelty of Emanuel Comnenus, former Emperor of Constantinople, to whom he had been sent ambassador from Venice 50 years before, and who had caused a sheet of hot copper to be applied to his eyes, in revenge for Dandolo's firmness in defending the interests of his country. Dandolo, notwithstanding his defective sight, and his extreme age, still preserved wonderful strength of mind and body; he, too, assumed the cross, deputing his son to act as Doge in his absence, and accompanied the Expedition, which sailed from Venice in October 1202; and arriving at Zara, besieged and took the place, where the Chiefs resolved to winter.

At Zara they were visited by Envoys, whose embassy caused another departure from the first plan of the Crusades. The Greek Emperor Isaac Angelus, of the Imperial House of Comnenus, had been dethroned, imprisoned, and deprived of sight by an ungrateful brother named Alexius, to whom he had given many proofs of affection. The unhappy Isaac had a son, also named Alexius, who escaping from the power of his unnatural uncle, exerted himself to seek aid for his father. He sent letters to the confederates at Zara, entreating them to hasten to Constantinople in order to restore Isaac to his throne; and promising, in recompense, to give a sum of 200,000 marks among the knights and soldiers; to assist them with a Greek Army in conquering Egypt, a country they much wished to acquire; and, to establish the Roman Church, and the Pope's supremacy in the Eastern Empire. Notwithstanding these tempting offers, some of the leaders protested against a second postponement of their design: but they were over-ruled by Baldwin, who was desirous of procuring for France (whose troops he led) the advantage of a close connexion with Constantinople, the key of the East. Montferrat and Dandolo acceded to Baldwin's wishes; and early in 1203 the French and Venetians sailed with 500 ships to Corfu, where they were joined by Prince Alexius, and, in the month of May, they proceeded to Constantinople with an army of about 20,000 men.

The city was in a state of confusion, full of factions, religious and political; and the people were utterly degraded and corrupt, and feared while they hated the cruel and despotic usurper. They were dismayed by the appearance of the brave and hardy warriors of the West, whom they called "men of bronze," and "exterminating angels," and firmly believed that each one was able to tear up a full grown oak by the roots. The fervent exhortations, however, of a few intrepid spirits, availed to shame, or stimulate, the Greeks into some show of resistance to the foreigners.

The siege commenced on the 1st of July, 1203. Baldwin led the van with the French, crossed the Bosphorus, and attacked the city from Galata: the panic stricken Greeks soon fled and the French standard was planted by two brothers of a noble and historic house, Antoine and Quesnes de Bethune; the latter was a wise statesman, a brave soldier, one of the best of the then French poets, and direct ancestor of the renowned Sully, minister of Henry IV. of France. The Venetian fleet forced its way into the harbour; " blind old Dandolo" standing on the prow of his vessel in full armour, holding his drawn sword, insisted upon going on shore. A kind of drawbridge was contrived, to pass from the yards of the ship to the walls of the city, and along this the valiant old man groped his way, and entered a victor into Constantinople, where, half a century before, he had been treated with so much inhumanity. Numbers crowded after him; they planted the great standard of St. Mark,and took twenty-five of the one hundred and ten towers that ought to have vigorously opposed them. The terrified Greeks revolted against the usurper, who made his escape in a boat; Isaac Angelus was restored, and his son associated with him. in the Empire as Alexius IV.

The latter was anxious to fulfil his promises to his allies, but the treasury was empty, and though he melted and coined all the church plate, the money produced was much below the sum promised; and the Crusaders encamped without the walls till they should receive full payment. The Greeks abhorred the strangers; frequent brawls ensued, in one of which the city was fired, and a large part of it consumed. Alexius became an object of hatred to his own subjects for having introduced the foreigners, and especially for endeavouring to subvert the Greek Church, and establish that of Rome. Meantime the unhappy Alexius was treated by his

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