Thursday, April 27, 2006

Day 15 - 27th April 1483

"It should be noted that I have described the places between Feltre and Innspruck because when we came home again I did not travel along that road to Innspruck, but came another way, as will be told in its proper place. Beyond this place I shall not describe any place during our journey out, but shall describe all the places at which I stayed during our journey home. Therefore I shall reserve my description of Treviso and the other cities until I come to my return. For I am now pressing forward to Jerusalem, towards which I have steadfastly set my face, nor will I rest until I again see that most famous and desirable city.

On the 27th, which was the Sunday called 'Centate,' we heard Mass at Treviso and dined. After dinner we hired some of the horses which they call 'Martyrs' to carry ourselves and our baggage to the sea, and we set out towards the seashore. We arrived at the town of Mestre, desiring to proceed further, to Malghera, which stands on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Howbeit, in the former town we were met by a German who inquired whether we were of the company of the Lord John, Baron van Cymbern. When he heard that we were, he took us into an inn, and showed us a table already spread with food and drink, and told us that the Lord John van Cymbern had ordered this for us. He also took us into the garden of the house, and showed us a large boat in the river, which there runs down from the mountains to the sea, which boat had been sent to Mestre from Venice by the Lord Baron van Cymbern, that we might sail thither down the river. On beholding this we were cheered in spirit, and we sat down and ate and drank what had been made ready for us. Afterwards we carried all their lordships' baggage on board the vessel, and all of us got on board of her, which loaded her pretty heavily, for there were many of us, and the baggage of their lordships and their servants was of no small amount. So we bade farewell to the land, and committed ourselves to the waters, and, having embarked, sailed down the river for about a mile towards the sea. When we were come to the place where the river glides into the jaws of the Mediterranean, at the edge and border of the sea, and sailed into the bitter salt water, we began in loud and cheerful tones to sing the pilgrims' hymn, which those who are journeying to the Sepulchre of our Lord are wont to sing: 'In Gottes Namen fahren win; Seiner Genaden begehren wir: Nu helff uns die Gottliche Kraft, und das heylige Grab: Kyrie eleyson,' which, in the Latin tongue, would be ' In God's name we are sailing; His grace we need: may His power shield us and the Holy Sepulchre protect us: Kyrie eleeson.'

Meanwhile we had come near to the castle of Malghera, and were passing the tower which is called the Torre de Malghera, when we met a boat which some strong young men were rowing very furiously towards Margerum, which ran into our boat, so that the bows of the two boats clashed together, and our boat was driven to one side by the shock, and struck upon a post which stood in the water, so as to threaten to overset; and it did very nearly overset with all the people and things in it, so that we were sore afraid. The sailors of each ship abused those of the other, and so we went on our way. After awhile there met us another boat with people on board, one of whom asked us what inn we meant to put up at in Venice. When we told him St. George's, where Lord John van Cyrnbern had taken rooms for us, he began to abuse that inn and its landlord, and stood on the prow of his boat, trying to prevent our going there, and pointing out some other inn to us. As he stood there and noisily tried to persuade us, he suddenly met with an accident, and fell from the prow of his boat into the sea, from which he was with much trouble dragged out by his comrades and saved from death. He was dressed in new silk clothes, which received baptism together with him, which caused great laughter on board of our boat. As we sailed further on, we found before our eyes the famous, great, wealthy and noble city of Venice, the mistress of the Mediterranean, standing in wondrous fashion in the midst of the waters, with lofty towers, great churches, splendid houses and palaces. We were astonished to see such weighty and such tall structures with their foundations in the water. Presently we sailed into the city, and went along the Grand Canal as far as the Rialto, where on each side of us we saw buildings of wonderful height and beauty. Below the Rialto we turned out of the Grand Canal into another canal, on the right bank of which stands the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, by which we proceeded among the houses right up to the door of our inn, which was called the inn of St. George, and in German commonly known as 'Zu der Fleuten.' Here we disembarked, walked up about sixty stone steps from the sea to the rooms which were prepared for us, and carried all our things into them. Here Master John, the landlord, and Mistress Margaret, the landlady, received us with great good humour, and greeted me with especial friendliness, because I was the only one of us whom they knew, through my former pilgrimage, during which I had been a guest in their house for many days. The rest of the household also met us, greeting us and showing their eagerness to wait upon us. The entire household, the landlord and landlady, and all the manservants and maidservants, were of the German nation and speech, and no word of Italian was to be heard in the house, which was a very great comfort to us; for it is very distressing to live with people without being able to converse with them. Last of all, as we entered, the dog who guards the house came to meet us, a big black dog, who showed how pleased he was by wagging his tail, and jumped upon us as dogs are wont to do upon those whom they know. This dog receives all Germans with the like joy, from whatever part of Germany they come; but when Italians or Lombards, Gauls, Frenchmen, Slavonians, Greeks, or men of any country except Germany, come into the house, he becomes so angry that you would think that he was gone mad, runs at them, barking loudly, leaps furiously upon them, and will not cease from troubling them till someone quiets him. He has not grown accustomed even to the Italians who dwell in the neighbouring houses, but rages against them as though they were strangers, and obstinately remains their implacable foe. Moreover, he will not on any terms allow their dogs to enter the house, but he does not meddle with German dogs. He does not attack German beggars who come asking for alms, but falls upon poor Italians who wish to come in to beg for charity, and drives them away. I have often rescued poor men from this dog's teeth. The Germans say that this dog is a proof that as he is the implacable foe of the Italians, so German men can never agree with Italians from the bottom of their hearts, nor Italians with us, because each nation has hatred of the other rooted in its very nature. The animal being irrational, and governed only by its passions, quarrels with the Italians because its nature bids it do so; but human beings restrain their feelings by the aid of reason, and keep down the feeling of hatred which is engrained in their nature. We found in the inn many noblemen from various parts of Germany, and some from Hungary, all of whom were bound by the same vow as ourselves, and intended to cross the sea to the most Holy Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus at Jerusalem. In other inns were more Germans, and they had all formed themselves into companies, some large and some small. Now, in our company there were twelve pilgrims altogether, counting both nobles and serving-men, whose names are here set forth:

The Lord John Wernher, Baron van Cymbern, a man handsome and wise, remarkable for the grace of his manners, and learned in the Latin tongue.

The Lord Henry von Stoeffel, Baron of the Holy Empire, a strong and active man, of a manly character, as a true Suabian nobleman should be.

The Lord John Truchsess van Waldpurg, a nobleman of tall stature, a man of respectable and lofty character, serious, and deeply concerned about the salvation of his soul.

The Lord Ber (Ursus) von Rechberg, a noble of the Hohenrechberg family, who was the youngest of them all, and the liveliest, bravest, tallest, most cheerful, kind and liberal of the party.

These four noble lords had with them their attendants in waiting on them, whose names, together with their offices and duties, are here set forth, to wit:

Balthazar Buchler, a sensible man of great experience, by whose advice all their lordships were guided and governed, and whom they regarded as their father.

Artus, their lordships' barber, a man who could play so sweetly and so well on musical instruments, that one cannot believe that his like could anywhere be found.

John, surnamed Schmidhans, a man-at-arms who had fought in many wars, and who came on this pilgrimage as servant to their lordships.

Conrad Beck, a respectable and sensible man, a citizen of Merengen, who was their lordships' manciple and steward.

Peter, a good simple fellow, patient under hardships, who came from the town of Waldsee, and who was cook for their lordships and for the entire company.

Ulric van Rafensburg, who once had been to sea as a galley-slave, and had undergone much misery, who was by profession a trader, and was their lordships' interpreter.

John, a man of peace, eager to serve their lordships, who was a teacher of boys and schoolmaster in Babenhusen.

Brother Felix, priest of the Order of Preaching Friars at Ulm, a pilgrim for the second time to the Holy Land, chaplain to their lordships and to all the others aforesaid.

These twelve held together inseparably, and lived at the common expense of the four lords aforementioned. Wherefore the four lords called the host to them and made an arrangement with him for their lodging, their table, and all the other things of his of which they made use. When this arrangement had been made before us all, I thought of another plan for myself, and without the knowledge of my lords, I went in a boat to the convent of St. Dominic, and asked the prior of the convent to receive me as a guest until the pilgrims' galleys should leave the port, which, after much importunity, I prevailed upon him to do. For it was unpleasant for me, and very distracting to my thoughts, to live entirely among secular persons. So I returned to my inn and packed up my baggage, and then waited on my lords and told them of my intention.

Howbeit, this proposal did not please them; indeed, it displeased them much, nor would they on any terms consent to my leaving them. So, in order that I might be more willing to remain with them, they made arrangements with the landlord, and he let me have a cell of my own, wherein I could be quite alone, and could sleep, pray, read and write, and escape from all the noise of the inn as well as if I were in my own cell at Ulm. So I remained with the rest of our party all the time that we were at Venice; but I often, indeed, almost once a day, used to visit the convent of the brethren of our order."


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