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Cordier, Henri / The Travels of Marco Polo — Volume 1
Produced by Charles Franks, Robert Connal, John Williams and PG
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[Illustration: H. Yule]

Including the unabridged third edition (1903) of Henry Yule's annotated
translation, as revised by Henri Cordier; together with Cordier's later
volume of notes and addenda (1920)



_Containing the first volume of the 1903 edition_




* * * *
Ed da noi s strano,
Che quando ne ragiono
I' non trovo nessuno,
Che l'abbia navicato,
* * * *
Le parti del Levante,
L dove sono tante
Gemme di gran valute
E di molta salute:
E sono in quello giro
Balsamo, e ambra, e tiro,
E lo pepe, e lo legno
Aloe, ch' s degno,
E spigo, e cardamomo,
Giengiovo, e cennamomo;
E altre molte spezie,
Ciascuna in sua spezie,
E migliore, e pi fina,
E sana in medicina.
Appresso in questo loco
Mise in assetto loco
Li tigri, e li grifoni,
Leofanti, e leoni
Cammelli, e dragomene,
Badalischi, e gene,
E pantere, e castoro,
Le formiche dell' oro,
E tanti altri animali,
Ch' io non so ben dir quail,
Che son s divisati,
E s dissomigliati
Di corpo e di fazione,
Di s fera ragione,
E di s strana taglia,
Ch'io non credo san faglia,
Ch' alcun uomo vivente
Potesse veramente
Per lingua, o per scritture
Recitar le figure
Delle bestie, e gli uccelli....

--From _Il Tesoretto di Ser Brunetto Latini_ (circa MDCCLX.).
(_Florence_, 1824, pp. 83 seqq.)


ndra moi hnnepe, Mousa, poltropon, hs mla poll
Plgchthae . . . . . . .
Pollon d' anthrpon den stea ka non gno].

_Odyssey_, I.




DANTE, _Purgatory_, IV.

[Illustration: Messer Marco Polo, with Messer Nicolo and Messer Maffeo,
returned from xxvi years' sojourn in the Orient, is denied entrance to the
Ca' Polo. (See _Int._ p. 4)]















I desire to take this opportunity of recording my grateful sense of the
unsparing labour, learning, and devotion, with which my father's valued
friend, Professor Henri Cordier, has performed the difficult and delicate
task which I entrusted to his loyal friendship.

Apart from Professor Cordier's very special qualifications for the work,
I feel sure that no other Editor could have been more entirely acceptable
to my father. I can give him no higher praise than to say that he has
laboured in Yule's own spirit.

The slight Memoir which I have contributed (for which I accept all
responsibility), attempts no more than a rough sketch of my father's
character and career, but it will, I hope, serve to recall pleasantly his
remarkable individuality to the few remaining who knew him in his prime,
whilst it may also afford some idea of the man, and his work and
environment, to those who had not that advantage.

No one can be more conscious than myself of its many shortcomings, which I
will not attempt to excuse. I can, however, honestly say that these have
not been due to negligence, but are rather the blemishes almost inseparable
from the fulfilment under the gloom of bereavement and amidst the pressure
of other duties, of a task undertaken in more favourable circumstances.

Nevertheless, in spite of all defects, I believe this sketch to be such
a record as my father would himself have approved, and I know also that he
would have chosen my hand to write it.

In conclusion, I may note that the first edition of this work was
dedicated to that very noble lady, the Queen (then Crown Princess)
Margherita of Italy. In the second edition the Dedication was reproduced
within brackets (as also the original preface), but not renewed. That
precedent is again followed.

I have, therefore, felt at liberty to associate the present edition of my
father's work with the Name MURCHISON, which for more than a generation
was the name most generally representative of British Science in Foreign
Lands, as of Foreign Science in Britain.



Little did I think, some thirty years ago, when I received a copy of the
first edition of this grand work, that I should be one day entrusted with
the difficult but glorious task of supervising the third edition. When the
first edition of the _Book of Ser Marco Polo_ reached "Far Cathay," it
created quite a stir in the small circle of the learned foreigners, who
then resided there, and became a starting-point for many researches, of
which the results have been made use of partly in the second edition, and
partly in the present. The Archimandrite PALLADIUS and Dr. E.
BRETSCHNEIDER, at Peking, ALEX. WYLIE, at Shang-hai--friends of mine who
have, alas! passed away, with the exception of the Right Rev. Bishop G. E.
MOULE, of Hang-chau, the only survivor of this little group of
hard-working scholars,--were the first to explore the Chinese sources of
information which were to yield a rich harvest into their hands.

When I returned home from China in 1876, I was introduced to Colonel HENRY
YULE, at the India Office, by our common friend, Dr. REINHOLD ROST, and
from that time we met frequently and kept up a correspondence which
terminated only with the life of the great geographer, whose friend I had
become. A new edition of the travels of Friar Odoric of Pordenone, our
"mutual friend," in which Yule had taken the greatest interest, was
dedicated by me to his memory. I knew that Yule contemplated a third
edition of his _Marco Polo_, and all will regret that time was not allowed
to him to complete this labour of love, to see it published. If the duty
of bringing out the new edition of _Marco Polo_ has fallen on one who
considers himself but an unworthy successor of the first illustrious
commentator, it is fair to add that the work could not have been entrusted
to a more respectful disciple. Many of our tastes were similar; we had the
same desire to seek the truth, the same earnest wish to be exact, perhaps
the same sense of humour, and, what is necessary when writing on Marco
Polo, certainly the same love for Venice and its history. Not only am I,
with the late CHARLES SCHEFER, the founder and the editor of the _Recueil
de Voyages et de Documents pour servir l'Histoire de la Gographie
depuis le XIII'e jusqu' la fin du XVI'e sicle_, but I am also the
successor, at the Ecole des langues Orientales Vivantes, of G. PAUTHIER,
whose book on the Venetian Traveller is still valuable, so the mantle of
the last two editors fell upon my shoulders.

I therefore, gladly and thankfully, accepted Miss AMY FRANCIS YULE'S kind
proposal to undertake the editorship of the third edition of the _Book of
Ser Marco Polo_, and I wish to express here my gratitude to her for the
great honour she has thus done me.[1]

Unfortunately for his successor, Sir Henry Yule, evidently trusting to his
own good memory, left but few notes. These are contained in an interleaved
copy obligingly placed at my disposal by Miss Yule, but I luckily found
assistance from various other quarters. The following works have proved of
the greatest assistance to me:--The articles of General HOUTUM-SCHINDLER
in the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society_, and the excellent books of
Lord CURZON and of Major P. MOLESWORTH SYKES on Persia, M. GRENARD'S
account of DUTREUIL DE RHINS' Mission to Central Asia, BRETSCHNEIDER'S and
PALLADIUS' remarkable papers on Mediaeval Travellers and Geography, and
above all, the valuable books of the Hon. W. W. ROCKHILL on Tibet and
Rubruck, to which the distinguished diplomatist, traveller, and scholar
kindly added a list of notes of the greatest importance to me, for which I
offer him my hearty thanks.

My thanks are also due to H.H. Prince ROLAND BONAPARTE, who kindly gave me
permission to reproduce some of the plates of his _Recueil de Documents de
l'Epoque Mongole_, to M. LOPOLD DELISLE, the learned Principal Librarian
of the Bibliothque Nationale, who gave me the opportunity to study the
inventory made after the death of the Doge Marino Faliero, to the Count de
SEMALL, formerly French Charg d'Affaires at Peking, who gave me for
reproduction a number of photographs from his valuable personal
collection, and last, not least, my old friend Comm. NICOL BAROZZI, who
continued to lend me the assistance which he had formerly rendered to Sir
Henry Yule at Venice.

Since the last edition was published, more than twenty-five years ago,
Persia has been more thoroughly studied; new routes have been explored in
Central Asia, Karakorum has been fully described, and Western and
South-Western China have been opened up to our knowledge in many
directions. The results of these investigations form the main features of
this new edition of _Marco Polo_. I have suppressed hardly any of Sir Henry
Yule's notes and altered but few, doing so only when the light of recent
information has proved him to be in error, but I have supplemented them by
what, I hope, will be found useful, new information.[2]

Before I take leave of the kind reader, I wish to thank sincerely Mr. JOHN
MURRAY for the courtesy and the care he has displayed while this edition
was going through the press.

PARIS, _1st of October, 1902_.

[1] Miss Yule has written the Memoir of her father and the new Dedication.

[2] Paragraphs which have been altered are marked thus +; my own additions
are placed between brackets [ ].--H. C.

"Now strike your Sailes yee jolly Mariners,
For we be come into a quiet Rode"....
--THE FAERIE QUEENE, I. xii. 42.]


The unexpected amount of favour bestowed on the former edition of this
Work has been a great encouragement to the Editor in preparing this second

Not a few of the kind friends and correspondents who lent their aid before
have continued it to the present revision. The contributions of Mr. A.
WYLIE of Shang-hai, whether as regards the amount of labour which they
must have cost him, or the value of the result, demand above all others a
grateful record here. Nor can I omit to name again with hearty
acknowledgment Signor Comm. G. BERCHET of Venice, the Rev. Dr. CALDWELL,
Colonel (now Major-General) R. MACLAGAN, R.E., Mr. D. HANBURY, F.R.S., Mr.
EDWARD THOMAS, F.R.S. (Corresponding Member of the Institute), and Mr. R.

But besides these old names, not a few new ones claim my thanks.

The Baron F. VON RICHTHOFEN, now President of the Geographical Society of
Berlin, a traveller who not only has trodden many hundreds of miles in the
footsteps of our Marco, but has perhaps travelled over more of the
Interior of China than Marco ever did, and who carried to that survey high
scientific accomplishments of which the Venetian had not even a
rudimentary conception, has spontaneously opened his bountiful stores of
new knowledge in my behalf. Mr. NEY ELIAS, who in 1872 traversed and
mapped a line of upwards of 2000 miles through the almost unknown tracts
of Western Mongolia, from the Gate in the Great Wall at Kalghan to the
Russian frontier in the Altai, has done likewise.[1] To the Rev. G. MOULE,
of the Church Mission at Hang-chau, I owe a mass of interesting matter
regarding that once great and splendid city, the KINSAY of our Traveller,
which has enabled me, I trust, to effect great improvement both in the
Notes and in the Map, which illustrate that subject. And to the Rev.
CARSTAIRS DOUGLAS, LL.D., of the English Presbyterian Mission at Amoy, I
am scarcely less indebted. The learned Professor BRUUN, of Odessa, whom I
never have seen, and have little likelihood of ever seeing in this world,
has aided me with zeal and cordiality like that of old friendship. To Mr.
ARTHUR BURNELL, Ph.D., of the Madras Civil Service, I am grateful for many
valuable notes bearing on these and other geographical studies, and
particularly for his generous communication of the drawing and photograph
of the ancient Cross at St. Thomas's Mount, long before any publication of
that subject was made on his own account. My brother officer, Major OLIVER
ST. JOHN, R.E., has favoured me with a variety of interesting remarks
regarding the Persian chapters, and has assisted me with new data, very
materially correcting the Itinerary Map in Kerman.

Mr. BLOCHMANN of the Calcutta Madrasa, Sir DOUGLAS FORSYTH, C.B., lately
Envoy to Kashgar, M. de MAS LATRIE, the Historian of Cyprus, Mr. ARTHUR
GROTE, Mr. EUGENE SCHUYLER of the U.S. Legation at St. Petersburg, Dr.
BUSHELL and Mr. W.F. MAYERS, of H.M.'s Legation at Peking, Mr. G. PHILLIPS
of Fuchau, Madame OLGA FEDTCHENKO, the widow of a great traveller too
early lost to the world, Colonel KEATINGE, V.C., C.S.I., Major-General
KEYES, C.B., Dr. GEORGE BIRDWOOD, Mr. BURGESS, of Bombay, my old and
valued friend Colonel W. H. GREATHED, C.B., and the Master of Mediaeval
Geography, M. D'AVEZAC himself, with others besides, have kindly lent
assistance of one kind or another, several of them spontaneously, and the
rest in prompt answer to my requests.

Having always attached much importance to the matter of illustrations,[2]
I feel greatly indebted to the liberal action of Mr. Murray in enabling me
largely to increase their number in this edition. Though many are
original, we have also borrowed a good many;[3] a proceeding which seems
to me entirely unobjectionable when the engravings are truly illustrative
of the text, and not hackneyed.

I regret the augmented bulk of the volumes. There has been some excision,
but the additions visibly and palpably preponderate. The truth is that
since the completion of the first edition, just four years ago, large
additions have been made to the stock of our knowledge bearing on the
subjects of this Book; and how these additions have continued to come in
up to the last moment, may be seen in Appendix L,[4] which has had to
undergo repeated interpolation after being put in type. KARAKORUM, for a
brief space the seat of the widest empire the world has known, has been
visited; the ruins of SHANG-TU, the "Xanadu of Cublay Khan," have been
explored; PAMIR and TANGUT have been penetrated from side to side; the
famous mountain Road of SHEN-SI has been traversed and described; the
mysterious CAINDU has been unveiled; the publication of my lamented friend
Lieutenant Garnier's great work on the French Exploration of Indo-China
has provided a mass of illustration of that YUN-NAN for which but the
other day Marco Polo was well-nigh the most recent authority. Nay, the
last two years have thrown a promise of light even on what seemed the
wildest of Marco's stories, and the bones of a veritable RUC from New
Zealand lie on the table of Professor Owen's Cabinet!

M. VIVIEN de St. MARTIN, during the interval of which we have been
speaking, has published a History of Geography. In treating of Marco Polo,
he alludes to the first edition of this work, most evidently with no
intention of disparagement, but speaks of it as merely a revision of
Marsden's Book. The last thing I should allow myself to do would be to
apply to a Geographer, whose works I hold in so much esteem, the
disrespectful definition which the adage quoted in my former Preface[5]
gives of the _vir qui docet quod non sapit_; but I feel bound to say that
on this occasion M. Vivien de St. Martin has permitted himself to
pronounce on a matter with which he had not made himself acquainted; for
the perusal of the very first lines of the Preface (I will say nothing of
the Book) would have shown him that such a notion was utterly unfounded.

In concluding these "forewords" I am probably taking leave of Marco
Polo,[6] the companion of many pleasant and some laborious hours, whilst I
have been contemplating with him ("_vlti a levante_") that Orient in
which I also had spent years not a few.

* * * * *

And as the writer lingered over this conclusion, his thoughts wandered
back in reverie to those many venerable libraries in which he had formerly
made search for mediaeval copies of the Traveller's story; and it seemed
to him as if he sate in a recess of one of these with a manuscript before
him which had never till then been examined with any care, and which he
found with delight to contain passages that appear in no version of the
Book hitherto known. It was written in clear Gothic text, and in the Old
French tongue of the early 14th century. Was it possible that he had
lighted on the long-lost original of Ramusio's Version? No; it proved to
be different. Instead of the tedious story of the northern wars, which
occupies much of our Fourth Book, there were passages occurring in the
later history of Ser Marco, some years after his release from the Genoese
captivity. They appeared to contain strange anachronisms certainly; but we
have often had occasion to remark on puzzles in the chronology of Marco's
story![7] And in some respects they tended to justify our intimated
suspicion that he was a man of deeper feelings and wider sympathies than
the book of Rusticiano had allowed to appear.[8] Perhaps this time the
Traveller had found an amanuensis whose faculties had not been stiffened
by fifteen years of Malapaga?[9] One of the most important passages ran

"Bien est voirs que, aprs ce que _Messires Marc Pol_ avoit pris fame et
si estoit demour plusours ans de sa vie a _Venysse_, il avint que
mourut _Messires Mafs_ qui oncles _Monseignour Marc_ estoit: (et mourut
ausi ses granz chiens mastins qu'avoit amenei dou Catai,[10] et qui
avoit non _Bayan_ pour l'amour au bon chievetain _Bayan Cent-iex_);
adonc n'avoit oncques puis _Messires Marc_ nullui, fors son esclave
_Piere le Tartar_, avecques lequel pouvoit penre soulas s'entretenir
de ses voiages et des choses dou Levant. Car la gent de _Venysse_ si
avoit de grant piesce moult anuy pris des loncs contes _Monseignour
Marc_; et quand ledit _Messires Marc_ issoit de l'uys sa meson ou Sain
Grisostome, souloient li petit marmot es voies dariere-li courir en
cryant _Messer Marco Milin! cont' a nu un busin!_ que veult dire en
Franois 'Messires Marcs des millions di-nous un de vos gros mensonges.'
En oultre, la Dame _Donate_ fame anuyouse estoit, et de trop estroit
esprit, et plainne de couvoitise.[11] Ansi avint que _Messires Marc_
desiroit es voiages rantrer durement.

"Si se partist de _Venisse_ et chevaucha aux parties d'occident. Et
demoura mainz jours es contres de _Provence_ et de _France_ et puys
fist passaige aux Ysles de la tremontaingne et s'en retourna par _la
Magne_, si comme vous orrez cy-aprs. Et fist-il escripre son voiage
atout les devisements les contres; mes de la France n'y parloit mie
grantment pour ce que maintes genz la scevent apertement. Et pour ce en
lairons atant, et commencerons d'autres choses, assavoir, de BRETAINGNE

_Cy devyse dou roiaume de Bretaingne la grant._

"Et sachis que quand l'en se part de _Cals_, et l'en nage XX ou XXX
milles trop grant mesaise, si treuve l'en une grandisme Ysle qui
s'apelle _Bretaingne la Grant_. Elle est une grant royne et n'en fait
treuage nulluy. Et ensevelissent lor mors, et ont monnoye de chartres
et d'or et d'argent, et ardent pierres noyres, et vivent de marchandises
et d'ars, et ont toutes choses de vivre en grant habondance mais non pas
bon marchi. Et c'est une Ysle de trop grant richesce, et li marinier
de celle partie dient que c'est li plus riches royaumes qui soit ou
monde, et qu'il y a li mieudre marinier dou monde et li mieudre coursier
et li mieudre chevalier (ains ne chevauchent mais lonc com Franois).
Ausi ont-il trop bons homes d'armes et vaillans durement (bien que maint
n'y ait), et les dames et damoseles bonnes et loialles, et belles com
lys souef florant. Et quoi vous en diroie-je? Il y a citez et chasteau
assez, et tant de marchanz et si riches qui font venir tant d'avoir-de-
poiz et de toute espece de marchandise qu'il n'est hons qui la verit en
sceust dire. Font venir _d'Ynde_ et d'autres parties coton a grant
plant, et font venir soye de _Manzi_ et de _Bangala_, et font venir
laine des ysles de la Mer Occeane et de toutes parties. Et si labourent
maintz bouquerans et touailles et autres draps de coton et de laine et
de soye. Encores sachis que ont vaines d'acier assez, et si en
labourent trop soubtivement de tous hernois de chevalier, et de toutes
choses besoignables ost; ce sont espes et glaive et esperon et heaume
et haches, et toute espce d arteillerie et de coutelerie, et en font
grant gaaigne et grant marchandise. Et en font si grant habondance que
tout li mondes en y puet avoir et bon marchi".

_Encores cy devise dou dyt roiaume, et de ce qu'en dist Messires

"Et sachis que tient icelle Royne la seigneurie de _l'Ynde majeure_ et
de _Mutfili_ et de _Bangala_, et d'une moiti de _Mien_. Et moult est
saige et noble dame et pourvans, si que est elle ame de chascun. Et
avoit jadis mari; et depuys qu'il mourut bien _XIV_ ans avoit; adonc la
royne sa fame l'ama tant que oncques puis ne se voult marier a nullui,
pour l'amour le prince son baron, anois moult maine quoye vie. Et tient
son royaume ausi bien ou miex que oncques le tindrent li roy si aioul.
Mes ores en ce royaume li roy n'ont guieres pooir, ains la poissance
commence a trespasser la menue gent Et distrent aucun marinier de
celes parties _Monseignour Marc_ que hui-et-le jour li royaumes soit
auques abastardi come je vous diroy. Car bien est voirs que ci-arrires
estoit ciz pueple de _Bretaingne la Grant_ bonne et granz et loialle
gent qui servoit Diex moult volontiers selonc lor usaige; et tuit li
labour qu'il labouroient et portoient a vendre estoient honnestement
labour, et dou greigneur vaillance, et chose pardurable; et se
vendoient jouste pris sanz barguignier. En tant que se aucuns labours
portoit l'estanpille _Bretaingne la Grant_ c'estoit regardei com pleges
de bonne estoffe. Mes orendroit li labours n'est mie tousjourz si bons;
et quand l'en achate pour un quintal pesant de toiles de coton, adonc,
par trop souvent, si treuve l'en de chascun C pois de coton, bien XXX ou
XL pois de plastre de gifs, ou de blanc d'Espaigne, ou de choses
semblables. Et se l'en achate de cammeloz ou de tireteinne ou d'autre
dras de laine, cist ne durent mie, ains sont plain d'empoise, ou de glu
et de balieures.

"Et bien qu'il est voirs que chascuns hons egalement doit de son cors
servir son seigneur ou sa commune, pour aler en ost en tens de
besoingne; et bien que trestuit li autre royaume d'occident tieingnent
ce pour ordenance, ciz pueple de _Bretaingne la Grant_ n'en veult
nullement, ains si dient: 'Veez-l: n'avons nous pas la _Manche_ pour
foss de nostre pourpris, et pourquoy nous penerons-nous pour nous faire
homes d'armes, en lessiant nos gaaignes et nos soulaz? Cela lairons aus
soudaiers.' Or li preudhome entre eulx moult scevent bien com tiex
paroles sont nyaises; mes si ont paour de lour en dire la verit pour ce
que cuident desplaire as bourjois et la menue gent.

"Or je vous di sanz faille que, quand _Messires Marcs Pols_ sceust ces
choses, moult en ot piti de cestui pueple, et il li vint remembrance
ce que avenu estoit, ou tens _Monseignour Nicolas_ et _Monseignour
Maf_, l'ore quand _Alau_, frre charnel dou Grant Sire _Cublay_, ala
en ost seur _Baudas_, et print le _Calife_ et sa maistre cit, atout son
vaste tresor d'or et d'argent, et l'amre parolle que dist ledit Alau au
Calife, com l'a escripte li Maistres Rusticiens ou chief de cestui

"Car sachis tout voirement que _Messires Marc_ moult se deleitoit
faire appert combien sont pareilles au font les condicions des diverses
regions dou monde, et soloit-il clorre son discours si disant en son
language de _Venisse: 'Sto mondo xe fato tondo_, com uzoit dire mes
oncles Mafs.'

"Ore vous lairons conter de ceste matire et retournerons parler de
la Loy des genz de _Bretaingne la Grant_.

_Cy devise des diverses crances de la gent Bretaingne la Grant et de
ce qu'en cuidoit Messires Marcs._

"Il est voirs que li pueples est Crestiens, mes non pour le plus selonc
la foy de l'Apostoille Rommain, ains tiennent le en mautalent assez.
Seulement il y en a aucun qui sont foil du dit Apostoille et encore
plus forment que li nostre prudhome de _Venisse_. Car quand dit li
Papes: 'Telle ou telle chose est noyre,' toute ladite gent si en jure:
'Noyre est com poivre.' Et puis se dira li Papes de la dite chose: 'Elle
est blanche,' si en jurera toute ladite gent: 'Il est voirs qu'elle est
blanche; blanche est com noifs.' Et dist _Messires Marc Pol_: 'Nous
n'avons nullement tant de foy _Venyse_, ne li prudhome de _Florence_
non plus, com l'en puet savoir bien apertement dou livre Monseignour
_Dants Aldiguiere_, que j'ay congneu a _Padoe_ le meisme an que
Messires _Thibault de Cepoy_ _Venisse_ estoit.[13] Mes c'est
joustement ce que j'ay veu autre foiz prs le Grant _Bacsi_ qui est com
li Papes des Ydres.'

"Encore y a une autre manire de gent; ce sont de celz qui s'appellent
filsoufes;[14] et si il disent: 'S'il y a Diex n'en scavons nul, mes il
est voirs qu'il est une certeinne courance des choses laquex court
devers le bien.' Et fist _Messires Marcs_: 'Encore la crance des
_Bacsi_ qui dysent que n'y a ne Diex Eternel ne Juge des homes, ains il
est une certeinne chose laquex s'apelle _Kerma_.'[15]

"Une autre foiz avint que disoit un des filsoufes _Monseignour Marc_:
'Diex n'existe mie jeusqu'ores, ainois il se fait desorendroit.' Et
fist encore _Messires Marcs_: 'Veez-l, une autre foiz la crance des
ydres, car dient que li seuz Diex est icil hons qui par force de ses
vertuz et de son savoir tant pourchace que d'home il se face Diex
presentement. Et li Tartar l'appelent _Borcan_. Tiex Diex _Sagamoni
Borcan_ estoit, dou quel parle li livres Maistre _Rusticien_.'[16]

"Encore ont une autre manire de filsoufes, et dient-il: 'Il n'est mie
ne Diex ne _Kerma_ ne courance vers le bien, ne Providence, ne Crerres,
ne Sauvours, ne saintet ne pechis ne conscience de pechi, ne proyre
ne response proyre, il n'est nulle riens fors que trop minime grain
ou paillettes qui ont nom _atosmes_, et de tiex grains devient chose
qui vive, et chose qui vive devient une certeinne creature qui demoure
au rivaige de la Mer: et ceste creature devient poissons, et poissons
devient lezars, et lezars devient blayriaus, et blayriaus devient
gat-maimons, et gat-maimons devient hons sauvaiges qui menjue char
d'homes, et hons sauvaiges devient hons crestien.'

"Et dist _Messires Marc_: 'Encore une foiz, biaus sires, li _Bacsi_ de
_Tebet_ et de _Kescemir_ et li prestre de _Seilan_, qui si dient que
l'arme vivant doie trespasser par tous cez changes de vestemens; si com
se treuve escript ou livre _Maistre Rusticien_ que _Sagamoni Borcan_
mourut iiij vint et iiij foiz et tousjourz resuscita, et chascune foiz
d'une diverse manire de beste, et la derreniere foyz mourut hons et
devint diex, selonc ce qu'il dient.'[17] Et fist encore _Messires Marc_:
'A moy pert-il trop estrange chose se juesques toutes les crances des
ydolastres deust dechoir ceste grantz et saige nation. Ainsi peuent
jouer Misire li filsoufe atout lour propre perte, mes l'ore quand tiex
fantaisies se respanderont es joenes bacheliers et parmy la menue gent,
celz averont pour toute Loy _manducemus et bibamus, cras enim moriemur_;
et trop isnellement l'en raccomencera la descente de l'eschiele, et
d'home crestien deviendra hons sauvaiges, et d'home sauvaige gat-
maimons, et de gat-maimon blayriaus.' Et fist encores _Messires Marc_:
'Maintes contres et provinces et ysles et citz je _Marc Pol_ ay veues
et de maintes genz de maintes manires ay les condicionz congneues, et
je croy bien que il est plus assez dedens l'univers que ce que li nostre
prestre n'y songent. Et puet bien estre, biaus sires, que li mondes n'a
ests cres tous poinz com nous creiens, ains d'une sorte encore plus
merveillouse. Mes cil n'amenuise nullement nostre pense de Diex et de
sa majest, ains la fait greingnour. Et contre n'ay veue ou Dame Diex
ne manifeste apertement les granz euvres de sa tout-poissante saigesse;
gent n'ay congneue esquiex ne se fait sentir li fardels de pechi, et la
besoingne de Phisicien des maladies de l'arme tiex com est nostre
Seignours Ihesus Crist, Beni soyt son Non. Pensez doncques cel qu'a
dit uns de ses Apostres: _Nolite esse prudentes apud vosmet ipsos_; et
uns autres: _Quoniam multi pseudo-prophetae exierint_; et uns autres:
_Quod benient in nobissimis diebus illusores ... dicentes, Ubi est
promissio?_ et encores aus parolles que dist li Signours meismes: _Vide
ergo ne lumen quod in te est tenebrae sint_.

_Commant Messires Marcs se partist de l'ysle de Bretaingne et de la
proyre que fist_.

"Et pourquoy vous en feroie-je lonc conte? Si print nef _Messires Marcs_
et se partist en nageant vers la terre ferme. Or _Messires Marc Pol_
moult ama cel roiaume de _Bretaingne la grant_ pour son viex renon et
s'ancienne franchise, et pour sa saige et bonne Royne (que Diex gart),
et pour les mainz homes de vaillance et bons chaceours et les maintes
bonnes et honnestes dames qui y estoient. Et sachis tout voirement que
en estant delez le bort la nef, et en esgardant aus roches blanches que
l'en par dariere-li lessoit, _Messires Marc_ prieoit Diex, et disoit-il:
'Ha Sires Diex ay merci de cestuy vieix et noble royaume; fay-en
pardurable forteresse de libert et de joustice, et garde-le de tout
meschief de dedens et de dehors; donne sa gent droit esprit pour ne
pas Diex guerroyer de ses dons, ne de richesce ne de savoir; et
conforte-les fermement en ta foy'...."

A loud _Amen_ seemed to peal from without, and the awakened reader started
to his feet. And lo! it was the thunder of the winter-storm crashing among
the many-tinted crags of Monte Pellegrino,--with the wind raging as it
knows how to rage here in sight of the Isles of Aeolus, and the rain
dashing on the glass as ruthlessly as it well could have done, if, instead
of Aeolic Isles and many-tinted crags, the window had fronted a dearer
shore beneath a northern sky, and looked across the grey Firth to the
rain-blurred outline of the Lomond Hills.

But I end, saying to Messer Marco's prayer, Amen.

PALERMO, _31st December, 1874_.

[1] It would be ingratitude if this Preface contained no acknowledgment of
the medals awarded to the writer, mainly for this work, by the Royal
Geographical Society, and by the Geographical Society of Italy, the
former under the Presidence of Sir Henry Rawlinson, the latter under
that of the Commendatore C. Negri. Strongly as I feel the too generous
appreciation of these labours implied in such awards, I confess to
have been yet more deeply touched and gratified by practical evidence
of the approval of the two distinguished Travellers mentioned above;
as shown by Baron von Richthofen in his spontaneous proposal to
publish a German version of the book under his own immediate
supervision (a project in abeyance, owing to circumstances beyond his
or my control); by Mr. Ney Elias in the fact of his having carried
these ponderous volumes with him on his solitary journey across the
Mongolian wilds!

[2] I am grateful to Mr. de Khanikoff for his especial recognition of
these in a kindly review of the first edition in the _Academy_.

[3] Especially from Lieutenant Garnier's book, mentioned further on; the
only existing source of illustration for many chapters of Polo.

[4] [Merged into the notes of the present edition.--H. C.]

[5] See page xxix.

[6] Writing in Italy, perhaps I ought to write, according to too prevalent
modern Italian custom, _Polo Marco_. I have already _seen_, and in the
work of a writer of reputation, the Alexandrian geographer styled
_Tolomeo Claudio!_ and if this preposterous fashion should continue to
spread, we shall in time have _Tasso Torquato_, _Jonson Ben_, Africa
explored by _Park Mungo_, Asia conquered by _Lane Tamer_, Copperfield
David by _Dickens Charles_, Homer Englished by _Pope Alexander_, and
the Roman history done into French from the original of _Live Tite_!

[7] Introduction p. 24, and _passim_ in the notes.

[8] Ibid., p. 112.

[9] See Introduction, pp. 51, 57.

[10] See Title of present volumes.

[11] Which quite agrees with the story of the document quoted at p. 77 of

[12] Vol. i. p. 64, and p. 67.

[13] I.e. 1306; see Introduction, pp. 68-69.

[14] The form which Marco gives to this word was probably a reminiscence
of the Oriental corruption _failsf_. It recalls to my mind a Hindu
who was very fond of the word, and especially of applying it to
certain of his fellow-servants. But as he used it, _bara failsf_,--
"great philosopher"--meant exactly the same as the modern slang
"_Artful Dodger_"!

[15] See for the explanation of _Karma_, "the power that controls the
universe," in the doctrine of atheistic Buddhism, Hardy's _Eastern
Monachism_, p. 5.

[16] Vol. ii. p. 316 (see also i. 348).

[17] Vol. ii. pp. 318-319.


The amount of appropriate material, and of acquaintance with the mediaeval
geography of some parts of Asia, which was acquired during the compilation
of a work of kindred character for the Hakluyt Society,[1] could hardly
fail to suggest as a fresh labour in the same field the preparation of
a new English edition of Marco Polo. Indeed one kindly critic (in the
_Examiner_) laid it upon the writer as a duty to undertake that task.

Though at least one respectable English edition has appeared since
Marsden's,[2] the latter has continued to be the standard edition, and
maintains not only its reputation but its market value. It is indeed the
work of a sagacious, learned, and right-minded man, which can never be
spoken of otherwise than with respect. But since Marsden published his
quarto (1818) vast stores of new knowledge have become available in
elucidation both of the contents of Marco Polo's book and of its literary
history. The works of writers such as Klaproth, Abel Rmusat, D'Avezac,
Reinaud, Quatremre, Julien, I. J. Schmidt, Gildemeister, Ritter,
Hammer-Purgstall, Erdmann, D'Ohsson, Defrmery, Elliot, Erskine, and many
more, which throw light directly or incidentally on Marco Polo, have, for
the most part, appeared since then. Nor, as regards the literary history of
the book, were any just views possible at a time when what may be called
the _Fontal_ MSS. (in French) were unpublished and unexamined.

Besides the works which have thus occasionally or incidentally thrown
light upon the Traveller's book, various editions of the book itself have
since Marsden's time been published in foreign countries, accompanied by
comments of more or less value. All have contributed something to the
illustration of the book or its history; the last and most learned of the
editors, M. Pauthier, has so contributed in large measure. I had occasion
some years ago[3] to speak freely my opinion of the merits and demerits of
M. Pauthier's work; and to the latter at least I have no desire to recur

Another of his critics, a much more accomplished as well as more
favourable one,[4] seems to intimate the opinion that there would scarcely
be room in future for new commentaries. Something of the kind was said of
Marsden's at the time of its publication. I imagine, however, that whilst
our libraries endure the _Iliad_ will continue to find new translators,
and Marco Polo--though one hopes not so plentifully--new editors.

The justification of the book's existence must however be looked for, and
it is hoped may be found, in the book itself, and not in the Preface. The
work claims to be judged as a whole, but it may be allowable, in these
days of scanty leisure, to indicate below a few instances of what is
believed to be new matter in an edition of Marco Polo; by which however it
is by no means intended that all such matter is claimed by the editor as
his own.[5]

From the commencement of the work it was felt that the task was one which
no man, though he were far better equipped and much more conveniently
situated than the present writer, could satisfactorily accomplish from his
own resources, and help was sought on special points wherever it seemed
likely to be found. In scarcely any quarter was the application made in
vain. Some who have aided most materially are indeed very old and valued
friends; but to many others who have done the same the applicant was
unknown; and some of these again, with whom the editor began
correspondence on this subject as a stranger, he is happy to think that he
may now call friends.

To none am I more indebted than to the Comm. GUGLIELMO BERCHET, of Venice,
for his ample, accurate, and generous assistance in furnishing me with
Venetian documents, and in many other ways. Especial thanks are also due
to Dr. WILLIAM LOCKHART, who has supplied the materials for some of the
most valuable illustrations; to Lieutenant FRANCIS GARNIER, of the French
Navy. the gallant and accomplished leader (after the death of Captain
Doudart de la Gre) of the memorable expedition up the Mekong to Yun-nan;
to the Rev. Dr. CALDWELL, of the S.P.G. Mission in Tinnevelly, for copious
and valuable notes on Southern India; to my friends Colonel ROBERT
MACLAGAN, R.E., Sir ARTHUR PHAYRE, and Colonel HENRY MAN, for very
valuable notes and other aid; to Professor A. SCHIEFNER, of St.
Petersburg, for his courteous communication of very interesting
illustrations not otherwise accessible; to Major-General ALEXANDER
CUNNINGHAM, of my own corps, for several valuable letters; to my friends
Dr. THOMAS OLDHAM, Director of the Geological Survey of India, Mr. DANIEL

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