With pennons flying, and with trumpets' blare,
And noise of pipes, Venetian galleys swept
Into the Adriatic, Dandolo,
In stately flagships leading; Genoa,
Proud, hating Venice, eager for the fight,
Was ready when the Sunday sun should dawn,
To meet the foe; on came the brilliant fleet,
The morning sun bathing them all in gold,
Hurling their crossbows at the Genoese;
And back came showers of arrows, iron, fire-tipped,
To blaze among the rigging, and quick-lime
To blind their eyes as though a dagger's point
Had pierced them; but so furious the attack
That ten brave galleys of the Genoese,
All red with gore, were captured. Doria,
The friend of Genoa, famed in peace and war,
Stood watching the dread conflict, sick at heart,
That Italy's best blood was spilled in vain.
At the forecastle stood his eldest son,
Octavian, worthy of his noble line,
Fearless and foremost in the rain of spears;
When lo! an arrow entered the young heart,
And, horror-stricken, every face grew pale.
What need to battle longer with the foe?
But Lamba Doria sprang across the ship,
And raised the dead young soldier to his breast,
Still warm beneath his armor: "Ah! my son,
If thou hadst died at home thou couldst not have
A burial place more splendid than the sea;"
And pressing close the one he idolized,
He cast the body to the seething waves,
And saw it sink forever. Then he bade
His weeping comrades seize their spears again,
And fight the braver for Octavian's death.
Woe turned to fierceness, and with wildest zeal,
And recking not whether they lived or died,
They slew Venetians till the sun went down.
Seven thousand men were captured and in chains;
Venice was humbled; one, in proud despair,
Her leader, Dandalo, refused to live,
And ended his existence; Genoa gave
A noble burial to her valiant foe.
The battle of Cuzzola conquered peace
Between the two Republics; many gifts
Of palaces and honors for his line
Were given Lamba Doria, but his gift,
With love of country burning in his heart,
Exceeded all his state could offer him:
The life of his beloved Octavian.