Kublai Khan, in Xanadu, never devised a pleasure-dome so alluring to mere human nature-especially the English variety of it as was afforded by an English nobleman's country-seat.
The successors of Kublai Khan no longer ruled in China; while the Ilkhans of Persia, having long since adopted Mohammedanism, were now as ill-disposed as formerly they had been friendly toward Christian states.
Then I leaped into the saddle and Kublai Khan rushed after the diminutive brown fawn. It was a good half mile before we had the little chap under the pony's nose but the race was by no means ended. Mewing with fright, it swerved sharply to the left and ere we could swing about, it had gained a hundred yards. Again and again we were almost on it, but every time it dodged and got away.
The celebrated traveller, Marco Polo, was born at Venice in 1254, and died there in 1334, His father, a Venetian merchant, had passed many years in Tartary, where he was hospitably treated by Kublai Khan, to whose court, at an early age, Marco was taken, and there was received into the Khan's service.
Even the Mongols did not conquer until they had obtained the aid of a large section of the Chinese nation, or before Kublai had shown that he intended to prove himself a worthy Emperor of China and not merely a great Khan of the Mongol Hordes.
From the beginning misfortunes fell thick upon it, and the Japanese, not less than the English when assailed by the Spanish armada and Boulogne invasions, owed much to the alliance of the sea. Kublai had felt bound to appoint a Chinese generalissimo as well as a Mongol to this host, but it did not work well.
The grandeur of Kublai Khan's reign may be gathered from the pages of Marco Polo, in which, too, allusion is made to Bayan, the skilful general to whom so much of the military success of the Mongols was due. Korea, Burma, and Annam became dependencies of China, and continued to send tribute as such even up to quite modern times.
Polo had noticed that Kublai Khan liked to hear curious and extraordinary accounts from foreign countries, and he therefore treasured up in his memory all he saw and experienced in order to relate it to the Emperor on his return.
In the year 1268 the army of Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis the famous conqueror, made its appearance before the stronghold of Sianyang, an important city of China on the southern bank of the Han River. On the opposite side of the stream stood the city of Fanching, the two being connected by bridges and forming virtually a single city.
At his instigation, or, at least, with his co-operation, Kublai took in hand the restoration of the southern portion of Honan, which had been devastated during the wars, and he succeeded in bringing back its population and prosperity to that great province of Central China.