Part 2 out of 2
tough steel-gray man, besieging Basel on his own quarrel, on the
terms just stated, was altogether unexpectedly apprised of this
great news, and that Cousin Friedrich of Nurnberg had mainly
contributed to such issue, is beyond questioh. [Kohler, pp. 249,
251.] The event was salutary, like life instead of death,
to anarchic Germany; and did eminent honor to Friedrich's judgment
Richard of Cornwall having at last died, and his futile German
clerks having quitted Berkhamstead forever,--Alphonso of Castille,
not now urged by rivalry, and seeing long since what a crank
machine the thing was, had no objection to give it up; said so to
the Pope,--who was himself anxious for a settled Kaiser, the
supplies of Papal German cash having run almost dry during these
troubles. Whereupon ensued earnest consultations among leading
German men; Diet of the Empire, sternly practical (we may well
perceive), and with a minimum of talk, the Pope too being held
rather well at a distance: the result of which was what we see.
[29th September, 1273.] Mainly due to Friedrich of Nurnberg, say
all Historians; conjoining with him the then Archbishop of Mainz,
who is officially President Elector (literally CONVENER of
Electors): they two did it. Archbishop of Mainz had himself a
pleasant accidental acquaintance with Rudolf,--a night's lodging
once at Hapsburg, with escort over the Hills, in dangerous
circumstances;--and might the more readily be made to understand
what qualities the man now had; and how, in justness of insight,
toughness of character, and general strength of bridle-hand, this
actually might be the adequate man.
KAISER RUDOLF AND BURGGRAF FRIEDRICH III.
Last time we saw Rudolf, near thirty years ago, he was some
equerry or subaltern dignitary among the Ritters of King Ottocar,
doing a Crusade against the Prussian Heathen, and seeing his
master found Konigsberg in that country. Changed times now!
Ottocar King of Bohemia, who (by the strong hand mainly, and money
to Richard of Cornwall, in the late troubles) has become Duke of
Austria and much else, had himself expected the Kaisership; and of
all astonished men, King Ottocar was probably the most astonished
at the choice made. A dread sovereign, fierce, and terribly
opulent, and every way resplendent to such degree; and this
threadbare Swiss gentleman-at-arms, once "my domestic" (as Ottocar
loved to term it), preferred to me! Flat insanity, King Ottocar
thought; refused to acknowledge such a Kaiser; would not in the
least give up his unjust properties, or even do homage for them or
But there also Rudolf contrived to be ready for him. Rudolf
invaded his rich Austrian territories; smote down Vienna, and
all resistance that there was; [1276 (Kohler, p. 253).] forced
Ottocar to beg pardon and peace. "No pardon, nor any speech of
peace, till you first do homage for all those lands of yours,
whatever we may find them to be!" Ottocar was very loath;
but could not help himself. Ottocar quitted Prag with a
resplendent retinue, to come into the Danube country, and do
homage to "my domestic" that once was. He bargained that the sad
ceremony should be at least private; on an Island in the Danube,
between the two retinues or armies; and in a tent, so that only
official select persons might see it. The Island is called CAMBERG
(near Vienna, I conclude), in the middle of the Donau River:
there Ottocar accordingly knelt; he in great pomp of tailorage,
Rudolf in mere buff jerkin, practical leather and iron;--hide it,
charitable canvas, from all but a few! Alas, precisely at this
moment, the treacherous canvas rushes down,--hung so on purpose,
thinks Ottocar; and it is a tent indeed; but a tent without walls;
and all the world sees me in this scandalous plight!
Ottocar rode home in deep gloom; his poor Wife, too, upbraided
him: he straightway rallied into War again; Rudolf again very
ready to meet him. Rudolf met him, Friedrich of Nurnberg there
among the rest under the Reichs-Banner; on the Marchfeld by the
Donau (modern WAGRAM near by); and entirely beat and even slew and
ruined Ottocar. [26th August, 1278 (Kohler, p. 253.)] Whereby
Austria fell now to Rudolf, who made his sons Dukes of it; which,
or even Archdukes, they are to this day. Bohemia, Moravia, of
these also Rudolf would have been glad; but of these there is an
heir of Ottocar's left; these will require time and luck.
Prosperous though toilsome days for Rudolf; who proved an
excellent bit of stuff for a Kaiser; and found no rest, proving
what stuff he was. In which prosperities, as indeed he continued
to do in the perils and toils, Burggraf Friedrich III. of Nurnberg
naturally partook: hence, and not gratis at all, the Hereditary
Burggrafdom, and many other favors and accessions he got. For he
continued Rudolf's steady helper, friend and first-man in all
things, to the very end. Evidently one of the most important men
in Germany, and candor will lead us to guess one of the worthiest,
during those bad years of Interregnum, and the better ones of
Kaisership. After Conrad his great-grandfather he is the second
notable architect of the Family House;--founded by Conrad;
conspicuously built up by this Friedrich III., and the first STORY
of it finished, so to speak. Then come two Friedrichs as
Burggrafs, his son and his grandson's grandson, "Friedrich IV."
and "Friedrich VI.," by whom it was raised to the second story and
the third,--thenceforth one of the high houses of the world.
That is the glimpse we can give of Friedrich first Hereditary
Burggraf, and of his Cousin Rudolf first Hapsburg Kaiser.
The latest Austrian Kaisers, the latest Kings of Prussia,
they are sons of these two men.
ASCANIER MARKGRAVES IN BRANDENBURG.
We have said nothing of the Ascanier Markgraves, Electors of
Brandenburg, all this while; nor, in these limits, can we now or
henceforth say almost anything. A proud enough, valiant and
diligent line of Markgraves; who had much fighting and other
struggle in the world,--steadily enlarging their border upon the
Wends to the north; and adjusting it, with mixed success, against
the WETTIN gentlemen, who are Markgraves farther east (in the
LAUSITZ now), who bound us to the south too (MEISSEN, Misnia),
and who in fact came in for the whole of modern Saxony in the end.
Much fighting, too, there was with the Archbishops of Magdeburg,
now that the Wends are down: standing quarrel there, on the small
scale, like that of Kaiser and Pope on the great; such quarrel as
is to be seen in all places, and on all manner of scales, in that
era of the Christian World.
None of our Markgraves rose to the height of their Progenitor,
Albert the Bear; nor indeed, except massed up, as "Albert's Line,"
and with a History ever more condensing itself almost to the form
of LABEL, can they pretend to memorability with us. What can
Dryasdust himself do with them? That wholesome Dutch cabbages
continued to be more and more planted, and peat-mire, blending
itself with waste sand, became available for Christian mankind,--
intrusive Chaos, and especially Divine TRIGLAPH and his ferocities
being well held aloof:--this, after all, is the real History of
our Markgraves; and of this, by the nature of the case, Dryasdust
can say nothing. "New Mark," which once meant Brandenburg at
large, is getting subdivided into Mid-Mark, into UCKERmark
(closest to the Wends); and in Old Mark and New much is spreading,
much getting planted and founded. In the course of centuries there
will grow gradually to be "seven cities; and as many towns," says
one old jubilant Topographer, "as there are days in the year,"--
struggling to count up 365 of them.
OF BERLIN CITY.
In the year (guessed to be) 1240, one Ascanier Markgraf "fortifies
Berlin;" that is, first makes Berlin a German BURG and inhabited
outpost in those parts:--the very name, some think, means "Little
Rampart" (WEHRlin), built there, on the banks of the Spree,
against the Wends, and peopled with Dutch; of which latter fact,
it seems, the old dialect of the place yields traces. [Nicolai,
"Einleitung." Nicolai rejects the WEHRLIN etymology; admits that
the name was evidently appellative, not proper, "The Berlin,"
"To the Berlin;" finds in the world two objects, one of them at
Halle, still called "The Berlin;" and thinks it must have meant
(in some language of extinct mortals) "Wild Pasture-ground,"--
"The SCRUBS," as we should call it.--Possible; perhaps likely.]
How it rose afterwards to be chosen for Metropolis, one cannot
say, except that it had a central situation for the now widened
principalities of Brandenburg: the place otherwise is sandy by
nature, sand and swamp the constituents of it; and stands on a
sluggish river the color of oil. Wendish fishermen had founded
some first nucleus of it long before; and called their fishing-
hamlet COLN, which is said to be the general Wendish title for
places FOUNDED ON PILES, a needful method where your basis is
swamp. At all events, "Coln" still designates the oldest quarter
in Berlin; and "Coln on the Spree" (Cologne, or Coln on the Rhine,
being very different) continued, almost to modern times, to be the
Official name of the Capital.
How the Dutch and Wends agreed together, within their rampart,
inclusive of both, is not said. The river lay between; they had
two languages; peace was necessary: it is probable they were long
rather on a taciturn footing! But in the oily river you do catch
various fish; Coln, amid its quagmires and straggling sluggish
waters, can be rendered very strong. Some husbandry, wet or dry,
is possible to diligent Dutchmen. There is room for trade also;
Spree Havel Elbe is a direct water-road to Hamburg and the Ocean;
by the Oder, which is not very far, you communicate with the
Baltic on this hand, and with Poland and the uttermost parts of
Silesia on that. Enough, Berlin grows; becomes, in about 300
years, for one reason and another, Capital City of the country, of
these many countries. The Markgraves or Electors, after quitting
Brandenburg, did not come immediately to Berlin; their next
Residence was Tangermunde (MOUTH of the TANGER, where little
Tanger issues into Elbe); a much grassier place than Berlin, and
which stands on a Hill, clay-and-sand Hill, likewise advantageous
for strength. That Berlin should have grown, after it once became
Capital, is not a mystery. It has quadrupled itself, and more,
within the last hundred years, and I think doubled itself within
the last thirty.
MARKGRAF OTTO IV., OR OTTO WITH THE ARROW
One Ascanier Markgraf, and one only, Otto IV. by title, was a Poet
withal; had an actual habit of doing verse. There are certain
so-called Poems of his, still extant, read by Dryasdust, with such
enthusiasm as he can get up, in the old
Burgermeister, while the matter was much fresher than it now is.
[Rudiger von Manesse, who fought the Austrians, too, made his
the fourteenth century; it was printed, after many narrow risks of
destruction in the interim, in 1758,--Bodmer and Breitinger
editing;--at Zurich, 2 vols. 4to.] Madrigals all; MINNE-Songs,
describing the passion of love; how Otto felt under it,--well and
also ill; with little peculiarity of symptom, as appears. One of
his lines is,
I wish that I were dead:"
--the others shall remain safe in Manesse's
This same Markgraf Otto IV., Year 1278, had a dreadful quarrel
with the See of Magdeburg, about electing a Brother of his.
The Chapter had chosen another than Otto's Brother; Otto makes war
upon the Chapter. Comes storming along; "will stable my horses in
your Cathedral," on such and such a day! But the Archbishop
chosen, who had been a fighter formerly, stirs up the
Magdeburgers, by preaching ("Horses to be stabled here, my
Christian brethren"), by relics, and quasi-miracles, to a furious
condition; leads them out against Otto, beats Otto utterly; brings
him in captive, amid hooting jubilations of the conceivable kind:
"Stable ready; but where are the horses,--Serene child of
Satanas!" Archbishop makes a Wooden Cage for Otto (big beams,
spars stout enough, mere straw to lie on), and locks him up there.
In a public situation in the City of Magdeburg;--visible to
mankind so, during certain months of that year 1278. It was in the
very time while Ottocar was getting finished in the Marchfeld;
much mutiny still abroad, and the new Kaiser Rudolf very busy.
Otto's Wife, all streaming in tears, and flaming in zeal, what
shall she do? "Sell your jewels," so advises a certain old Johann
von Buch, discarded Ex-official: "Sell your jewels, Madam; bribe
the Canons of Magdeburg with extreme secrecy, none knowing of his
neighbor; they will consent to ransom on terms possible. Poor Wife
bribed as was bidden; Canons voted as they undertook; unanimous
for ransom,--high, but humanly possible. Markgraf Otto gets out on
parole. But now, How raise such a ransom, our very jewels being
sold? Old Johann von Buch again indicates ways and means,--
miraculous old gentleman:--Markgraf Otto returns, money in hand;
pays, and is solemnly discharged. The title of the sum I could
give exact; but as none will in the least tell me what the value
is, I humbly forbear.
"We are clear, then, at this date?" said Markgraf Otto from his
horse, just taking leave of the Magdeburg Canonry. "Yes," answered
they.--"Pshaw, you don't know the value of a Markgraf!" said Otto.
"What is it, then?"--"Rain gold ducats on his war-horse and him,"
said Otto, looking up with a satirical grin, "till horse and
Markgraf are buried in them, and you cannot see the point of his
spear atop!"--That would be a cone of gold coins equal to the
article, thinks our Markgraf; and rides grinning away. [Michaelis,
i. 271; Pauli, i. 316; Kloss; &c.]--The poor Archbishop, a valiant
pious man, finding out that late strangely unanimous vote of his
Chapter for ransoming the Markgraf, took it so ill, that he soon
died of a broken heart, say the old Books. Die he did, before
long;--and still Otto's Brother was refused as successor. Brother,
however, again survived; behaved always wisely; and Otto at last
had his way. "Makes an excellent Archbishop, after all!" said the
Magdeburgers. Those were rare times, Mr. Rigmarole.
The same Otto, besieging some stronghold of his Magdeburg or other
enemies, got an arrow shot into the skull of him; into, not
through; which no surgery could extract, not for a year to come.
Otto went about, sieging much the same, with the iron in his head;
and is called Otto MIT DEM PFOILE, Otto SAGITTARIUS, or Otto with
the Arrow, in consequence. A Markgraf who writes Madrigals;
who does sieges with an arrow in his head; who lies in a wooden
cage, jeered by the Magdeburgers, and proposes such a cone of
ducats: I thought him the memorablest of those forgotten
Markgraves; and that his jolting Life-pilgrimage might stand as
the general sample. Multiply a year of Otto by 200, you have, on
easy conditions, some imagination of a History of the Ascanier
Markgraves. Forgettable otherwise; or it can be read in the gross,
darkened with endless details, and thrice-dreary, half-
intelligible traditions, in Pauli's fatal Quartos, and elsewhere,
if any one needs.--The year of that Magdeburg speech about the
cone of ducats is 1278: King Edward the First, in this country,
was walking about, a prosperous man of forty, with very LONG
SHANKS, and also with a head of good length.
Otto, as had been the case in the former Line, was a frequent name
among those Markgraves: "Otto the Pious" (whom we saw crusading
once in Preussen, with King Ottocar his Brother-in-law), "Otto the
Tall," "Otto the Short (PARVUS);" I know not how many Ottos
besides him "with the Arrow." Half a century after this one of the
ARROW (under his Grand-Nephew it was), the Ascanier Markgraves
ended, their Line also dying out.
Not the successfulest of Markgraves, especially in later times.
Brandenburg was indeed steadily an Electorate, its Markgraf a
KURFURST, or Elector of the Empire; and always rather on the
increase than otherwise. But the Territories were apt to be much
split up to younger sons; two or more Markgraves at once, the
eldest for Elector, with other arrangements; which seldom answer.
They had also fallen into the habit of borrowing money; pawning,
redeeming, a good deal, with Teutsch Ritters and others. Then they
puddled considerably,--and to their loss, seldom choosing the side
that proved winner,--in the general broils of the Reich, which at
that time, as we have seen, was unusually anarchic. None of the
successfulest of Markgraves latterly. But they were regretted
beyond measure in comparison with the next set that came; as we
BURGGRAF FRIEDRICH IV.
Brandenburg and the Hohenzollern Family of Nurnberg have hitherto
no mutual acquaintanceship whatever: they go, each its own course,
wide enough apart in the world;--little dreaming that they are
to meet by and by, and coalesce, wed for better and worse, and
become one flesh. As is the way in all romance. "Marriages," among
men, and other entities of importance, "are, evidently, made
Friedrich IV. of Nurnberg, Son of that Friedrich III., Kaiser
Rudolf's successful friend, was again a notable increaser of his
House; which finally, under his Great-grandson, named Friedrich
VI., attained the Electoral height. Of which there was already
some hint. Well; under the first of these two Friedrichs, some
slight approximation, and under his Son, a transient express
introduction (so to speak) of Brandenburg to Hohenzollern took
place, without immediate result of consequence; but under the
second of them occurred the wedding, as we may call it, or union
"for better or worse, till death do us part."--How it came about?
Easy to ask, How! The reader will have to cast some glances into
the confused REICHS-History of the time;--timid glances, for the
element is of dangerous, extensive sort, mostly jungle and shaking
bog;--and we must travel through this corner of it, as on shoes of
swiftness, treading lightly.
CONTESTED ELECTIONS IN THE REICH: KAISER ALBERT I.;
AFTER WHOM SIX NON-HAPSBURG KAISERS.
The Line of Rudolf of Hapsburg did not at once succeed
continuously to the Empire, as the wont had been in such cases,
where the sons were willing and of good likelihood. After such a
spell of anarchy, parties still ran higher than usual in the Holy
Roman Empire; and wide-yawning splits would not yet coalesce to
the old pitch. It appears too the posterity of Rudolf, stiff,
inarticulate, proud men, and of a turn for engrossing and
amassing, were not always lovely to the public. Albert, Rudolf's
eldest son, for instance, Kaiser Albert I.,--who did succeed,
though not at once, or till after killing Rudolf's immediate
successor, [Adolf of Nassau; slain by Albert's own hand; "Battle"
of Hasenbuhel "near Worms, 2d July, 1298" (Kohler, p. 265).]--
Albert was by no means a prepossessing man, though a tough and
hungry one. It must be owned, he had a harsh ugly character;
and face to match: big-nosed, loose-lipped, blind of an eye:
not Kaiser-like at all to an Electoral Body.
monoculus, et vultu rustico; non potest esse Imperator
Emperor)!" said Pope Boniface VIII., when consulted about him.
[Kohler, pp. 267-273; and
Enough, from the death of Rudolf, A.D. 1291, there intervened a
hundred aud fifty years, and eight successive Kaisers singly or in
line, only one of whom (this same Albert of the unlovely
countenance) was a Hapsburger,--before the Family, often trying it
all along, could get a third time into the Imperial saddle.
Where, after that, it did sit steady. Once in for the third time,
the Hapsburgers got themselves "elected" (as they still called it)
time after time; always elected,--with but one poor exception,
which will much concern my readers by and by,--to the very end of
the matter. And saw the Holy Roman Empire itself expire, and as it
were both saddle and horse vanish out of Nature, before they would
dismount. Nay they still ride there on the shadow of a saddle,
so to speak; and are "Kaisers of AUSTRIA" at this hour. Steady
enough of seat at last, after many vain trials!
For during those hundred and fifty years,--among those six
intercalary Kaisers, too, who followed Albert,--they were always
trying; always thinking they had a kind of quasi right to it;
whereby the Empire often fell into trouble at Election-time.
For they were proud stout men, our Hapsburgers, though of taciturn
unconciliatory ways; and Rudolf had so fitted them out with
fruitful Austrian Dukedoms, which they much increased by marriages
and otherwise,--Styria, Carinthia, the Tyrol, by degrees, not to
speak of their native HAPSBURG much enlarged, and claims on
Switzerland all round it,--they had excellent means of battling
for their pretensions and disputable elections. None of them
succeeded, however, for a hundred and fifty years, except that
same one-eyed, loose-lipped unbeautiful Albert I.; a Kaiser
dreadfully fond of earthly goods, too. Who indeed grasped all
round him, at property half his, or wholly not his: Rhine-tolls,
Crown of Bohemia, Landgraviate of Thuringen, Swiss Forest Cantons,
Crown of Hungary, Crown of France even:--getting endless quarrels
on his hands, and much defeat mixed with any victory there was.
Poor soul, he had six-and-twenty children by one wife; and felt
that there was need of apanages! He is understood (guessed, not
proved) to have instigated two assassinations in pursuit of these
objects; and he very clearly underwent ONE in his own person.
Assassination first was of Dietzman the Thuringian Landgraf, an
Anti-Albert champion, who refused to be robbed by Albert,--for
whom the great Dante is (with almost palpable absurdity) fabled to
have written an Epitaph still legible in the Church at Leipzig.
second was of Wenzel, the poor young Bohemian King, Ottocar's
Grandson and last heir. Sure enough, this important young
gentleman "was murdered by some one at Olmutz next year" (1306, a
promising event for Albert then), "but none yet knows who it was."
[Kohler, p. 270.]
Neither of which suspicious transactions came to any result for
Albert; as indeed most of his unjust graspings proved failures.
He at one time had thoughts of the Crown of France; "Yours _I_
solemnly declare!" said the Pope. But that came to nothing;--only
to France's shifting of the Popes to Avignon, more under the thumb
of France. What his ultimate success with Tell and the Forest
Cantons was, we all know! A most clutching, strong-fisted,
dreadfully hungry, tough and unbeautiful man. Whom his own Nephew,
at last, had to assassinate, at the Ford of the Reus (near
Windisch Village, meeting of the Reus and Aar; 1st May, 1308):
"Scandalous Jew pawnbroker of an Uncle, wilt thou flatly keep from
me my Father's heritage, then, intrusted to thee in his hour of
death? Regardless of God and man, and of the last look of a dying
Brother? Uncle worse than pawnbroker; for it is a heritage with NO
pawn on it, with much the reverse!" thought the Nephew,--and
stabbed said Uncle down dead; having gone across with him in the
boat; attendants looking on in distraction from the other side of
the river. Was called Johannes PARRICIDA in consequence; fled out
of human sight that day, he and his henchmen, never to turn up
again till Doomsday. For the pursuit was transcendent, regardless
of expense; the cry for legal vengeance very great (on the part of
Albert's daughters chiefly), though in vain, or nearly so, in this
world. [Kohler, p. 272. Hormayr,
Plutarch, oder Leben und Bild nisse, &c.
Bandchen; Wien, 1807,--a superior Book), i. 65.]
OF KAISER HENRY VII. AND THE LUXEMBURG KAISERS.
Of the other six Kaisers not Hapsburgers we are bound to mention
one, and dwell a little on his fortunes and those of the family he
founded; both Brandenburg and our Hohenzollerns coming to be much
connected therewith, as time went on. This is Albert's next
successor, Henry Count of Luxemburg; called among Kaisers Henry
VII. He is founder, he alone among these Non-Hapsburgers, of a
small intercalary LINE of Kaisers, "the Luxemburg Line;" who
amount indeed only to Four, himself included; and are not
otherwise of much memorability, if we except himself; though
straggling about like well-rooted briers, in that favorable
ground, they have accidentally hooked themselves upon World-
History in one or two points. By accident a somewhat noteworthy
line, those Luxemburg Kaisers:--a celebrated place, too, or name
of a place, that "LUXEMBOURG" of theirs, with its French Marshals,
grand Parisian Edifices, lending it new lustre: what, thinks the
reader, is the meaning of Luzzenburg, Luxemburg, Luxembourg?
Merely LUTZELburg, wrong pronounced; and that again is nothing but
LITTLEborough: such is the luck of names!--
Heinrich Graf von Luxemburg was, after some pause on the parricide
of Albert, chosen Kaiser, "on account of his renowned valor," say
the old Books,--and also, add the shrewder of them, because his
Brother, Archbishop of Trier, was one of the Electors, and the
Pope did not like either the Austrian or the French candidate then
in the field. Chosen, at all events, he was, 27th November, 1308;
[Kohler, p. 274.] clearly, and by much, the best Kaiser that could
be had. A puissant soul, who might have done great things, had he
lived. He settled feuds; cut off oppressions from the REICHSTADTE
(Free Towns); had a will of just sort, and found or made a way for
it. Bohemia lapsed to him, the old race of Kings having perished
out,--the last of them far too suddenly "at Olmutz," as we saw
lately! Some opposition there was, but much more favor especially
by the Bohemian People; and the point, after some small "Siege of
Prag" and the like, was definitely carried by the Kaiser. The now
Burggraf of Nurnberg, Friedrich IV., son of Rudolf's friend, was
present at this Siege of Prag; [1310 (Rentsch, p. 311).] a
Burggraf much attached to Kaiser Henry, as all good Germans were.
But the Kaiser did not live.
He went to Italy, our Burggraf of Nurnberg and many more along
with him, to pull the crooked Guelf-Ghibelline Facts and Avignon
Pope a little straight, if possible; and was vigorously doing it,
when he died on a sudden; "poisoned in sacramental wine," say the
Germans! One of the crowning summits of human scoundrelism, which
painfully stick in the mind. It is certain he arrived well at
Buonconvento near Sienna, on the 24th September, 1313, in full
march towards the rebellious King of Naples, whom the Pope much
countenanced. At Buonconvento, Kaiser Henry wished to enjoy the
communion; and a Dominican monk, whose dark rat-eyed look men
afterwards bethought them of, administered it to him in both
species (Council of Trent not yet quite prohibiting the liquid
species, least of all to Kaisers, who are by theory a kind of
"Deacons to the Pope," or something else [Voltaire,
sur les Moeurs,
species: that is certain, and also that on the morrow Henry was
dead. The Dominicans endeavored afterwards to deny; which, for the
credit of human nature, one wishes they had done with effect.
[Kohler, p. 281 (Ptolemy of Lucca, himself a Dominican, is one of
the ACCUSING spirits: Muratori, l. xi. ??
had; the denial was considered lame; and German History continues
to shudder, in that passage, and assert. Poisoned in the wine of
his sacrament: the Florentines, it is said, were at the bottom of
it, and had hired the rat-eyed Dominican;--
Liberty, or Obedience to God; that is the way to confirm, as by
frightful stygian oath, Italian Slavery, or continual Obedience,
under varying forms, to the Other Party! The voice of Dante, then
alive among men, proclaims, sad and loving as a mother's voice,
and implacable as a voice of Doom, that you are wandering, and
have wandered, in a terrible manner!--
Peter, the then Archbishop of Mainz, says there had not for
hundreds of years such a death befallen the German Empire;
to which Kohler, one of the wisest moderns, gives his assent:
"It could not enough be lamented," says he, "that so vigilant a
Kaiser, in the flower of his years, should have been torn from the
world in so devilish a manner: who, if he had lived longer, might
have done Teutschland unspeakable benefit." [Kohler, pp. 282-285.]
HENRY'S SON JOHANN IS KING OF BOHEMIA; AND LUDWIG THE BAVARIAN,
WITH A CONTESTED ELECTION, IS KAISER.
Henry VII. having thus perished suddenly, his Son Johann, scarcely
yet come of age, could not follow him as Kaiser, according to the
Father's thought; though in due time he prosecuted his advancement
otherwise to good purpose, and proved a very stirring man in the
world. By his Father's appointment, to whom as Kaiser the chance
had fallen, he was already King of Bohemia, strong in his right
and in the favor of the natives; though a titular Competitor,
Henry of the Tyrol, beaten off by the late Kaiser, was still
extant: whom, however, and all other perils Johann contrived to
weather; growing up to be a far-sighted stout-hearted man, and
potent Bohemian King, widely renowned in his day. He had a Son,
and then two Grandsons, who were successively Kaisers, after a
sort; making up the "Luxemburg Four" we spoke of. He did Crusades,
one or more, for the Teutsch Ritters, in a shining manner;--
unhappily with loss of an eye; nay ultimately, by the aid of quack
oculists, with loss of both eyes. An ambitious man, not to be
quelled by blindness; man with much negotiation in him; with a
heavy stroke of fight too, and tomper nothing loath at it;
of which we shall see some glimpse by and by.
The pity was, for the Reich if not for him, he could not himself
become Kaiser. Perhaps we had not then seen Henry VII.'s fine
enterprises, like a fleet of half-built ships, go mostly to planks
again, on the waste sea, had his Son followed him. But there was,
on the contrary, a contested election; Austria in again, as usual,
and again unsuccessful. The late Kaiser's Austrian competitor,
"Friedrich the Fair, Duke of Austria," the parricided Albert's
Son, was again one of the parties. Against whom, with real but not
quite indisputable majority, stood Ludwig Duke of Bavaria: "Ludwig
IV.," "Ludwig DER BAIER (the Bavarian)" as they call him among
Kaisers. Contest attended with the usual election expenses;
war-wrestle, namely, between the parties till one threw the other.
There was much confused wrestling and throttling for seven years
or more (1315-1322). Our Nurnberg Burggraf, Friedrich IV., held
with Ludwig, as did the real majority, though in a languid manner,
and was busy he as few were; the Austrian Hapsburgs also doing
their best, now under, now above. Johann King of Bohemia was on
Ludwig's side as yet. Ludwig's own Brother, Kur-Pfalz (ancestor of
all the Electors, and their numerous Branches, since known there),
an elder Brother, was, "out of spite as men thought, decidedly
In the eighth year came a Fight that proved decisive. Fight at
Muhldorf on the Inn, 23th September, 1322,--far down in those
Danube Countries, beyond where Marlborough ever was, where there
has been much fighting first and last; Burggraf Friedrich was
conspicuously there. A very great Battle, say the old Books,--says
Hormayr, in a new readable Book, [Hormayr,
account of it. Ludwig rather held aloof rearward; committed his
business to the Hohenzollern Burggraf and to one Schweppermann,
aided by a noble lord called Rindsmaul ("COWMOUTH," no less), and
by others experienced in such work. Friedrich the Hapsburger DER
SCHONE, Duke of Austria, and self-styled Kaiser, a gallant
handsome man, breathed mere martial fury, they say: he knew that
his Brother Leopold was on march with a reinforcement to him from
the Strasburg quarter, and might arrive any moment; but he could
not wait,--perhaps afraid Ludwig might run;--he rashly determined
to beat Ludwig without reinforcement. Our rugged fervid Hormayr
(though imitating Tacitus and Johannes von Muller overmuch) will
instruct fully any modern that is curious about this big Battle:
what furious charging, worrying; how it "lasted ten hours;" how
the blazing Handsome Friedrich stormed about, and "slew above
fifty with his own hand." To us this is the interesting point:
At one turn of the Battle, tenth hour of it now ending, and the
tug of war still desperate, there arose a cry of joy over all
the Austrian ranks, "Help coming! Help!"--and Friedrich noticed a
body of Horse, "in Austrian cognizance" (such the cunning of a
certain man), coming in upon his rear. Austrians and Friedrich
never doubted but it was Brother Leopold just getting on the
ground; and rushed forward doubly fierce. Doubly fierce; and were
doubly astonished when it plunged in upon them, sharp-edged, as
Burggraf Friedrich of Nurnberg,--and quite ruined Austrian
Friedrich. Austrian Friedrich fought personally like a lion at
bay; but it availed nothing. Rindsmaul (not lovely of lip,
COWMOUTH, so-called) disarmed him: "I will not surrender except to
a Prince!"--so Burggraf Friedrich was got to take surrender of
him; and the Fight, and whole Controversy with it, was completely
the excellent Schweppermann}:
Tradition still repeats this old rhyme, as the Kaiser's Address to
his Army, or his Head Captains, at supper, after such a day's
work,--in a country already to the bone.]
Poor Leopold, the Austrian Brother, did not arrive till the
morrow; and saw a sad sight, before flying off again. Friedrich
the Fair sat prisoner in the old Castle of Traussnitz (OBER PFALZ,
Upper Palatinate, or Nurnberg country) for three years; whittling
sticks:--Tourists, if curious, can still procure specimens of them
at the place, for a consideration. There sat Friedrich, Brother
Leopold moving Heaven and Earth,--and in fact they said, the very
Devil by art magic, [Kohler, p. 288.]--to no purpose, to deliver
him. And his poor Spanish Wife cried her eyes, too literally,
out,--sight gone in sad fact.
Ludwig the Bavarian reigned thenceforth,--though never on easy
terms. How grateful to Friedrich of Nurnberg we need not say.
For one thing, he gave him all the Austrian Prisoners;
whom Friedrich, judiciously generous, dismissed without ransom
except that they should be feudally subject to him henceforth.
This is the third Hohenzollern whom we mark as a conspicuous
acquirer in the Hohenzollern family, this Friedrich IV., builder
of the second story of the House. If Conrad, original Burggraf,
founded the House, then (figuratively speaking) the able Friedrich
III., who was Rudolf of Hapsburg's friend, built it one story
high; and here is a new Friedrich, his Son, who has added a second
story. It is astonishing, says Dryasdust, how many feudal
superiorities the Anspach and Baireuth people still have in
Austria;--they maintain their own LEHNPROBST, or Official Manager
for fief-casualties, in that country:--all which proceed from this
Battle of Muhldorf. [Rentsch, p. 313; Pauli; &c.] Battle fought on
the 28th of September, 1322:--eight years after BABBOCKBURN; while
our poor Edward II. and England with him were in such a welter
with their Spencers and their Gavestons: eight years after
Bannockburn, and four-and-twenty before Crecy. That will date it
for English readers.
Kaiser Ludwig reigned some twenty-five years more, in a busy and
even strenuous, but not a successful way. He had good windfalls,
too; for example, Brandenburg, as we shall see. He made friends;
reconciled himself to his Brother Kur-Pfalz and junior Cousinry
there, settling handsomely, and with finality, the debatable
points between them. Enemies, too, he made; especially Johann the
Luxemburger, King of Bohemia, on what ground will be seen shortly,
who became at last inveterate to a high degree. But there was one
supremely sore element in his lot: a Pope at Avignon to whom he
could by no method make himself agreeable. Pope who put him under
ban, not long after that Muhldorf victory; and kept him so;
inexorable, let poor Ludwig turn as he might. Ludwig's German
Princes stood true to him; declared, in solemn Diet, the Pope's
ban to be mere spent shot, of no avail in Imperial Politics.
Ludwig went, vigorously to Italy; tried setting up a Pope of his
own; but that did not answer; nor of course tend to mollify the
Holiness at Avignon.
In fine, Ludwig had to carry this cross on his back, in a
sorrowful manner, all his days. The Pope at last, finding Johann
of Bohemia in a duly irritated state, persuaded him into setting
up an Anti-Kaiser,--Johann's second Son as Anti-Kaiser,--who,
though of little account, and called PFAFFEN-KAISER (Parsons'
Kaiser) by the public, might have brought new troubles, had that
lasted. We shall see some ultimate glimpses of it farther on.
BRANDENBURG LAPSES TO THE KAISER.
Two years before the victory at Muhldorf, a bad chance befell in
Brandenburg: the ASCANIER Line of Markgraves or Electors ended.
Magniloquent Otto with the Arrow, Otto the Short, Hermann the
Tall, all the Ottos, Hermanns and others, died by course of
nature; nephew Waldemar himself, a stirring man, died prematurely
(A.D. 1319), and left only a young cousin for successor, who died
few months after: [September, 1320 (Pauli, i. 391). Michaelis, i.
260-277.] the Line of Albert the Bear went out in Brandenburg.
They had lasted there about two hundred years. They had not been,
in late times, the successfulest Markgraves: territories much
split up among younger sons, joint Markgraves reigning, which
seldom answers; yet to the last they always made stout fight for
themselves; walked the stage in a high manner; and surely might be
said to quit it creditably, leaving such a Brandenburg behind
them, chiefly of their making, during the Two Centuries that had
been given them before the night came.
There were plenty of Ascanier Cousins still extant in those parts,
Saxon dignitaries, Anhalt dignitaries, lineal descendants of
Albert the Bear; to some of whom, in usual times, Albert's
inheritance would naturally have been granted. But the times were
of battle, uncertainty, contested election: and the Ascaniers,
I perceive, had rather taken Friedrich of Austria's side, which
proved the losing one. Kaiser Ludwig DER BAIER would appoint none
of these; Anti-Kaiser Friedrich's appointments, if he made any,
could be only nominal, in those distant Northern parts. Ludwig,
after his victory of Muhldorf, preferred to consider the
Electorate of Brandenburg as lapsed, lying vacant, ungoverned
these three years; and now become the Kaiser's again. Kaiser, in
consequence, gave it to his Son; whose name also is Ludwig:
the date of the Investiture is 1323 (year after that victory of
Muhldorf); a date unfortunate to Brandenburg. We come now into a
Line of BAVARIAN Markgraves, and then of LUXEMBURG ones; both of
which are of fatal significance to Brandenburg.
The Ascanier Cousins, high Saxon dignitaries some of them, gloomed
mere disappointment, and protested hard; but could not mend the
matter, now or afterwards. Their Line went out in Saxony too, in
course of time; gave place to the WETTINS, who are still there.
The Ascanier had to be content with the more pristine state of
acquisitions,--high pedigrees, old castles of Ascanien and
Ballenstadt, territories of Anhalt or what else they had;--and
never rose again to the lost height, though the race still lives,
and has qualities besides its pedigree. We said the "Old
Dessauer," Leopold Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, was the head of it in
Friedrich Wilhelm's time; and to this day he has descendants.
Catharine II. of Russia was of Anhalt-Zerbst, a junior branch.
Albert the Bear, if that is of any use to him, has still
occasionally notable representatives.
Ludwig junior, Kaiser Ludwig the Bavarian's eldest son, was still
under age when appointed Kurfurst of Brandenburg in 1323:
of course he had a "STATEHOLDER" (Viceregent, STATTHALTER);
then, and afterwards in occasional absences of his, a series of
such, Kaiser's Councillors, Burggraf Friedrich IV. among them, had
to take some thought of Brandenburg in its new posture. Who these
Brandenburg Statthalters were, is heartily indifferent even to
Dryasdust,--except that one of them for some time was a
Hohenzollern: which circumstance Dryasdust marks with the due note
of admiration. "What he did there," Dryasdust admits, "is not
written anywhere;"--good, we will hope, and not evil;--but only
the Diploma nominating him (of date 1346, not in Ludwig's
minority, but many years after that ended [Rentsch, p. 323.]) now
exists by way of record. A difficult problem he, like the other
regents and viceregents, must have had; little dreaming that it
was intrinsically for a grandson of his own, and long line of
grandsons. The name of this temporary Statthalter, the first
Hohenzollern who had ever the least concern with Brandenburg,
is Burggraf Johann II., eldest Son of our distinguished Muhldorf
friend Friedrich IV.; and Grandfather (through another Friedrich)
of Burggraf Friedrich VI.,--which last gentleman, as will be seen,
did doubtless reap the sowings, good and bad, of all manner of men
in Brandenburg. The same Johann II. it was who purchased
Plassenburg Castle and Territory (cheap, for money down),
where the Family afterwards had its chief residence. Hof, Town
and Territory, had fallen to his Father in those parts; a gift
of gratitude from Kaiser Ludwig:--most of the Voigtland is
Kaiser Ludwig the Bavarian left his sons Electors of Brandenburg;
--"Electors, KURFURSTS," now becomes the commoner term for so
important a Country;--Electors not in easy circumstances. But no
son of his succeeded Ludwig as Kaiser,--successor in the Reich was
that Pfaffen-Kaiser, Johann of Bohemia's son, a Luxemburger once
more. No son of Ludwig's; nor did any descendant,--except, after
four hundred years, that unfortunate Kaiser Karl VII., in Maria
Theresa's time. He was a descendant. Of whom we shall hear more
than enough. The unluckiest of all Kaisers, that Karl VII.; less a
Sovereign Kaiser than a bone thrown into the ring for certain
royal dogs, Louis XV., George II. and others, to worry about;--
watch-dogs of the gods; apt sometimes to run into hunting instead
of warding.--We will say nothing more of Ludwig the Baier, or his
posterity, at present: we will glance across to Preussen, and see,
for one moment, what the Teutsch Ritters are doing in their new
Century. It is the year 1330; Johann II. at Nurnberg, as yet only
coming to be Burggraf, by no means yet administering in
Brandenburg; and Ludwig junior seven years old in his new
The Teutsch Ritters, after infinite travail, have subdued heathen
Preussen; colonized the country with industrious German
immigrants; banked the Weichsel and the Nogat, subduing their
quagmires into meadows, and their waste streams into deep ship-
courses. Towns are built, Konigsberg (KING Ottocar's TOWN), Thoren
(Thorn, CITY of the GATES), with many others: so that the wild
population and the tame now lived tolerably together, under Gospel
and Lubeck Law; and all was ploughing and trading, and a rich
country; which had made the Teutsch Ritters rich, and victoriously
at their ease in comparison. But along with riches and the ease of
victory, the common bad consequences had ensued. Ritters given up
to luxuries, to secular ambitions; ritters no longer clad in
austere mail and prayer; ritters given up to wantonness of mind
and conduct; solemnly vowing, and quietly not doing; without
remorse or consciousness of wrong, daily eating forbidden fruit;
ritters swelling more and more into the fatted-ox condition, for
whom there is but one doom. How far they had carried it, here is
one symptom that may teach us.
In the year 1330, one Werner von Orseln was Grand-master of these
Ritters. The Grand-master, who is still usually the best man they
can get, and who by theory is sacred to them as a Grand-Lama or
Pope among Cardinal-Lamas, or as an Abbot to his Monks,--Grand-
master Werner, we say, had lain down in Marienburg one afternoon
of this year 1330, to take his siesta, and was dreaming peaceably
after a moderate repast, when a certain devil-ridden mortal,
Johann von Endorf, one of his Ritters, long grumbling about
severity, want of promotion and the like, rushed in upon the good
old man; ran him through, dead for a ducat; [Voigt, iv. 474,
482.]--and consummated a PARRICIDE at which the very cross on
one's white cloak shudders! Parricide worse, a great deal, than
that at the Ford of Reuss upon one-eyed Albert.
We leave the shuddering Ritters to settle it, sternly vengeful;
whom, for a moment, it has struck broad-awake to some sense of the
very questionable condition they are getting into.
BAYARIAN KURFURSTS IN BRANDENBURG.
Young Ludwig Kurfurst of Brandenburg, Kaiser Ludwig's eldest son,
having come of years, the Tutors or Statthalters went home,--not
wanted except in cases of occasional absence henceforth;--and the
young man endeavored to manage on his own strength. His success
was but indifferent; he held on, however, for a space of twenty
years, better or worse. "He helped King Edward III. at the Siege
of Cambray (A.D. 1339);" [Michaelis, i. 279.] whose French
politics were often connected with the Kaiser's: it is certain,
Kurfurst Ludwig "served personally with 600 horse [on good
payment, I conclude] at that Siege of Cambray;"--and probably saw
the actual Black Prince, and sometimes dined with him, as English
readers can imagine. In Brandenburg he had many checks and
difficult passages, but was never quite beaten out, which it was
easy to have been.
A man of some ability, as we can gather, though not of enough:
he played his game with resolution, not without skill; but from
the first the cards were against him. His Father's affairs going
mostly ill were no help to his, which of themselves went not well.
The Brandenburgers, mindful of their old Ascanier sovereigns, were
ill affected to Ludwig and the new Bavarian sort. The Anhalt
Cousinry gloomed irreconcilable; were never idle, digging
pitfalls, raising troubles. From them and others Kurfurst Ludwig
had troubles enough; which were fronted by him really not amiss;
which we wholly, or all but wholly, omit in this place.
A RESUSCITATED ASCANIER; THE FALSE WALDEMAR.
The wickedest and worst trouble of their raising was that of the
resuscitated Waldemar (A.D. 1345): "False Waldemar," as he is now
called in Brandenburg Books. Waldemar was the last, or as good as
the last, of the Ascanier Markgraves; and he, two years before
Ludwig ever saw those countries, died in his bed, twenty-five good
years ago; and was buried, and seemingly ended. But no; after
twenty-five years, Waldemar reappears: "Not buried or dead, only
sham-buried, sham-dead; have been in the Holy Land all this while,
doing pilgrimage and penance; and am come to claim my own again,--
which strangers are much misusing!" [Michaelis, i. 279.]
Perkin Warbeck, POST-MORTEM Richard II., Dimitri of Russia, Martin
Guerre of the CAUSES CELEBRES: it is a common story in the world,
and needs no commentary now. POST-MORTEM Waldemar, it is said,
was a Miller's Man, "of the name of Jakob Rehback;" who used to be
about the real Waldemar in a menial capacity, and had some
resemblance to him. He showed signets, recounted experiences,
which had belonged to the real Waldemar. Many believed in his
pretension, and took arms to assert it; the Reich being in much
internal battle at the time; poor Kaiser Ludwig, with his Avignon
Popes and angry Kings Johann, wading in deep waters. Especially
the disaffected Cousinry, or Princes of Anhalt, believed and
battled for POST-MORTEM Waldemar; who were thought to have got him
up from the first. Kurfurst Ludwig had four or five most sad years
with him;--all the worse when the PFAFFEN-KAISER (King Johann's
son) came on the stage, in the course of them (A.D. 1346), and
Kaiser Ludwig, yielding not indeed to him, but to Death, vanished
from it two years after; [Elected, 1314; Muhldorf, and Election
COMPLETE, 1322; died, 1347, age 60.] leaving Kurfurst Ludwig to
his own shifts with the Pfaffen-Kaiser. Whom he could not now
hinder from succeeding to the Reich. He tried hard; set up, he and
others, an Anti-Kaiser (GUNTHER OF SCHWARTZBURG, temporary Anti-
Kaiser, whom English readers can forget again): he bustled,
battled, negotiated, up and down; and ran across, at one time, to
Preussen to the Teutsch Ritters,--presumably to borrow money:--but
it all would not do. The Pfaffen-Kaiser carried it, in the Diet
and out of the Diet: Karl IV. by title; a sorry enough Kaiser,
and by nature an enemy of Ludwig's.
It was in this whirl of intricate misventures that Kurfurst Ludwig
had to deal with his False Waldemar, conjured from the deeps upon
him, like a new goblin, where already there were plenty, in the
dance round poor Ludwig. Of which nearly inextricable goblin-
dance; threatening Brandenburg, for one thing, with annihilation,
and yet leading Brandenburg abstrusely towards new birth and
higher destinies,--how will it be possible (without raising new
ghosts, in a sense) to give readers any intelligible notion?--
Here, flickering on the edge of conflagration after duty done,
is a poor Note which perhaps the reader had better, at the risk of
superfluity, still in part take along with him:--
"Kaiser Henry VII., who died of sacramental wine, First of the
Luxemburg Kaisers, left Johann still a boy of fifteen, who could
not become the second of them, but did in time produce the Second,
who again produced the Third and Fourth.
"Johann was already King of Bohemia; the important young
gentleman, Ottocar's grandson, whom we saw 'murdered at Olmutz
none yet knows by whom,' had left that throne vacant, and it
lapsed to the Kaiser; who, the Nation also favoring, duly put in
his son Johann. There was a competitor, 'Duke of the Tyrol,' who
claimed on loose grounds; 'My wife was Aunt of the young murdered
King,' said he; 'wherefore'--! Kaiser, and Johann after him,
rebutted this competitor; but he long gave some trouble, having
great wealth and means. He produced a Daughter, Margaret Heiress
of the Tyrol,--with a terrible MOUTH to her face, and none of the
gentlest hearts in her body:--that was perhaps his principal feat
in the world. He died 1331; had styled himself 'King of Bohemia'
for twenty years,--ever since 1308;--but in the last two years of
his life he gave it up, and ceased from troubling, having come to
a beautiful agreement with Johann.
"Johann, namely, wedded his eldest Son to this competitor's fine
Daughter with the mouth (Year 1329): 'In this manner do not
Bohemia and the Tyrol come together in my blood and in yours, and
both of us are made men?' said the two contracting parties.--Alas,
no: the competitor Duke, father of the Bride, died some two years
after, probably with diminished hopes of it; and King Johann lived
to see the hope expire dismally altogether. There came no
children, there came no--In fact Margaret, after a dozen years of
wedlock, in unpleasant circumstances, broke it off as if by
explosion; took herself and her Tyrol irrevocably over to Kaiser
Ludwig, quite away from King Johann,--who, his hopes of the Tyrol
expiring in such dismal manner, was thenceforth the bitter enemy
of Ludwig and what held of him."
Tyrol explosion was in 1342. And now, keeping these preliminary
dates and outlines in mind, we shall understand the big-mouthed
Lady better, and the consequences of her in the world.
MARGARET WITH THE POUCH-MOUTH.
What principally raised this dance of the devils round poor
Ludwig, I perceive, was a marriage he had made, three years before
Waldemar emerged; of which, were it only for the sake of the
Bride's name, some mention is permissible. Margaret of the Tyrol,
commonly called, by contemporaries and posterity, MAULTASCHE
(Mouthpoke, Pocket-mouth), she was the bride:--marriage done at
Innspruck, 1342, under furtherance of father Ludwig the Kaiser:--
such a mouth as we can fancy, and a character corresponding to it.
This, which seemed to the two Ludwigs a very conquest of the
golden-fleece under conditions, proved the beginning of their
worst days to both of them.
Not a lovely bride at all, this Maultasche; who is verging now
towards middle life withal, and has had enough to cross her in the
world. Was already married thirteen years ago; not wisely nor by
any means too well. A terrible dragon of a woman. Has been in
nameless domestic quarrels; in wars and sieges with rebellious
vassals; claps you an iron cap on her head, and takes the field
when need is: furious she-bear of the Tyrol. But she has immense
possessions, if wanting in female charms. She came by mothers from
that Duke of Meran whom we saw get his death (for cause), in the
Plassenburg a hundred years ago. [Antes, p.102.] Her ancestor was
Husband to an Aunt of that homicided Duke: from him, principally
from him, she inherits the Tyrol, Carinthia, Styria; is herself
an only child, the last of a line: hugest Heiress now going. So
that, in spite of the mouth and humor, she has not wanted for
wooers,--especially prudent Fathers wooing her for their sons.
In her Father's lifetime, Johann King of Bohemia, always awake to
such symptoms of things, and having very peculiar interests in
this case, courted and got her for his Crown-Prince (as we just
saw), a youth of great outlooks, outlooks towards Kaisership
itself perhaps; to whom she was wedded, thirteen years ago, and
duly brought the Tyrol for Heritage: but with the worst results.
Heritage, namely, could not be had without strife with Austria,
which likewise had claims. Far worse, the marriage itself went
awry: Johann's Crown-Prince was "a soft-natured Herr," say the
Books: why bring your big she-bear into a poor deer's den? Enough,
the marriage came to nothing, except to huge brawlings far enough
away from us: and Margaret Pouch-mouth has now divorced her
Bohemian Crown-Prince as a Nullity; and again weds, on similar
terms, Kaiser Ludwig's son, our Brandenburg Kurfurst,--who hopes
possibly that HE now may succeed as Kaiser, on the strength of his
Father and of the Tyrol. Which turned out far otherwise.
The marriage was done in the Church of Innspruck, 10th February,
1342 (for we love to be particular), "Kaiser Ludwig," happy man,
"and many Princes of the Empire, looking on;" little thinking what
a coil it would prove. "At the high altar she stript off her
veil," symbol of wifehood or widowhood, "and put on a
JUNGFERNKRANZ (maiden's-garland)," symbolically testifying how
happy Ludwig junior still was. They had a son by and by; but their
course otherwise, and indeed this-wise too, was much checkered.
King Johann, seeing the Tyrol gone in this manner, gloomed
terribly upon his Crown-Prince; flung him aside as a Nullity,
"Go to Moravia, out of sight, on an apanage, you; be Crown-Prince
no longer!"--And took to fighting Kaiser Ludwig; colleagued
diligently with the hostile Pope, with the King of France;
intrigued and colleagued far and wide; swearing by every method
everlasting enmity to Kaiser Ludwig; and set up his son Karl as
Pfaffen-Kaiser. Nay, perhaps he was at the bottom of POST-OBIT
Waldemar too. In brief, he raised, he mainly, this devils'-dance,
in which, Kaiser Ludwig having died, poor Kurfurst Ludwig, with
Maultasche hanging on him, is sometimes near his wits' end.
Johann's poor Crown-Prince, finding matters take this turn,
retired into MAHREN (Moravia) as bidden; "Margrave of Mahren;"
and peaceably adjusted himself to his character of Nullity and to
the loss of Maultasche;--chose, for the rest, a new Princess in
wedlock, with more moderate dimensions of mouth; and did produce
sons and daughters on a fresh score. Produced, among others, one
Jobst his successor in the apanage or Margrafdom; who, as JOBST,
or Jodocus, OF MAHREN, made some noise for himself in the next
generation, and will turn up again in reference to Brandenburg in
As for Margaret Pouch-mouth, she, with her new Husband as with her
old, continued to have troubles, pretty much as the sparks fly
upwards. She had fierce siegings after this, and explosive
procedures,--little short of Monk Schwartz, who was just inventing
gunpowder at the time. We cannot hope she lived in Elysian harmony
with Kurfurst Ludwig;--the reverse, in fact; and oftenest with the
whole breadth of Germany between them, he in Brandenburg, she in
the Tyrol. Nor did Ludwig junior ever come to be Kaiser, as his
Father and she had hoped; on the contrary, King Johann of
Bohemia's people,--it was they that next got the Kaisership and
kept it; a new provocation to Maultasche.
Ludwig and she had a son, as we said; Prince of the Tyrol and
appendages, titular Margraf of Mahren and much else, by nature:
but alas, he died about ten; a precocious boy,--fancy the wild
weeping of a maternal She-bear! And the Father had already died;
[In 1361, died Kurfurst Ludwig; 1363, the Boy; 1366, Maultasche
herself.] a malicious world whispering that perhaps she poisoned
them BOTH. The proud woman, now old too, pursed her big coarse
lips together at such rumor, and her big coarse soul,--in a gloomy
scorn appealing beyond the world; in a sorrow that the world knew
not of. She solemnly settled her Tyrol and appendages upon the
Austrian Archdukes, who were children of her Mother's Sister;
whom she even installed into the actual government, to make
matters surer. This done, she retired to Vienna, on a pension from
them, there to meditate and pray a little, before Death came;
as it did now in a short year or two. Tyrol and the appendages
continue with Austria from that hour to this, Margaret's little
boy having died.
Margaret of the Pouch-mouth, rugged dragoon-major of a woman, with
occasional steel cap on her head, and capable of swearing terribly
in Flanders or elsewhere, remains in some measure memorable to me.
Compared with Pompadour, Duchess of Cleveland, of Kendal and other
high-rouged unfortunate females, whom it is not proper to speak of
without necessity, though it is often done,--Maultasche rises to
the rank of Historical. She brought the Tyrol and appendages
permanently to Austria; was near leading Brandenburg to
annihilation, raising such a goblin-dance round Ludwig and it,
yet did abstrusely lead Brandenburg towards a far other goal,
which likewise has proved permanent for it.
BRANDENBURG IN KAISER KARL'S TIME; END OF THE BAVARIAN KURFURSTS.
Kaiser Ludwig died in 1347, while the False Waldemar was still
busy. We saw Karl IV., Johann of Bohemia's second son, come to the
Kaisership thereupon, Johann's eldest Nullity being omitted.
This Fourth Karl,--other three Karls are of the Charlemagne set,
Karl the Bald, the Fat, and such like, and lie under our horizon,
while CHARLES FIFTH is of a still other set, and known to
everybody,--this Karl IV. is the Kaiser who discovered the Well of
KARLSBAD (Bath of Karl), known to Tourists of this day; and made
the GOLDEN BULL, which I forbid all Englishmen to take for an
agricultural Prize Animal, the thing being far other, as is known
There is little farther to be said of Karl in Reichs-History.
An unesteemed creature; who strove to make his time peaceable in
this world, by giving from the Holy Roman Empire with both hands
to every bull-beggar, or ready-payer who applied. Sad sign what
the Roman Empire had come and was coming to. The Kaiser's shield,
set up aloft in the Roncalic Plain in Barbarossa's time,
intimated, and in earnest too, "Ho, every one that has suffered
wrong!"--intimates now, "Ho, every one that can bully me, or has
money in his pocket!" Unadmiring posterity has confirmed the
nickname of this Karl IV.; and calls him PFAFFEN-KAISER. He kept
mainly at Prag, ready for receipt of cash, and holding well out of
harm's way. In younger years he had been much about the French
Court; in Italy he had suffered troubles, almost assassinations;
much blown to and fro, poor light wretch, on the chaotic Winds of
his Time,--steering towards no star.
Johann, King of Bohemia, did not live to see Karl an acknowledged
Kaiser. Old Johann, blind for some time back, had perished two
years before that event;--bequeathing a Heraldic Symbol to the
World's History and to England's, if nothing more. Poor man, he
had crusaded in Preussen in a brilliant manner, being fond of
fighting. He wrung Silesia, gradually by purchase and entreaty
[1327-1341 (Kohler, p. 302).] joined IT firmly to Bohemia and
Germany,--unconsciously waiting for what higher destinies Silesia
might have. For Maultasche and the Tyrol he brought sad woes on
Brandenburg; and yet was unconsciously leading Brandenburg, by
abstruse courses, whither it had to go. A restless, ostentatious,
far-grasping, strong-handed man; who kept the world in a stir
wherever he was. All which has proved voiceless in the World's
memory; while the casual Shadow of a Feather he once wore has
proved vocal there. World's memory is very whimsical now and then.
Being much implicated with the King of France, who with the Pope
was his chief stay in these final Anti-Ludwig operations, Johann--
in 1346, Pfaffen-Kaiser Karl just set on foot--had led his
chivalry into France, to help against the English Edwards, who
were then very intrusive there. Johann was blind, but he had good
ideas in war. At the Battle of Crecy, 24th August, 1346, he
advised we know not what; but he actually fought, though stone-
blind. "Tied his bridle to that of the Knight next him;
and charged in,"--like an old blind war-horse kindling madly at
the sound of the trumpet;--and was there, by some English lance or
yew, laid low. They found him on that field of carnage (field of
honor, too, in a sort); his old blind face looking, very blindly,
to the stars: on his shield was blazoned a Plume of three ostrich-
feathers with "ICH DIEN (I serve)" written under:--with which
emblem every English reader is familiar ever since! This Editor
himself, in very tender years, noticed it on the Britannic
Majesty's war-drums; and had to inquire of children of a larger
growth what the meaning might be.
That is all I had to say of King Johann and his "ICH DIEN." Of the
Luxemburg Kaisers (four in number, two sons of Karl still to
come); who, except him of the sacramental wine, with "ICH DIEN"
for son, are good for little; and deserve no memory from mankind
except as they may stick, not easily extricable, to the history of
nobler men:--of them also I could wish to be silent, but must not.
Must at least explain how they came in, as "Luxemburg Kurfursts"
in Brandenburg; and how they went out, leaving Brandenburg not
annihilated, but very near it.
END OF RESUSCITATED WALDEMAR; KURFURST LUDWIG SELLS OUT.
Imaginary Waldemar being still busy in Brandenburg, it was natural
for Kaiser Karl to find him genuine, and keep up that goblin-dance
round poor Kurfurst Ludwig, the late Kaiser's son, by no means a
lover of Karl's. Considerable support was managed to be raised for
Waldemar. Kaiser Karl regularly infeoffed him as real Kurfurst, so
far as parchment could do it; and in case of his decease, says
Karl's diploma farther, the Princes of Anhalt shall succeed,--
Ludwig in any case is to be zero henceforth. War followed, or what
they called war: much confused invading, bickering and throttling,
for two years to come. "Most of the Towns declared for Waldemar,
and their old Anhalt line of Margraves:" Ludwig and the Bavarian
sort are clearly not popular here. Ludwig held out strenuously,
however; would not be beaten. He had the King of Denmark for
Brother-in-law; had connections in the Reich: perhaps still better
he had the REICHS-INSIGNIA, lately his Father's, still in hand.
He stood obstinate siege from the Kaiser's people and the
Anhalters; shouted-in Denmark to help; started an Anti-Kaiser, as
we said,--temporary Anti-Kaiser Gunther of Schwartzburg, whom the
reader can forget a second time:--in brief, Ludwig contrived to
bring Kaiser Karl, and Imaginary Waldemar with his Anhalters, to a
quietus and negotiation, and to get Brandenburg cleared of them.
Year 1349, they went their ways; and that devils'-dance, which had
raged five years and more round Ludwig, was fairly got laid or
Imaginary Waldemar, after some farther ineffectual wrigglings,
retired altogether into private life, at the Court of Dessau;
and happily died before long. Died at the Court of Dessau;
the Anhalt Cousins treating him to the last as Head Representative
of Albert the Bear, and real Prince Waldemar; for which they had
their reasons. Portraits of this False Waldemar still turn up in
the German Print-shops; [In Kloss (
to, without value except for the old Excerpts, &c., there is a
Copy of it.] and represent a very absurd fellow, much muffled in
drapery, mouth partially open, eyes wholly and widely so,--never
yet recovered from his astonishment at himself and things in
general! How it fared with poor Brandenburg, in these chaotic
throttlings and vicissitudes, under the Bavarian Kurfursts, we can
too well imagine; and that is little to what lies ahead for it.
However, in that same year, 1349, temporary quietus having come,
Kurfurst Ludwig, weary of the matter, gave it over to his Brother:
"Have not I an opulent Maultasche, Gorgon-Wife, susceptible to
kindness, in the Tyrol; have not I in the Reich elsewhere
resources, appliances?" thought Kurfurst Ludwig. And gave the
thing over to his next Brother. Brother whose name also is LUDWIG
(as their Father's also had been, three Ludwigs at once, for our
dear Germans shine in nomenclature): "Ludwig THE ROMAN" this new
one;--the elder Brother, our acquaintance, being Ludwig simply,
distinguishable too as KURFURST Ludwig, or even as Ludwig SENIOR
at this stage of the affair. Kurfurst Ludwig, therefore, Year
1349, washes his hands of Brandenburg while the quietus lasts;
retaining only the Electorship and Title; and goes his ways,
resolving to take his ease in Bavaria and the Tyrol thenceforth.
How it fared with him there, with his loving Gorgon and him, we
will not ask farther. They had always separate houses to fly to,
in case of extremity! They held out, better or worse, twelve years
more; and Ludwig left his little Boy still surviving him, in 1361.
SECOND, AND THEN THIRD AND LAST, OF THE BAVARIAN KURFURSTS IN BRANDENBURG.
In Brandenburg, the new Markgraf Ludwig, who we say is called "THE
ROMAN" (LUDWIG DER ROMER, having been in Rome) to distinguish him,
continued warring with the Anarchies, fifteen years in a rather
tough manner, without much victory on either side;--made his peace
with Kaiser Karl however, delivering up the REICHS-INSIGNIA;
and tried to put down the domestic Robbers, who had got on foot,
"many of them persons of quality;" [Michaelis, i. 282.] till he
also died, childless, A.D. 1365; having been Kurfurst too, since
his Brother's death, for some four years.
Whereupon Brandenburg, Electorship and all Titles with it, came to
Otto, third son of Kaiser Ludwig, who is happily the last of these
Bavarian Electors. They were an unlucky set of Sovereigns, not
hitherto without desert; and the unlucky Country suffered much
under them. By far the unluckiest, and by far the worst, was this
Otto; a dissolute, drinking, entirely worthless Herr; under whom,
for eight years, confusion went worse confounded; as if plain
chaos were coming; and Brandenburg and Otto grew tired of each
other to the last degree.
In which state of matters, A.D. 1373, Kaiser Karl offered Otto a
trifle of ready money to take himself away. Otto accepted
greedily; sold his Electorate and big Mark of Brandenburg to
Kaiser Karl for an old song,--200,000 thalers (about 30,000
pounds, and only half of it ever paid); [Michaelis, i. 283.]--
withdrew to his Schloss of Wolfstein in Bavaria; and there, on the
strength of that or other sums, "rolled deep as possible in every
sort of debauchery." And so in few years puddled himself to death;
foully ending the Bavarian set of Kurfursts. They had lasted fifty
years; with endless trouble to the Country and to themselves; and
with such mutual profit as we have seen.
LUXEMBURG KURFURSTS IN BRANDENBURG.
If Brandenburg suffered much under the Bavarian Kurfursts for
Fifty years, it was worse, and approached to the state of worst,
under the Luxemburgers, who lasted for some Forty more.
Ninety years of anarchy in all; which at length brought it to
great need of help from the Fates!--
Karl IV. made his eldest Boy Wenzel, still only about twelve,
Elector of Brandenburg; [1373 (born 1361).] Wenzel shall be Kaiser
and King of Bohemia, one day, thinks Karl;--which actually came to
pass, and little to Wenzel's profit, by and by. In the mean while
Karl accompanied him to Brandenburg; which country Karl liked much
at the money, and indeed ever after, in his old days, he seemed
rather to busy himself with it. He assembled some kind of STANDE
(States) twice over; got the Country "incorporated with Bohemia"
by them, and made tight and handy so far. Brandenburg shall rest
from its woes, and be a silent portion of Bohemia henceforth,
thinks Karl,--if the Heavens so please. Karl, a futile Kaiser,
would fain have done something to "encourage trade" in
Brandenburg; though one sees not what it was he did, if anything.
He built the Schloss of Tangermunde, and oftenest lived there in
time coming; a quieter place than even Prag for him. In short, he
appears to have fancied his cheap Purchase, and to have cheered
his poor old futile life with it, as with one thing that had been
successful. Poor old creature: he had been a Kaiser on false
terms, "Ho every one that dare bully me, or that has money in his
pocket;"--a Kaiser that could not but be futile! In five years'
time he died; [King of Bohemia, 1346, on his Father's death;
Kaiser (acknowledged on Ludwig the BAIER'S death), 1347; died,
1378, age 62.] and doubtless was regretted in Brandenburg and
even in the Reich, in comparison with what came next.
In Brandenburg he left, instead of one indifferent or even bad
governor steadily tied to the place and in earnest to make the
best of it, a fluctuating series of governors holding loose, and
not in earnest; which was infinitely worse. These did not try to
govern it; sent it to the Pawnbroker, to a fluctuating series of
Pawnbrokers; under whom, for the next five-and-thirty years,
Brandenburg tasted all the fruits of Non-government, that is to
say, Anarchy or Government by the Pawnbroker; and sank faster and
faster, towards annihilation as it seemed. That was its fate under
the Luxemburg Kurfursts, who made even the Bavarian and all
others be regretted.
One thing Kaiser Karl did, which ultimately proved the saving of
Brandenburg: made friendship with the Hohenzollern Burggraves.
These, Johann II., temporary "STUTTHALTER" Johann, and his
Brother, who were Co-regents in the Family Domain, when Karl first
made appearance,--had stood true to Kaiser Ludwig and his Son, so
long as that play lasted at all; nay one of these Burggraves was
talked of as Kaiser after Ludwig's death, but had the wisdom not
to try. Kaiser Ludwig being dead, they still would not recognize
the PFAFFEN-KAISER Karl, but held gloomily out. So that Karl had
to march in force into the Nurnberg country, and by great
promises, by considerable gifts, and the "example of the other
Princes of the Empire," ["Hallow-eve, 1347, on the Field of
Nurnberg," Agreement was come to (Rentsch, p. 326).] brought them
over to do homage.
After which, their progress, and that of their successor (Johann's
son, Friedrich V.), in the grace of Karl, was something
xtraordinary. Karl gave his Daughter to this Friedrich V.'s eldest
Son; appointed a Daughter of Friedrich's for his own Second
Prince, the famed Sigismund, famed that is to be,--which latter
match did not take effect, owing to changed outlooks after Karl's
death. Nay there is a Deed still extant about marrying children
not yet born: Karl to produce a Princess within five years, and
Burggraf Friedrich V. a Prince, for that purpose! [Rentsch,
p. 336.] But the Burggraf never had another Prince; though Karl
produced the due Princess, and was ready, for his share.
Unless indeed this strange eager-looking Document, not dated in
the old Books, may itself relate to the above wedding which did
come to pass?--Years before that, Karl had made his much-esteemed
Burggraf Friedrich V. "Captain-General of the Reich;" "Imperial
Vicar," (SUBSTITUTE, if need were), and much besides; nay had
given him the Landgraviate of Elsass (ALSACE),--so far as lay with
him to give,--of which valuable country this Friedrich had actual
possession so long as the Kaiser lived. "Best of men," thought the
poor light Kaiser; "never saw such a man!"
Which proved a salutary thought, after all. The man had a little
Boy Fritz (not the betrothed to Karl's Princess), still chasing
butterflies at Culmbach, when Karl died. In this Boy lie new
destinies for Brandenburg: towards him, and not towards
annihilation, are Karl and the Luxemburg Kurfursts and Pawnbrokers
unconsciously guiding it.
BURGGRAF FRIEDRICH VI.
Karl left three young Sons, Wenzel, Sigismund, Johann; and also a
certain Nephew much older; all of whom now more or less concern us
in this unfortunate History.
Wenzel the eldest Son, heritable Kurfurst of Brandenburg as well
as King of Bohemia, was as yet only seventeen, who nevertheless
got to be Kaiser, [1378, on his Father's death.]--and went widely
astray, poor soul. The Nephew was no other than Margrave Jobst of
Moravia (son of Maultasche's late Nullity there), now in the vigor
of his years and a stirring man: to him, for a time, the chief
management in Brandenburg fell, in these circumstances.
Wenzel, still a minor, and already Kaiser and King of Bohemia,
gave up Brandenburg to his two younger Brothers, most of it to
Sigismund, with a cutting for Johann, to help their apanages;
and applied his own powers to govern the Holy Roman Empire, at
that early stage of life.
To govern the Holy Roman Empire, poor soul;--or rather "to drink
beer, and dance with the girls;" in which, if defective in other
things, Wenzel had an eminent talent. He was one of the worst
Kaisers, and the least victorious on record. He would attend to
nothing in the Reich; "the Prag white beer, and girls" of various
complexion, being much preferable, as he was heard to say. He had
to fling his poor Queen's Confessor into the River Moldau,--Johann
of Nepomuk, Saint so called, if he is not a fable altogether;
whose Statue stands on Bridges ever since, in those parts.
Wenzel's Bohemians revolted against him; put him in jail; and he
broke prison, a boatman's daughter helping him out, with
adventures. His Germans were disgusted with him; deposed him from
the Kaisership; [25th May, 1400 (Kohler, p. 331).] chose Rupert of
the Pfalz; and then after Rupert's death, [1410 (ib. p. 336).]
chose Wenzel's own Brother Sigismund, in his stead,--left Wenzel
to jumble about in his native Bohemian element, as King there, for
nineteen years longer, still breaking pots to a ruinous extent.
He ended, by apoplexy, or sudden spasm of the heart; terrible
Zisca, as it were, killing him at second-hand. For Zisca, stout
and furious, blind of one eye and at last of both, a kind of human
rhinoceros driven mad, had risen out of the ashes of murdered
Huss, and other bad Papistic doings, in the interim; and was
tearing up the world at a huge rate. Rhinoceros Zisca was on the
Weissenberg, or a still nearer Hill of Prag since called ZISCA-
BERG (Zisca Hill): and none durst whisper of it to the King.
A servant waiting at dinner inadvertently let slip the word:--
"Zisca there? Deny it, slave!" cried Wenzel frantic. Slave durst
not deny. Wenzel drew his sword to run at him, but fell down dead:
that was the last pot broken by Wenzel. The hapless royal
ex-imperial Phantasm self-broken in this manner. [30th July, 1419
(Hormayr, vii. 119).] Poor soul, he came to the Kaisership too
early; was a thin violent creature, sensible to the charms and
horrors of created objects; and had terrible rhinoceros Ziscas and
unruly horned-cattle to drive. He was one of the worst Kaisers
ever known,--could have done Opera-singing much better;--and a sad
sight to Bohemia. Let us leave him there: he was never actual
Elector of Brandenburg, having given it up in time; never did any
ill to that poor Country.
SIGISMUND IS KURFURST OF BRANDENBURG, BUT IS KING OF HUNGARY ALSO.
The real Kurfurst of Brandenburg all this while was Sigismund
Wenzel's next Brother, under tutelage of Cousin Jobst or
otherwise;--real and yet imaginary, for he never himself governed,
but always had Jobst of Mahren or some other in his place there.
Sigismund, as above said, was to have married a Daughter of
Burggraf Friedrich V.; and he was himself, as was the young lady,
well inclined to this arrangement. But the old people being dead,
and some offer of a King's Daughter turning up for Sigismund,
Sigismund broke off; and took the King's Daughter, King of
Hungary's,--not without regret then and afterwards, as is
believed. At any rate, the Hungarian charmer proved a wife of
small merit, and a Hungarian successor she had was a wife of light
conduct even; Hungarian charmers, and Hungarian affairs, were much
other than a comfort to Sigismund.
As for the disappointed Princess, Burggraf Friedrich's Daughter,
she said nothing that we hear; silently became a Nun, an Abbess:
and through a long life looked out, with her thoughts to herself,
upon the loud whirlwind of things, where Sigismund (oftenest like
an imponderous rag of conspicuous color) was riding and tossing.
Her two Brothers also, joint Burggraves after their Father's
death, seemed to have reconciled themselves without difficulty.
The elder of them was already Sigismund's Brother-in-law; married
to Sigismund's and Wenzel's sister,--by such predestination as we
saw. Burggraf Johann III. was the name of this one: a stout
fighter and manager for many years; much liked, and looked to, by
Sigismund. As indeed were both the Brothers, for that matter;
always, together or in succession, a kind of right-hand to
Sigismund. Friedrich the younger Burggraf, and ultimately the
survivor and inheritor (Johann having left no sons), is the famed
Burggraf Friedrich VI., the last and notablest of all the
Burggraves. A man of distinguished importance, extrinsic and
intrinsic; chief or among the very chief of German public men in
his time;--and memorable to Posterity, and to this History, on
still other grounds! But let us not anticipate.
Sigismund, if apanaged with Brandenburg alone, and wedded to his
first love, not a King's Daughter, might have done tolerably well
there;--better than Wenzel, with the Empire and Bohemia, did.
But delusive Fortune threw her golden apple at Sigismund too;
and he, in the wide high world, had to play strange pranks.
His Father-in-law died in Hungary, Sigismund's first wife his only
child. Father-in-law bequeathed Hungary to Sigismund: [1387
(Sigismund's age then twenty).] who plunged into a strange sea
thereby; got troubles without number, beatings not a few,--and had
even to take boat, and sail for his life down to Constantinople,
at one time. In which sad adventure Burggraf Johann escorted him,
and as it were tore him out by the hair of the head. These
troubles and adventures lasted many years; in the course of which,
Sigismund, trying all manner of friends and expedients, found in
the Burggraves of Nurnberg, Johann and Friedrich, with their
talents, possessions and resources, the main or almost only sure
support he got.
No end of troubles to Sigismund, and to Brandenburg through him,
from this sublime Hungarian legacy! Like a remote fabulous golden-
fleece, which you have to go and conquer first, and which is worth
little when conquered. Before ever setting out (A.D. 1387),
Sigismund saw too clearly he would have cash to raise:
an operation he had never done with, all his life afterwards.
He pawned Brandenburg to Cousin Jobst of Mahren; got "20,000
Bohemian gulden,"--I guess, a most slender sum, if Dryasdust would
but interpret it. This was the beginning of Pawnings to
Brandenburg; of which when will the end be? Jobst thereby came
into Brandenburg on his own right for the time, not as Tutor or
Guardian, which he had hitherto been. Into Brandenburg; and there
was no chance of repayment to get him out again.
COUSIN JOBST HAS BRANDENBURG IN PAWN.
Jobst tried at first to do some governing; but finding all very
anarchic, grew unhopeful; took to making matters easy for himself.
Took, in fact, to turning a penny on his pawn-ticket; alienating
crown domains, winking hard at robber-barons, and the like;--and
after a few years, went home to Moravia, leaving Brandenburg to
shift for itself, under a Statthalter (VICEREGENT, more like a
hungry land-steward), whom nobody took the trouble of respecting.
Robber-castles flourished; all else decayed. No highway not
unsafe; many a Turpin with sixteen quarters, and styling himself
EDDLE HERR (noble Gentleman), took to "living from the saddle:"--
what are Hamburg pedlers made for but to be robbed?
The Towns suffered much; any trade they might have had, going to
wreck in this manner. Not to speak of private feuds, which
Archbishop of Magdeburg and others, struck in also at discretion,
as they had gradually got accustomed to do, and snapped away
(ABZWACKTEN) some convenient bit of territory, or, more
legitimately, they came across to coerce, at their own hand, this
or the other Edle Herr of the Turpin sort, whom there was no other
way of getting at, when he carried matters quite too high. "Droves
of six hundred swine,"--I have seen (by reading in those old
Books) certain noble Gentlemen, "of Putlitz," I think, driving
them openly, captured by the stronger hand; and have heard the
short querulous squeak of the bristly creatures: "What is the use
of being a pig at all, if I am to be stolen in this way, and
surreptitiously made into ham?" Pigs do continue to be bred in
Brandenburg: but it is under such discouragements. Agriculture,
trade, well-being and well-doing of any kind, it is not
encouragement they are meeting here. Probably few countries, not
even Ireland, have a worse outlook, unless help come. [Pauli,
i. 541-612. Michaelis, i. 283-285.] Jobst came back in 1398, after
eight years' absence; but no help came with Jobst. The NEUMARK
part of Brandenburg, which was Brother Johann's portion, had
fallen home to Sigismund, Brother Johann having died: but
Sigismund, far from redeeming old pawn-tickets with the Newmark,
pawned the Newmark too,--the second Pawnage of Brandenburg.
Pawned the Newmark to the Teutsch Ritters "for 63,000 Hungarian
gold gulden" (I think, about 30,000 pounds): and gave no part
of it to Jobst; had not nearly enough for himself and his
Seeing which, and hearing such squeak of pigs surreptitiously
driven, with little but discordant sights and sounds everywhere,
Jobst became disgusted with the matter; and resolved to wash his
hands of it, at least to have his money out of it again.
Having sold what of the Domains he could to persons of quality, at
an uncommonly easy rate, and so pocketed what ready cash there was
among them, he made over his pawn-ticket, or properly he himself
repawned Brandenburg to the Saxon Potentate, a speculative moneyed
man, Markgraf of Meissen, "Wilhelm the Rich" so called. Pawned it
to Wilhelm the Rich,--sum not named; and went home to Moravia,
there to wait events. This is the third Brandenburg pawning:
let us hope there may be a fourth and last.
BRANDENBURG IN THE HANDS OF THE PAWNBROKERS;
RUPERT OF THE PFALZ IS KAISER.
And so we have now reached that point in Brandenburg History when,
if some help do not come, Brandenburg will not long be a country,
but will either get dissipated in pieces and stuck to the edge of
others where some government is, or else go waste again and fall
to the bisons and wild bears.
Who now is Kurfurst of Brandenburg, might be a question.
"I UNquestionably!" Sigismund would answer, with astonishment.
"Soft, your Hungarian Majesty," thinks Jobst: "till my cash is
paid, may it not probably be another?" This question has its
interest: the Electors just now (A.D. 1400) are about deposing
Wenzel; must choose some better Kaiser. If they wanted another
scion of the House of Luxemburg; a mature old gentleman of sixty;
full of plans, plausibilities, pretensions,--Jobst is their man.
Jobst and Sigismund were of one mind as to Wenzel's going; at
least Sigismund voted clearly so, and Jobst said nothing counter:
but the Kurfursts did not think of Jobst for successor. After some
stumbling, they fixed upon Rupert KUR-PFALZ (Elector Palatine,
RUPRECHT VON DER PFALZ) as Kaiser.
Rupert of the Pfalz proved a highly respectable Kaiser; lasted for
ten years (1400-1410), with honor to himself and the Reich.
A strong heart, strong head, but short of means. He chastised
petty mutiny with vigor; could not bring down the Milanese
Visconti, who had perched themselves so high on money paid to
Wenzel; could not heal the schism of the Church (Double or Triple
Pope, Rome-Avignon affair), or awaken the Reich to a sense of its
old dignity and present loose condition. In the late loose times,
as Antiquaries remark, [Kohler, p. 334; who quotes Schilter.] most
Members of the Empire, Petty Princes even and Imperial Towns, had
been struggling to set up for themselves; and were now concerned
chiefly to become Sovereign in their own Territories. And Schilter
informs us, it was about this period that most of them attained
such rather unblessed consummation; Rupert of himself not able to
help it, with all his willingness. The People called him "Rupert
KLEMM (Rupert SMITH'S-VICE)" from his resolute ways; which
nickname--given him not in hatred, but partly in satirical good-
will--is itself a kind of history. From Historians of the REICH he
deserves honorable regretful mention.
He had for Empress a Sister of Burggraf Friedrich's; which high
lady, unknown to us otherwise, except by her Tomb at Heidelberg,
we remember for her Brother's sake. Kaiser Rupert--great-grandson
of that Kur-Pfalz who was Kaiser Ludwig's elder brother--is the
culminating point of the Electors Palatine; the Highest that
Heidelberg produced. Ancestor of those famed Protestant
"Palatines;" of all the Palatines or PFLAZES that reign in these
late centuries. Ancestor of the present Bavarian Majesty;
Kaiser Ludwig's race having died out. Ancestor of the unfortunate
WINTERKONIG, Friedrich King of Bohemia, who is too well known in
English History;--ancestor also of Charles XII. of Sweden, a
highly creditable fact of the kind to him. Fact indisputable:
A cadet of Pfalz-Zweibruck (DEUX-PONTS, as the French call it),
direct from Rupert, went to serve in Sweden in his soldier
business; distinguished himself in soldiering;--had a Sister of
the great Gustav Adolf to wife; and from her a renowned Son, Karl
Gustav (Christina's Cousin), who succeeded as King; who again had
a Grandson made in his own likeness, only still more of iron in
his composition.--Enough now of Rupert SMITH'S-VICE; who died in
1410, and left the Reich again vacant.
Rupert's funeral is hardly done, when, over in Preussen, far off
in the Memel region, place called Tannenberg, where there is still
"a churchyard to be seen," if little more, the Teutsch Ritters
had, unexpectedly, a terrible Defeat: consummation of their Polish
Miscellaneous quarrels of long standing; and the end of their high
courses in this world. A ruined Teutsch Ritterdom, as good as
ruined, ever henceforth. Kaiser Rupert died 18th May; and on the
15th July, within two months, was fought that dreadful "Battle of
Tannenberg,"--Poland and Polish King, with miscellany of savage
Tartars and revolted Prussians, VERSUS Teutsch Ritterdom; all in a
very high mood of mutual rage; the very elements, "wild thunder,
tempest and rain-deluges," playing chorus to them on the occasion.
[Voigt, vii. 82. Busching,
(Hamburg, 1770), ii. 1038.] Ritterdom fought lion-like, but with
insufficient strategic and other wisdom; and was driven nearly
distracted to see its pride tripped into the ditch by such a set.
Vacant Reich could not in the least attend to it; nor can we
farther at present.
SIGISMUND, WITH A STRUGGLE, BECOMES KAISER.
Jobst and Sigismund were competitors for the Kaisership;
Wenzel, too, striking in with claims for reinstatement: the House
of Luxemburg divided against itself. Wenzel, finding reinstatement
not to be thought of, threw his weight, such as it was, into the
scale of Cousin Jobst; remembering angrily how Brother Sigismund
voted in the Deposition case, ten years ago. The contest was
vehement, and like to be lengthy. Jobst, though he had made over
his pawn-ticket, claimed to be Elector of Brandenburg; and voted
for Himself. The like, with still more emphasis, did Sigismund, or
Burggraf Friedrich acting for him: "Sigismund, sure, is Kur-
Brandenburg though under pawn!" argued Friedrich,--and, I almost
guess, though that is not said, produced from his own purse, at
some stage of the business, the actual money for Jobst, to close
his Brandenburg pretension.
Both were elected (majority contested in this manner); and old
Jobst, then above seventy, was like to have given much trouble:
but happily in three months he died; ["Jodocus BARBATUS," 21st
July, 1411.] and Sigismund became indisputable. Jobst was the son
of Maultasche's Nullity; him too, in an involuntary sort, she was
the cause of. In his day Jobst made much noise in the world, but
did little or no good in it. "He was thought a great man," says
one satirical old Chronicler; "and there was nothing great about
him but the beard."
"The cause of Sigismund's success with the Electors," says Kohler,
"or of his having any party among them, was the faithful and
unwearied diligence which had been used for him by the above-named
Burggraf Friedrich VI. of Nurnberg, who took extreme pains to
forward Sigismund to the Empire; pleading that Sigismund and
Wenzel would be sure to agree well henceforth, and that Sigismund,
having already such extensive territories (Hungary, Brandenburg
and so forth) by inheritance, would not be so exact about the
REICHS-Tolls and other Imperial Incomes. This same Friedrich also,
when the Election fell out doubtful, was Sigismund's best support
in Germany, nay almost his right-hand, through whom he did
whatever was done." [Kohler, p. 337.]
Sigismund is Kaiser, then, in spite of Wenzel. King of Hungary,
after unheard-of troubles and adventures, ending some years ago in
a kind of peace and conquest, he has long been King of Bohemia,
too, he at last became; having survived Wenzel, who was childless.
Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire, and so much else: is not
Sigismund now a great man? Truly the loom he weaves upon,
in this world, is very large. But the weaver was of headlong,
high-pacing, flimsy nature; and both warp and woof were gone
This is the Kaiser Sigismund who held the Council of Constance; and "blushed visibly," when Huss, about to die,
alluded to the Letter of Safe-conduct granted him, which
was issuing in such fashion. [15th June, 1415.] Sigismund blushed; but could
not conveniently mend the matter,--so many matters pressing on him just now. As they perpetually did, and had done.
An always-hoping, never-resting, unsuccessful, vain and empty
Kaiser. Specious, speculative; given to eloquence, diplomacy,
and the windy instead of the solid arts;--always short of
money for one thing. He roamed about, and talked eloquently;--
aiming high, and generally missing:--how he went to conquer
Hungary, and had to float down the Donau instead, with an
attendant or two, in a most private manner, and take refuge with
the Grand Turk: this we have seen, and this is a general emblem
of him. Hungary and even the Reich have at length become his;
but have brought small triumph in any kind; and instead of ready
money, debt on debt. His Majesty has no money, and his Majesty's
occasions need it more and more.
He is now (A.D. 1414) holding this Council of Constance, by way of
healing the Church, which is sick of Three simultaneous Popes and
of much else. He finds the problem difficult; finds he will have
to run into Spain, to persuade a refractory Pope there, if
eloquence can (as it cannot): all which requires money, money.
At opening of the Council, he "officiated as deacon;" actually did
some kind of litanying "with a surplice over him," [25th December,
1414 (Kohler, p. 340).] though Kaiser and King of the Romans.
But this passage of his opening speech is what I recollect best of
him there: "Right Reverend Fathers,
nefanda schisma eradicetur,"
intent on having the Bohemian Schism well dealt with,--which he
reckons to be of the feminine gender. To which a Cardinal mildly
For which reason I call him in my Note-books Sigismund SUPER
GRAMMATICAM, to distinguish him in the imbroglio of Kaisers.
BRANDENBURG IS PAWNED FOR THE LAST TIME.
How Jobst's pawn-ticket was settled I never clearly heard; but can
guess it was by Burggraf Friedrich's advancing the money, in the
pinch above indicated, or paying it afterwards to Jobst's heirs
whoever they were. Thus much is certain: Burggraf Friedrich, these
three years and more (ever since 8th July, 1411) holds Sigismund's
Deed of acknowledgment "for 100,000 gulden lent at various times:"
and has likewise got the Electorate of Brandenburg in pledge for
that sum; and does himself administer the said Electorate till he
be paid. This is the important news; but this is not all.
The new journey into Spain requires new moneys; this Council
itself, with such a pomp as suited Sigismund, has cost him endless
moneys. Brandenburg, torn to ruins in the way we saw, is a
sorrowful matter; and, except the title of it, as a feather in
one's cap, is worth nothing to Sigismund. And he is still short of
money; and will forever be. Why could not he give up Brandenburg
altogether; since, instead of paying, he is still making new loans
from Burggraf Friedrich; and the hope of ever paying were mere
lunacy! Sigismund revolves these sad thoughts too, amid his world-
wide diplomacies, and efforts to heal the Church. "Pledged for
100,000 gulden," sadly ruminates Sigismund; "and 50,000 more
borrowed since, by little and little; and more ever needed,
especially for this grand Spanish journey!" these were Sigismund's
sad thoughts:--"Advance me, in a round sum, 250,000 gulden more,"
said he to Burggraf Friedrich, "250,000 more, for my manifold
occasions in this time;--that will be 400,000 in whole; [Rentsch,
pp. 75, 357.]--and take the Electorate of Brandenburg to yourself,
Land, Titles, Sovereign Electorship and all, and make me rid of
it!" That was the settlement adopted, in Sigismund's apartment at
Constance, on the 30th of April, 1415; signed, sealed and
ratified,--and the money paid. A very notable event in World-
History; virtually oompleted on the day we mention.
The ceremony of Investiture did not take place till two years
afterwards, when the Spanish journey had proved fruitless, when
much else of fruitless had come and gone, and Kaiser and Council
were probably--more at leisure for such a thing. Done at length it
was by Kaiser Sigismund in utmost gala, with the Grandees of the
Empire assisting, and august members of the Council and world in
general looking on; in the big Square or Market-place of
Constance, 17th April, 1417;--is to be found described in Rentsch,
from Nauclerus and the old Newsmongers of the time. Very grand
indeed: much processioning on horseback, under powerful trumpet-
peals and flourishes; much stately kneeling, stately rising,
stepping backwards (done well, ZIERLICH, on the Kurfurst's part);
liberal expenditure of cloth and pomp; in short, "above 100,000
people looking on from roofs and windows," [Pauli,
Allgemeine Preussische Staats-Geschichte,
Rentsch, pp. 76-78.] and Kaiser Sigismund in all his glory.
Sigismund was on a high Platform in the Market-place, with stairs
to it and from it; the illustrious Kaiser,--red as a flamingo,
"with scarlet mantle and crown of gold,"--a treat to the eyes of
What sum of modern money, in real purchasing power, this "400,000
Hungarian Gold Gulden" is, I have inquired in the likely quarters
without result; and it is probable no man exactly knows.
The latest existing representative of the ancient Gold Gulden is
the Ducat, worth generally about a Half-sovereign in English.
Taking the sum at that latest rate, it amounts to 200,000 pounds;
and the reader can use that as a note of memory for the sale-price
of Brandenburg with all its lands and honors,--multiplying it
perhaps by four or six to bring out its effective amount in
current coin. Dog-cheap, it must be owned, for size and
capability; but in the most waste condition, full of mutiny,
injustice, anarchy and highway robbery; a purchase that might have
proved dear enough to another man than Burggraf Friedrich.
But so, at any rate, moribund Brandenburg has got its Hohenzollern
Kurfurst; and started on a new career it little dreamt of;--and we
can now, right willingly, quit Sigismund and the Reichs-History;
leave Kaiser Sigismund to sink or swim at his own will henceforth.
His grand feat, in life, the wonder of his generation, was this
same Council of Constance; which proved entirely a failure; one of
the largest WIND-EGGS ever dropped with noise and travail in this
world. Two hundred thousand human creatures, reckoned and
reckoning themselves the elixir of the Intellect and Dignity of
Europe; two hundred thousand, nay some, counting the lower menials
and numerous unfortunate females, say four hundred thousand,--were
got congregated into that little Swiss Town; and there as an
Ecumenic Council, or solemnly distilled elixir of what pious
Intellect and Valor could be scraped together in the world, they
labored with all their select might for four years' space. That
was the Council of Constance. And except this transfer of
Brandenburg to Friedrich of Hohenzollern, resulting from said
Council in the quite reverse and involuntary way, one sees not
what good result it had.
They did indeed burn Huss; but that could not be called a
beneficial incident; that seemed to Sigismund and the Council
a most small and insignificant one. And it kindled Bohemia, and
kindled rhinoceros Zisca, into never-imagined flame of vengeance;
brought mere disaster, disgrace, and defeat on defeat to
Sigismund, and kept his hands full for the rest of his life,
however small he had thought it. As for the sublime four years'
deliberations and debates of this Sanhedrim of the Universe,--
eloquent debates, conducted, we may say, under such extent of WIG
as was never seen before or since,--they have fallen wholly to the
domain of Dryasdust; and amount, for mankind at this time, to zero
PLUS the Burning of Huss. On the whole, Burggraf Friedrich's
Electorship, and the first Hohenzollern to Brandenburg, is the one
Adieu, then, to Sigismund. Let us leave him at this his
culminating point, in the Market-place of Constance; red as a
flamingo; doing one act of importance, though unconsciously and
against his will.--I subjoin here, for refreshment of the reader's
memory, a Synopsis, or bare arithmetical List, of those
Intercalary Non-Hapsburg Kaisers, which, now that its original
small duty is done, may as well be printed as burnt:-
THE SEVEN INTERCALARY OR NON-HAPSBURG KAISERS.
Rudolf of Hapsburg died A.D. 1291, after a reign of eighteen
vigorous years, very useful to the Empire after its Anarchic
INTERREGNUM. He was succeeded, not by any of his own sons or
kindred, but by
l. Adolf of Nassau, 1291-1298. A stalwart but necessitous Herr;
much concerned in the French projects of our Edward Longshanks:
Opposition party scornfully termed him. Slain in battle by the
Anti-Kaiser, Albrecht or Albert eldest son of Rudolf, who
thereupon became Kaiser.
Albert I. (of Hapsburg, he), 1298-1308. Parricided, in that
latter year, at the Ford of the Reuss.
2(a). Henry VII. of Luxemburg, 1308-1313; poisoned (1313) in
sacramental wine. The first of the Luxemburgers; who are marked
here, in their order, by the addition of an alphabetic letter.
3. Ludwig der Baier, 1314-1347 (Duke of OBER-BAIERN, Upper
Bavaria; progenitor of the subsequent Kurfursts of Baiern, who are
COUSINS of the Pfalz Family).
4(b). Karl IV., 1347-1378, Son of Johann of Bohemia (Johann
ICH-DIEN), and Grandson of Henry VII. Nicknamed the PFAFFEN-KAISER
(Parsons'-Kaiser). Karlsbad; the Golden Bull; Castle of
5(c). Wenzel (or Wenceslaus), 1378-1400, Karl's eldest Son.
Elected 1378, still very young; deposed in 1400, Kaiser Rupert
succeeding. Continued King of Bohemia till his death (by Zisca
AT SECOND-HAND) nineteen years after. Had been Kaiser for twenty-
6. Rupert of the Pfalz, 1400-1410; called Rupert KLEMM (Pincers,
Smith's_vice); Brother-in-law to Burggraf Friedrich VI.
(afterwards Kurfurst Friedrich I.), who marched with him to
Italy and often else-whither, Burggraf Johann the elder Brother-
in-law being then oftenest in Hungary with Sigismund, Karl IV.'s
7(d). Sigismund, 1410-1437, Wenzel's younger Brother; the fourth
and last of the Luxemburgers, seventh and last of the Intercalary
Kaisers. Sold Brandenburg, after thrice or oftener pawning it.
Super~Grammaticam died 9th December, 1437; left only a Daughter,
wedded to the then Albert Duke of Austria; which Albert, on the
strength of this, came to the Kingship of Bohemia and of Hungary,
as his Wife's inheritance, and to the Empire by election.
Died thereupon in few months: "three crowns, Bohemia, Hungary, the
Reich, in that one year, 1438," say the old Historians; "and then
next year he quitted them all, for a fourth and more lasting
crown, as is hoped." Kaiser Albert II., 1438-1439: After whom all
are Hapsburgers,--excepting, if that is an exception, the unlucky
Karl VII. alone (1742-1745), who descends from Ludwig the Baier.
ENDS VOLUME II