Part 11 out of 13
[MONK _gives a sudden start--he looks at him_.]
Who is this friar here?
Ah, I forgot him;
Speak thou with him; I shudder at his presence.
MONK (_stepping nearer_).
Are you the Tell who slew the governor?
Yes, I am he. I hide the fact from no man.
And you are Tell! Ah! it is God's own hand,
That hath conducted me beneath your roof.
TELL (_examining him closely_).
You are no monk. Who are you?
You have slain
The governor, who did you wrong. I, too,
Have slain a foe, who robb'd me of my rights.
He was no less your enemy than mine.
I've rid the land of him.
TELL (_drawing back_).
You are--oh, horror!
In--children, children--in, without a word,
Go, my dear wife! Go! Go! Unhappy man,
You should be--
Heav'ns, who is it?
Do not ask.
Away! away! the children must not hear it.
Out of the house--away! You must not rest
'Neath the same roof with this unhappy man!
Alas! What is it? Come.
[_Exit with the children_.]
TELL (_to the_ MONK).
You are the Duke
Of Austria--I know it. You have slain
The Emperor, your uncle, and liege lord.
He robb'd me of my patrimony.
Slain him--your king, your uncle! And the earth
Still bears you! And the sun still shines on you!
Tell, hear me, ere you--
Reeking with the blood
Of him that was your Emperor, your kinsman,
Dare you set foot within my spotless house,
Dare to a honest man to show your face,
And claim the rites of hospitality?
I hoped to find compassion at your hands.
You took, like me, revenge upon your foe!
Unhappy man! Dare you confound the crime
Of blood-imbued ambition with the act
Forced on a father in mere self-defence?
Have you to shield your children's darling heads,
To guard your fireside's sanctuary--ward off
The last, the direst doom from all you loved?
To Heaven I raise my unpolluted hands,
To curse your act and you! I have avenged
That holy nature which you have profaned.
I have no part with you. You murdered, I
Have shielded all that was most dear to me.
You cast me off to comfortless despair!
I shrink with horror while I talk with you.
Hence, on the dread career you have begun,
Cease to pollute the home of innocence!
[JOHN _turns to depart._]
I cannot and I will not live this life!
And yet my soul bleeds for you. Gracious Heaven,
So young, of such a noble line, the grandson
Of Rudolph, once my lord and emperor,
An outcast--murderer--standing at my door,
The poor man's door--a suppliant, in despair!
[_Covers his face_.]
If you have power to weep, oh let my fate
Move your compassion--it is horrible!
I am--say, rather was--a prince. I might
Have been most happy, had I only curb'd
The impatience of my passionate desires:
But envy gnaw'd my heart--I saw the youth
Of mine own cousin Leopold endow'd
With honor, and enrich'd with broad domains,
The while myself, of equal age with him,
In abject slavish nonage was kept back.
Unhappy man, your uncle knew you well,
When from you land and subjects he withheld!
You, by your mad and desperate act have set
A fearful seal upon his wise resolve.
Where are the bloody partners of your crime?
Where'er the avenging furies may have borne them;
I have not seen them since the luckless deed.
Know you the Empire's ban is out--that you
Are interdicted to your friends, and given
An outlaw'd victim to your enemies!
Therefore I shun all public thoroughfares,
And venture not to knock at any door--
I turn my footsteps to the wilds, and through
The mountains roam, a terror to myself.
From mine own self I shrink with horror back,
If in a brook I see my ill-starr'd form.
If you have pity or a human heart--
[_Falls down before him_.]
Stand up, stand up! I say.
Not till you give
Your hand in promise of assistance to me.
Can I assist you? Can a sinful man?
Yet get ye up--how black soe'er your crime--
You are a man. I, too, am one. From Tell
Shall no one part uncomforted. I will
Do all that lies within my power.
DUKE JOHN (_springs up and grasps him ardently by the
You save me from the terrors of despair.
Let go my hand! You must away. You cannot
Remain here undiscover'd, and, discover'd,
You cannot count on succor. Which way, then,
Would you be going? Where do you hope to find
A place of rest?
Alas! I know not where.
Hear, then, what Heaven unto my heart suggests.
You must to Italy--to Saint Peter's City--
There cast yourself at the Pope's feet--confess
Your guilt to him, and ease your laden soul!
Will he not to the avengers yield me up?
Whate'er he does, accept it as from God.
But how am I to reach that unknown land?
I have no knowledge of the way, and dare not
Attach myself to other travelers.
I will describe the road, so mark me well!
You must ascend, keeping along the Reuss,
Which from the mountains dashes wildly down.
DUKE JOHN (_in alarm_).
What! See the Reuss? The witness of my deed!
The road you take lies through the river's gorge,
And many a cross proclaims where travelers
Have been by avalanches done to death.
I have no fear for nature's terrors, so
I can appease the torments of my soul.
At every cross, kneel down and expiate
Your crime with burning penitential tears--
And if you 'scape the perils of the pass,
And are not whelm'd beneath the drifted snows,
That from the frozen peaks come sweeping down,
You'll reach the bridge that's drench'd with drizzling spray.
Then if it give not way beneath your guilt,
When you have left it safely in your rear,
Before you frowns the gloomy Gate of Rocks,
Where never sun did shine. Proceed through this,
And you will reach a bright and gladsome vale.
Yet must you hurry on with hasty steps,
You must not linger in the haunts of peace.
O Rudolph, Rudolph, royal grandsire! thus
Thy grandson first sets foot within thy realms!
Ascending still, you gain the Gotthardt's heights,
Where are the tarns, the everlasting tarns,
That from the streams of Heaven itself are fed,
There to the German soil you bid farewell;
And thence, with swift descent, another stream
Leads you to Italy, your promised land.
[_Ranz des Vaches sounded on Alp-horns is heard without_.]
But I hear voices! Hence!
HEDWIG (_hurrying in_).
Where art thou, Tell?
My father comes, and in exulting bands
All the confederates approach.
DUKE JOHN (_covering himself_).
I dare not tarry 'mong these happy men!
Go, dearest wife, and give this man to eat.
Spare not your bounty; for his road is long,
And one where shelter will be hard to find.
Who is he?
Do not ask!
And when he quits you, turn your eyes away,
So that they do not see which way he goes.
[DUKE JOHN _advances hastily toward_ TELL, _but he beckons
him aside and goes out. When both have left the stage, the
_The whole valley before_ TELL's _house, the heights which
inclose it occupied by peasants, grouped into tableaux. Some
are seen crossing a lofty bridge, which crosses the
Shechen_. WALTER FUeRST _with the two boys_, WERNER _and_
STAUFFACHER, _come forward. Others throng after them. When_
TELL _appears, all receive him with loud cheers._
Long live brave Tell, our shield, our Savior!
[_While those in front are crowding round_ TELL, _and
embracing him_, RUDENZ _and_ BERTHA _appear. The former
salutes the peasantry, the latter embraces_ HEDWIG. _The
music front the mountains continues to play. When it has
stopped_, BERTHA _steps into the centre of the crowd_.]
Peasants! Confederates! Into your league
Receive me, who was happily the first
That found deliverance in the land of freedom.
To your brave hands I now intrust my rights.
Will you protect me as your citizen?
Ay, that we will, with life and goods!
BERTHA. 'Tis well!
And now to him (_turning to_ RUDENZ) I frankly give my hand.
A free Swiss maiden to a free Swiss man!
And from this moment all my serfs are free!
[_Music, and the curtain falls_.]
* * * * *
[Footnote 36: Permission The Macmillan Co., New York, and
G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., London.]
[Footnote 37: The German is, _Thalvogt_, Ruler of the Valley--the name
given figuratively to a dense gray mist which the south wind sweeps
into the valleys from the mountain tops. It is well known as the
precursor of stormy weather.]
[Footnote 38: A steep rock, standing on the north of Ruetli, and nearly
opposite to Brumen.]
[Footnote 39: In German, _Wolfenschiessen_--a young man of noble
family, and a native of Unterwalden, who attached himself to the House
of Austria, and was appointed _Burvogt_, or Seneschal, of the Castle
of Rossberg. He was killed by Baumgarten in the manner, and for the
cause, mentioned in the text.]
[Footnote 40: Literally, The _Foehn_ is loose! "When," says Mueller, in
his History of Switzerland, "the wind called the Foehn is high, the
navigation of the lake becomes extremely dangerous. Such is its
vehemence that the laws of the country require that the fires shall be
extinguished in the houses while it lasts, and the night watches are
doubled. The inhabitants lay heavy stones upon the roofs of their
houses, to prevent their being blown away."]
[Footnote 41: Buerglen, the birthplace and residence of Tell. A chapel,
erected in 1522, remains on the spot formerly occupied by his house.]
[Footnote 42: Berenger von Landenberg, a man of noble family in
Thurgau, and Governor of Unterwald, infamous for his cruelties to the
Swiss, and particularly to the venerable Henry of the Halden. He was
slain at the battle of Morgarten, in 1315.]
[Footnote 43: A cell built in the 9th century, by Meinrad, Count of
Hohenzollern, the founder of the Convent of Einsiedeln, subsequently
alluded to in the text.]
[Footnote 44: The League, or Bond, of the Three Cantons was of very
ancient origin. They met and renewed it from time to time, especially
when their liberties were threatened with danger. A remarkable
instance of this occurred in the end of the 13th century, when
Albert, of Austria, became Emperor, and when, possibly, for the first
time, the Bond was reduced to writing. As it is important to the
understanding of many passages of the play, a translation is subjoined
of the oldest known document relating to it. The original, which is in
Latin and German, is dated in August, 1291, and is under the seals of
the whole of the men of Schwytz, the commonalty of the vale of Uri and
the whole of the men of the upper and lower vales of Stanz.
Be it known to every one, that the men of the Dale of Uri, the
Community of Schwytz, as also the men of the mountains of Unterwald,
in consideration of the evil times, have full confidently bound
themselves, and sworn to help each other with all their power and
might, property and people, against all who shall do violence to them,
or any of them. That is our Ancient Bond.
Whoever hath a Seignior, let him obey according to the conditions of
We are agreed to receive into these dales no Judge, who is not a
countryman and indweller, or who hath bought his place.
Every controversy amongst the sworn confederates shall be determined
by some of the sagest of their number, and if any one shall challenge
their judgment, then shall he be constrained to obey it by the rest.
Whoever intentionally or deceitfully kills another, shall be
executed, and whoever shelters him shall be banished.
Whoever burns the property of another shall no longer be regarded as a
countryman, and whoever shelters him shall make good the damage done.
Whoever injures another, or robs him, and hath property in our
country, shall make satisfaction out of the same.
No one shall distrain a debtor without a judge, nor any one who is not
his debtor, or the surety for such debtor.
Every one in these dales shall submit to the judge, or we, the sworn
confederates, all will take satisfaction for all the injury occasioned
by his contumacy. And if in any internal division the one party will
not accept justice, all the rest shall help the other party. These
decrees shall, God willing, endure eternally for our general
[Footnote 45: The Austrian knights were in the habit of wearing a plum
of peacocks' feathers in their helmets. After the overthrow of the
Austrian dominion in Switzerland, it was made highly penal to wear the
peacock's feather at any public assembly there.]
[Footnote 46: The bench reserved for the nobility.]
[Footnote 47: The Landamman was an officer chosen by the Swiss
Gemeinde, or Diet, to preside over them. The Banneret was an officer
intrusted with the keeping of the State Banner and such others as were
taken in battle.]
[Footnote 48: According to the custom by which, when the last male
descendent of a noble family died, his sword, helmet, and shield, were
buried with him.]
[Footnote 49: This frequently occurred. But in the event of an
imperial city being mortgaged for the purpose of raising money, it
lost its freedom, and was considered as put out of the realm.]
[Footnote 50: An allusion to the circumstance of the Imperial Crown
not being hereditary, but conferred by election on one of the Counts
of the Empire.]
[Footnote 51: These are the cots, or shealings, erected by the
herdsmen for shelter while pasturing their herds on the mountains
during the summer. These are left deserted in winter, during which
period Melchthal's journey was taken.]
[Footnote 52: It was the custom at the meetings of the Landes
Gemeinde, or Diet, to set swords upright in the ground as emblems of
[Footnote 53: The Heribann was a muster of warriors similar to the
_arriere ban_ of France.]
[Footnote 54: A The Duke of Suabia, who
soon afterward assassinated his uncle for withholding his patrimony
[Footnote 55: A sort of national militia.]
[Footnote 56: Rocks on shore of Lake Lucerne.]
[Footnote 57: An allusion to the gallant self-devotion of Arnold
Struthan of Winkelried, at the battle of Sempach [9th July, 1386], who
broke the Austrian phalanx by rushing on their lances, grasping as
many of them as he could reach, and concentrating them upon his
breast. The confederates rushed forward through the gap thus opened by
the sacrifice of their comrade, broke and cut down their enemy's
ranks, and soon became the masters of the field. "Dear and faithful
confederates, I will open you a passage. Protect my wife and
children," were the words of Winkelried, as he rushed to death.]
[Footnote 58: The URPHEDE was an oath of peculiar force. When a man,
who was at feud with another, invaded his lands and was worsted, he
often made terms with his enemy by swearing the _Urphede_, by which he
bound himself to depart, and never to return with a hostile
* * * * *
THE HOMAGE OF THE ARTS
Dedicated in all reverence to her Imperial Highness, the Crown
Princess of Weimar, MARIA PAULOWNA, Grand-Duchess of Russia, and
produced at the Court Theatre in Weimar, November 12, 1804.
CHORUS OF COUNTRY PEOPLE.
THE SEVEN ARTS.
The scene is laid in a country place. In the centre of the stage, an
orange-tree, laden with fruit and bedecked with ribbons. The country
people are setting it firmly in the earth, while maidens and children,
on each side, hold it erect by means of garlands of flowers.
THE HOMAGE OF THE ARTS (1804)
TRANSLATED BY A. I. DU P. COLEMAN, A.M.
Professor of English Literature, College of the City of New York
Blossom, blossom, bountiful tree
With thy golden apples gay,
Which from lands so far away
We have brought for ours to see!
Fullest fruitage ever bearing,
May thy branches ne'er decay!
Blossom, blossom, bountiful tree,
Shooting upward strong and free!
With the fragrant bloom united,
Proudly hang the golden store!
May it stand by storms unblighted,
May it grow from more to more!
May it stand by storms unblighted,
May it grow from more to more!
Mother Earth, O hear my word!
Guard the tender nursling now.
Thou that lead'st the speckled herd,
God of the fields, to thee we bow!
Gentle Dryads, guard its growing,
Guard it, guard it, Pan most high!
Mountain nymphs, your gifts bestowing,
Shield it when the storms are blowing--
Bid their fury pass it by!
Gentle Dryads, guard its growing,
Guard it, guard it, Pan most high!
May kind skies smile down upon it,
Always clear and always blue!
Sun, send out thy softest radiance!
Feed it, Earth, with all thy dew!
Sun, send out thy softest radiance!
Feed it, Earth, with all thy dew!
Joy, sweet joy, and life new-springing
May'st thou still to all be bringing--
Joy it was that set thee here.
May thy gifts of nectar gather
Children's children, like their father,
And all bless thee for thy cheer!
Joy, sweet joy, and life new-springing
May'st thou still to all be bringing--
Joy it was that set thee here!
[_They dance in picturesque groups around the tree. The orchestral
music accompanies the dance, and gradually passes into a more elevated
style, as there appear in the background from above_ GENIUS _and the
Goddesses of the Seven Arts. The country people retire to the sides of
the stage_, GENIUS _comes down to the centre, with_ PAINTING,
SCULPTURE, _and_ ARCHITECTURE _on his right_, POETRY, DRAMA, MUSIC,
_and_ DANCING _on his left_.]
[Illustration: THE HOMAGE OF THE ARTS HERM. MISDICEMUS]
We come from a far land--
Still wandering, roaming
From people to people,
From ages to ages;
We are seeking a home that shall always endure--
In peaceful possession
To find our expression,
In stillness creating,
No power abating--
Yet we still seek in vain for a dwelling secure.
Who are these my eyes behold,
Like a troop of fairies nigh--
Forms whose beauty ne'er was told!
Beats my heart, I know not why!
Where weapons are clashing
And trumpets are blown,
Where hearts are with hate and with madness o'erflowing,
Where mortals are wand'ring, their goal never knowing,
Thence turn we our footsteps, in haste to be gone.
We hate the deceivers,
Despisers of heaven;
We seek among mortals
Who to virtue are given.
Where pure hearts have welcome
To give to a friend,
We will build habitations
To dwell without end.
What is this strange feeling?
What can it betoken?
By some hidden power my nature is moved,
They call to my heart like the friends I have loved--
Yet never before with these strangers I've spoken.
THE COUNTRY PEOPLE
What is this strange feeling?
What can it betoken?
Ah, but yonder see I mortals,
Come to revel with delight.
Look--with ribbons and with garlands
Richly is the tree bedight!
Surely joy their bosom fills--
[_To the country people_.]
Tell me what it is you do.
Shepherds are we of these hills,
And a feast we keep, 'tis true.
What the feast? I fain would hear!
In honor of our lady dear,
Great as good, and good as great,
Who, to bless our humble vale,
From her high imperial station
Has descended--her we hail!
For her charms our jubilation,
Kindness like the sun's warm rays!
Wherefore do you plant a tree?
Ah, it comes of foreign race,
And its heart toward home is yearning;
That is why we fear its turning
From its new abiding-place.
That is why you plant it deep,
With the soil its roots encase,
That its blessings you may keep
In its new abiding-place?
To her native land that bind her
Many, many are the ties--
All that she has left behind her
In her childhood's paradise:
All her mother's fond embraces,
And the love of noble brothers,
And her sisters' tender bosoms.
Can we then in equal measures,
Can the world, supply a price
For such pleasures,
For such treasures?
Love can reach to any distance,
Is not bound by far or near.
As the fire is undiminished
When another flame is kindled
With its heat, to glow more clear,
So that has no tie to bind her,
Which of old she held most dear:
Though she has left love behind her,
She will find love dwelling here.
She has come from halls of state,
Rich with gold and crystal sheen;
Can our hills please one so great,
Where for gold we boast but sunshine,
And our wealth is meadows green?
In a heart of princely kind
Much is hidden from your sense.
Know, then, that a noble mind
Puts the greatness into living,
Never needs to draw it thence.
Oh, lovely strangers, teach us to retain her!
Oh, teach us to find favor in her sight!
We long with perfumed garlands to enchain her
Within our homeland, never to take flight.
A noble heart soon finds itself at home--
Creates, in stillness working, its own world:
And as the tree takes hold upon the earth
With eager grasping roots, and soon is fast,
So will a great and doubly royal nature
By its own noble deeds take hold on life.
Love's tender ties soon knit themselves anew--
For where is happiness, there too is home!
ALL THE COUNTRY PEOPLE
Oh, handsome stranger, say how we may chain her,
The fairest, in our quiet vale retain her!
Courage! The help you seek is nigh at hand.
All is not strange to her in this new land.
Me she will know, and my attendant train,
When we have made our names and office plain.
[GENIUS _comes forward. The Seven Arts follow him and form a
semi-circle about him. As they do so, they display their attributes,
which until this moment have been concealed beneath their robes_.]
GENIUS (_addressing the Crown Princess_)
Lo, I am Genius--beauty's lord alone--
And these that follow me the sister Arts.
'Tis we that deck the altar and the throne;
We crown the work that springs from human hearts.
Long have we dealt with thine imperial line;
And she, the noble dame that gave thee birth,
With spotless hand a dedicated shrine
Still keeps for us, a sacred spot of earth.
We follow thee obedient to her sending;
For happiness through us finds perfect ending.
ARCHITECTURE (_a mural crown on her head, a golden ship in her right
By Neva's flood thou saw'st me sit at home:
Thy great forefather called me to his side--
And there I built for him a second Rome;
Through me it grew to be an empire's pride.
A paradise of stately pleasure-grounds
Arose beneath the magic of my wand;
And now the busy hum of life resounds
Where once a desert stretched on every hand.
The thunder of the cannon of thy fleet
Alarms the hoary Neptune in his ancient seat.
SCULPTURE (_a small image of victory in her hand_)
Me too hast thou beheld with wondering eyes,
That did the old Olympian world restore.
Upon a cliff that age and storm defies
Its mighty image stands for evermore.
(_Shows the Victory_)
Lo, Victory's image, by my fingers shaped!
Thy lordly brother grasps it in his hand:
And round her form his conquering banners draped,
See Alexander bear her through the land!
I strive, but end with lifeless imitation--
He builds of savage hordes a mighty nation.
And me, most noble, thou wilt know again--
The fond creator of depicted form;
Know very life in all its colors plain
Upon my canvas glowing fresh and warm.
Yea, through the eyes I can deceive the heart,
My skill can cheat the senses without wronging
And still the beating of the lover's heart--
Present the very face for which he's longing:
Wide as the poles asunder though they go,
They are not quite alone, my help who know.
Through farthest space I fly on soaring pinion;
I know no limits; naught disputes my rule
Or bids me stay. I hold supreme dominion
O'er realms of thought--the Word my winged tool.
All things that move in heaven above, on earth,
Are to my penetrating eyes displayed--
Though in the secret depths they have their birth.
No bar across the poet's path is laid.
But I have found, in all my age-long quest,
Naught fairer than a pure soul in a lovely breast.
MUSIC (_with the lyre_)
The might of tones that tremble on the strings,
Thou know'st it well--for thou canst wield it too.
What fills the quivering heart when music sings
Can find in me alone its utterance true.
A sweet enchantment plays on every sense
When my harmonious flood has reached its height--
Until the enraptured soul would fain go hence
And from the lips, soft sighing, take its flight.
Where I set up my ladder, built of sound,
A way to scale the dizziest heights is found.
DANCING (_with the cymbals_)
In solemn stillness brooding, the Divine
Is by a silent soul perceived at rest:
Yet life and youth for gladsome motion pine--
They must expression find, must thus be blest.
Led by soft beauty's chain, they follow me
To lose themselves within the sinuous maze.
On Zephyr's wings I raise the body free;
In dancing steps I teach symmetric grace.
Grace is the gift I bear within my hand;
All things that move I lead with magic wand.
DRAMA (_with the double mask_)
The mask of Janus have I in my keeping--
On one side sorrow, on the other joy;
For man must alternate 'twixt bliss and weeping,
And with the dark is mixed a light alloy.
In all its deeps profound, its dizzy heights,
Life's tale before thine eyes I can unroll,
And make thee turn, richer for these great sights,
Into the peaceful silence of thy soul.
Who the whole world in one wide view surveys,
In his own heart no civil strife dismays.
And all of us who here appear before you,
Majestic sisterhood of noble arts,
For leave to serve you, Princess, would implore you:
Do but command, and we will play our parts.
As Theban walls obeyed the lyre's sweet sounding,
So here the senseless stone shall live at thine--
A world of beauty rise, thine eyes astounding.
Tall columns stand in well-proportioned line.
The marble shape beneath the mallet's blow.
Fresh life upon the painted canvas show.
For thee the stream of harmonies shall spring.
Light dances follow close the vibrant string.
The whole world'll pass 'fore thee on the stage.
And fancy with her magic equipage
Shall bear thee, ravished, to the fields on high.
And as the magic rainbow in the sky
Conjures its colors from the gorgeous sun,
So will we, each for all, and all as one,
With mystic sevenfold wealth of pageantry,
Weave for thee, Lady, life's great tapestry.
ALL THE ARTS (_embracing one another_)
For strength must wed with strength, and so impart
Beauty to life and life to forms of art.
* * * * *
HISTORY AND LITERATURE
THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR--THE LAST CAMPAIGNS OF GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS
TRANSLATED BY THE REV. A. J. W. MORRISON, M.A.
The glorious battle of Leipzig effected a great change in the conduct
of Gustavus Adolphus, as well as in the opinion which both friends and
foes entertained of him. Successfully had he confronted the greatest
general of the age, and had matched the strength of his tactics and
the courage of his Swedes against the elite of the imperial army, the
most experienced troops in Europe. From this moment he felt a firm
confidence in his own powers--self-confidence has always been the
parent of great actions. In all his subsequent operations more
boldness and decision are observable; greater determination, even
amidst the most unfavorable circumstances, a more lofty tone toward
his adversaries, a more dignified bearing toward his allies, and even
in his clemency, something of the forbearance of a conqueror. His
natural courage was further heightened by the pious ardor of his
imagination. He saw in his own cause that of heaven, and in the defeat
of Tilly beheld the decisive interference of Providence against his
enemies, and in himself the instrument of divine vengeance. Leaving
his crown and his country far behind, he advanced on the wings of
victory into the heart of Germany, which for centuries had seen no
foreign conqueror within its bosom. The warlike spirit of its
inhabitants, the vigilance of its numerous princes, the artful
confederation of its states, the number of its strong castles, its
many and broad rivers, had long restrained the ambition of its
neighbors; and frequently as its extensive frontier had been attacked,
its interior had been free from hostile invasion. The Empire had
hitherto enjoyed the equivocal privilege of being its own enemy,
though invincible from without. Even now, it was merely the disunion
of its members, and the intolerance of religious zeal, that paved the
way for the Swedish invader. The bond of union between the states,
which alone had rendered the Empire invincible, was now dissolved; and
Gustavus derived from Germany itself the power by which he subdued
it. With as much courage as prudence, he availed himself of all that
the favorable moment afforded; and equally at home in the cabinet and
the field, he tore asunder the web of the artful policy, with as much
ease, as he shattered walls with the thunder of his cannon.
Uninterruptedly he pursued his conquests from one end of Germany to
the other, without breaking the line of posts which commanded a secure
retreat at any moment; and whether on the banks of the Rhine, or at
the mouth of the Lech, alike maintaining his communication with his
[Illustration: GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS]
The consternation of the Emperor and the League at Tilly's defeat at
Leipzig, was scarcely greater than the surprise and embarrassment of
the allies of the King of Sweden at his unexpected success. It was
beyond both their expectations and their wishes. Annihilated in a
moment was that formidable army which, while it checked his progress
and set bounds to his ambition, rendered him in some measure dependent
on themselves. He now stood in the heart of Germany, alone, without a
rival or without an adversary who was a match for him. Nothing could
stop his progress, or check his pretensions, if the intoxication of
success should tempt him to abuse his victory. If formerly they had
dreaded the Emperor's irresistible power, there was no less cause now
to fear everything for the Empire from the violence of a foreign
conqueror, and for the Catholic Church from the religious zeal of a
Protestant king. The distrust and jealousy of some of the combined
powers, which a stronger fear of the Emperor had for a time repressed,
now revived; and scarcely had Gustavus Adolphus merited, by his
courage and success, their confidence, when they began covertly to
circumvent all his plans. Through a continual struggle with the arts
of enemies, and the distrust of his own allies, must his victories
henceforth be won; yet resolution, penetration, and prudence made
their way through all impediments. But while his success excited the
jealousy of his more powerful allies, France and Saxony, it gave
courage to the weaker, and emboldened them openly to declare their
sentiments and join his party. Those who could neither vie with
Gustavus Adolphus in importance, nor suffer from his ambition,
expected the more from the magnanimity of their powerful ally, who
enriched them with the spoils of their enemies and protected them
against the oppression of their stronger neighbors. His strength
covered their weakness, and, inconsiderable in themselves, they
acquired weight and influence from their union with the Swedish hero.
This was the case with most of the free cities, and particularly with
the weaker Protestant states. It was these that introduced the king
into the heart of Germany; these covered his rear, supplied his troops
with necessaries, received them into their fortresses, while they
exposed their own lives in his battles. His prudent regard to their
national pride, his popular deportment, some brilliant acts of
justice, and his respect for the laws, were so many ties by which he
bound the German Protestants to his cause; while the crying atrocities
of the Imperialists, the Spaniards, and the troops of Lorraine,
powerfully contributed to set his own conduct and that of his army in
a favorable light.
If Gustavus Adolphus owed his success chiefly to his own genius, at
the same time, it must be owned, he was greatly favored by fortune and
by circumstances. Two great advantages gave him a decided superiority
over the enemy. While he removed the scene of war into the lands of
the League, drew their youth as recruits, enriched himself with booty,
and used the revenues of their fugitive princes as his own, he at once
took from the enemy the means of effectual resistance and maintained
an expensive war with little cost to himself. And, moreover, while his
opponents, the princes of the League, divided among themselves, and
governed by different and often conflicting interests, acted without
unanimity, and therefore without energy; while their generals were
deficient in authority, their troops in obedience, the operations of
their scattered armies without concert; while the general was
separated from the lawgiver and the statesman--these several functions
were united in Gustavus Adolphus, the only source from which authority
flowed, the sole object to which the eye of the warrior turned, the
soul of his party, the inventor as well as the executor of his plans.
In him, therefore, the Protestants had a centre of unity and harmony,
which was altogether wanting to their opponents. No wonder, then, if
favored by such advantages, at the head of such an army, with such a
genius to direct it, and guided by such political prudence, Gustavus
Adolphus was irresistible.
With the sword in one hand and mercy in the other, he traversed
Germany as a conqueror, a lawgiver, and a judge, in as short a time
almost as the tourist of pleasure. The keys of towns and fortresses
were delivered to him, as if to the native sovereign. No fortress was
inaccessible; no river checked his victorious career. He conquered by
the very terror of his name. The Swedish standards were planted along
the whole stream of the Main: the Lower Palatinate was free, the
troops of Spain and Lorraine had fled across the Rhine and the
Moselle. The Swedes and Hessians poured like a torrent into the
territories of Mentz, of Wuertzburg, and Bamberg, and three fugitive
bishops, at a distance from their sees, suffered dearly for their
unfortunate attachment to the Emperor. It was now the turn for
Maximilian, the leader of the League, to feel in his own dominions the
miseries he had inflicted upon others. Neither the terrible fate of
his allies, nor the peaceful overtures of Gustavus, who, in the midst
of conquest, ever held out the hand of friendship, could conquer the
obstinacy of this prince. The torrent of war now poured into Bavaria.
Like the banks of the Rhine, those of the Lecke and the Donau were
crowded with Swedish troops. Creeping into his fortresses, the
defeated Elector abandoned to the ravages of the foe his dominions,
hitherto unscathed by war, and on which the bigoted violence of the
Bavarians seemed to invite retaliation. Munich itself opened its gates
to the invincible monarch, and the fugitive Palatine, Frederick V., in
the forsaken residence of his rival, consoled himself for a time for
the loss of his dominions.
While Gustavus Adolphus was extending his conquests in the south, his
generals and allies were gaining similar triumphs in the other
provinces. Lower Saxony shook off the yoke of Austria, the enemy
abandoned Mecklenburg, and the imperial garrisons retired from the
banks of the Weser and the Elbe. In Westphalia and the Upper Rhine,
William, Landgrave of Hesse, rendered himself formidable; the Duke of
Weimar in Thuringia, and the French in the Electorate of Treves; while
to the eastward the whole kingdom of Bohemia was conquered by the
Saxons. The Turks were preparing to attack Hungary, and in the heart
of Austria a dangerous insurrection was threatened. In vain did the
Emperor look around to the courts of Europe for support; in vain did
he summon the Spaniards to his assistance, for the bravery of the
Flemings afforded them ample employment beyond the Rhine; in vain did
he call upon the Roman court and the whole church to come to his
rescue. The offended Pope sported, in pompous processions and idle
anathemas, with the embarrassments of Ferdinand, and instead of the
desired subsidy he was shown the devastation of Mantua.
On all sides of his extensive monarchy hostile arms surrounded him.
With the states of the League, now overrun by the enemy, those
ramparts were thrown down, behind which Austria had so long defended
herself, and the embers of war were now smoldering upon her unguarded
frontiers tiers. His most zealous allies were disarmed; Maximilian of
Bavaria, his firmest support, was scarce able to defend himself. His
armies, weakened by desertion and repeated defeat, and dispirited by
continued misfortunes had unlearnt, under beaten generals, that
warlike impetuosity which, as it is the consequence, so it is the
guarantee of success. The danger was extreme, and extraordinary means
alone could raise the imperial power from the degradation into which
it was fallen.
The most urgent want was that of a general; and the only one from whom
he could hope for the revival of his former splendor had been removed
from his command by an envious cabal. So low had the Emperor now
fallen that he was forced to make the most humiliating proposals to
his injured subject and servant, and meanly to press upon the
imperious Duke of Friedland the acceptance of the powers which no less
meanly had been taken from him. A new spirit began from this moment to
animate the expiring body of Austria; and a sudden change in the
aspect of affairs bespoke the firm hand which guided them. To the
absolute King of Sweden, a general equally absolute was now opposed;
and one victorious hero was confronted with another. Both armies were
again to engage in the doubtful struggle; and the prize of victory,
already almost secured in the hands of Gustavus Adolphus, was to be
the object of another and a severer trial. The storm of war gathered
around Nuremberg; before its walls the hostile armies encamped, gazing
on each other with dread and respect, longing for, and yet shrinking
from, the moment that was to close them together in the shock of
battle. The eyes of Europe turned to the scene in curiosity and alarm,
while Nuremberg, in dismay, expected soon to lend its name to a more
decisive battle than that of Leipzig. Suddenly the clouds broke, and
the storm rolled away from Franconia, to burst upon the plains of
Saxony. Near Luetzen fell the thunder that had menaced Nuremberg; the
victory, half lost, was purchased by the death of the king. Fortune,
which had never forsaken him in his lifetime, favored the King of
Sweden even in his death, with the rare privilege of falling in the
fulness of his glory and an untarnished fame. By a timely death, his
protecting genius rescued him from the inevitable fate of man--that of
forgetting moderation in the intoxication of success, and justice in
the plenitude of power. It may be doubted whether, had he lived
longer, he would still have deserved the tears which Germany shed over
his grave, or maintained his title to the admiration with which
posterity regards him as the first and only _just_ conqueror that the
world has produced. The untimely fall of their great leader seemed to
threaten the ruin of his party; but to the Power which rules the
world, no loss of a single man is irreparable. As the helm of war
dropped from the hand of the falling hero, it was seized by two great
statesmen, Oxenstiern and Richelieu. Destiny still pursued its
relentless course, and for full sixteen years longer the flames of war
blazed over the ashes of the long-forgotten king and soldier.
I may now be permitted to take a cursory retrospect of Gustavus
Adolphus in his victorious career; glance at the scene in which he
alone was the great actor; and then, when Austria becomes reduced to
extremity by the successes of the Swedes, and by a series of disasters
is driven to the most humiliating and desperate expedients, to return
to the history of the Emperor.
As soon as the plan of operations had been concerted at Halle, between
the King of Sweden and the Elector of Saxony; as soon as the alliance
had been concluded with the neighboring princes of Weimar and Anhalt,
and preparations made for the recovery of the bishopric of Magdeburg,
the king began his march into the empire. He had here no despicable
foe to contend with. Within the empire, the Emperor was still
powerful; throughout Franconia, Swabia, and the Palatinate, imperial
garrisons were posted, with whom the possession of every place of
importance must be disputed sword in hand. On the Rhine he was opposed
by the Spaniards, who had overrun the territory of the banished
Elector Palatine, seized all its strong places, and would everywhere
dispute with him the passage over the river. In his rear was Tilly,
who was fast recruiting his force, and would soon be joined by the
auxiliaries from Lorraine. Every Papist presented an inveterate foe,
while his connection with France did not leave him at liberty to act
with freedom against the Roman Catholics. Gustavus had foreseen all
these obstacles, and at the same time the means by which they were to
be overcome. The strength of the Imperialists was broken and divided
among different garrisons, while he would bring against them one by
one his whole united force. If he was to be opposed by the fanaticism
of the Roman Catholics, and the awe in which the lesser states
regarded the Emperor's power, he might depend on the active support of
the Protestants, and their hatred to Austrian oppression. The ravages
of the Imperialists and Spanish troops also powerfully aided him in
these quarters where the ill-treated husbandman and citizen alike
sighed for a deliverer, and where the mere change of yoke seemed to
promise a relief. Emissaries were dispatched to gain over to the
Swedish side the principal free cities, particularly Nuremberg and
Frankfort. The first that lay in the king's march, and which he could
not leave unoccupied in his rear, was Erfurt. Here the Protestant
party among the citizens opened to him, without a blow, the gates of
the town and the citadel. From the inhabitants of this, as of every
important place which afterward submitted, he exacted an oath of
allegiance, while he secured its possession by a sufficient garrison.
To his ally, Duke William of Weimar, he intrusted the command of an
army to be raised in Thuringia. He also left his queen in Erfurt, and
promised to increase its privileges. The Swedish army now crossed the
Thuringian forest in two columns, by Gotha and Arnstadt, and having
delivered, in its march, the county of Henneberg from the
Imperialists, formed a junction on the third day near Koenigshofen, on
the frontiers of Franconia.
Francis, Bishop of Wuertzburg, the bitter enemy of the Protestants, and
the most zealous member of the League, was the first to feel the
indignation of Gustavus Adolphus. A few threats gained for the Swedes
possession of his fortress of Koenigshofen, and with it the key of
the whole province. At the news of this rapid conquest, dismay seized
all the Roman Catholic towns of the circle. The Bishops of Wuertzburg
and Bamberg trembled in their castles; they already saw their sees
tottering, their churches profaned, and their religion degraded. The
malice of his enemies had circulated the most frightful
representations of the persecuting spirit and the mode of warfare
pursued by the Swedish king and his soldiers, which neither the
repeated assurances of the king, nor the most splendid examples of
humanity and toleration, ever entirely effaced. Many feared to suffer
at the hands of another what in similar circumstances they were
conscious of inflicting themselves. Many of the richest Roman
Catholics hastened to secure by flight their property, their religion,
and their persons, from the sanguinary fanaticism of the Swedes. The
bishop himself set the example. In the midst of the alarm, which his
bigoted zeal had caused, he abandoned his dominions, and fled to
Paris, to excite, if possible, the French ministry against the common
enemy of religion.
The further progress of Gustavus Adolphus in the ecclesiastical
territories agreed with this brilliant commencement. Schweinfurt, and
soon afterward Wuertzburg, abandoned by their Imperial garrisons,
surrendered; but Marienberg he was obliged to carry by storm. In this
place, which was believed to be impregnable, the enemy had collected a
large store of provisions and ammunition, all of which fell into the
hands of the Swedes. The king found a valuable prize in the library of
the Jesuits, which he sent to Upsal, while his soldiers found a still
more agreeable one in the prelate's well-filled cellars; his treasures
the bishop had in good time removed. The whole bishopric followed the
example of the capital, and submitted to the Swedes. The king
compelled all the bishop's subjects to swear allegiance to himself;
and, in the absence of the lawful sovereign, appointed a regency,
one-half of whose members were Protestants. In every Roman Catholic
town which Gustavus took, he opened the churches to the Protestant
people, but without retaliating on the Papists the cruelties which
they had practised on the former. On such only as sword in hand
refused to submit, were the fearful rights of war enforced; and for
the occasional acts of violence committed by a few of the more lawless
soldiers, in the blind rage of the first attack, their humane leader
is not justly responsible. Those who were peaceably disposed, or
defenceless, were treated with mildness. It was a sacred principle of
Gustavus to spare the blood of his enemies, as well as that of his own
On the first news of the Swedish irruption, the Bishop of Wuertzburg,
without regarding the treaty which he had entered into with the King
of Sweden, had earnestly pressed the general of the League to hasten
to the assistance of the bishopric. That defeated commander had, in
the meantime, collected on the Weser the shattered remnant of his
army, reinforced himself from the garrisons of Lower Saxony, and
effected a junction in Hesse with Altringer and Fugger, who commanded
under him. Again at the head of a considerable force, Tilly burned
with impatience to wipe out the stain of his first defeat by a
splendid victory. From his camp at Fulda, whither he had marched with
his army, he earnestly requested permission from the Duke of Bavaria
to give battle to Gustavus Adolphus. But, in the event of Tilly's
defeat, the League had no second army to fall back upon, and
Maximilian was too cautious to risk again the fate of his party on a
single battle. With tears in his eyes, Tilly read the commands of his
superior, which compelled him to inactivity. Thus his march to
Franconia was delayed, and Gustavus Adolphus gained time to overrun
the whole bishopric. It was in vain that Tilly, reinforced at
Aschaffenburg by a body of 12,000 men from Lorraine, marched with an
overwhelming force to the relief of Wuertzburg. The town and citadel
were already in the hands of the Swedes, and Maximilian of Bavaria was
generally blamed (and not without cause, perhaps) for having, by his
scruples, occasioned the loss of the bishopric. Commanded to avoid a
battle, Tilly contented himself with checking the farther advance of
the enemy; but he could save only a few of the towns from the
impetuosity of the Swedes. Baffled in an attempt to reinforce the weak
garrison of Hanau, which it was highly important to the Swedes to
gain, he crossed the Main, near Seligenstadt, and took the direction
of the Bergstrasse, to protect the Palatinate from the conqueror.
Tilly, however, was not the sole enemy whom Gustavus Adolphus met in
Franconia and drove before him. Charles, Duke of Lorraine, celebrated
in the annals of the time for his unsteadiness of character, his vain
projects, and his misfortunes, ventured to raise a weak arm against
the Swedish hero, in the hope of obtaining from the Emperor the
electoral dignity. Deaf to the suggestions of a rational policy, he
listened only to the dictates of heated ambition; by supporting the
Emperor he exasperated France, his formidable neighbor; and in the
pursuit of a visionary phantom in another country, left undefended his
own dominions, which were instantly overrun by a French army. Austria
willingly conceded to him, as well as to the other princes of the
League, the honor of being ruined in her cause. Intoxicated with vain
hopes, this prince collected a force of 17,000 men, which he proposed
to lead in person against the Swedes. If these troops were deficient
in discipline and courage, they were at least attractive by the
splendor of their accoutrements; and however sparing they were of
their prowess against the foe, they were liberal enough with it
against the defenceless citizens and peasantry whom they were summoned
to defend. Against the bravery and the formidable discipline of the
Swedes this splendidly attired army, however, made no long stand. On
the first advance of the Swedish cavalry a panic seized them, and they
were driven without difficulty from their cantonments in Wuertzburg;
the defeat of a few regiments occasioned a general rout, and the
scattered remnant sought a covert from the Swedish valor in the towns
beyond the Rhine. Loaded with shame and ridicule, the duke hurried
home by Strasburg, too fortunate in escaping, by a submissive written
apology, the indignation of his conqueror, who had first beaten him
out of the field and then called upon him to account for his
hostilities. It is related upon this occasion that, in a village on
the Rhine a peasant struck the horse of the duke as he rode past,
exclaiming, "Haste, Sir, you must go quicker to escape the great King
The example of his neighbors' misfortunes had taught the Bishop of
Bamberg prudence. To avert the plundering of his territories, he made
offers of peace, though these were intended only to delay the king's
course till the arrival of assistance. Gustavus Adolphus, too
honorable himself to suspect dishonesty in another, readily accepted
the bishop's proposals and named the conditions on which he was
willing to save his territories from hostile treatment. He was the
more inclined to peace, as he had no time to lose in the conquest of
Bamberg, and his other designs called him to the Rhine. The rapidity
with which he followed up these plans cost him the loss of those
pecuniary supplies which, by a longer residence in Franconia, he might
easily have extorted from the weak and terrified bishop. This artful
prelate broke off the negotiation the instant the storm of war passed
away from his own territories. No sooner had Gustavus marched onward
than he threw himself under the protection of Tilly, and received the
troops of the Emperor into the very towns and fortresses which shortly
before he had shown himself ready to open to the Swedes. By this
stratagem, however, he delayed only for a brief interval the ruin of
his bishopric. A Swedish general who had been left in Franconia,
undertook to punish the perfidy of the bishop; and the ecclesiastical
territory became the seat of war, and was ravaged alike by friends and
The formidable presence of the Imperialists had hitherto been a check
upon the Franconian States; but their retreat, and the humane conduct
of the Swedish king, emboldened the nobility and other inhabitants of
this circle to declare in his favor. Nuremberg joyfully committed
itself to his protection; and the Franconian nobles were won to his
cause by flattering proclamations, in which he condescended to
apologize for his hostile appearance in their dominions. The fertility
of Franconia, and the rigorous honesty of the Swedish soldiers in
their dealings with the inhabitants, brought abundance to the camp of
the king. The high esteem which the nobility of the circle felt for
Gustavus, the respect and admiration with which they regarded his
brilliant exploits, the promises of rich booty which the service of
this monarch held out, greatly facilitated the recruiting of his
troops; a step which was made necessary by detaching so many garrisons
from the main body. At the sound of his drums, recruits flocked to his
standard from all quarters.
The king had scarcely spent more time in conquering Franconia than he
would have required to cross it. He now left behind him Gustavus Horn,
one of his best generals, with a force of 8,000 men, to complete and
retain his conquest. He himself with his main army, reinforced by the
late recruits, hastened toward the Rhine in order to secure this
frontier of the empire from the Spaniards, to disarm the
ecclesiastical electors, and to obtain from their fertile territories
new resources for the prosecution of the war. Following the course of
the Main, he subjected, in the course of his march, Seligenstadt,
Aschaffenburg, Steinheim, the whole territory on both sides of the
river. The imperial garrisons seldom awaited his approach, and never
attempted resistance. In the meanwhile one of his colonels had been
fortunate enough to take by surprise the town and citadel of Hanau,
for whose preservation Tilly had shown such anxiety. Eager to be free
of the oppressive burden of the Imperialists, the Count of Hanau
gladly placed himself under the milder yoke of the King of Sweden.
Gustavus Adolphus now turned his whole attention to Frankfort, for it
was his constant maxim to cover his rear by the friendship and
possession of the more important towns. Frankfort was among the free
cities which, even from Saxony, he had endeavored to prepare for his
reception; and he now called upon it, by a summons from Offenbach, to
allow him free passage and to admit a Swedish garrison. Willingly
would this city have dispensed with the necessity of choosing between
the King of Sweden and the Emperor; for, whatever party they might
embrace, the inhabitants had a like reason to fear for their
privileges and trade. The Emperor's vengeance would certainly fall
heavily upon them, if they were in a hurry to submit to the King of
Sweden, and afterward he should prove unable to protect his adherents
in Germany. But still more ruinous for them would be the displeasure
of an irresistible conqueror, who, with a formidable army, was already
before their gates, and who might punish their opposition by the ruin
of their commerce and prosperity. In vain did their deputies plead the
danger which menaced their fairs, their privileges, perhaps their
constitution itself, if, by espousing the party of the Swedes, they
were to incur the Emperor's displeasure. Gustavus Adolphus expressed
to them his astonishment that, when the liberties of Germany and the
Protestant religion were at stake, the citizens of Frankfort should
talk of their annual fairs, and postpone for temporal interests the
great cause of their country and their conscience. He had, he
continued, in a menacing tone, found the keys of every town and
fortress, from the Isle of Rugen to the Main, and knew also where to
find a key to Frankfort; the safety of Germany, and the freedom of the
Protestant Church, were, he assured them, the sole objects of his
invasion; conscious of the justice of his cause, he was determined not
to allow any obstacle to impede his progress. "The inhabitants of
Frankfort, he was well aware, wished to stretch out only a finger to
him, but he must have the whole hand in order to have something to
grasp." At the head of the army, he closely followed the deputies as
they carried back his answer, and in order of battle awaited, near
Saxenhausen, the decision of the council.
If Frankfort hesitated to submit to the Swedes, it was solely from
fear of the Emperor; their own inclinations did not allow them a
moment to doubt between the oppressor of Germany and its protector.
The menacing preparations amidst which Gustavus Adolphus now compelled
them to decide, would lessen the guilt of their revolt in the eyes of
the Emperor, and by an appearance of compulsion justify the step which
they willingly took. The gates were therefore opened to the King of
Sweden, who marched his army through this imperial town in magnificent
procession and in admirable order. A garrison of 600 men was left in
Saxenhausen; while the king himself advanced the same evening, with
the rest of his army, against the town of Hoechst in Mentz, which
surrendered to him before night.
While Gustavus was thus extending his conquests along the Main,
fortune crowned also the efforts of his generals and allies in the
north of Germany. Rostock, Wismar, and Doemitz, the only strong places
in the Duchy of Mecklenburg which still sighed under the yoke of the
Imperialists, were recovered by their legitimate sovereign, the Duke
John Albert, under the Swedish general, Achatius Tott. In vain did the
imperial general, Wolf Count von Mansfeld, endeavor to recover from
the Swedes the territories of Halberstadt, of which they had taken
possession immediately upon the victory of Leipzic; he was even
compelled to leave Magdeburg itself in their hands. The Swedish
general, Banner, who with 8,000 men remained upon the Elbe, closely
blockaded that city, and had defeated several imperial regiments which
had been sent to its relief. Count Mansfeld defended it in person with
great resolution; but his garrison being too weak to oppose for any
length of time the numerous force of the besiegers, he was already
about to surrender on conditions, when Pappenheim advanced to his
assistance, and gave employment elsewhere to the Swedish arms.
Magdeburg, however, or rather the wretched huts that peeped out
miserably from among the ruins of that once great town, was afterward
voluntarily abandoned by the Imperialists and immediately taken
possession of by the Swedes.
Even Lower Saxony, encouraged by the progress of the king, ventured to
raise its head from the disasters of the unfortunate Danish war. They
held a congress at Hamburg, and resolved upon raising three regiments,
which they hoped would be sufficient to free them from the oppressive
garrisons of the Imperialists. The Bishop of Bremen, a relation of
Gustavus Adolphus, was not content even with this; but assembled
troops of his own, and terrified the unfortunate monks and priests of
the neighborhood, but was quickly compelled by the imperial general,
Count Gronsfeld, to lay down his arms. Even George, Duke of Lueneburg,
formerly a colonel in the Emperor's service, embraced the party of
Gustavus, for whom he raised several regiments, and by occupying the
attention of the Imperialists in Lower Saxony, materially assisted
But more important service was rendered to the king by the Landgrave
William of Hesse Cassel, whose victorious arms struck with terror the
greater part of Westphalia and Lower Saxony, the bishopric of Fulda,
and even the Electorate of Cologne. It has been already stated that
immediately after the conclusion of the alliance between the Landgrave
and Gustavus Adolphus at Werben, two imperial generals, Fugger and
Altringer, were ordered by Tilly to march into Hesse, to punish the
Landgrave for his revolt from the Emperor. But this prince had as
firmly withstood the arms of his enemies, as his subjects had the
proclamations of Tilly inciting them to rebellion, and the battle of
Leipzic presently relieved him of their presence. He availed himself
of their absence with courage and resolution; in a short time, Vach,
Mueinden and Hoexter surrendered to him, while his rapid advance
alarmed the bishoprics of Fulda, Paderborn, and the ecclesiastical
territories which bordered on Hesse. The terrified states hastened by
a speedy submission to set limits to his progress, and by considerable
contributions to purchase exemption from plunder. After these
successful enterprises, the Landgrave united his victorious army with
that of Gustavus Adolphus, and concerted with him at Frankfort their
future plan of operations.
In this city, a number of princes and ambassadors were assembled to
congratulate Gustavus on his success, and either to conciliate his
favor or to appease his indignation. Among them was the fugitive King
of Bohemia, the Palatine Frederick V., who had hastened from Holland
to throw himself into the arms of his avenger and protector. Gustavus
gave him the unprofitable honor of greeting him as a crowned head, and
endeavored, by a respectful sympathy, to soften his sense of his
misfortunes. But great as the advantages were, which Frederick had
promised himself from the power and good fortune of his protector; and
high as were the expectations he had built on his justice and
magnanimity, the chance of this unfortunate prince's reinstatement in
his kingdom was as distant as ever. The inactivity and contradictory
policies of the English court had abated the zeal of Gustavus
Adolphus, and an irritability which he could not always repress made
him on this occasion forget the glorious vocation of protector of the
oppressed, in which, on his invasion of Germany, he had so loudly
The terrors of the king's irresistible strength, and the near prospect
of his vengeance, had also compelled George, Landgrave of Hesse
Darmstadt, to a timely submission. His connection with the Emperor,
and his indifference to the Protestant cause, were no secret to the
king, but he was satisfied with laughing at so impotent an enemy. As
the Landgrave knew his own strength and the political situation of
Germany so little as to offer himself as mediator between the
contending parties, Gustavus used jestingly to call him the
peacemaker. He was frequently heard to say, when at play he was
winning from the Landgrave, "that the money afforded double
satisfaction, as it was Imperial coin." To his affinity with the
Elector of Saxony, whom Gustavus had cause to treat with forbearance,
the Landgrave was indebted for the favorable terms he obtained from
the king, who contented himself with the surrender of his fortress of
Ruesselheim and his promise of observing a strict neutrality during the
war. The Counts of Westerwald and Wetterau also visited the king in
Frankfort, to offer him their assistance against the Spaniards, and to
conclude an alliance, which was afterward of great service to him. The
town of Frankfort itself had reason to rejoice at the presence of this
monarch, who took their commerce under his protection, and by the most
effectual measures restored the fairs, which had been greatly
interrupted by the war.
The Swedish army was now reinforced by ten thousand Hessians, which
the Landgrave of Casse commanded. Gustavus Adolphus had already
invested Koenigstein; Kostheim and Floersheim surrendered after a short
siege; he was in command of the Main; and transports were preparing
with all speed at Hoechst to carry his troops across the Rhine. These
preparations filled the Elector of Mentz, Anselm Casimir, with
consternation; and he no longer doubted but that the storm of war
would next fall upon him. As a partisan of the Emperor, and one of the
most active members of the League, he could expect no better treatment
than his confederates, the Bishops of Wuertzburg and Bamberg, had
already experienced. The situation of his territories upon the Rhine
made it necessary for the enemy to secure them, while their fertility
afforded an irresistible temptation to a necessitous army.
Miscalculating his own strength and that of his adversaries, the
Elector flattered himself that he was able to repel force by force,
and weary out the valor of the Swedes by the strength of his
fortresses. He ordered the fortifications of his capital to be
repaired with all diligence, provided it with every necessary for
sustaining a long siege, and received into the town a garrison of
2,000 Spaniards, under Don Philip de Sylva. To prevent the approach of
the Swedish transports, he endeavored to close the mouth of the Main
by driving piles and sinking large heaps of stones and vessels. He
himself, however, accompanied by the Bishop of Worms, and carrying
with him his most precious effects, took refuge in Cologne, and
abandoned his capital and territories to the rapacity of a tyrannical
garrison. But these preparations, which bespoke less of true courage
than of weak and overweening confidence, did not prevent the Swedes
from marching against Mentz and making serious preparations for an
attack upon the city. While one body of their troops poured into the
Rheingau, routed the Spaniards who remained there, and levied
contributions on the inhabitants, another laid the Roman Catholic
towns in Westerwald and Wetterau under similar contributions. The main
army had encamped at Cassel, opposite Mentz; and Bernhard, Duke of
Weimar, made himself master of the Maeusethurm and the Castle of
Ehrenfels, on the other side of the Rhine. Gustavus was now actively
preparing to cross the river and to blockade the town on the land
side, when the movements of Tilly in Franconia suddenly called him
from the siege, and obtained for the Elector a short repose.
The danger of Nuremberg, which, during the absence of Gustavus
Adolphus on the Rhine, Tilly had made a show of besieging, and, in the
event of resistance, threatened with the cruel fate of Magdeburg,
occasioned the king suddenly to retire from before Mentz. Lest he
should expose himself a second time to the reproaches of Germany, and
the disgrace of abandoning a confederate city to a ferocious enemy, he
hastened to its relief by forced marches. On his arrival at Frankfort,
however, he heard of its spirited resistance, and of the retreat of
Tilly, and lost not a moment in prosecuting his designs against Mentz.
Failing in an attempt to cross the Rhine at Cassel, under the cannon
of the besieged, he directed his march toward the Bergstrasse, with a
view of approaching the town from an opposite quarter. Here he quickly
made himself master of all the places of importance, and at
Stockstadt, between Gernsheim and Oppenheim, appeared a second time
upon the banks of the Rhine. The whole of the Bergstrasse was
abandoned by the Spaniards, who endeavored obstinately to defend the
other bank of the river. For this purpose, they had burned or sunk all
the vessels in the neighborhood, and arranged a formidable force on
the banks, in case the king should attempt the passage at that place.
On this occasion, the king's impetuosity exposed him to great danger
of falling into the hands of the enemy. In order to reconnoitre the
opposite bank, he crossed the river in a small boat; he had scarcely
landed when he was attacked by a party of Spanish horse, from whose
hands he saved himself only by a precipitate retreat. Having at last,
with the assistance of the neighboring fishermen, succeeded in
procuring a few transport, he dispatched two of them across the river,
bearing Count Brahe and 300 Swedes. Scarcely had this officer time to
intrench himself on the opposite bank, when he was attacked by 14
squadrons of Spanish dragoons and cuirassiers. Superior as the enemy
was in numbers, Count Brahe, with his small force, bravely defended
himself, and gained time for the king to support him with fresh
troops. The Spaniards at last retired with the loss of 600 men, some
taking refuge in Oppenheim, and others in Mentz. A lion of marble on a
high pillar, holding a naked sword in his paw, and a helmet on his
head, was erected seventy years after the event, to point out to the
traveler the spot where the immortal monarch crossed the great river
Gustavus Adolphus now conveyed his artillery and the greater part of
his troops over the river, and laid siege to Oppenheim, which, after a
brave resistance, was, on December 8, 1631, carried by storm. Five
hundred Spaniards, who had so courageously defended the place, fell
indiscriminately a sacrifice to the fury of the Swedes. The crossing
of the Rhine by Gustavus struck terror into the Spaniards and
Lorrainers, who had thought themselves protected by the river from the
vengeance of the Swedes. Rapid flight was now their only security;
every place incapable of an effectual defence was immediately
abandoned. After a long train of outrages on the defenceless citizens,
the troops of Lorraine evacuated Worms, which, before their departure,
they treated with wanton cruelty. The Spaniards hastened to shut
themselves up in Frankenthal, where they hoped to defy the victorious
arms of Gustavus Adolphus.
The king lost no time in prosecuting his designs against Mentz, into
which the flower of the Spanish troops had thrown themselves. While he
advanced on the left bank of the Rhine, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel
moved forward on the other, reducing several strong places on his
march. The besieged Spaniards, though hemmed in on both sides,
displayed at first a bold determination, and threw, for several days,
a shower of bombs into the Swedish camp, which cost the king many of
his bravest soldiers. But notwithstanding, the Swedes continually
gained ground, and had at last advanced so close to the ditch that
they prepared seriously for storming the place. The courage of the
besieged now began to droop. They trembled before the furious
impetuosity of the Swedish soldiers, of which Marienberg, in
Wuertzburg, had afforded so fearful an example. The same dreadful fate
awaited Mentz, if taken by storm; and the enemy might even be easily
tempted to revenge the carnage of Magdeburg on this rich and
magnificent residence of a Roman Catholic prince. To save the town,
rather than their own lives, the Spanish garrison capitulated on the
fourth day, and obtained from the magnanimity of Gustavus a safe
conduct to Luxemburg; the greater part of them, however, following the
example of many others, enlisted in the service of Sweden.
On the 13th of December, 1631, the king made his entry into the
conquered town, and fixed his quarters in the palace of the Elector.
Eighty pieces of cannon fell into his hands, and the citizens were
obliged to redeem their property from pillage by a payment of 80,000
florins. The benefits of this redemption did not extend to the Jews
and the clergy, who were obliged to make large and separate
contributions for themselves. The library of the Elector was seized by
the king as his share, and presented by him to his chancellor,
Oxenstiern, who intended it for the Academy of Westerrah, but the
vessel in which it was shipped to Sweden foundered at sea.
After the loss of Mentz, misfortune still pursued the Spaniards on the
Rhine. Shortly before the capture of that city, the Landgrave of Hesse
Cassel had taken Falkenstein and Reifenberg, and the fortress of
Koeningstein surrendered to the Hessians. The Rhinegrave, Otto Louis,
one of the king's generals, defeated nine Spanish squadrons who were
on their march for Frankenthal, and made himself master of the most
important towns upon the Rhine, from Boppart to Bacharach. After the
capture of the fortress of Braunfels, which was effected by the Count
of Wetterau, with the cooeperation of the Swedes, the Spaniards quickly
lost every place in Wetterau, while in the Palatine they retained few
places besides Frankenthal. Landau and Kronweisenberg openly declared
for the Swedes; Spires offered troops for the king's service; Mannheim
was gained through the prudence of the Duke Bernard of Weimar and the
negligence of its governor, who, for this misconduct, was tried before
the council of war, at Heidelberg, and beheaded.
The king had protracted the campaign into the depth of winter, and the
severity of the season was perhaps one cause of the advantage his
soldiers gained over those of the enemy. But the exhausted troops now
stood in need of the repose of winter quarters, which, after the
surrender of Mentz, Gustavus assigned to them in its neighborhood. He
himself employed the interval of inactivity in the field, which the
season of the year enjoined, in arranging, with his chancellor, the
affairs of his cabinet, in treating for a neutrality with some of his
enemies, and adjusting some political disputes which had sprung up
with a neighboring ally. He chose the city of Mentz for his winter
quarters, and the settlement of these state affairs, and showed a
greater partiality for this town than seemed consistent with the
interests of the German princes, or the shortness of his visit to the
Empire. Not content with strongly fortifying it, he erected at the
opposite angle which the Main forms with the Rhine, a new citadel,
which was named Gustavusburg from its founder, but which is better
known under the title of Pfaffenraub or Pfaffenzwang.
While Gustavus Adolphus made himself master of the Rhine, and
threatened the three neighboring electorates with his victorious arms,
his vigilant enemies in Paris and St. Germain's made use of every
artifice to deprive him of the support of France, and, if possible, to
involve him in a war with that power. By his sudden and equivocal
march to the Rhine, he had surprised his friends, and furnished his
enemies with the means of exciting a distrust of his intentions. After
the conquest of Wuertzburg, and of the greater part of Franconia, the
road into Bavaria and Austria lay open to him through Bamberg and the
Upper Palatinate; and the expectation was as general, as it was
natural, that he would not delay to attack the Emperor and the Duke of
Bavaria in the very centre of their power, and, by the reduction of
his two principal enemies, bring the war immediately to an end. But to
the surprise of both parties, Gustavus left the path which general
expectation had thus marked out for him; and instead of advancing to
the right, turned to the left, to make the less important and more
innocent princes of the Rhine feel his power, while he gave time to
his more formidable opponents to recruit their strength. Nothing but
the paramount design of reinstating the unfortunate Palatine,
Frederick V., in the possession of his territories, by the expulsion
of the Spaniards, could seem to account for this strange step; and
the belief that Gustavus was about to effect that restoration silenced
for a while the suspicions of his friends and the calumnies of his
enemies. But the Lower Palatinate was now almost entirely cleared of
the enemy; and yet Gustavus continued to form new schemes of conquest
on the Rhine, and to withhold the reconquered country from the
Palatine, its rightful owner. In vain did the English ambassador
remind him of what justice demanded, and what his own solemn
engagement made a duty of honor; Gustavus replied to these demands
with bitter complaints of the inactivity of the English court, and
prepared to carry his victorious standard into Alsace, and even into
A distrust of the Swedish monarch was now loud and open, while the
malice of his enemies busily circulated the most injurious reports as
to his intentions. Richelieu, the minister of Louis XIII., had long
witnessed with anxiety the king's progress toward the French frontier,
and the suspicious temper of Louis rendered him but too accessible to
the evil surmises which the occasion gave rise to. France was at this
time involved in a civil war with her Protestant subjects, and the
fear was not altogether groundless that the approach of a victorious
monarch of their party might revive their drooping spirit, and
encourage them to a more desperate resistance. This might be the case,
even if Gustavus Adolphus was far from showing a disposition to
encourage them, or to act unfaithfully toward his ally, the King of
France. But the vindictive Bishop of Wuertzburg, who was anxious to
avenge the loss of his dominions, the envenomed rhetoric of the
Jesuits and the active zeal of the Bavarian minister, represented this
dreaded alliance between the Huguenots and the Swedes as an undoubted
fact, and filled the timid mind of Louis with the most alarming fears.
Not merely chimerical politicians, but many of the best informed Roman
Catholics, fully believed that the king was on the point of breaking
into the heart of France, to make common cause with the Huguenots, and
to overturn the Catholic religion within the kingdom. Fanatical
zealots already saw him, with his army, crossing the Alps, and
dethroning the Vice-regent of Christ in Italy. Such reports no doubt
soon refute themselves; yet it cannot be denied that Gustavus, by his
manoeuvres on the Rhine, gave a dangerous handle to the malice of his
enemies, and in some measure justified the suspicion that he directed
his arms, not so much against the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria, as
against the Roman Catholic religion itself.
The general clamor of discontent which the Jesuits raised in all the
Catholic courts against the alliance between France and the enemy of
the church, at last compelled Cardinal Richelieu to take a decisive
step for the security of his religion, and at once to convince the
Roman Catholic world of the zeal of France, and of the selfish policy
of the ecclesiastical states of Germany. Convinced that the views of
the King of Sweden, like his own, aimed solely at the humiliation of
the power of Austria, he hesitated not to promise to the princes of
the League, on the part of Sweden, a complete neutrality, immediately
they abandoned their alliance with the Emperor and withdrew their
troops. Whatever the resolution these princes should adopt, Richelieu
would equally attain his object. By their separation from the Austrian
interest, Ferdinand would be exposed to the combined attack of France
and Sweden; and Gustavus Adolphus, freed from his other enemies in
Germany, would be able to direct his undivided force against the
hereditary dominions of Austria. In that event, the fall of Austria
was inevitable, and this great object of Richelieu's policy would be
gained without injury to the church. If, on the other hand, the
princes of the League persisted in their opposition and adhered to the
Austrian alliance, the result would indeed be more doubtful, but still
France would have sufficiently proved to all Europe the sincerity of
her attachment to the Catholic cause, and performed her duty as a
member of the Roman Church. The princes of the League would then
appear the sole authors of those evils, which the continuance of the
war would unavoidably bring upon the Roman Catholics of Germany; they
alone, by their wilful and obstinate adherence to the Emperor, would
frustrate the measures employed for their protection, involve the
church in danger, and themselves in ruin.
Richelieu pursued this plan with greater zeal, the more he was
embarrassed by the repeated demands of the Elector of Bavaria for
assistance from France; for this prince, as already stated, when he
first began to entertain suspicion of the Emperor, entered immediately
into a secret alliance with France, by which, in the event of any
change in the Emperor's sentiments, he hoped to secure the possession
of the Palatinate. But though the origin of the treaty clearly showed
against what enemy it was directed, Maximilian now thought proper to
make use of it against the King of Sweden, and did not hesitate to
demand from France that assistance against her ally which she had
simply promised against Austria. Richelieu, embarrassed by this
conflicting alliance with two hostile powers, had no resource left but
to endeavor to put a speedy termination to their hostilities; and as
little inclined to sacrifice Bavaria, as he was disabled, by his
treaty with Sweden, from assisting it, he set himself, with all
diligence, to bring about a neutrality as the only means of fulfilling
his obligations to both. For this purpose, the Marquis of Breze was
sent, as his plenipotentiary, to the King of Sweden at Mentz, to learn
his sentiments on this point, and to procure from him favorable
conditions for the allied princes. But if Louis XIII. had powerful
motives for wishing for this neutrality, Gustavus Adolphus had as
grave reasons for desiring the contrary. Convinced by numerous proofs
that the hatred of the princes of the League to the Protestant
religion was invincible, their aversion to the foreign power of the
Swedes inextinguishable, and their attachment to the House of Austria
irrevocable, he apprehended less danger from their open hostility than
from a neutrality which was so little in unison with their real
inclinations; and, moreover, as he was constrained to carry on the war
in Germany at the expense of the enemy, he manifestly sustained great
loss if he diminished their number without increasing that of his
friends. It was not surprising, therefore, if Gustavus evinced little
inclination to purchase the neutrality of the League, by which he was
likely to gain so little, at the expense of the advantages he had
The conditions, accordingly, upon which he offered to adopt the
neutrality toward Bavaria were severe, and suited to these views. He
required of the whole League a full and entire cessation from all
hostilities; the recall of their troops from the imperial army, from
the conquered towns, and from all the Protestant countries; the
reduction of their military force; the exclusion of the imperial
armies from their territories, and from supplies either of men,
provisions, or ammunition. Hard as the conditions were, which the
victor thus imposed upon the vanquished, the French mediator flattered
himself he should be able to induce the Elector of Bavaria to accept
them. In order to give time for an accommodation, Gustavus had agreed
to a cessation of hostilities for a fortnight. But at the very time
when this monarch was receiving from the French agents repeated
assurances of the favorable progress of the negotiation, an
intercepted letter from the Elector to Pappenheim, the imperial
general in Westphalia, revealed the perfidy of that prince, as having
no other object in view by the whole negotiation than to gain time for
his measures of defence. Far from intending to fetter his military
operations by a truce with Sweden, the artful prince hastened his
preparations, and employed the leisure which his enemy afforded him,
in making the most active dispositions for resistance. The negotiation
accordingly failed, and served only to increase the animosity of the
Bavarians and the Swedes.
Tilly's augmented force, with which he threatened to overrun
Franconia, urgently required the king's presence in that circle; but
it was necessary to expel previously the Spaniards from the Rhine, and
to cut off their means of invading Germany from the Netherlands. With
this view, Gustavus Adolphus had made an offer of neutrality to the
Elector of Treves, Philip von Zeltern, on condition that the fortress
of Hermanstein should be delivered up to him, and a free passage
granted to his troops through Coblentz. But unwillingly as the Elector
had beheld the Spaniards within his territories, he was still less
disposed to commit his estates to the suspicious protection of a
heretic, and to make the Swedish conqueror master of his destinies.
Too weak to maintain his independence between two such powerful
competitors, he took refuge in the protection of France. With his
usual prudence, Richelieu profited by the embarrassments of this
prince to augment the power of France, and to gain for her an
important ally on the German frontier. A numerous French army was
dispatched to protect the territory of Treves, and a French garrison
was received into Ehrenbreitstein. But the object which had moved the
Elector to this bold step was not completely gained, for the offended
pride of Gustavus Adolphus was not appeased till he had obtained a
free passage for his troops through Treves.
Pending these negotiations with Treves and France, the king's generals
had entirely cleared the territory of Mentz of the Spanish garrisons,
and Gustavus himself completed the conquest of this district by the
capture of Kreutznach. To protect these conquests, the chancellor
Oxenstiern was left with a division of the army upon the Middle Rhine,
while the main body, under the king himself, began its march against
the enemy in Franconia.
The possession of this circle had, in the meantime, been disputed with
variable success between Count Tilly and the Swedish General Horn,
whom Gustavus had left there with 8,000 men; and the Bishopric of
Bamberg, in particular, was at once the prize and the scene of their
struggle. Called away to the Rhine by his other projects, the king had
left to his general the chastisement of the bishop, whose perfidy had
excited his indignation, and the activity of Horn justified the
choice. In a short time, he subdued the greater part of the bishopric;
and the capital itself, abandoned by its imperial garrison, was
carried by storm. The banished bishop urgently demanded assistance
from the Elector of Bavaria, who was at length persuaded to put an end
to Tilly's inactivity. Fully empowered by his master's order to
restore the bishop to his possessions, this general collected his
troops, who were scattered over the Upper Palatinate, and with an army
of 20,000 men advanced upon Bamberg. Firmly resolved to maintain his
conquest even against this overwhelming force, Horn awaited the enemy
within the walls of Bamberg; but was obliged to yield to the vanguard
of Tilly what he had thought to be able to dispute with his whole
army. A panic which suddenly seized his troops, and which no presence
of mind of their general could check, opened the gates to the enemy,
and it was with difficulty that the troops, baggage, and artillery
were saved. The reconquest of Bamberg was the fruit of this victory;
but Tilly, with all his activity, was unable to overtake the Swedish
general, who retired in good order behind the Main. The king's
appearance in Franconia, and his junction with Gustavus Horn at
Kitzingen, put a stop to Tilly's conquests, and compelled him to
provide for his own safety by a rapid retreat.
The king made a general review of his troops at Aschaffenburg. After
his junction with Gustavus Horn, Banner, and Duke William of Weimar,
they amounted to nearly 40,000 men. His progress through Franconia was
uninterrupted; for Tilly, far too weak to encounter an enemy so
superior in numbers, had retreated, by rapid marches, toward the
Danube. Bohemia and Bavaria were now equally near to the king, and,
uncertain whither his victorious course might be directed, Maximilian
could form no immediate resolution. The choice, of the king, and the
fate of both provinces, now depended on the road that should be left
open to Count Tilly. It was dangerous, during the approach of so
formidable an enemy, to leave Bavaria undefended, in order to protect
Austria; still more dangerous, by receiving Tilly into Bavaria, to
draw thither the enemy also, and to render it the seat of a
destructive war. The cares of the sovereign finally overcame the
scruples of the statesman, and Tilly received orders, at all hazards,
to cover the frontiers of Bavaria with his army.
Nuremberg received with triumphant joy the protector of the Protestant
religion and German freedom, and the enthusiasm of the citizens
expressed itself on his arrival in loud transports of admiration and
joy. Even Gustavus could not contain his astonishment, to see himself
in this city, which was the very centre of Germany, where he had never
expected to be able to penetrate. The noble appearance of his person
completed the impression produced by his glorious exploits, and the
condescension with which he received the congratulations of this free
city won all hearts. He now confirmed the alliance he had concluded
with it on the shores of the Baltic, and excited the citizens to
zealous activity and fraternal unity against the common enemy. After a
short stay in Nuremberg, he followed his army to the Danube, and
appeared unexpectedly before the frontier town of Donauwerth. A
numerous Bavarian garrison defended the place; and their commander,
Rodolph Maximilian, Duke of Saxe Lauenburg, showed at first a resolute
determination to defend it till the arrival of Tilly. But the vigor
with which Gustavus Adolphus prosecuted the siege soon compelled him
to take measures for a speedy and secure retreat, which amidst a
tremendous fire from the Swedish artillery he successfully executed.
The conquest of Donauwerth opened to the king the further side of the
Danube, and now the small river Lech alone separated him from Bavaria.
The immediate danger of his dominions aroused all Maximilian's
activity; and however little he had hitherto disturbed the enemy's
progress to his frontier, he now determined to dispute as resolutely
the remainder of their course. On the opposite bank of the Lech, near
the small town of Rain, Tilly occupied a strongly fortified camp,
which, surrounded by three rivers, bade defiance to all attack. All
the bridges over the Lech were destroyed; the whole course of the
stream protected by strong garrisons as far as Augsburg; and that town
itself, which had long betrayed its impatience to follow the example
of Nuremberg and Frankfort, secured by a Bavarian garrison, and the
disarming of its inhabitants. The Elector himself, with all the troops
he could collect, threw himself into Tilly's camp, as if all his hopes
centred on this single point, and here the good fortune of the Swedes
was to suffer shipwreck forever.
Gustavus Adolphus, after subduing the whole territory of Augsburg, on
his own side of the river, and opening to his troops a rich supply of
necessaries from that quarter, soon appeared on the bank opposite the
Bavarian intrenchments. It was now the month of March, when the river,
swollen by frequent rains and the melting of the snow from the
mountains of the Tyrol, flowed full and rapid between its steep banks.
Its boiling current threatened the rash assailants with certain
destruction, while from the opposite side the enemy's cannon showed
their murderous mouths. If, in despite of the fury both of fire and
water, they should accomplish this almost impossible passage, a fresh
and vigorous enemy awaited the exhausted troops in an impregnable
camp; and when they needed repose and refreshment they must prepare
for battle. With exhausted powers they must ascend the hostile
intrenchments, whose strength seemed to bid defiance to every assault.
A defeat sustained upon this shore would be attended with inevitable
destruction, since the same stream which impeded their advance would
also cut off their retreat, if fortune should abandon them.
The Swedish council of war, which the king now assembled, strongly
urged upon him all these considerations, in order to deter him from
this dangerous undertaking. The most intrepid were appalled, and a
troop of honorable warriors, who had grown gray in the field, did not
hesitate to express their alarm. But the king's resolution was fixed.
"What!" said he to Gustavus Horn, who spoke for the rest, "have we
crossed the Baltic, and so many great rivers of Germany, and shall we
now be checked by a brook like the Lech?" Gustavus had already, at a