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Title: History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 02
Author: Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 02" ***

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By Thomas Carlyle

Volume II. (of XXI.)



The Brandenburg Countries, till they become related to the Hohenzollern
Family which now rules there, have no History that has proved memorable
to mankind. There has indeed been a good deal written under that
title; but there is by no means much known, and of that again there is
alarmingly little that is worth knowing or remembering.

Pytheas, the Marseilles Travelling Commissioner, looking out for new
channels of trade, somewhat above 2,000 years ago, saw the country
actually lying there; sailed past it, occasionally landing; and
made report to such Marseillese "Chamber of Commerce" as there then
was:--report now lost, all to a few indistinct and insignificant
fractions. [_Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions,_ t. xix. 46,
xxxvii. 439, &c.] This was "about the year 327 before Christ," while
Alexander of Macedon was busy conquering India. Beyond question,
Pytheas, the first WRITING or civilized creature that ever saw Germany,
gazed with his Greek eyes, and occasionally landed, striving to speak
and inquire, upon those old Baltic Coasts, north border of the now
Prussian Kingdom; and reported of it to mankind we know not what. Which
brings home to us the fact that it existed, but almost nothing more:
A Country of lakes and woods, of marshy jungles, sandy wildernesses;
inhabited by bears, otters, bisons, wolves, wild swine, and certain
shaggy Germans of the Suevic type, as good as inarticulate to Pytheas.
After which all direct notice of it ceases for above three hundred
years. We can hope only that the jungles were getting cleared a little,
and the wild creatures hunted down; that the Germans were increasing
in number, and becoming a thought less shaggy. These latter, tall Suevi
Semnones, men of blond stern aspect _(oculi truces coerulei)_ and
great strength of bone, were known to possess a formidable talent for
fighting: [Tacitus, _De Moribus Germanorum,_ c. 45.] Drusus Germanicus,
it has been guessed, did not like to appear personally among them: some
"gigantic woman prophesying to him across the Elbe" that it might be
dangerous, Drusus contented himself with erecting some triumphal pillar
on his own safe side of the Elbe, to say that they were conquered.

In the Fourth Century of our era, when the German populations, on
impulse of certain "Huns expelled from the Chinese frontier," or for
other reasons valid to themselves, began flowing universally southward,
to take possession of the rich Roman world, and so continued flowing for
two centuries more; the old German frontiers generally, and especially
those Northern Baltic countries, were left comparatively vacant; so that
new immigrating populations from the East, all of Sclavic origin, easily
obtained footing and supremacy there. In the Northern parts, these
immigrating Sclaves were of the kind called Vandals, or Wends: they
spread themselves as far west as Hamburg and the Ocean, south also
far over the Elbe in some quarters; while other kinds of Sclaves
were equally busy elsewhere. With what difficulty in settling the new
boundaries, and what inexhaustible funds of quarrel thereon, is still
visible to every one, though no Historian was there to say the least
word of it. "All of Sclavic origin;" but who knows of how many kinds:
Wends here in the North, through the Lausitz (Lusatia) and as far as
Thuringen; not to speak of Polacks, Bohemian Czechs, Huns, Bulgars, and
the other dim nomenclatures, on the Eastern frontier. Five hundred
years of violent unrecorded fighting, abstruse quarrel with their new
neighbors in settling the marches. Many names of towns in Germany ending
in ITZ (Meuselwitz, Mollwitz), or bearing the express epithet _Windisch_
(Wendish), still give indication of those old sad circumstances; as
does the word SLAVE, in all our Western languages, meaning captured
SCLAVONIAN. What long-drawn echo of bitter rage and hate lies in that
small etymology!

These things were; but they have no History: why should they have any?
Enough that in those Baltic regions, there are for the time (Year 600,
and till long after Charlemagne is out) Sclaves in place of Suevi or of
Holstein Saxons and Angli; that it is now shaggy Wends who have the task
of taming the jungles, and keeping down the otters and wolves. Wends
latterly in a waning condition, much beaten upon by Charlemagne and
others; but never yet beaten out. And so it has to last, century after
century; Wends, wolves, wild swine, all alike dumb to us. Dumb, or
sounding only one huge unutterable message (seemingly of tragic import),
like the voice of their old Forests, of their old Baltic Seas:--perhaps
more edifying to us SO. Here at last is a definite date and event:--

"A.D. 928, Henry the Fowler, marching across the frozen bogs, took
BRANNIBOR, a chief fortress of the Wends;" [Kohler, _Reichs-Historie_
(Frankfurth und Leipzig, 1737), p. 63. Michaelis, _Chur-und Furstlichen
Hauser in Deutschland_ (Lemgo, 1759, 1760, 1785), i. 255.]--first
mention in human speech of the place now called Brandenburg: Bor or
"Burg of the Brenns" (if there ever was any TRIBE of Brenns,--BRENNUS,
there as elsewhere, being name for KING or Leader); "Burg of the Woods,"
say others,--who as little know. Probably, at that time, a town of clay
huts, with dit&h and palisaded sod-wall round it; certainly "a chief
fortress of the Wends,"--who must have been a good deal surprised at
sight of Henry on the rimy winter morning near a thousand years ago.

This is the grand old Henry, called, "the Fowler" _(Heinrich
der Vogler),_ because he was in his _Vogelheerde_ (Falconry or
Hawk-establishment, seeing his Hawks fly) in the upland Hartz Country,
when messengers came to tell him that the German Nation, through its
Princes and Authorities assembled at Fritzlar, had made him King; and
that he would have dreadful work henceforth. Which he undertook; and
also did,--this of Brannibor only one small item of it,--warring right
manfully all his days against Chaos in that country, no rest for him
thenceforth till he died. The beginning of German Kings; the first,
or essentially the first sovereign of united Germany,--Charlemagne's
posterity to the last bastard having died out, and only Anarchy, Italian
and other, being now the alternative.

"A very high King," says one whose Note-books I have got, "an
authentically noble human figure, visible still in clear outline in the
gray dawn of Modern History. The Father of whatever good has since been
in Germany. He subdued his DUKES, Schwaben, Baiern (Swabia, Bavaria) and
others, who were getting too HEREDITARY, and inclined to disobedience.
He managed to get back Lorraine; made TRUCE with the Hungarians, who
were excessively invasive at that time. Truce with the Hungarians;
and then, having gathered strength, made dreadful beating of them; two
beatings,--one to each half, for the invasive Savagery had split itself,
for better chance of plunder; first beating was at Sondershausen, second
was at Merseburg, Year 933;--which settled them considerably. Another
beating from Henry's son, and they never came back. Beat Wends, before
this,--'Brannibor through frozen bogs' five years ago. Beat, Sclavic
Meisseners (Misnians); Bohehemian Czechs, and took Prag; Wends again,
with huge slaughter; then Danes, and made 'King Worm tributary' (King
_Gorm the Hard,_ our KNUT'S or Canute's great-grand-father, Year
931);--last of all, those invasive Hungarians as above. Had sent
the Hungarians, when they demanded tribute or BLACK-MAIL of him
as heretofore, Truce being now out,--a mangy hound: There is your
black-mail, Sirs; make much of that!

"He had 'the image of St. Michael painted on his standard;' contrary to
wont. He makes, or RE-makes, Markgrafs (Wardens of the Marches), to be
under his Dukes,--and not too HEREDITARY. Who his Markgraves were? Dim
History counts them to the number of six; [Kohler, _Reich-Historie,_ p.
66. This is by no means Kohler's chief Book; but this too is good, and
does, in a solid effective way, what it attempts. He seems to me by far
the best Historical Genius the Germans have yet, produced, though I do
not find much mention of him in their Literary Histories and Catalogues.
A man of ample learning, and also of strong cheerful human sense and
human honesty; whom it is thrice-pleasant, to meet with in those ghastly
solitudes, populous chiefly with doleful creatures.] which take in their

"1. SLESWIG, looking over into the Scandinavian countries, and the
Norse Sea-kings. This Markgraviate did not last long under that title. I
guess, it, became _Stade-and-Ditmarsch_ afterwards.

"2. SOLTWEDEL,--which grows to be Markgraviate of BRANDENBURG by and by.
Soltwedel, now called Salzwedel, an old Town still extant, sixty miles
to west and north of Brandenburg, short way south of the Elbe, was as
yet headquarters of this second Markgraf; and any Warden we have at
Brandenburg is only a deputy of him or some other.

"3. MEISSEN (which we call Misnia), a country at that time still full of

"4. LAUSITZ, also a very Wendish country (called in English maps
LUSATIA,--which is its name in Monk-Latin, not now a spoken language).
Did not long continue a Markgraviate; fell to Meissen (Saxony), fell to
Brandenburg, Bohemia, Austria, and had many tos and fros. Is now (since
the Thirty-Years-War time) mostly Saxon again.

"5. AUSTRIA (OEsterreich, Eastern-Kingdom, EASTERNREY as we might say);
to look after the Hungarians, and their valuable claims to black-mail.

"6. ANTWERP ('At-the-Wharf,' 'On-t'-Wharf,' so to speak), against the
French; which function soon fell obsolete.

"These were Henry's six Markgraviates (as my best authority enumerates
them); and in this way he had militia captains ranked all round his
borders, against the intrusive Sclavic element. He fortified
Towns; all Towns are to be walled and warded,--to be BURGS in fact; and
the inhabitants BURGhers, or men capable of defending Burgs. Everywhere
the ninth man is to serve as soldier in his Town; other eight in the
country are to feed and support him: _Heergeruthe_ (War-tackle, what is
called HERIOT in our old Books) descends to the eldest son of a fighting
man who had served, as with us. 'All robbers are made soldiers' (unless
they prefer hanging); and WEAPON-SHOWS and drill are kept up. This is a
man who will make some impression upon Anarchy, and its Wends and Huns.
His standard was St. Michael, as we have seen,--WHOSE sword is derived
from a very high quarter! A pious man;--founded Quedlinburg Abbey, and
much else in that kind, having a pious Wife withal, Mechtildis, who
took the main hand in that of Quedlinburg; whose LIFE is in Leibnitz,
[Leibnitz, _Scriptores Rerum Brunswicensium,_ &c. (Hanover, 1707), i.
196.] not the legiblest of Books.--On the whole, a right gallant King
and 'Fowler.' Died, A.D. 936 (at Memmleben, a Monastery on the Unstrut,
not far from Schulpforte), age sixty; had reigned only seventeen years,
and done so much. Lies buried in Quedlinburg Abbey:--any Tomb? I know
no LIFE of him but GUNDLING'S, which is an extremely inextricable Piece,
and requires mainly to be forgotten.--Hail, brave Henry: across the Nine
dim Centuries, we salute thee, still visible as a valiant Son of Cosmos
and Son of Heaven, beneficently sent us; as a man who did in grim
earnest 'serve God' in his day, and whose works accordingly bear fruit
to our day, and to all days!"--

So far my rough Note-books; which require again to be shut for the
present, not to abuse the reader's patience, or lead him from his road.

This of Markgrafs (GRAFS of the Marches, MARKED Places, or Boundaries)
was a natural invention in that state of circumstances. It did not
quite originate with Henry; but was much perfected by him, he first
recognizing how essential it was. On all frontiers he had his GRAF
(Count, REEVE, G'REEVE, whom some think to be only GRAU, Gray, or
SENIOR, the hardiest, wisest steel-GRAY man he could discover) stationed
on the MARCK, strenuously doing watch and ward there: the post of
difficulty, of peril, and naturally of honor too, nothing of a sinecure
by any means. Which post, like every other, always had a tendency to
become hereditary, if the kindred did not fail in fit men. And hence
have come the innumerable Markgraves, Marquises, and such like, of
modern times: titles now become chimerical, and more or less mendacious,
as most of our titles are,--like so many BURGS changed into "Boroughs,"
and even into "Rotten Boroughs," with Defensive BURGhers of the known
sort: very mournful to discover. Once Norroy was not all pasteboard! At
the heart of that huge whirlwind of his, with its dusty heraldries, and
phantasmal nomenclatures now become mendacious, there lay, at first,
always an earnest human fact. Henry the Fowler was so happy as to have
the fact without any mixture of mendacity: we are in the sad reverse
case; reverse case not yet altogether COMPLETE, but daily becoming
so,--one of the saddest and strangest ever heard of, if we thought of
it!--But to go on with business.

Markgraviates there continued to be ever after,--Six in Henry's
time:--but as to the number, place, arrangement of them, all this varied
according to circumstances outward and inward, chiefly according to the
regress or the reintrusion of the circumambient hostile populations; and
underwent many changes. The sea-wall you build, and what main floodgates
you establish in it, will depend on the state of the outer sea. Markgraf
of SLESWIG grows into Markgraf of DITMARSCH and STADE; retiring over the
Elbe, if Norse Piracy get very triumphant. ANTWERP falls obsolete; so
does MEISSEN by and by. LAUSITZ and SALZWEDEL, in the third century
hence, shrink both into BRANDENBURG; which was long only a subaltern
station, managed by deputy from one or other of these. A Markgraf that
prospered in repelling of his Wends and Huns had evidently room to
spread himself, and could become very great, and produce change in
boundaries: observe what OESTERREICH (Austria) grew to, and what
BRANDENBURG; MEISSEN too, which became modern Saxony, a state once
greater than it now is.

In old Books are Lists of the primitive Markgraves of Brandenburg, from
Henry's time downward; two sets, "Markgraves of the Witekind race," and
of another: [Hubner, _Genealogische Tabellen_ (Leipzig, 1725-1728),
i. 172, 173. A Book of rare excellence in its kind.] but they are
altogether uncertain, a shadowy intermittent set of Markgraves, both the
Witekind set and the Non-Witekind; and truly, for a couple of centuries,
seem none of them to have been other than subaltern Deputies, belonging
mostly to LAUSITZ or SALZWEDEL; of whom therefore we can say nothing
here, but must leave the first two hundred years in their natural gray
state,--perhaps sufficiently conceivable by the reader.

But thus, at any rate, was Brandenburg (BOT or Burg of the BRENNS,
whatever these are) first discovered to Christendom, and added to the
firm land of articulate History: a feat worth putting on record. Done by
Henry the Fowler, in the Year of Grace 928,--while (among other things
noticeable in this world) our Knut's great-grandfather, GORMO DURUS,
"Henry's Tributary," was still King of Denmark; when Harald BLUETOOTH
(Blaatand) was still a young fellow, with his teeth of the natural
color; and Swen with the Forked Beard (TVAESKAEG, Double-beard,
"TWA-SHAG") was not born; and the Monks of Ely had not yet (by about a
hundred years) begun that singing, (Without note or comment, in the old,
BOOK OF ELY date before the Conquest) is preserved this stave;--giving
picture, if we consider it, of the Fen Country all a lake (as it was for
half the year, till drained, six centuries after), with Ely Monastery
rising like an island in the distance; and the music of its nones or
vespers sounding soft and far over the solitude, eight hundred years ago
and more.

     Merie sungen the Muneches binnen Ely
     Tha Cnut ching rew therby:
     Roweth enites near the lant,
     And here we thes Muneches saeng.

     _Merry_ (genially) _sang the Monks in Ely
     As Knut King rowed_ (rew) _there-by:
     Row, fellows_ (knights), _near the land,
     And hear we these Monks's song._

See Bentham's _History of Ely_ (Cambridge, 1771), p, 94.] nor the tide
that refusal to retire, on behalf of this Knut, in our English part of
his dominions.

That Henry appointed due Wardenship in Brannibor was in the common
course. Sure enough, some Markgraf must take charge of Brannibor,--he
of the Lausitz eastward, for example, or he of Salzwedel westward:--that
Brannibor, in time, will itself be found the fit place, and have its
own Markgraf of Brandenburg; this, and what in the next nine centuries
Brandenburg will grow to, Henry is far from surmising. Brandenburg
is fairly captured across the frozen bogs, and has got a warden and
ninth-man garrison settled in it: Brandenburg, like other things, will
grow to what it can.

Henry's son and successor, if not himself, is reckoned to have founded
the Cathedral and Bishopric of Brandenburg,--his Clergy and he always
longing much for the conversion of these Wends and Huns; which indeed
was, as the like still is, the one thing needful to rugged heathens of
that kind.


Five hundred miles, and more, to the east of Brandenburg, lies a Country
then as now called PREUSSEN (Prussia Proper), inhabited by Heathens,
where also endeavors at conversion are-going on, though without success
hitherto. Upon which we are now called to cast a glance.

It is a moory flat country, full of lakes and woods, like Brandenburg;
spreading out into grassy expanses, and bosky wildernesses humming with
bees; plenty of bog in it, but plenty also of alluvial mud; sand too,
but by no means so high a ratio of it as in Brandenburg; tracts of
Preussen are luxuriantly grassy, frugiferous, apt for the plough; and
the soil generally is reckoned fertile, though lying so far northward.
Part of the great plain or flat which stretches, sloping insensibly,
continuously, in vast expanse, from the Silesian Mountains to the
amber-regions of the Baltic; Preussen is the seaward, more alluvial
part of this,--extending west and east, on both sides of the Weichsel
(VISTULA), from the regions of the Oder river to the main stream of the
Memel. BORDERING-ON-RUSSIA its name signifies: BOR-RUSSIA, B'russia,
Prussia; or--some say it was only on a certain inconsiderable river
in those parts, river REUSSEN, that it "bordered" and not on the great
Country, or any part of it, which now in our days is conspicuously its
next neighbor. Who knows?--

In Henry the Fowler's time, and long afterwards, Preussen was a
vehemently Heathen country; the natives a Miscellany of rough Serbic
Wends, Letts, Swedish Goths, or Dryasdust knows not what;--very probably
a sprinkling of Swedish Goths, from old time, chiefly along the coasts.
Dryasdust knows only that these PREUSSEN were a strong-boned, iracund
herdsman-and-fisher people; highly averse to be interfered with, in
their religion especially. Famous otherwise, through all the centuries,
for the AMBER they had been used to fish, and sell in foreign parts.

Amber, science declares, is a kind of petrified resin, distilled by
pines that were dead before the days of Adam; which is now thrown up,
in stormy weather, on that remote coast, and is there fished out by the
amphibious people,--who can likewise get it by running mine-shafts into
the sandhills on their coast;--by whom it is sold into the uttermost
parts of the Earth, Arabia and beyond, from a very early period of
time. No doubt Pytheas had his eye upon this valuable product, when he
ventured into survey of those regions,--which are still the great
mother of amber in our world. By their amber-fishery, with the aid of
dairy-produce and plenty of beef and leather, these Heathen Preussen,
of uncertain miscellaneous breed, contrived to support existence in a
substantial manner; they figure to us as an inarticulate, heavy-footed,
rather iracund people. Their knowledge of Christianity was trifling,
their aversion to knowing anything of it was great.

As Poland, and the neighbors to the south, were already Christian,
and even the Bohemian Czechs were mostly Converted, pious wishes as to
Preussen, we may fancy, were a constant feeling: but no effort hitherto,
if efforts were made, had come to anything. Let some daring missionary
go to preach in that country, his reception is of the worst, or perhaps
he is met on the frontier with menaces, and forbidden to preach at all;
except sorrow and lost labor, nothing has yet proved attainable. It was
very dangerous to go;--and with what likelihood of speeding? Efforts, we
may suppose, are rare; but the pious wish being continual and universal,
efforts can never altogether cease. From Henry the Fowler's capture of
Brannibor, count seventy years, we find Henry's great-grandson reigning
as Elective Kaiser,--Otto III., last of the direct "Saxon Kaisers," Otto
Wonder of the World;--and alongside of Otto's great transactions, which
were once called MIRABILIA MUNDI and are now fallen so extinct, there
is the following small transaction, a new attempt to preach in Preussen,
going on, which, contrariwise, is still worth taking notice of.

About the year 997 or 996, Adalbert, Bishop of Prag, a very zealous,
most devout man, but evidently of hot temper, and liable to get into
quarrels, had determined, after many painful experiences of the perverse
ungovernable nature of corrupt mankind, to give up his nominally
Christian flock altogether; to shake the dust off his feet against Prag,
and devote himself to converting those Prussian Heathen, who, across
the frontiers, were living in such savagery, and express bondage to the
Devil, worshipping mere stocks and stones. In this enterprise he was
encouraged by the Christian potentates who lay contiguous; especially by
the Duke of Poland, to whom such next-neighbors, for all reasons, were
an eye-sorrow.

Adalbert went, accordingly, with staff and scrip, two monks
attending him, into that dangerous country: not in fear, he; a devout
high-tempered man, verging now on fifty, his hair getting gray, and
face marred with innumerable troubles and provocations of past time. He
preached zealously, almost fiercely,--though chiefly with his eyes and
gestures, I should think, having no command of the language. At
Dantzig, among the Swedish-Goth kind of Heathen, he had some success,
or affluence of attendance; not elsewhere that we hear of. In the Pillau
region, for example, where he next landed, an amphibious Heathen lout
hit him heavily across the shoulders with the flat of his oar; sent
the poor Preacher to the ground, face foremost, and suddenly ended
his salutary discourse for that time. However, he pressed forward,
regardless of results, preaching the Evangel to all creatures who were
willing or unwilling;--and pressed at last into the Sacred Circuit, the
ROMOVA, or Place of Oak-trees, and of Wooden or Stone Idols (Bangputtis,
Patkullos, and I know not what diabolic dumb Blocks), which it was
death to enter. The Heathen Priests, as we may conceive it, rushed out;
beckoned him, with loud unintelligible bullyings and fierce gestures, to
begone; hustled, shook him, shoved him, as he did not go; then took to
confused striking, struck finally a death-stroke on the head of poor
Adalbert: so that "he stretched out both his arms ('Jesus, receive me
thou!') and fell with his face to the ground, and lay dead there,--in
the form of a crucifix," say his Biographers: only the attendant monks
escaping to tell.

Attendant monks, or Adalbert, had known nothing of their being on
forbidden ground. Their accounts of the phenomenon accordingly leave
it only half explained: How he was surprised by armed Heathen
Devil's-servants in his sleep; was violently set upon, and his
"beautiful bowels (_pulchra viscera_) were run through with seven
spears:" but this of the ROMOVA, or Sacred Bangputtis Church of
Oak-trees, perhaps chief ROMOVA of the Country, rashly intruded into,
with consequent strokes, and fall in the form of a crucifix, appears
now to be the intelligible account. [Baillet, _Vies des Saints_ (Paris,
1739), iii. 722. Bollandus, _Acta Sanetorum, Aprilis tom. iii (DIE 23;
in Edition venetiis,_ 1738), pp. 174-205. Voigt, _Geschichte Preussens_
(Konigsberg, 1827-1839), i. 266-270.] We will take it for the real
manner of Adalbert's exit;--no doubt of the essential transaction, or
that it was a very flaming one on both sides. The date given is 23d
April, 997; date famous in the Romish Calendar since.

He was a Czech by birth, son of a Heathen Bohemian man of rank: his name
(Adalbert, A'lbert, BRIGHT-in-Nobleness) he got "at Magdeburg, whither
he had gone to study" and seek baptism; where, as generally elsewhere,
his fervent devout ways were admirable to his fellow-creatures. A "man
of genius," we may well say: one of Heaven's bright souls, born into the
muddy darkness of this world;--laid hold of by a transcendent Message,
in the due transcendent degree. He entered Prag, as Bishop, not in
a carriage and six, but "walking barefoot;" his contempt for earthly
shadows being always extreme. Accordingly, his quarrels with the
SOECULUM were constant and endless; his wanderings up and down, and
vehement arguings, in this world, to little visible effect, lasted
all his days. We can perceive he was short-tempered, thin of skin: a
violently sensitive man. For example, once in the Bohemian solitudes,
on a summer afternoon, in one of his thousand-fold pilgrimings and
wayfarings, he had lain down to rest, his one or two monks and he,
in some still glade, "with a stone for his pillow" (as was always his
custom even in Prag), and had fallen sound asleep. A Bohemian shepherd
chanced to pass that way, warbling something on his pipe, as he wended
towards looking after his flock. Seeing the sleepers on their stone
pillows, the thoughtless Czech mischievously blew louder,--started
Adalbert broad awake upon him; who, in the fury of the first moment,
shrieked: "Deafness on thee! Man cruel to the human sense of hearing!"
or words to that effect. Which curse, like the most of Adalbert's, was
punctually fulfilled: the amazed Czech stood deaf as a post, and went
about so all his days after; nay, for long centuries (perhaps down to
the present time, in remote parts), no Czech blows into his pipe in the
woodlands, without certain precautions, and preliminary fuglings of
a devotional nature. [Bollandus, ubi supra.]--From which miracle, as
indeed from many other indications, I infer an irritable nervous-system
in poor Adalbert; and find this death in the Romova was probably a
furious mixture of Earth and Heaven.

At all events, he lies there, beautiful though bloody, "in the form of
a crucifix;" zealous Adalbert, the hot spirit of him now at last
cold;--and has clapt his mark upon the Heathen country, protesting to
the last. This was in the year 997, think the best @@@@@ Antiquaries. It
happened at a place called FISCHHAUSEN, near Pillau, say they; on that,
narrow strip of country which lies between the Baltic and the Frische
Haf (immense Lake, WASH, as we should say, or leakage of shallow
water, one of two such, which the Baltic has spilt out of it in that
quarter),--near the Fort and Haven of Pillau; where there has been much
stir since; where Napoleon, for one thing, had some tough fighting,
prior to the Treaty of Tilsit, fifty years ago. The place--or if not
this place, then Gnesen in Poland, the final burial-place of Adalbert,
which is better known--has ever since had a kind of sacredness; better
or worse expressed by mankind: in the form of canonization, endless
pilgrimages, rumored miracles, and such like. For shortly afterwards,
the neighboring Potentate, Boleslaus Duke of Poland, heart-struck at the
event, drew sword on these Heathens, and having (if I remember) gained
some victory, bargained to have the Body of Adalbert delivered to him
at its weight in gold. Body, all cut in pieces, and nailed to poles, had
long ignominiously withered in the wind; perhaps it was now only buried
overnight for the nonce? Being dug up, or being cut down, and put into
the balance, it weighed--less than was expected. It was as light as
gossamer, said pious rumor, Had such an excellent odor too;--and came
for a mere nothing of gold! This was Adalbert's first miracle after
death; in life he had done many hundreds of them, and has done millions
since,--chiefly upon paralytic nervous-systems, and the element of pious
rumor;--which any Devil's-Advocate then extant may explain if he can!
Kaiser Otto, Wonder of the World, who had known St. Adalbert in life,
and much honored him, "made a pilgrimage to his tomb at Gnesen in the
year 1000;"--and knelt there, we may believe, with thoughts wondrous
enough, great and sad enough.

There is no hope of converting Preussen, then? It will never leave off
its dire worship of Satan, then? Say not, Never; that is a weak word.
St. Adalbert has stamped his life upon it, in the form of a crucifix, in
lasting protest against that.


Meanwhile our first enigmatic set of Markgraves, or Deputy-Markgraves,
at Brandenburg, are likewise faring ill. Whoever these valiant
steel-gray gentlemen might be (which Dryasdust does not the least know,
and only makes you more uncertain the more he pretends to tell), one
thing is very evident, they had no peaceable possession of the place,
nor for above a hundred years, a constant one on any terms. The Wends
were highly disinclined to conversion and obedience: once and again, and
still again, they burst up; got temporary hold of Brandenburg, hoping to
keep it; and did frightful heterodoxies there. So that to our distressed
imagination those poor "Markgraves of Witekind descent," our first set
in Brandenburg, become altogether shadowy, intermittent, enigmatic,
painfully actual as they once were. Take one instance, omitting others;
which happily proves to be the finish of that first shadowy line, and
introduces us to a new set very slightly more substantial.


In the year 1023, near a century after Henry the Fowler's feat, the
Wends bursting up in never-imagined fury, get hold of Brandenburg
again,--for the third and, one would fain hope, the last time. The
reason was, words spoken by the then Markgraf of Brandenburg, Dietrich
or Theodoric, last of the Witekind Markgraves; who hearing that a Cousin
of his (Markgraf or Deputy-Markgraf like himself) was about wedding his
daughter to "Mistevoi King of the Wends," said too earnestly: "Don't!
Will you give your daughter to a dog?" Word "dog" was used, says my
authority. [See Michaelis _Chur und Furstlichen Hauser,_ i. 257-259:
Pauli, _Allgemeine Preussische Staats-Geschichte_ (Halle, 1760-1769), i.
1-182 (the "standard work" on Prussian History; in eight watery quartos,
intolerable to human nature): Kloss, _Vuterlandische Gemalde_ (Berlin,
1833), i. 59-108 (a Bookseller's compilation, with some curious
Excerpts):--under which lie modern Sagittarius, ancient Adam of Bremen,
_Ditmarus Merseburgensis, Witichindus Corbeiensis, Arnoldus Lubecensis,_
&c. &c. to all lengths and breadths.] Which threw King Mistevoi into a
paroxysm, and raised the Wends. Their butchery of the German population
in poor Brandenburg, especially of the Priests; their burning of the
Cathedral, and of Church and State generally, may be conceived. The
HARLUNGSBERG,--in our time MARIENBERG, pleasant Hill near Brandenburg,
with its gardens, vines, and whitened cottages:--on the top of this
Harlungsherg the Wends "set up their god Triglaph;" a three-headed
Monster of which I have seen prints, beyond measure ugly. Something like
three whale's-cubs combined by boiling, or a triple porpoise dead-drunk
(for the dull eyes are inexpressible, as well as the amorphous shape):
ugliest and stupidest of all false gods. This these victorious Wends
set up on the Harlungsberg, Year 1023; and worshipped after their sort,
benighted mortals,--with joy, for a time. The Cathedral was in ashes,
Priests all slain or fled, shadowy Markgraves the like; Church and State
lay in ashes; and Triglaph, like a Triple Porpoise under the influence
of laudanum, stood (I know not whether on his head or on his tail)
aloft on the Harlungsberg, as the Supreme of this Universe, for the time


Whereupon the DITMARSCH-STADE Markgrafs (as some designate them) had to
interfere, these shadowy Deputies of the Witekind breed having vanished
in that manner. The Ditmarschers recovered the place; and with some
fighting, did in the main at least keep Triglaph and the Wends out of
it in time coming. The Wends were fiercely troublesome, and fought much;
but I think they never actually got hold of Brandenburg again. They were
beginning to get notions of conversion: well preached to and well beaten
upon, you cannot hold out forever. Even Mistevoi at one time professed
tendencies to Christianity; perhaps partly for his Bride's sake,--the
dog, we may call him, in a milder sense! But he relapsed dreadfully,
after that insult; and his son worse. On the other hand, Mistevoi's
grandson was so zealous he went about with the Missionary Preachers,
and interpreted their German into Wendish: "Oh, my poor Wends, will
you hear, then, will you understand? This solid Earth is but a shadow:
Heaven forever or else Hell forever, that is the reality!" SUCH
"difference between right and wrong" no Wend had heard of before: quite
tremendously "important if true!"--And doubtless it impressed many.
There are heavy Ditmarsch strokes for the unimpressible. By degrees all
got converted, though many were killed first; and, one way or other, the
Wends are preparing to efface themselves as a distinct people.

This STADE-AND-DITMARSCH family (of Anglish or Saxon breed, if that is
an advantage) seem generally to have furnished the SALZWEDEL Office as
well, of which Brandenburg was an offshoot, done by deputy, usually
also of their kin. They lasted in Brandenburg rather more than a hundred
years;--with little or no Book-History that is good to read; their
History inarticulate rather, and stamped beneficently on the face of
things. Otto is a common name among them. One of their sisters, too,
Adelheid (Adelaide, NOBLENESS) had a strange adventure with "Ludwig the
Springer:" romantic mythic man, famous in the German world, over whom my
readers and I must not pause at this time.

In Salzwedel, in Ditmarsch, or wherever stationed, they had a toilsome
fighting life: sore difficulties with their DITMARSCHERS too, with the
plundering Danish populations; Markgraf after Markgraf getting killed in
the business. "ERSCHLAGEN, slain fighting with the Heathen," say the
old Books, and pass on to another. Of all which there is now silence
forever. So many years men fought and planned and struggled there, all
forgotten now except by the gods; and silently gave away their life,
before those countries could become fencible and habitable! Nay, my
friend, it is our lot too: and if we would win honor in this Universe,
the rumor of Histories and Morning Newspapers,--which have to become
wholly zero, one day, and fall dumb as stones, and which were not
perhaps very wise even while speaking,--will help us little!--


The Ditmarsch-Stade kindred, much slain in battle with the Heathen, and
otherwise beaten upon, died out, about the year 1130 (earlier perhaps,
perhaps later, for all is shadowy still); and were succeeded in the
Salzwedel part of their function by a kindred called "of Ascanien and
Ballenstadt;" the ASCANIER or ANALT Markgraves; whose History, and
that of Brandenburg, becomes henceforth articulate to us; a History not
doubtful or shadowy any longer; but ascertainable, if reckoned worth
ascertaining. Who succeeded in Ditmarsch, let us by no means inquire.
The Empire itself was in some disorder at this time, more abstruse
of aspect than usual; and these Northern Markgrafs, already become
important people, and deep in general politics, had their own share in
the confusion that was going.

It was about this same time that a second line of Kaisers had died out:
the FRANKISH or SALIC line, who had succeeded to the SAXON, of Henry
the Fowler's blood. For the Empire too, though elective, had always a
tendency to become hereditary, and go in lines: if the last Kaiser left
a son not unfit, who so likely as the son? But he needed to be fit,
otherwise it would not answer,--otherwise it might be worse for him!
There were great labors in the Empire too, as well as on the Sclavic
frontier of it: brave men fighting against anarchy (actually set in
pitched fight against it, and not always strong enough),--toiling sore,
according to their faculty, to pull the innumerable crooked things
straight. Some agreed well with the Pope,--as Henry II., who founded
Bamberg Bishopric, and much else of the like; [Kohler, pp. 102-104. See,
for instance, _Description de la Table d'Aute1 en or fin, donnee a
la Cathedrale de Bale, par l'Empereur Henri II. en 1019_ (Porentruy,
1838).] "a sore saint for the crown," as was said of David I.,
his Scotch congener, by a descendant. Others disagreed very much
indeed;--Henry IV.'s scene at Canossa, with Pope Hildebrand and the
pious Countess (year 1077, Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire waiting,
three days, in the snow, to kiss the foot of excommunicative
Hildebrand), has impressed itself on all memories! Poor Henry rallied
out of that abasement, and dealt a stroke or two on Hildebrand; but fell
still lower before long, his very Son going against him; and came almost
to actual want of bread, had not the Bishop of Liege been good to him.
Nay, after death, he lay four years waiting vainly even for burial,--but
indeed cared little about that.

Certainly this Son of his, Kaiser Henry V., does not shine in filial
piety: but probably the poor lad himself was hard bested. He also came
to die, A.D. 1125, still little over forty, and was the last of the
Frankish Kaisers. He "left the REICHS-INSIGNIEN [Crown, Sceptre and
Coronation gear] to his Widow and young Friedrich of Hohenstauffen," a
sister's son of his,--hoping the said Friedrich might, partly by that
help, follow as Kaiser. Which Friedrich could not do; being wheedled,
both the Widow and he, out of their insignia, under false pretences, and
otherwise left in the lurch. Not Friedrich, but one Lothar, a stirring
man who had grown potent in the Saxon countries, was elected Kaiser.
In the end, after waiting till Lothar was done, Friedrich's race
did succeed, and with brilliancy,--Kaiser Barbarossa being that same
Friedrich's son. In regard to which dim complicacies, take this Excerpt
from the imbroglio of Manuscripts, before they go into the fire:--

"By no means to be forgotten that the Widow we here speak of, Kaiser
Henry V.'s Widow, who brought no heir to Henry V., was our English
Henry Beauclerc's daughter,--granddaughter therefore of William
Conqueror,--the same who, having (in 1127, the second year of her
widowhood) married Godefroi Count of Anjou, produced our Henry II. and
our Plantagenets; and thereby, through her victorious Controversies with
King Stephen (that noble peer whose breeches stood him so cheap),
became very celebrated as 'the Empress Maud,' in our old History-Books.
Mathildis, Dowager of Kaiser Henry V., to whom he gave his
Reichs-Insignia at dying: she is the 'Empress Maud' of English Books;
and relates herself in this manner to the Hohenstauffen Dynasty, and
intricate German vicissitudes. Be thankful for any hook whatever on
which to hang half an acre of thrums in fixed position, out of your way;
the smallest flint-spark, in a world all black and unrememberable, will
be welcome."--

And so we return to Brandenburg and the "ASCANIEN and BALLENSTADT"
series of Markgraves.


This Ascanien, happily, has nothing to do with Brute of Troy or the
pious AEneas's son; it is simply the name of a most ancient Castle
(etymology unknown to me, ruins still dimly traceable) on the north
slope of the Hartz Mountains; short way from Aschersleben,--the Castle
and Town of Aschersleben are, so to speak, a second edition of Ascanien.
Ballenstadt is still older; Ballenstadt was of age in Charlemagne's
time; and is still a respectable little Town in that upland range of
country. The kindred, called GRAFS and ultimately HERZOGS (Dukes) of
"Ascanien and Ballenstadt," are very famous in old German History,
especially down from this date. Some reckon that they had intermittently
been Markgrafs, in their region, long before this; which is conceivable
enough: at all events it is very plain they did now attain the Office
in SALZWEDEL (straightway shifting it to Brandenburg); and held it
continuously, it and much else that lay adjacent, for centuries, in a
highly conspicuous manner.

In Brandenburg they lasted for about two hundred years; in their Saxon
dignities, the younger branch of them did not die out (and give place
to the Wettins that now are) for five hundred. Nay they have still their
representatives on the Earth: Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau, celebrated "Old
Dessauer," come of the junior branches, is lineal head of the kin in
Friedrich Wilhelm's time (while our little Fritzchen lies asleep in his
cradle at Berlin); and a certain Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, Colonel in
the Prussian Army, authentic PRINCE, but with purse much shorter than
pedigree, will have a Daughter by and by, who will go to Russia, and
become almost too conspicuous, as Catharine II., there!--

"Brandenburg now as afterwards," says one of my old Papers, "was
officially reckoned SAXON; part of the big Duchy of Saxony; where
certain famed BILLUNGS, lineage of an old 'Count Billung' (connected
or not with BILLINGS-gate in our country, I do not know) had long borne
sway. Of which big old Billungs I will say nothing at all;--this
only, that they died out; and a certain Albert, 'Count of Ascanien and
Ballenstadt' (say, of ANHALT, in modern terms), whose mother was one of
their daughters, came in for the northern part of their inheritance. He
made a clutch at the Southern too, but did not long retain that. Being
a man very swift and very sharp, at once nimble and strong, in the huge
scramble that there then was,--Uncle Billung dead without heirs, a SALIC
line of emperors going or gone out, and a HOHENSTAUFFEN not yet come
in,--he made a rich game of it for himself; the rather as Lothar, the
intermediate Kaiser, was his cousin, and there were other good cards
which he played well.

"This is he they call 'Albert the Bear '_Albrecht der Bar_;' first of
the ASCANIEN Markgraves of Brandenburg;--first wholly definite MARKGRAF
OF BRANDENBURG that there is; once a very shining figure in the world,
though now fallen dim enough again. It is evident he had a quick eye,
as well as a strong hand; and could pick what way was straightest among
crooked things. He got the Northern part of what is still called Saxony,
and kept it in his family; got the Brandenburg Countries withal, got the
Lausitz; was the shining figure and great man of the North in his day.
The Markgrafdom of SALZWEDEL (which soon became of BRANDENBURG) he very
naturally acquired (A.D. 1142 or earlier); very naturally, considering
what Saxon and other honors and possessions he had already got hold

We can only say, it was the luckiest of events for Brandenburg, and the
beginning of all the better destinies it has had. A conspicuous Country
ever since in the world, and which grows ever more so in our late times.

He had many wars; inextricable coil of claimings, quarrellings and
agreeings: fought much,--fought in Italy, too, "against the Pagans"
(Saracens, that is). Cousin to one Kaiser, the Lothar above named;
then a chief stay of the Hohenstauffen, of the two Hohenstauffens who
followed: a restless, much-managing, wide-warring man. He stood true by
the great Barbarossa, second of the Hohenstauffen, greatest of all the
Kaisers; which was a luck for him, and perhaps a merit. He kept well
with three Kaisers in his time. Had great quarrels with "Henry the Lion"
about that "Billung" Saxon Heritage; Henry carrying off the better part
of it from Albert. Except that same Henry, head of the Guelphs or Welfs,
who had not Albert's talent, though wider lands than Albert, there was
no German prince so important in that time.

He transferred the Markgrafdom to BRANDENBURG, probably as more central
in his wide lands; SALZWEDEL is henceforth the led Markgrafdom or
MARCK, and soon falls out of notice in the world. Salzwedel is called
henceforth ever since the "Old Marck (_Alte Marck, Altmarck_ );" the
Brandenburg countries getting the name of "New Marck." Modern NEUMARK,
modern "Middle-Marck" (in which stands Brandenburg itself in our time),
"UCKER-Marck" (OUTSIDE Marck,--word UCKER is still seen in UKRAINE, for
instance): these are posterior Divisions, fallen upon as Brandenburg
(under Albert chiefly) enlarged itself, and needed new Official
parcellings into departments.

Under Albert the Markgrafdom had risen to be an ELECTORATE withal. The
Markgraf of Brandenburg was now furthermore the KURFURST of Brandenburg;
officially "Arch-treasurer of the Holy Roman Empire;" and one of the
Seven who have a right (which became about this time an exclusive one
for those Seven) to choose, to KIEREN the Romish Kaiser; and who are
therefore called KUR Princes, KURFURSTE or Electors, as the highest
dignity except the Kaiser's own. In reference to which abstruse matter,
likely to concern us somewhat, will the uninstructed English reader
consent to the following Excerpt, slightly elucidatory of KURFURSTS and
their function?

"FURST (Prince) I suppose is equivalent originally to our noun of
number, First. The old verb KIEREN (participle ERKOREN still in use, not
to mention 'Val-KYR' and other instances) is essentially the same word
as our CHOOSE, being written KIESEN as well as KIEREN. Nay, say the
etymologists, it is also written KUSSEN (to KISS,--to CHOOSE with such
emphasis!), and is not likely to fall obsolete in that form.--The other
Six Electoral Dignitaries who grew to Eight by degrees, and may be worth
noting once by the readers of this Book; are:--

"1. Three Ecclesiastical, MAINZ, COLN, TRIER (Mentz, Cologne,
Treves), Archbishops all, with sovereignty and territory more or less
considerable;--who used to be elected as Popes are, theoretically by
their respective Chapters and the Heavenly Inspirations, but practically
by the intrigues and pressures of the neighboring Potentates, especially
France and Austria.

"2. Three Secular, SACHSEN, PFALZ, BOHMEN (Saxony, Palatinate, Bohemia);
of which the last, BOHMEN, since it fell from being a Kingdom in itself,
to being a Province of Austria, is not very vocal in the Diets. These
Six, with Brandenburg, are the Seven Kurfursts in old time; SEPTEMVIRS
of the Country, so to speak.

"But now PFALZ, in the Thirty-Years War (under our Prince Rupert's
Father, whom the Germans call the `Winter-King'), got abrogated, put to
the ban, so far as an indignant Kaiser could; and the vote and KUR
of Pfalz was given to his Cousin of BAIERN (Bavaria),--so far as an
indignant Kaiser could. However, at the Peace of Westphalia (1648) it
was found incompetent to any Kaiser to abrogate PFULZ or the like of
Pfalz, a Kurfurst of the Empire. So, after jargon inconceivable, it was
settled, That PFALZ must be reinstated, though with territories much
clipped, and at the bottom of the list, not the top as formerly; and
that BAIERN, who could not stand to be balked after twenty years'
possession, must be made EIGHTH Elector. The NINTH, we saw (Year 1692),
was Gentleman Ernst of HANOVER. There never was any Tenth; and the Holy
ROMISCHE REICH, which was a grand object once, but had gone about in a
superannuated and plainly crazy state for some centuries back, was at
last put out of pain, by Napoleon, '6th August, 1806,' and allowed to
cease from this world." [Ms. _penes me._]

None of Albert's wars are so comfortable to reflect on as those he had
with the anarchic Wends; whom he now fairly beat to powder, and either
swept away, or else damped down into Christianity and keeping of the
peace. Swept them away otherwise; "peopling their lands extensively with
Colonists from Holland, whom an inroad of the sea had rendered homeless
there." Which surely was a useful exchange. Nothing better is known to
me of Albert the Bear than this his introducing large numbers of Dutch
Netherlanders into those countries; men thrown out of work, who already
knew how to deal with bog and sand, by mixing and delving, and who first
taught Brandenburg what greenness and cow-pasture was. The Wends, in
presence of such things, could not but consent more and more to efface
themselves,--either to become German, and grow milk and cheese in the
Dutch manner, or to disappear from the world.

The Wendish Princes had a taste for German wives; in which just taste
the Albert genealogy was extremely willing to indulge them. Affinities
produce inheritances; by proper marriage-contracts you can settle on
what side the most contingent inheritance shall at length fall. Dim but
pretty certain lies a time coming when the Wendish Princes also shall
have effaced themselves; and all shall be German-Brandenburgish, not
Wendish any more.--The actual Inhabitants of Brandenburg, therefore,
are either come of Dutch Bog-farmers, or are simple Lower SAXONS
("Anglo-Saxon," if you like that better), PLATT-TEUTSCH of the common
type; an unexceptionable breed of people. Streaks of Wendish population,
extruded gradually into the remoter quagmires, and more inaccessible,
less valuable sedgy moors and sea-strands, are scattered about;
Mecklenburg, which still subsists separately after a sort, is reckoned
peculiarly Wendish. In Mecklenburg, Pommern, Pommerellen (Little
Pomerania), are still to be seen physiognomies of a Wendish or Vandalic
type (more of cheek than there ought to be, and less of brow; otherwise
good enough physiognomies of their kind): but the general mass, tempered
with such admixtures, is of the Platt-Deutsch, Saxon or even Anglish
character we are familiar with here at home. A patient stout people;
meaning considerable things, and very incapable of speaking what it

Albert was a fine tall figure himself; DER SCHONE, "Albert the
Handsome," was his name as often as "Albert the Bear." That latter
epithet he got, not from his looks or qualities, but merely from his
heraldic cognizance: a Bear on his shield. As was then the mode of
names; surnames being scant, and not yet fixedly in existence. Thus too
his contemporaries, Henry THE LION of Saxony and Welfdom, William THE
LION of Scotland, were not, either of them, specially leonine men: nor
had the PLANTAGENETS, or Geoffrey of Anjou, any connection with the
PLANT of BROOM, except wearing a twig of it in their caps on occasion.
Men are glad to get some designation for a grand Albert they are often
speaking of, which shall distinguish him from the many small ones.
Albert "the Bear, DER BAR," will do as well as another.

It was this one first that made Brandenburg peaceable and notable. We
might call him the second founder of Brandenburg; he, in the middle of
the Twelfth Century, completed for it what Henry the Fowler had begun
early in the Tenth. After two hundred and fifty years of barking and
worrying, the Wends are now finally reduced to silence; their anarchy
well buried, and wholesome Dutch cabbage planted over it: Albert did
several great things in the world; but, this, for posterity, remains
his memorable feat. Not done quite easily; but, done: big destinies of
Nations or of Persons are not founded GRATIS in this world. He had
a sore toilsome time of it, coercing, warring, managing among his
fellow-creatures, while his day's work lasted,--fifty years or so, for
it began early. He died in his Castle of Ballenstadt, peaceably among
the Hartz Mountains at last, in the year 1170, age about sixty-five. It
was in the time while Thomas a Becket was roving about the world,
coming home excommunicative, and finally getting killed in Canterbury
Cathedral;--while Abbot Samson, still a poor little brown Boy, came over
from Norfolk, holding by his mother's hand, to St. Edmundsbury; having
seen "SANTANAS s with outspread wings" fearfully busy in this world.


It was in those same years that a stout young fellow, Conrad by name,
far off in the southern parts of Germany, set out from the old Castle
of Hohenzollern, where he was but junior, and had small outlooks, upon
a very great errand in the world. From Hohenzollern; bound now towards
Gelnhausen, Kaiserslautern, or whatever temporary lodging the great
Kaiser Barbarossa might be known to have, who was a wandering man, his
business lying everywhere over half the world, and needing the master's
eye. Conrad's purpose is to find Barbarossa, and seek fortune under him.

This is a very indisputable event of those same years. The exact
date, the figure, circumstances of it were, most likely, never written
anywhere but on Conrad's own brain, and are now rubbed out forevermore;
but the event itself is certain; and of the highest concernment to this
Narrative. Somewhere about the year 1170, likeliest a few years before
that, [Rentsch, _Brandenburgischer Ceder-Hein_ (Baireuth, 1682), pp.
273-276.--See also Johann Ulrich Pregitzern, _Teutscher Regierungs-und
Ehren-Spiegel, vorbildend &c. des Hauses Hohenzollern_ (Berlin, 1703),
pp. 90-93. A learned and painful Book: by a Tubingen Professor, who
is deeply read in the old Histories, and gives Portraits and other
Engravings of some value.] this Conrad, riding down from Hohenzoliern,
probably with no great stock of luggage about, him,--little dreams of
being connected with Brandenburg on the other side of the world; but IS
unconsciously more so than any other of the then sons of Adam. He is
the lineal ancestor, twentieth in direct ascent, of the little Boy
now sleeping in his cradle at Berlin; let him wait till nineteen
generations, valiantly like Conrad, have done their part, and gone out,
Conrad will find he is come to this! A man's destiny is strange always;
and never wants for miracles, or will want, though it sometimes may for
eyes to discern them.

Hohenzollern lies far south in SCHWABEN (Suabia), on the sunward slope
of the Rauhe-Alp Country; no great way north from Constance and its
Lake; but well aloft, near the springs of the Danube; its back leaning
on the Black Forest; it is perhaps definable as the southern summit of
that same huge old Hercynian Wood, which is still called the SCHWARZWALD
(Black Forest), though now comparatively bare of trees. ["There are
still considerable spottings of wood (pine mainly, and 'black' enough);
HOLZ-HANDEL (timber-trade) still a considerable branch of business
there;--and on the streams of the country are cunning contrivances
noticeable, for floating down the article into the Neckar river, and
thence into the Rhine and to Holland." (_Tourist's Note._)] Fanciful
Dryasdust, doing a little etymology, will tell you the name ZOLLERN is
equivalent to TOLLERY or Place of Tolls. Whereby HOHENZOLLERN comes to
mean the HIGH or Upper TOLLERY;--and gives one the notion of antique
pedlers climbing painfully, out of Italy and the Swiss valleys, thus
far; unstrapping their pack-horses here, and chaffering in unknown
dialect about TOLL. Poor souls;--it may be so, but we do not know, nor
shall it concern us. This only is known: That a human kindred, probably
of some talent for coercing anarchy and guiding mankind, had, centuries
ago, built its BURG there, and done that function in a small but
creditable way ever since;--kindred possibly enough derivable from
"Thassilo," Charlemagne, King Dagobert, and other Kings, but certainly
from Adam and the Almighty Maker, who had given it those qualities;--and
that Conrad, a junior member of the same, now goes forth from it in the
way we see. "Why should a young fellow that has capabilities," thought
Conrad, "stay at home in hungry idleness, with no estate but his javelin
and buff jerkin, and no employment but his hawks, when there is a wide
opulent world waiting only to be conquered?" This was Conrad's thought;
and it proved to be a very just one.

It was now the flower-time of the Romish Kaisership of Germany; about
the middle or noon of Barbarossa himself, second of the Hohenstauffens,
and greatest of all the Kaisers of that or any other house. Kaiser
fallen unintelligible to most modern readers, and wholly unknown, which
is a pity. No King so furnished out with apparatus and arena, with
personal faculty to rule and scene to do it in, has appeared elsewhere.
A magnificent magnanimous man; holding the reins of the world, not quite
in the imaginary sense; scourging anarchy down, and urging noble effort
up, really on a grand Scale. A terror to evil-doers and a praise to
well-doers in this world, probably beyond what was ever seen since. Whom
also we salute across the centuries, as a choice Beneficence of Heaven.
Encamped on the Plain of Roncaglia [when he entered Italy, as he too
often had occasion to do], his shield was hung out on a high mast over
his tent; and it meant in those old days, "Ho, every one that has
suffered wrong; here is a Kaiser come to judge you, as he shall answer
it to HIS Master." And men gathered round him; and actually found some
justice,--if they could discern it when found. Which they could not
always do; neither was the justice capable of being perfect always.
A fearfully difficult function, that of Friedrich Redbeard. But an
inexorably indispensable one in this world;--though sometimes dispensed
with (to the huge joy of Anarchy, which sings Hallelujah through all its
Newspapers) for a season!

Kaiser Friedrich had immense difficulties with his Popes, with his
Milanese, and the like;--besieged Milan six times over, among other
anarchies;--had indeed a heavy-laden hard time of it, his task being
great and the greatest. He made Gebhardus, the anarchic Governor of
Milan, "lie chained under his table, like a dog, for three days." For
the man was in earnest, in that earnest time:--and let us say, they are
but paltry sham-men who are not so, in any time; paltry, and far worse
than paltry, however high their plumes may be. Of whom the sick world
(Anarchy, both vocal and silent, having now swoln rather high) is
everywhere getting weary.--Gebhardus, the anarchic Governor, lay three
days under the Kaiser's table; as it would be well if every anarchic
Governor, of the soft type and of the hard, were made to do on occasion;
asking himself, in terrible earnest, "Am I a dog, then; alas, am not I a
dog?" Those were serious old times.

On the other hand, Kaiser Friedrich had his Tourneys, his gleams of
bright joyances now and then; one great gathering of all the chivalries
at Mainz, which lasted for three weeks long, the grandest Tourney
ever seen in this world. Gelnhausen, in the Wetterau (ruin still worth
seeing, on its Island in the Kinzig river), is understood to have been
one of his Houses; Kaiserslautern (Kaiser's LIMPID, from its clear
spring-water) in the Pfalz (what we call PALATINATE), another. He went
on the Crusade in his seventieth year; [1189, A.D.; Saladin having, to
the universal sorrow, taken Jerusalem.] thinking to himself, "Let us
end with one clear act of piety:"--he cut his way through the dangerous
Greek attorneyisms, through the hungry mountain passes, furious Turk
fanaticisms, like a gray old hero: "Woe is me, my son has perished,
then?" said he once, tears wetting the beard now white enough; "My son
is slain!--But Christ still lives; let us on, my men!" And gained great
victories, and even found his son; but never returned home;--died, some
unknown sudden death, "in the river Cydnus," say the most. [Kohler (p.
188), and the Authorities cited by him. Bunau's _Deutsche Kaiser-und
Reichs-Historie_ (Leipzig, 1728-1743), i., is the express Book of
Barbarossa: an elaborate, instructive Volume.] Nay German Tradition
thinks he is not yet dead; but only sleeping, till the bad world reach
its worst, when he will reappear. He sits within the Hill near Salzburg
yonder,--says German Tradition, its fancy kindled by the strange noises
in that Hill (limestone Hill) from hidden waters, and by the grand rocky
look of the place:--A peasant once, stumbling into the interior, saw the
Kaiser in his stone cavern; Kaiser sat at a marble table, leaning on his
elbow; winking, only half asleep; beard had grown through the table, and
streamed out on the floor; he looked at the peasant one moment; asked
him something about the time it was; then dropped his eyelids again: Not
yet time, but will be soon! [Riesebeck's _Travels_ (English Translation,
London, 1787), i. 140, Busching, _Volks-Sagen,_ &c. (Leipzig, 1820), i.
333, &c. &x.] He is winking as if to awake. To awake, and set his
shield aloft by the Roncalic Fields again, with: Ho, every one that is
suffering wrong;--or that has strayed guideless, devil-ward, and done
wrong, which is far fataler!


This was the Kaiser to whom Conrad addressed himself; and he did it with
success; which may be taken as a kind of testimonial to the worth of the
young man. Details we have absolutely none: but there is no doubt that
Conrad recommended himself to Kaiser Redbeard, nor any that the
Kaiser was a judge of men. Very earnest to discern men's worth and
capabilities; having unspeakable need of worth, instead of unworth, in
those under him! We may conclude he had found capabilities in Conrad;
found that the young fellow did effective services as the occasion rose,
and knew how to work, in a swift, resolute, judicious and exact manner.
Promotion was not likely on other terms; still less, high promotion.

One thing farther is known, significant for his successes: Conrad found
favor with "the Heiress of the Vohburg Family," desirable young heiress,
and got her to wife. The Vohburg Family, now much forgotten everywhere,
and never heard of in England before, had long been of supreme
importance, of immense possessions, and opulent in territories, and
we need not add, in honors and offices, in those Franconian Nurnberg
regions; and was now gone to this one girl. I know not that she had much
inheritance after all; the vast Vohburg properties lapsing all to the
Kaiser, when the male heirs were out. But she had pretensions, tacit
claims; in particular, the Vohburgs had long been habitual or in effect
hereditary Burggrafs of Nurnberg; and if Conrad had the talent for that
office; he now, in preference to others, might have a chance for it.
Sure enough, he got it; took root in it, he and his; and, in the course
of centuries, branched up from it, high and wide, over the adjoining
countries; waxing towards still higher destinies. That is the epitome of
Conrad's history; history now become very great, but then no bigger
than its neighbors, and very meagrely recorded; of which the reflective
reader is to make what he can.

There is nothing clearly known of Conrad more than these three facts:
That he was a cadet of Hohenzollern (whose father's name, and some
forefathers' names are definitely known in the family archives, but
do not concern us); that he married the Heiress of the Vohburgs, whose
history is on record in like manner; and that he was appointed Burggraf
of Nurnberg, year not precisely known,--but before 1170, as would seem.
"In a REICHSTAG (Diet of the Empire) held at Regensburg in or about
1170," he formally complains, he and certain others, all stanch Kaiser's
friends (for in fact it was with the Kaiser's knowledge, or at his
instigation), of Henry the Lion's high procedures and malpractices; of
Henry's League with the Pope, League with the King of Denmark, and
so forth; the said Henry having indeed fallen into opposition, to a
dangerous degree;--and signs himself BURGGRAF OF NURNBERG, say the old
Chronicles. [Rentsch, p. 276 (who cites _Aventinus, Trittheim,_ &c.).]
The old Document itself has long since perished, I conclude: but the
Chronicles may be accepted as reporters of so conspicuous a thing; which
was the beginning of long strife in Germany, and proved the ruin of
Henry the Lion, supreme Welf grown over-big,--and cost our English Henry
II., whose daughter he had married, a world of trouble and expense, we
may remark withal. Conrad therefore is already Burggraf of Nurnberg,
and a man of mark, in 1170: and his marriage, still more his first sally
from the paternal Castle to seek his fortune, must all be dated earlier.

More is not known of Conrad: except indeed that he did not perish in
Barbarossa's grand final Crusade. For the antiquaries have again found
him signed to some contract, or otherwise insignificant document, A.D.
1200. Which is proof positive that he did not die in the Crusade;
and proof probable that he was not of it,--few, hardly any, of those
stalwart 150,000 champions of the Cross having ever got home again.
Conrad, by this time, might have sons come to age; fitter for arms and
fatigues than he: and indeed at Nurnberg, in Deutschland generally, as
Official Prince of the Empire, and man of weight and judgment, Conrad's
services might be still more useful, and the Kaiser's interests might
require him rather to stay at home in that juncture. Burggraf of
Nurnberg he continued to be; he and his descendants, first in a
selective, then at length in a directly hereditary way, century after
century; and so long as that office lasted in Nurnberg (which it did
there much longer than in other Imperial Free-Cities), a COMES DE ZOLRE
of Conrad's producing was always the man thenceforth.

Their acts, in that station and capacity, as Burggraves and Princes of
the Empire, were once conspicuous enough in German History; and indeed
are only so dim now, because the History itself is, and was always, dim
to us on this side of the sea. They did strenuous work in their day;
and occasionally towered up (though little driven by the poor wish of
"towering," or "shining" without need) into the high places of Public
History. They rest now from their labors, Conrad and his successors, in
long series, in the old Monastery of Heilsbronn (between Nurnberg and
Anspach), with Tombs to many of them, which were very legible for slight
Biographic purposes in my poor friend Rentsch's time, a hundred
and fifty years ago; and may perhaps still have some quasi-use, as
"sepulchral brasses," to another class of persons. One or two of those
old buried Figures, more peculiarly important for our little Friend
now sleeping in his cradle yonder, we must endeavor, as the Narrative
proceeds, to resuscitate a little and render visible for moments.


As to the Office, it was more important than perhaps the reader
imagines. We already saw Conrad first Burggraf, among the magnates of
the country, denouncing Henry the Lion. Every Burggraf of Nurnberg is,
in virtue of his office, "Prince of the Empire:" if a man happened to
have talent of his own, and solid resources of his own (which are always
on the growing hand with this family), here is a basis from which he
may go far enough. Burggraf of Nurnberg: that means again GRAF (judge,
defender, manager, G'REEVE) of the Kaiser's BURG or Castle,--in a word
Kaiser's Representative and ALTER EGO,--in the old Imperial Free-Town of
Nurnberg; with much adjacent very complex territory, also, to administer
for the Kaiser. A flourishing extensive City, this old Nurnberg, with
valuable adjacent territory, civic and imperial, intricately intermixed;
full of commercial industries, opulences, not without democratic
tendencies. Nay it is almost, in some senses, the LONDON AND MIDDLESEX
of the Germany that then was, if we will consider it!

This is a place to give a man chances, and try what stuff is in him. The
office involves a talent for governing, as well as for judging; talent
for fighting also, in cases of extremity, and what is still better, a
talent for avoiding to fight. None but a man of competent superior parts
can do that function; I suppose, no imbecile could have existed many
months in it, in the old earnest times. Conrad and his succeeding
Hohenzollerns proved very capable to do it, as would seem; and grew and
spread in it, waxing bigger and bigger, from their first planting there
by Kaiser Barbarossa, a successful judge of men. And ever since that
time, from "about the year 1170," down to the year 1815,--when so much
was changed, owing to another (temporary) "Kaiser" of new type, Napoleon
his name,--the Hohenzollerns have had a footing in Frankenland; and done
sovereignty in and round Nurnberg, with an enlarging Territory in that
region. Territory at last of large compass; which, under the names
CULMBACH, which includes both, has become familiar in History.

For the House went on steadily increasing, as it were, from the first
day; the Hohenzollerns being always of a growing, gaining nature;--as
men are that live conformably to the laws of this Universe, and of
their place therein; which, as will appear from good study of their old
records, though idle rumor, grounded on no study, sometimes says the
contrary, these Hohenzollerns eminently were. A thrifty, steadfast,
diligent, clear-sighted, stout-hearted line of men; of loyal nature
withal, and even to be called just and pious, sometimes to a notable
degree. Men not given to fighting, where it could be avoided; yet with
a good swift stroke in them, where it could not: princely people after
their sort, with a high, not an ostentatious turn of mind. They, for
most part, go upon solid prudence; if possible, are anxious to reach the
goal without treading on any one; are peaceable, as I often say, and by
no means quarrelsome, in aspect and demeanor; yet there is generally in
the Hohenzollerns a very fierce flash of anger, capable of blazing
out in cases of urgency: this latter also is one of the most constant
features I have noted in the long series of them. That they grew in
Frankenland, year after year, and century after century, while it was
their fortune to last, alive and active there, is no miracle, on such

Their old big Castle of Plassenburg (now a Penitentiary, with treadmill
and the other furnishings) still stands on its Height, near Culmbach,
looking down over the pleasant meeting of the Red and White Mayn Rivers
and of their fruitful valleys; awakening many thoughts in the traveller.
Anspach Schloss, and still more Baireuth Schloss (Mansion, one day, of
our little Wilhelmina of Berlin, Fritzkin's sister, now prattling there
in so old a way; where notabilities have been, one and another;
which Jean Paul, too, saw daily in his walks, while alive and looking
skyward): these, and many other castles and things, belonging now wholly
to Bavaria, will continue memorable for Hohenzollern history.

The Family did its due share, sometimes an excessive one, in religious
beneficences and foundations; which was not quite left off in recent
times, though much altering its figure. Erlangen University, for
example, was of Wilhelmina's doing. Erlangen University;--and also an
Opera-House of excessive size in Baireuth. Such was poor Wilhelmina's
sad figure of "religion." In the old days, their largest bequest that
I recollect was to the TEUTSCHE RITTER, Order of Teutonic Knights, very
celebrated in those days. Junior branches from Hohenzollern, as from
other families, sought a career in that chivalrous devout Brotherhood
now and then; one pious Burggraf had three sons at once in it; he, a
very bequeathing Herr otherwise, settled one of his mansions,
Virnsperg, with rents and incomings, on the Order. Which accordingly
had thenceforth a COMTHUREI (Commandery) in that country; Comthurei of
Virnsperg the name of it: the date of donation is A.D. 1294; and two
of the old Herr's three RITTER sons, we can remark, were successively
COMTHURS (Commanders, steward-prefects) of Virnsperg, the first two it
had. [Rentsch, p.288.]

This was in 1294; the palmy period, or culmination time of the TEUTSCHES
RITTERTHUM. Concerning which, on wider accounts, we must now say a word.


Barbarossa's Army of Crusaders did not come home again, any more than
Barbarossa. They were stronger than Turk or Saracen, but not than Hunger
and Disease; Leaders did not know then, as our little Friend at Berlin
came to know, that "an Army, like a serpent, goes upon its belly." After
fine fighting and considerable victories, the end of this Crusade was,
it took to "besieging Acre," and in reality lay perishing as of murrain
on the beach at Acre, without shelter, without medicine, without food.
Not even Richard Coeur-de-Lion, and his best prowess and help, could
avert such issue from it.

Richard's Crusade fell in with the fag-end of Barbarossa's; and it
was Richard chiefly that managed to take Acre;--at least so Richard
flattered himself, when he pulled poor Leopold of Austria's standard
from the towers, and trailed it through the gutters: "Your standard? YOU
have taken Acre?" Which turned out ill for Richard afterwards. And
Duke Leopold has a bad name among us in consequence; much worse than he
deserves. Leopold had stuff in him too. He died, for example, in this
manner: falling with his horse, I think in some siege or other, he
had got his leg hurt; which hindered him in fighting. Leg could not be
cured: "Cut it off, then!" said Leopold. This also the leech could not
do; durst not, and would not; so that Leopold was come quite to a halt.
Leopold ordered out two squires; put his thigh upon a block the sharp
edge of an axe at the right point across his thigh: "Squire first, hold
you that axe; steady! Squire second, smite you on it with forge-hammer,
with all your strength, heavy enough!" Squire second struck, heavy
enough, and the leg flew off; but Leopold took inflammation, died in a
day or two, as the leech had predicted. That is a fact to be found in
current authors (quite exact or not quite), that surgical operation:
[Mentzel, _Geschichte der Deutschen_ (Stuttgard and Tubingen, 1837), p.
309.] such a man cannot have his flag trailed through the gutters by
any Coeur-de-Lion.--But we return to the beach at Acre, and the poor
Crusaders, dying as of murrain there. It is the year 1190, Acre not yet
taken, nor these quarrels got to a height.

"The very Templars, Hospitallers, neglect us," murmured the dying
Germans; "they have perhaps enough to do, and more than enough, with
their own countrymen, whose speech is intelligible to them? For us, it
would appear, there is no help!" Not altogether none. A company of pious
souls--compassionate Lubeck ship-captains diligently forwarding it, and
one Walpot von Bassenheim, a citizen of Bremen, taking the lead--formed
themselves into a union for succor of the sick and dying; "set up canvas
tents," medicinal assuagements, from the Lubeck ship-stores; and did
what utmost was in them, silently in the name of Mercy and Heaven. "This
Walpot as not by birth a nobleman," says one of the old Chroniclers,
"but his deeds were noble." This pious little union proved unconsciously
the beginning of a great thing. Finding its work prosper here, and gain
favor, the little union took vows on itself, strict chivalry forms, and
decided to become permanent. "Knights Hospitallers of our dear Lady of
Mount Zion," that or something equivalent was their first title, under
Walpot their first Grand-Master; which soon grew to be "German Order
of St. Mary" (TEUTSCHE RITTER of the MARIE-ORDEN), or for shortness
TEUTSCHES RITTERTHUM; under which name it played a great part in the
world for above three centuries to come, and eclipsed in importance both
the Templars and Hospitallers of St. John.

This was the era of Chivalry Orders, and GELUBDE; time for Bodies of Men
uniting themselves by a Sacred Vow, "GELUBDE"--which word and thing have
passed over to us in a singularly dwindled condition: "CLUB" we now
call it; and the vow, if sacred, does not aim very high! Templars and
Hospitallers were already famous bodies; the latter now almost a
century old. Walpot's new GELUBDE was of similar intent, only German in
kind,--the protection, defence and solacement of Pilgrims, with whatever
that might involve.


The Teutsch Ritters earned character in Palestine, and began to get
bequests and recognition; but did not long continue there, like their
two rival Orders. It was not in Palestine, whether the Orders might
be aware of it or not, that their work could now lie. Pious Pilgrims
certainly there still are in great numbers; to these you shall do the
sacred rites: but these, under a Saladin bound by his word, need little
protection by the sword. And as for Crusading in the armed fashion, that
has fallen visibly into the decline. After Barbarossa, Coeur-de-Lion and
Philippe Auguste have tried it with such failure, what wise man will be
in haste to try it again? Zealous Popes continue to stir up Crusades;
but the Secular Powers are not in earnest as formerly; Secular Powers,
when they do go, "take Constantinople," "conquer Sicily," never take
or conquer anything in Palestine. The Teutsch Order helps valiantly in
Palestine, or would help; but what is the use of helping? The Teutsch
Order has already possessions in Europe, by pious bequest and otherwise;
all its main interests lie there; in fine, after less than thirty years,
Hermann von der Salza, a new sagacious TEUTSCHMEISTER or HOCHMEISTER (so
they call the head of the Order), fourth in the series, a far-seeing,
negotiating man, finds that Venice will be a fitter place of lodging
for him than Acre: and accordingly during his long Mastership (A.D.
1210-1239), he is mostly to be found there, and not at Acre or

He is very great with the busy Kaiser, Friedrich II., Barbarossa's
grandson; who has the usual quarrels with the Pope, and is glad of such
a negotiator, statesman as well as armed monk. The usual quarrels this
great Kaiser had, all along, and some unusual. Normans ousted from
Sicily, who used to be so Papal: a Kaiser NOT gone on the Crusade, as
he had vowed; Kaiser at last suspected of freethinking even:--in which
matters Hermann much serves the Kaiser. Sometimes he is appointed
arbiter between the Pope and Kaiser;--does not give it in the Kaiser's
favor, but against him, where he thinks the Kaiser is wrong. He is
reckoned the first great Hochmeister, this Hermann von der Salza, a
Thuringer by birth, who is fourth in the series of Masters: perhaps the
greatest to be found there at all, though many were considerable. It is
evident that no man of his time was busier in important public affairs,
or with better acceptance, than Hermann. His Order, both Pope and
Emperor so favoring the Master of it, was in a vigorous state of growth
all this while; Hermann well proving that he could help it better at
Venice than at Acre.

But if the Crusades are ended,--as indeed it turned out, only one other
worth speaking of, St. Louis's, having in earnest come to effect, or
rather to miserable non-effect, and that not yet for fifty years;--if
the Crusades are ended, and the Teutsch Order increases always in
possessions, and finds less and less work, what probably will become of
the Teutsch Order? Grow fat, become luxurious, incredulous, dissolute,
insolent; and need to be burnt out of the way? That was the course of
the Templars, and their sad end. They began poorest of the poor, "two
Knights to one Horse," as their Seal bore; and they at last took FIRE on
very opposite accounts. "To carouse like a Templar:" that had become a
proverb among men; that was the way to produce combustion, "spontaneous"
or other! Whereas their fellow Hospitallers of St. John, chancing upon
new work (Anti-Turk garrison-duty, so we may call it, successively in
Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, for a series of ages), and doing it well, managed
to escape the like. As did the Teutsch Order in a still more conspicuous


Ever since St. Adalbert fell massacred in Prussia, stamping himself as
a Crucifix on that Heathen soil, there have been attempts at conversion
going on by the Christian neighbors, Dukes of Poland and others:
intermittent fits of fighting and preaching for the last two hundred
years, with extremely small result. Body of St. Adalbert was got at
light weight, and the poor man canonized; there is even a Titular Bishop
of Prussia; and pilgrimages wander to the Shrine of Adalbert in Poland,
reminding you of Prussia in a tragic manner; but what avails it?
Missionaries, when they set foot in the country, are killed or flung
out again. The Bishop of Prussia is titular merely; lives in Liefland
(LIVONIA) properly Bishop of RIGA, among the Bremen trading-settlers and
converted Lieflanders there, which is the only safe place,--if even that
were safe without aid of armed men, such as he has there even now.
He keeps his SCHWERTBRUDER (Brothers of the Sword), a small Order of
Knights, recently got up by him, for express behoof of Liefland itself;
and these, fighting their best, are sometimes troublesome to the
Bishop, and do not much prosper upon Heathendom, or gain popularity
and resources in the Christian world. No hope in the SCHWERTBRUDER
for Prussia;--and in massacred Missionaries what hope? The Prussian
population continues Heathen, untamable to Gospel and Law; and after two
centuries of effort, little or no real progress has been made.

But now, in these circumstances, in the year 1226, the Titular Bishop
of Prussia, having well considered the matter and arranged it with the
Polish Authorities, opens a communication with Hermann von der Salza,
at Venice, on the subject; "Crusading is over in the East, illustrious
Hochmeister; no duty for a Teutsch Order there at present: what is the
use of crusading far off in the East, when Heathenism and the Kingdom
of Satan hangs on our own borders, close at hand, in the North? Let
the Teutsch Order come to Preussen; head a Crusade there. The land is
fruitful; flows really with milk and honey, not to speak of amber, and
was once called the TERRESTRIAL PARADISE"--by I forget whom. [Voigt, (if
he had an Index!) knows.] In fact, it is clear, the land should belong
to Christ; and if the Christian Teutsch Ritterdom could conquer it from
Satanas for themselves, it would be well for all parties. Hermann, a man
of sagacious clear head, listens attentively. The notion is perhaps not
quite new to him: at all events, he takes up the notion; negotiates
upon it, with Titular Bishop, with Pope, Kaiser, Duke of Poland, Teutsch
Order; and in brief, about two years afterwards (A.D. 1228), having
done the negotiatings to the last item, he produces his actual Teutsch
Ritters, ready, on Prussian ground.

Year 1225, thinks Dryasdust, after a struggle. Place where, proves
also at length discoverable in Dryasdust,--not too far across the north
Polish frontier, always with "Masovia" (the now Warsaw region) to fall
back upon. But in what number; how; nay almost when, to a year,--do not
ask poor Dryasdust, who overwhelms himself with idle details, and by
reason of the trees is unable to see the wood. [Voigt, ii. 177, 184,
192.]--The Teutsch Ritters straightway build a Burg for headquarters,
spread themselves on this hand and that; and begin their great task.
In the name of Heaven, we may still say in a true sense; as they, every
Ritter of them to the heart, felt it to be in all manner of senses.

The Prussians were a fierce fighting people, fanatically Anti-Christian:
the Teutsch Ritters had a perilous never-resting time of it, especially
for the first fifty years. They built and burnt innumerable stockades
for and against; built wooden Forts which are now stone Towns. They
fought much and prevalently; galloped desperately to and fro, ever on
the alert. In peaceabler ulterior times, they fenced in the Nogat and
the Weichsel with dams, whereby unlimited quagmire might become grassy
meadow,--as it continues to this day. Marienburg (MARY'S Burg), still
a town of importance in that same grassy region, with its grand stone
Schloss still visible and even habitable; this was at length their
Headquarter. But how many Burgs of wood and stone they built, in
different parts; what revolts, surprisals, furious fights in woody boggy
places, they had, no man has counted. Their life, read in Dryasdust's
newest chaotic Books (which are of endless length, among other ill
qualities), is like a dim nightmare of unintelligible marching and
fighting: one feels as if the mere amount of galloping they had would
have carried the Order several times round the Globe. What multiple
of the Equator was it, then, O Dryasdust? The Herr Professor, little
studious of abridgment, does not say.

But always some preaching, by zealous monks, accompanied the chivalrous
fighting. And colonists came in from Germany; trickling in, or at times
streaming. Victorious Ritterdom offers terms to the beaten Heathen;
terms not of tolerant nature, but which will be punctually kept by
Ritterdom. When the flame of revolt or general conspiracy burnt up
again too extensively, there was a new Crusade proclaimed in Germany and
Christendom; and the Hochmeister, at Marburg or elsewhere, and all
his marshals and ministers were busy,--generally with effect. High
personages came on crusade to them. Ottocar King of Bohemia, Duke of
Austria and much else, the great man of his day, came once (A.D. 1255);
Johann King of Bohemia, in the next century, once and again. The mighty
Ottocar, [Voigt, iii. 80-87.] with his extensive far-shining chivalry,
"conquered Samland in a month;" tore up the Romova where Adalbert had
been massacred, and burnt it from the face of the Earth. A certain
Fortress was founded at that time, in Ottocar's presence; and in honor
of him they named it KING'S FORTRESS, "Konigsberg:" it is now grown a
big-domed metropolitan City,--where we of this Narrative lately saw a
Coronation going on, and Sophie Charlotte furtively taking a pinch of
snuff. Among King Ottocar's esquires or subaltern junior officials on
this occasion, is one RUDOLF, heir of a poor Swiss Lordship and gray
Hill-Castle, called HAPSBURG, rather in reduced circumstances, whom
Ottocar likes for his prudent hardy ways; a stout, modest, wise young
man,--who may chance to redeem Hapsburg a little, if he live? How the
shuttles fly, and the life-threads, always, in this "loud-roaring Loom
of Time!"--

Along with Ottocar too, as an ally in the Crusade, was Otto III.
Ascanier Markgraf and Elector of Brandenburg, great-grandson of Albert
the Bear;--name Otto THE PIOUS in consequence. He too founded a Town
in Prussia, on this occasion, and called it BRANDENBURG; which is still
extant there, a small Brandenburg the Second; for these procedures he
is called Otto THE PIOUS in History. His Wife, withal, was a sister of
Ottocar's; [Michaelis, i. 270; Hubner, t. 174.]--which, except in the
way of domestic felicity, did not in the end amount to much for him;
this Ottocar having flown too high, and melted his wings at the sun, in
a sad way, as we shall see elsewhere.

None of the Orders rose so high as the Teutonic in favor with mankind.
It had by degrees landed possessions far and wide over Germany and
beyond: I know not how many dozens of BALLEYS (rich Bailliwicks, each
again with its dozens of COMTHUREIS, Commanderies, or subordinate groups
of estates), and Baillies and Commanders to match;--and was thought to
deserve favor from above. Valiant servants, these; to whom Heaven had
vouchsafed great labors and unspeakable blessings. In some fifty or
fifty-three years they had got Prussian Heathenism brought to the
ground; and they endeavored to tie it well down there by bargain and
arrangement. But it would not yet lie quiet, nor for a century to come;
being still secretly Heathen; revolting, conspiring ever again, ever
on weaker terms, till the Satanic element had burnt itself out, and
conversion and composure could ensue.

Conversion and complete conquest once come, there was a happy time for
Prussia: ploughshare instead of sword; busy sea-havens, German towns,
getting built; churches everywhere rising; grass growing, and peaceable
cows, where formerly had been quagmire and snakes. And for the Order
a happy time? A rich, not a happy. The Order was victorious; Livonian
"Sword-Brothers," "Knights of Dobryn," minor Orders and Authorities
all round, were long since subordinated to it or incorporated with it;
Livonia, Courland, Lithuania, are all got tamed under its influence,
or tied down and evidently tamable. But it was in these times that
the Order got into its wider troubles outward and inward; quarrels,
jealousies, with Christian neighbors, Poland, Pommern, who did not love
it and for cause;--wider troubles, and by no means so evidently useful
to mankind. The Order's wages, in this world, flowed higher than
ever, only perhaps its work was beginning to run low! But we will not

On the whole, this Teutsch Ritterdom, for the first century and more,
was a grand phenomenon; and flamed like a bright blessed beacon through
the night of things, in those Northern Countries. For above a century,
we perceive, it was the rallying place of all brave men who had a career
to seek on terms other than vulgar. The noble soul, aiming beyond money,
and sensible to more than hunger in this world, had a beacon burning (as
we say), if the night chanced to overtake it, and the earth to grow too
intricate, as is not uncommon. Better than the career of stump-oratory,
I should fancy, and ITS Hesperides Apples, golden and of gilt
horse-dung. Better than puddling away one's poor spiritual gift of God
(LOAN, not gift), such as it may be, in building the lofty rhyme, the
lofty Review-Article, for a discerning public that has sixpence to
spare! Times alter greatly.--Will the reader take a glimpse of Conrad
von Thuringen's biography, as a sample of the old ways of proceeding?
Conrad succeeded Hermann von der Salza as Grand-Master, and his history
is memorable as a Teutonic Knight.


Conrad, younger brother of the Landgraf of Thuringen,--which Prince
lived chiefly in the Wartburg, romantic old Hill-Castle, now a
Weimar-Eisenach property and show-place, then an abode of very earnest
people,--was probably a child-in-arms, in that same Wartburg, while
Richard Coeur-de-Lion was getting home from Palestine and into troubles
by the road: this will date Conrad for us. His worthy elder brother was
Husband of the lady since called SAINT Elizabeth, a very pious but also
very fanciful young woman;--and I always guess his going on the Crusade,
where he died straightway, was partly the fruit of the life she led him;
lodging beggars, sometimes in his very bed, continually breaking his
night's rest for prayer, and devotional exercise of undue length;
"weeping one moment, then smiling in joy the next;" meandering about,
capricious, melodious, weak, at the will of devout whim mainly! However,
that does not concern us. [Many LIVES of the Saint. See, in particular,
_Libellus de Dictis Quatuor Ancillarum,_ &c.--(that is, Report of
the evidence got from Elizabeth's Four Maids, by an Official Person,
Devil's-Advocate or whatever he was, missioned by the Pope to question
them, when her Canonization came to be talked of. A curious piece):--in
Meuckenii _Scriptores Rexum Germanicarum_ (Lipsia, 1728-1730), ii.
dd.; where also are other details.] Sure enough her poor Landgraf went
crusading, Year 1227 (Kaiser Friedrich II.'s Crusade, who could not put
it off longer); poor Landgraf fell ill by the road, at Brindisi, and
died,--not to be driven farther by any cause.

Conrad, left guardian to his deceased Brother's children, had at first
much quarrel with Saint Elizabeth, though he afterwards took far other
thoughts. Meanwhile he had his own apanage, "Landgraf" by rank he too;
and had troubles enough with that of itself. For instance: once the
Archbishop of an Mainz, being in debt, laid a heavy tax on all Abbeys
under him; on Reichartsbronn, an Abbey of Conrad's, among others. "Don't
pay it!" said Conrad to the Abbot. Abbot refused accordingly; but was
put under ban by the Pope;--obliged to comply, and even to be "whipt
thrice" before the money could be accepted. Two whippings at Erfurt,
from the Archbishop, there had been; and a third was just going on
there, one morning, when Conrad, travelling that way, accidentally stept
in to matins. Conrad flames into a blazing whirlwind at the phenomenon
disclosed. "Whip my Abbot? And he IS to pay, then,--Archbishop of
Beelzebub?"--and took the poor Archbishop by the rochets, and spun him
hither and thither; nay was for cutting him in two, had hot friends
hysterically busied themselves, and got the sword detained in its
scabbard and the Archbishop away. Here is a fine coil like to be, for

Another soon follows; from a quarrel he had with Fritzlar, Imperial
Free-Town in those parts, perhaps a little stiff upon its privileges,
and high towards a Landgraf. Conrad marches, one morning (Year 1232)
upon insolent Fritzlar; burns the environs; but on looking practically
at the ramparts of the place, thinks they are too high, and turns to
go home again. Whereupon the idle women of Fritzlar, who are upon the
ramparts gazing in fear and hope, burst into shrill universal jubilation
of voice,--and even into gestures, and liberties with their dress, which
are not describable in History! Conrad, suddenly once more all flame,
whirls round; storms the ramparts, slays what he meets, plunders
Fritzlar with a will, and leaves it blazing in a general fire, which had
broken out in the business. Here is a pair of coils for Conrad; the like
of which can issue only in Papal ban or worse.

Conrad is grim and obstinate under these aspects; but secretly feels
himself very wicked; knows not well what will come of it. Sauntering one
day in his outer courts, he notices a certain female beggar; necessitous
female of loose life, who tremulously solicits charity of him.
Necessitous female gets some fraction of coin, but along with it
bullying rebuke in very liberal measure; and goes away weeping bitterly,
and murmuring about "want that drove me to those courses." Conrad
retires into himself: "What is her real sin, perhaps, to mine?" Conrad
"lies awake all that night;" mopes about, in intricate darkness, days
and nights; rises one morning an altered man. He makes "pilgrimage to
Gladbach," barefoot; kneels down at the church-door of Fritzlar with
bare back, and a bundle of rods beside him. "Whip me, good injured
Christians for the love of Jesus!"--in brief, reconciles himself to
Christian mankind, the Pope included; takes the Teutsch-Ritter vows
upon him; [A.D. 1234 (Voigt, ii. 375-423).] and hastens off to
Preussen, there to spend himself, life and life's resources thenceforth,
faithfully, till he die. The one course left for Conrad. Which he
follows with a great strong step,--with a thought still audible to
me. It was of such stuff that Teutsch Ritters were then made; Ritters
evidently capable of something.

Saint Elizabeth, who went to live at Marburg, in Hessen-Cassel, after
her Husband's death, and soon died there, in a most melodiously pious
sort, [A.D. 1231, age 24.] made the Teutsch Order guardian of her Son.
It was from her and the Grand-Mastership of Conrad that Marburg became
such a metropolis of the Order; the Grand-Masters often residing there,
many of them coveting burial there, and much business bearing date of
the place. A place still notable to the ingenuous Tourist, who knows his
whereabout. Philip the Magnanimous, Luther's friend, memorable to some
as Philip with the Two Wives, lived there, in that old Castle,--which
is now a kind of Correction-House and Garrison, idle blue uniforms
strolling about, and unlovely physiognomies with a jingle of iron at
their ankles,--where Luther has debated with the Zwinglian Sacramenters
and others, and much has happened in its time. Saint Elizabeth and her
miracles (considerable, surely, of their kind) were the first origin of
Marburg as a Town: a mere Castle, with adjoining Hamlet, before that.

Strange gray old silent Town, rich in so many memories; it stands there,
straggling up its rocky hill-edge, towards its old Castles and edifices
on the top, in a not unpicturesque manner; flanked by the river Lahn and
its fertile plains: very silent, except for the delirious screech,
at rare intervals, of a railway train passing that way from
Frankfurt-on-Mayn to Cassel. "Church of St. Elizabeth,"--high, grand
Church, built by Conrad our Hochmeister, in reverence of his once
terrestrial Sister-in-law,--stands conspicuous in the plain below, where
the Town is just ending. St. Elizabeth's Shrine was once there, and
pilgrims wending to it from all lands. Conrad himself is buried there,
as are many Hochmeisters; their names, and shields of arms, Hermann's
foremost, though Hermann's dust is not there, are carved, carefully kept
legible, on the shafts of the Gothic arches,--from floor to groin, long
rows of them;--and produce, with the other tombs, tomb-paintings by
Durer and the like, thoughts impressive almost to pain. St. Elizabeth's
LOCULUS was put into its shrine here, by Kaiser Friedrich II. and all
manner of princes and grandees of the Empire, "one million two hundred
thousand people looking on," say the old records, perhaps not quite
exact in their arithmetic. Philip the Magnanimous, wishing to stop
"pilgrimages no-whither," buried the LOCULUS away, it was never known
where; under the floor of that Church somewhere, as is likeliest. Enough
now of Marburg, and of its Teutsch Ritters too.

They had one or two memorable Hochmeisters and Teutschmeisters; whom
we have not named here, nor shall. [In our excellent Kohler's
_Muntzbelustigungen_ (Nurnberg, 1729 et seqq. ii. 382; v. 102; viii.
380; &c.) are valuable glimpses into the Teutonic Order,--as into
hundreds of other things. The special Book upon it is Voigt's, often
cited here: Nine heavy Volumes; grounded on faithful reading, but with
a fatal defect of almost every other quality.] There is one Hochmeister,
somewhere about the fiftieth on the list, and properly the last real
Hochmeister, Albert of Hohenzollern-Culmbach by name, who will be very
memorable to us by and by.

Or will the reader care to know how Culmbach came into the possession
of the Hohenzollerns, Burggraves of Nurnberg? The story may be
illustrative, and will not occupy us long.


In the Year 1248, in his Castle of Plassenburg,--which is now a
Correction-House, looking down upon the junction of the Red and White
Mayn,--Otto Duke of Meran, a very great potentate, more like a King than
a Duke, was suddenly clutched hold of by a certain wedded gentleman,
name not given, "one of his domestics or dependents," whom he had
enraged beyond forgiveness (signally violating the Seventh Commandment
at his expense); and was by the said wedded gentleman there and then cut
down, and done to death. "Lamentably killed, _jammerlich erstochen,"_
says old Rentsch. [P. 293. Kohler, _Reichs-Historie,_ p. 245. Holle,
_Alte Geschichte der Stadt Baireuth_ (Baireuth, 1833), pp. 34-37.]
Others give a different color to the homicide, and even a different
place; a controversy not interesting to us. Slain at any rate he is;
still a young man; the last male of his line. Whereby the renowned Dukes
of Meran fall extinct, and immense properties come to be divided among
connections and claimants.

Meran, we remark, is still a Town, old Castle now abolished, in the
Tyrol, towards the sources of the Etsch (called ADIGE by Italian
neighbors). The Merans had been lords not only of most of the Tyrol; but
Dukes of "the Voigtland;"--Voigtland, that is BAILLIE-LAND, wide country
between Nurnberg and the Fichtelwald; why specially so called, Dryasdust
dimly explains, deducing it from certain Counts von Reuss, those strange
Reusses who always call themselves HENRY, and now amount to HENRY THE
EIGHTIETH AND ODD, with side-branches likewise called Henry; whose
nomenclature is the despair of mankind, and worse than that of the
Naples Lazzaroni who candidly have no names!--Dukes of Voigtland, I say;
likewise of Dalmatia; then also Markgraves of Austria; also Counts of
Andechs, in which latter fine country (north of Munchen a day's ride),
and not at Plassenburg, some say, the man was slain. These immense
possessions, which now (A.D. 1248) all fall asunder by the stroke of
that sword, come to be divided among the slain man's connections, or to
be snatched up by active neighbors, and otherwise disposed of.

Active Wurzburg, active Bamberg, without much connection, snatched up a
good deal: Count of Orlamunde, married to the eldest Sister of the slain
Duke, got Plassenburg and most of the Voigtland: a Tyrolese magnate,
whose Wife was an Aunt of the Duke's, laid hold of the Tyrol, and
transmitted it to daughters and their spouses,--the finish of which
line we shall see by and by:--in short, there was much property in a
disposable condition. The Hohenzollern Burggraf of Nurnberg, who had
married a younger Sister of the Duke's two years before this accident,
managed to get at least BAIREUTH and some adjacencies; big Orlamunde,
who had not much better right, taking the lion's share. This of Baireuth
proved a notable possession to the Hohenzollern family: it was Conrad
the first Burggraf's great-grandson, Friedrich, counted "Friedrich III."
among the Burggraves, who made the acquisition in this manner, A.D.

Onolzbach (On'z-BACH or "-brook," now called ANSPACH) they got, some
fourscore years after, by purchase and hard money down ("24,000 pounds
of farthings," whatever that may be), [A.D. 1331: _Stadt Anspach,_ by
J. B. Fischer (Anspach, 1786), p. 196.] which proved a notable twin
possession of the family. And then, in some seven years more (A.D.
1338), the big Orlamunde people, having at length, as was too usual,
fallen considerably insolvent, sold Plassenburg Castle itself,
the Plassenburg with its Town of Culmbach and dependencies, to the
Hohenzollern Burggraves, [Rentsch, p. 157.] who had always ready money
about them. Who in this way got most of the Voigtland, with a fine
Fortress, into hand; and had, independently of Nurnberg and its Imperial
properties, an important Princely Territory of their own. Margraviate
or Principality of CULMBACH (Plassenburg being only the Castle) was the
general title; but more frequently in later times, being oftenest split
in two between brothers unacquainted with primogeniture, there were two
Margraviates made of it: one of Baireuth, called also "Margraviate On
the Hill;" and one of Anspach, "Margraviate Under the Hill:" of which,
in their modern designations, we shall by and by hear more than enough.

Thus are the Hohenzollern growing, and never declining: by these few
instances judge of many. Of their hard labors, and the storms they had
to keep under control, we could also say something: How the two young
Sons of the Burggraf once riding out with their Tutor, a big hound of
theirs in one of the streets of Nurnberg accidentally tore a child; and
there arose wild mother's-wail; and "all the Scythe-smiths turned out,"
fire-breathing, deaf to a poor Tutor's pleadings and explainings; and
how the Tutor, who had ridden forth in calm humor with two Princes, came
galloping home with only one,--the Smiths having driven another into
boggy ground, and there caught and killed him; [Rentsch, p. 306 (Date
not given; guess, about 1270).] with the Burggraf's commentary on that
sad proceeding (the same Friedrich III. who had married Meran's Sister);
and the amends exacted by him, strict and severe, not passionate or
inhuman. Or again how the Nurnbergers once, in the Burggraf's absence,
built a ring-wall round his Castle; entrance and exit now to depend on
the Nurnbergers withal! And how the Burggraf did not fly out into battle
in consequence, but remedied it by imperturbable countenance and power
of driving. With enough of the like sort; which readers can conceive.


This same Friedrich III., Great-grandson of Conrad the first Burggraf,
was he that got the Burggraviate made hereditary in his family (A.D.
1273); which thereby rose to the fixed rank of Princes, among other
advantages it was gaining. Nor did this acquisition come gratis at
all, but as the fruit of good service adroitly done; service of endless
importance as it proved. Friedrich's life had fallen in times of huge
anarchy; the Hohenstauffen line gone miserably out,--Boy Conradin, its
last representative, perishing on the scaffold even (by a desperate
Pope and a desperate Duke of Anjou); [At Naples, 25th October, 1268.]
Germans, Sicilian Normans, Pope and Reich, all at daggers-drawn with one
another; no Kaiser, nay as many as Three at once! Which lasted from
1254 onwards; and is called "the Interregnum," or Anarchy "of Nineteen
Years," in German History.

Let us at least name the Three Kaisers, or Triple-elixir of No-Kaiser;
though, except as chronological landmarks, we have not much to do with
them. First Kaiser is William Count of Holland, a rough fellow, Pope's
protege, Pope even raising cash for him; till William perished in the
Dutch peat-bogs (horse and man, furiously pursuing, in some fight there,
and getting swallowed up in that manner); which happily reduces our
false Kaisers to two: Second and Third, who are both foreign to Germany.

Second Kaiser is Alphonso King of Castille, Alphonso the Wise, whose
saying about Ptolemy's Astronomy, "That it seemed a crank machine; that
it was pity the Creator had not taken advice!" is still remembered by
mankind;--this and no other of his many sayings and doings. He was
wise enough to stay at home; and except wearing the title, which
cost nothing, to concern himself very little about the Holy Roman
Empire,--some clerk or two dating "TOLETI (at Toledo)," did languidly a
bit of official writing now and then, and that was all. Confused crank
machine this of the German Empire too, your Majesty? Better stay at
home, and date "TOLETI."

The Third false Kaiser--futile call him rather, wanting clear
majority--was the English Richard of Cornwall; younger Son of John
Lackland; and little wiser than his Father, to judge by those symptoms.
He had plenty of money, and was liberal with it;--no other call to
Germany, you would say, except to get rid of his money;--in which
he succeeded. He lived actually in Germany, twice over for a year
or two:--Alphonse and he were alike shy of the Pope, as Umpire; and
Richard, so far as his money went, found some gleams of authority and
comfortable flattery in the Rhenish provinces: at length, in 1263, money
and patience being both probably out, he quitted Germany for the second
and last time; came home to Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire here, [Gough's
_Camden,_ i.339.] more fool than he went. Till his death (A.D. 1271), he
continued to call himself, and was by many persons called, Kaiser of the
Holy Roman Empire;--needed a German clerk or two at Berkhamstead, we
can suppose: but never went back; preferring pleasant Berkhamstead, with
troubles of Simon de Montfort or whatever troubles there might be, to
anything Germany had to offer him.

These were the Three futile Kaisers: and the LATE Kaiser Conrad's
young Boy, who one day might have swept the ground clear of them,
perished,--bright young Conradin, bright and brave, but only sixteen,
and Pope's captive by ill luck,--perished on the scaffold; "throwing
out his glove" (in symbolical protest) amid the dark mute Neapolitan
multitudes, that wintry morning. It was October 25th, 1268,--Dante
Alighieri then a little boy at Florence, not three years old; gazing
with strange eyes as the elders talked of such a performance by Christ's
Vicar on Earth. A very tragic performance indeed, which brought on the
Sicilian Vespers by and by; for the Heavens never fail to pay debts,
your Holiness!--

Germany was rocking down towards one saw not what,--an Anarchic Republic
of Princes, perhaps, and of Free Barons fast verging towards robbery?
Sovereignty of multiplex Princes, with a Peerage of intermediate Robber
Barons? Things are verging that way. Such Princes, big and little, each
wrenching off for himself what lay loosest and handiest to him, found it
a stirring game, and not so much amiss. On the other hand, some voice
of the People, in feeble whimperings of a strange intensity, to the
opposite effect, are audible to this day. Here are Three old Minstrels
(MINNESANGER) picked from Manesse's Collection by an obliging hand, who
are of this date, and shall speak each a word:--

No. 1 LOQUITOR (in cramp doggerel, done into speech): "To thee, O Lord,
we poor folk make moan; the Devil has sown his seeds in this land! Law
thy hand created for protection of thy children: but where now is Law?
Widows and orphans weep that the Princes do not unite to have a Kaiser."

No. 2: "The Princes grind in the Kaiser's mill: to the Reich they fling
the siftings; and keep to themselves the meal. Not much in haste, they,
to give us a Kaiser."

No. 3: "Like the Plague of Frogs, there they are come out; defiling the
Reich's honor. Stork, when wilt thou appear, then," and with thy stiff
mandibles act upon them a little? [Mentzel, _Geschichte der Deutschen,_
p. 345.]

It was in such circumstances, that Friedrich III., Burggraf of Nurnberg,
who had long moaned and striven over these woes of his country, came to
pay that visit, late in the night (1st or 2d of October, 1273), to his
Cousin Rudolf Lord of Hapsburg, under the walls of Basel; a notable
scene in History. Rudolf was besieging Basel, being in some feud with
the Bishop there, of which Friedrich and another had been proposed
as umpires; and Friedrich now waited on his Cousin, in this hasty
manner,--not about the Basel feud, but on a far higher quite unexpected
errand,--to say, That he Rudolf was elected Kaiser, and that better
times for the Holy Roman Empire were now probable, with Heaven's help.
[Rentsch, pp. 299, 285, 298.] We call him Cousin; though what the
kindred actually was, a kindred by mothers, remains, except the general
fact of it, disputable by Dryasdust. The actual visit, under the
walls of Basel, is by some considered romantic. But that Rudolf, 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 question. [Kohler, pp. 249, 251.] The event was salutary, like
life instead of death, to anarchic Germany; and did eminent honor to
Friedrich's judgment in men.

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.


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 the others.

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.


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.


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, _Beschreibung der Koniglichen
Residenzstadte Berlin und Potsdam_ (Berlin, 1786), i. pp. 16, 17 of
"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.


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 _Collection of Minne-singers,_ made by MANESSE
the Zurich Burgermeister, while the matter was much fresher than it
now is. [Rudiger von Manesse, who fought the Austrians, too, made his
_Sammlung_ (Collection) in the latter half of 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,

      _"Ich wunsch ich were tot,_
                I wish that I were dead:"

--the others shall remain safe in Manesse's _Collection._

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 shall see.


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 in Heaven."

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.


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. _"Est
homo monoculus, et vultu rustico; non potest esse Imperator_ (A one-eyed
fellow, and looks like a clown; he cannot be Emperor)!" said Pope
Boniface VIII., when consulted about him. [Kohler, pp. 267-273; and
_Muntzbelustigungen, xix. 156-160._]

Enough, from the death of Rudolf, A.D. 1291, there intervened a hundred
and 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. [Menckenii
_Scriptores,_ i.?? _Fredericus Admorsus_ (by Tentsel).] Assassination
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,
_OEsterreichischer Plutarch, oder Leben und Bild nisse, &c._ (12
Bandchen; Wien, 1807,--a superior Book), i. 65.]


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, _Essai sur les Moeurs,_ c. 67,??
Henri VII. _OEuvres,_ xxi. 184).]);--administered it in both 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.?? _Ptolomaeus Lucensis,_ A.D. 1313).] But there was never any
trial 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;--_"O Italia, O Firenze!"_ That is not
the way to achieve Italian 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 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 temper 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 against Ludwig.

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, _OEsterreichischer Plutarch,_ ii. 31-37.] giving minute
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 won. [_Jedem Mann ein Ey_ (One egg to every man), _Dem
frommen Schweppermann zwey_ (Two to 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

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.


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

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 now Hohenzollern.

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 dignity there.

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.


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


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.


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 this History.

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.


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 to several.

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 (_pretio ac prece_), from the Polish
King; [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.


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 lulled again.

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
(_Vaterlandische Gemalde,_ ii. 29), a sorry Compilation, above referred
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.


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

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.


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

After which, their progress, and that of their successor (Johann's son,
Friedrich V.), in the grace of Karl, was something extraordinary.
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.


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.


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

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.


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

The Towns suffered much; any trade they might have had, going to wreck
in this manner. Not to speak of private feuds, which abounded _ad
libitum._ Neighboring potentates, 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
Hungarian occasions.

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.


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, _Erdbeschreibung_ (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.


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 dreadfully entangled!--

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, _date
operam ut illa nefanda schisma eradicetur,"_ exclaims Sigismund, intent
on having the Bohemian Schism well dealt with,--which he reckons to be
of the feminine gender. To which a Cardinal mildly remarking,
_"Domine, schisma est generis neutrius (Schisma_ is neuter, your
Majesty),"--Sigismund loftily replies, _"Ego sum Rex Romanus et super
grammaticam_ (I am King of the Romans, and above Grammar)!" [Wolfgang
Mentzel, _Geschichte der Deutschen,_ i. 477.] For which reason I call
him in my Note-books Sigismund SUPER GRAMMATICAM, to distinguish him in
the imbroglio of Kaisers.


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 completed 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,_ ii. 14. 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 simple mankind.

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 good result.

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:--


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: _miles
stipendiarius Eduardi,_ as the 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 Tangermunde.

  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-two years.

  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 second Son.

  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. Sigismund

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.


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