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yielded a trembling hand, and attempted to utter a good

time:2023-12-05 20:43:15 source:Untouched network author:bird read:572次

In his early days he had fought against Poles, Bohemians and others, as Imperial general. He was much concerned, all along, in those abstruse armed-litigations of the Austrian House with its dependencies; and diligently helped the Kaiser,--Friedrich III., rather a weakish, but an eager and greedy Kaiser,--through most of them. That inextricable Hungarian-Bohemian-Polish DONNYBROOK (so we may call it) which Austria had on hand, one of Sigismund's bequests to Austria; distressingly tumultuous Donnybrook, which goes from 1440 to 1471, fighting in a fierce confused manner;-- the Anti-Turk Hunniades, the Anti-Austrian Corvinus, the royal Majesties George Podiebrad, Ladislaus POSTHUMUS, Ludwig OHNE HAUT (Ludwig NO-SKIN), and other Ludwigs, Ladislauses and Vladislauses, striking and getting struck at such a rate:--Albert was generally what we may call chief-constable in all that; giving a knock here and then one there, in the Kaiser's name. [Hormayr, ii. 138, 140 (? HUNYADY CORVIN); Rentsch, pp. 389-422; Michaelis, i. 304-313.] Almost from boyhood, he had learned soldiering, which he had never afterwards leisure to forget. Great store of fighting he had,--say half a century of it, off and on, during the seventy and odd years he lasted in this world. With the Donnybrook we spoke of; with the Nurnbergers; with the Dukes of Bavaria (endless bickerings with these Dukes, Ludwig BEARDY, Ludwig SUPERBUS, Ludwig GIBBOSUS or Hunchback, against them and about them, on his own and the Kaiser's score); also with the French, already clutching at Lorraine; also with Charles the Rash of Burgundy;--lastly with the Bishop of Bamberg, who got him excommunicated and would not bury the dead.

yielded a trembling hand, and attempted to utter a good

Kurfurst Albert's Letter on this last emergency, to his Viceregent in Culmbach, is a famed Piece still extant (date 1481); [Rentsch, p. 409.] and his plan in such emergency, is a simple and likely one: "Carry the dead bodies to the Parson's house; let him see whether he will not bury them by and by!--One must fence off the Devil by the Holy Cross," says Albert,--appeal to Heaven with what honest mother-wit Heaven has vouchsafed one, means Albert. "These fellows" (the Priests), continues he, "would fain have the temporal sword as well as the spiritual. Had God wished there should be only one sword, he could have contrived that as well as the two. He surely did not want for intellect (Er war gar ein weiser Mann)," --want of intellect it clearly was not!--In short, they had to bury the dead, and do reason; and Albert hustled himself well clear of this broil, as he had done of many.

yielded a trembling hand, and attempted to utter a good

Battle enough, poor man, with steel and other weapons:--and we see he did it with sharp insight, good forecast; now and then in a wildly leonine or AQUILINE manner. A tall hook-nosed man, of lean, sharp, rather taciturn aspect; nose and look are very aquiline; and there is a cloudy sorrow in those old eyes, which seems capable of sudden effulgence to a dangerous extent. He was a considerable, diplomatist too: very great with the Kaiser, Old Friedrich III. (Max's father, Charles V.'s Great-Grandfather); [How admirahle Albert is, not to say "almost divine," to the Kaiser's then Secretary, oily-mouthed AEneas Sylvius, afterwards Pope, Rentsch can testify (pp. 401, 586); quoting AEneas's eulogies and gossipries ( Historia Rerum Frederici Imperatoris, I conclude, though no book is named). Oily diligent AEneas, in his own young years and in Albert's prime, had of course seen much of this "miracle" of Arms and Art, --"miracle" and "almost divine," so to speak.] and managed many things for him. Managed to get the thrice-lovely Heiress of the Netherlands and Burgundy, Daughter of that Charles the Rash, with her Seventeen Provinces, for Max, [1477]--who was thought thereupon by everybody to be the luckiest man alive; though the issue contradicted it before long.

yielded a trembling hand, and attempted to utter a good

Kurfurst Albert died in 1486, March 11, aged seventy-two. It was some months after Bosworth Fight, where our Crooked Richard got his quietus here in England and brought the Wars of the Roses to their finale:--a little chubby Boy, the son of poor parents at Eisleben in Saxony, Martin Luther the name of him, was looking into this abtruse Universe, with those strange eyes of his, in what rough woollen or linsey-woolsey short-clothes we do not know. [Born 10th November, 1483]

Albert's funeral was very grand; the Kaiser himself, and all the Magnates of the Diet and Reich attending him from Frankfurt to his last resting-place, many miles of road. For he died at the Diet, in Frankfurt-on-Mayn; having fallen ill there while busy,--perhaps too busy for that age, in the harsh spring weather,--electing Prince Maximilian ("lucky Max," who will be Kaiser too before long, and is already deep in ILL-luck, tragical and other to be King of the Romans. The old Kaiser had "looked in on him at Onolzbach" (Anspach), and brought him along; such a man could not be wanting on such an occasion. A man who "perhaps did more for the German Empire than for the Electorate of Brandenburg," hint some. The Kaiser himself, Friedrich III., was now getting old; anxious to see Max secure, and to set his house in order. A somewhat anxious, creaky, close-fisted, ineffectual old Kaiser; [See Kohler ( Munzbelustigungen, vi. 393-401; ii. 89-96, &c.) for a vivid account of him.] distinguished by his luck in getting Max so provided for, and bringing the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands to his House. He is the first of the Hapsburg Kaisers who had what has since been called the "Austrian lip"--protrusive under-jaw, with heavy lip disinclined to shut. He got it from his Mother, and bequeathed it in a marked manner; his posterity to this day bearing traces of it. Mother's name was Cimburgis, a Polish Princess, "Duke of Masovia's daughter;" a lady who had something of the MAULTASCHE in her, in character as well as mouth.--In old Albert, the poor old Kaiser has lost his right hand; and no doubt muses sadly as he rides in the funeral procession.

Albert is buried at Heilsbronn in Frankenland, among his Ancestors,--burial in Brandenburg not yet common for these new Kurfursts:--his skull, in an after-time, used to be shown there, laid on the lid of the tomb; skull marvellous for strength, and for "having no visible sutures," says Rentsch. Pious Brandenburg Officiality at length put an end to that profanation, and restored the skull to its place,--marvellous enough, with what had once dwelt in it, whether it had sutures or not.


Albert's eldest Son, the Fourth Kurfurst, was Johannes Cicero (1486-1499): Johannes was his natural name, to which the epithet "Cicero of Germany (CICERO GERMANIAE)" was added by an admiring public. He had commonly administered the Electorate during his Father's absences; and done it with credit to himself. He was an active man, nowise deficient as a Governor; creditably severe on highway robbers, for one thing,--destroys you "fifteen baronial robber-towers" at a stroke; was also concerned in the Hungarian- Bohemian DONNYBROOK, and did that also well. But nothing struck a discerning public like the talent he had for speaking. Spoke "four hours at a stretch in Kaiser Max's Diets, in elegantly flowing Latin;" with a fair share of meaning, too;--and had bursts of parliamentary eloquence in him that were astonishing to hear. A tall, square-headed man, of erect, cheerfully composed aspect, head flung rather back if anything: his bursts of parliamentary eloquence, once glorious as the day, procured him the name "Johannes CICERO;" and that is what remains of them: for they are sunk now, irretrievable he and they, into the belly of eternal Night; the final resting-place, I do perceive, of much Ciceronian ware in this world. Apparently he had, like some of his Descendants, what would now be called "distinguished literary talents,"--insignificant to mankind and us. I find he was likewise called DER GROSSE, "John the GREAT;" but on investigation it proves to be mere "John the BIG," a name coming from his tall stature and ultimate fatness of body.


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