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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, this Conrad, riding down from Hohenzollern, 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. 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; 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. 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! 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!

Conrad has become Burggraf of Nurnberg (a.d. 1170).

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 Nürnberg 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 Nürnberg; 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 Nürnberg, 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 Nürnberg, say the old Chronicles. 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 Nürnberg, 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 Nürnberg 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.

Of the Hohenzollern Burggraves generally.

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 Margrafdom of Anspach, and of Baireuth, or in general Margrafdom of 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 terms.

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.

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: 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 was 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 Gelübde; time for Bodies of Men uniting themselves by a Sacred Vow, “ Gelübde;” — 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 Gelübde was of similar intent, only German in kind, — the protection, defence and solacement of Pilgrims, with whatever that might involve.

Head of Teutsch Order moves to Venice.

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 Jerusalem.

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 Thüringer 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 manner.

Teutsch Order itself goes to Preussen.

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 Schwertbrüder (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 Schwertbrüder 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. 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 1228, 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.— 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, 0 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, 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; — 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 Baileys (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 anticipate.

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 stumporatory, 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 Thüringen’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.

The stuff Teutsch Ritters were made of. Conrad of Thürringen : Saint Elizabeth ; Town of Marburg.

Conrad, younger brother of the Landgraf of Thüringen, — 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. 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 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 not 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 Conrad.

Another soon follows; from a quarrel he had with Fritzlar, an 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 Eritzlar 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; 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, made the Teutsch Order guar­dian of her Son. It was from her and the Grand-Master ship 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. 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, jämmerlich erstochen says old Rentsch. 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 Voigt-land”; — 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 Voigt-land, 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. 1248.

Onolzbach (On’z-back 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), 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, 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; 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.

Burggraf Friedrich III; and the Anarchy of Nineteen Years.

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); 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 protégé, Pope even raising cash for him; till William perished in the Dutch peat­bogs (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: — Alphonso 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, 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 (Minnesänger) picked from Manesse’s Collection by an obliging hand, who are of this date, and shall speak each a word: —

No. 1 loquitur (in cramp doggerel, done into speech) : “To thee, 0 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?

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. 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. 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 (29th September, 1273); 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. Mainly due to Friedrich of Nurnberg, say all Historians; conjoining with him the then Archbishop of Mainz, who is officially President Elector (liter­ally Convener of Electors) : they two did it. Archbishop of Mainz had himself a pleasant accidental acquaintance with Rudolf, — a night’s lodging once at Hapsburg, with escort over the Hills, in dangerous circumstances;—and might the more readily be made to understand what qualities the man now had; and how, in justness of insight, toughness of char­acter, and general strength of bridle-hand, this actually might be the adequate man.

Kaiser Rudolf and Burggraf Friedrich III.

Last time we saw Rudolf, near thirty years ago, he was some equerry or subaltern dignitary among the Ritters of King Ottocar, doing a Crusade against the Prussian Heathen, and seeing his master found Konigsberg in that country. Changed times now! Ottocar King of Bohemia, who (by the strong hand mainly, and money to Richard of Cornwall, in the late troubles) has become Duke of Austria and much else, had himself expected the Kaisership; and of all astonished men, King Ottocar was probably the most astonished at the choice made. A dread sovereign, fierce, and terribly opulent, and every way resplendent to such degree; and this threadbare Swiss gentleman-at-arms, once “my domestic” (as Ottocar loved to term it), preferred to me! Flat insanity, King Ottocar thought; refused to acknowledge such a Kaiser; would not in the least give up his unjust properties, or even do homage for them or 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; 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 Prague 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 Nürnberg 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. 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 Numberg 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.

Of Berlin City.

In the year (guessed to be) 1240, one Ascanier Markgraf “fortifies Berlin”; that is, first makes Berlin a German Burg and inhabited outpost in those parts: — the very name, some think, means “Little Rampart” (Wehrlin), built there, on the banks of the Spree, against the Wends, and peopled with Dutch; of which latter fact, it seems, the old dialect of the place yields traces. 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 Cöli, 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, “Cöln” still designates the oldest quarter in Berlin; and “Cöln on the Spree” (Cologne, or Cöln 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; Cöln, 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 Tangermünde (Mouth of the Tanger, where little Tanger issues into Elbe); a much grassier place than Berlin, and which stands on a Hill, clay- and-sand Hill, likewise advantageous for strength. That Berlin should have grown, after it once became Capital, is not a mystery. It has quadrupled itself, and more, within the last hundred years, and I think doubled itself within the last thirty.

Markgraf Otto IV, or Otto tvith the Arrow.

One Ascanier Markgraf, and one only, Otto IV by title, was a Poet withal; had an actual habit of doing verse. There are certain so-called Poems of his, still extant, read by Dryasdust, with such enthusiasm as he can get up, in the old Collection of Minne-singers, made by Manesse the Zurich Burgermeister, while the matter was much fresher than it now is. 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 wünsch ich were tot, I wisli 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. — 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 Pfeile, 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 Bitters 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.