be de fine ting of de lady dat be so goot to me; so I vill
It had depended upon Albert, who hung in the distance with an army of his own, whether the Siege could even begin; but he joined the Kaiser, being reconciled again; and the trenches opened. By the valor of Guise and his Chivalry,--still more perhaps by the iron frosts and by the sleety rains of Winter, and the hungers and the hardships of a hundred thousand men, digging vainly at the ice-bound earth, or trampling it when sleety into seas of mud, and themselves sinking in it, of dysentery, famine, toil and despair, as they cannonaded day and night,--Metz could not be taken. "Impossible!" said the Generals with one voice, after trying it for a couple of months. "Try it one other ten days," said the Kaiser with a gloomy fixity; "let us all die, or else do it!" They tried, with double desperation, another ten days; cannon booming through the winter midnight far and wide, four score miles round: "Cannot be done, your Majesty! Cannot,--the winter and the mud, and Guise and the walls; man's strength cannot do it in this season. We must march away!" Karl listened in silence; but the tears were seen to run down his proud face, now not so young as it once was: "Let us march, then!" he said, in a low voice, after some pause.
Alcibiades covered the retreat to Diedenhof (THIONVILLE) they now call it): outmanoeuvred the French, retreated with success; he had already captured a grand Due d'Aumale, a Prince of the Guises,-- valuable ransom to be looked for there. It was thought he should have made his bargain better with the Kaiser, before starting; but he had neglected that. Albert's course was downward thenceforth; Kaiser Karl's too. The French keep these "Three Bishoprics (TROIS EVECHES)," and Teutschland laments the loss of them, to this hour. Kaiser Karl, as some write, never smiled again;--abdicated, not long after; retired into the Monastery of St. Just, and there soon died. That is the siege of Metz, where Alcibiades was helpful. His own bargain with the Kaiser should have been better made beforehand.
Dissatisfied with any bargain he could now get; dissatisfied with the Treaty of Passau, with such a finale and hushing-up of the Religious Controversy, and in general with himself and with the world, Albert again drew sword; went loose at a high rate upon his Bamberg-Wurzburg enemies, and, having raised supplies there, upon Moritz and those Passau-Treatiers. He was beaten at last by Moritz, "Sunday, 9th July, 1553," at a place called Sievershausen in the Hanover Country, where Moritz himself perished in the action.--Albert fled thereupon to France. No hope in France. No luck in other small and desperate stakings of his: the game is done. Albert returns to a Sister he had, to her Husband's Court in Baden; a broken, bare and bankrupt man;--soon dies there, childless, leaving the shadow of a name. [Here, chiefly from Kohler
His death brought huge troubles upon Baireuth and the Family Possessions. So many neighbors, Bamberg, Wurzburg and the rest, were eager for retaliation; a new Kaiser greedy for confiscating. Plassenburg Castle was besieged, bombarded, taken by famine and burnt; much was burnt and torn to waste. Nay, had it not been for help from Berlin,the Family had gone to utter ruin in those parts. For this Alcibiades had, in his turn, been Guardian to Uncle George's Son, the George Friedrich we once spoke of, still a minor, but well known afterwards; and it was attempted, by an eager Kaiser Ferdinand, to involve this poor youth in his Cousin's illegalities, as if Ward and Guardian had been one person. Baireuth which had been Alcibiades's, Anspach which was the young man's own, nay Jagerndorf with its Appendages, were at one time all in the clutches of the hawk,--had not help from Berlin been there. But in the end, the Law had to be allowed its course; George Friedrich got his own Territories back (all but some surreptitious nibblings in the Jagerndorf quarter, to be noticed elsewhere), and also got Baireuth, his poor Cousin's Inheritance; --sole heir, he now, in Culmbath, the Line of Casimir being out.
One owns to a kind of love for poor Albert Alcibiades. In certain sordid times, even a "Failure of a Fritz" is better than some Successes that are going. A man of some real nobleness, this Albert; though not with wisdom enough, not with good fortune enough. Could he have continued to "rule the situation" (as our French friends phrase it); to march the fanatical Papistries, and Kaiser Karl, clear out of it, home to Spain and San Justo a little earlier; to wave the coming Jesuitries away, as with a flaming sword; to forbid beforehand the doleful Thirty-Years War, and the still dolefuler spiritual atrophy (the flaccid Pedantry, ever rummaging and rearranging among learned marine-stores, which thinks itself Wisdom and Insight; the vague maunderings, flutings; indolent, impotent daydreaming and tobacco-smoking, of poor Modern Germany) which has followed therefrom,--ACH GOTT, he might have been a "SUCCESS of a Fritz" three times over! He might have been a German Cromwell; beckoning his People to fly, eagle-like, straight towards the Sun; instead of screwing about it in that sad, uncertain, and far too spiral manner!--But it lay not in him; not in his capabilities or opportunities, after all: and we but waste time in such speculations.
HISTORICAL MEANING OF THE REFORMATION.
The Culmbach Brothers, we observe, play a more important part in that era than their seniors and chiefs of Brandenburg. These Culmbachers, Margraf George aud Albert of Preussen at the head of them, march valiantly forward in the Reformation business; while KUR-BRANDENBURG, Joachim I., their senior Cousin, is talking loud at Diets, galloping to Innspruck and the like, zealous on the Conservative side; and Cardinal Albert, KUR-MAINZ, his eloquent brother, is eager to make matters smooth and avoid violent methods.
The Reformation was the great Event of that Sixteenth Century; according as a man did something in that, or did nothing and obstructed doing, has he much claim to memory, or no claim, in this age of ours. The more it becomes apparent that the Reformation was the Event then transacting itself, was the thing that Germany and Europe either did or refused to do, the more does the historical significance of men attach itself to the phases of that transaction. Accordingly we notice henceforth that the memorable points of Brandenburg History, what of it sticks naturally to the memory of a reader or student, connect themselves of their own accord, almost all, with the History of the Reformation. That has proved to be the Law of Nature in regard to them, softly establishing itself; and it is ours to follow that law.