to see Fitz-Ullin enter, and, possessed with that idea,
In 1525 the Town-populations, in the Culmbach region, big Nurnberg in the van, had gone quite ahead in the new Doctrine; and were becoming irrepressibly impatient to clear out the old mendacities, and have the Gospel preached freely to them. This was a questionable step; feasible perhaps for a great Elector of Saxony;--but for a Margraf of Anspach? George had come home from Jagerndorf, some three hundred miles away, to look into it for himself; found it, what with darkness all round, what with precipices menacing on both hands, and zealous, inconsiderate Town-populations threatening to take the bit between their teeth, a frightfully intricate thing. George mounted his horse, one day this year, day not dated farther, and "with only six attendants" privately rode off, another two hundred miles, a good three days' ride, to Wittenberg; and alighted at Dr. Martinus Lutherus's door. [Rentsch, p. 625.] A notable passage; worth thinking of. But such visits of high Princes, to that poor house of the Doctor's, were not then uncommon. Luther cleared the doubts of George; George returned with a resolution taken; "Ahead then, ye poor Voigtland Gospel populations! I must lead you, we must on!"--And perils enough there proved to be, and precipices on each hand: BAUERNKRIEG, that is to say Peasants'-War, Anabaptistry and Red- Republic, on the one hand; REICHS-ACHT, Ban of Empire, on the other. But George, eagerly, solemnly attentive, with ever new light rising on him, dealt with the perils as they came; and went steadily on, in a simple, highly manful and courageous manner.
He did not live to see the actual Wars that followed on Luther's preaching:--he was of the same age with Luther, born few months later, and died two years before Luther; [4th March, 1484,-- 27th Dec., 1543, George; 10th November, 1483--18th February, 1546, Luther.]--but in all the intermediate principal transactions George is conspicuously present; "George of Brandenburg," as the Books call him, or simply "Margraf George."
At the Diet of Augsburg (1530), and the signing of the Augsburg Confession there, he was sure to be. He rode thither with his Anspach Knightage about him, "four hundred cavaliers,"-- Seckendorfs, Huttens, Flanses and other known kindreds, recognizable among the lists; [Rentsch, p. 633.]--and spoke there, notbursts of parliamentary eloquence, but things that had meaning in them. One speech of his, not in the Diet, but in the Kaiser's Lodging (15th June, 1530; no doubt, in Anton Fugger's house, where the Kaiser "lodged for year and day" this time but WITHOUT the "fires of cinnamon" they talk of on other occasions [See Carlyle's
Invinciblest all-gracious Kaiser, loyal are we to your high Majesty, ready to do your bidding by night and by day. But it is your bidding under God, not against God. Ask us not, 0 gracious Kaiser! I cannot, and we cannot; and we must not, and dare not. And "before I would deny my God and his Evangel," these are George's own words, "I would rather kneel down here before your Majesty, and have my head struck off,"--hitting his hind-head, or neck, with the edge of his hand, by way of accompaniment; a strange radiance in the eyes of him, voice risen into musical alt:
Speaker and company attended again on the morrow; Margraf George still more eloquent. Whose Speech flew over Germany, like fire over dry flax; and still exists,--both Speeches now oftenest rolled into one by inaccurate editors. [As by Rentsch, ubi supra.] And the CORPUS-CHRISTI idolatries were forborne the Margraf and his company this time;--the Kaiser himself, however, walking, nearly roasted in the sun, in heavy purple-velvet cloak, with a big wax-candle, very superfluous, guttering and blubbering in the right hand of him, along the streets of Augsburg. Kur-Brandenburg, Kur-Mainz, high cousins of George, were at this Diet of Augsburg; Kur-Brandenburg (Elector Joachim I., Cicero's son, of whom we have spoken, and shall speak again) being often very loud on the conservative side; and eloquent Kur-Mainz going on the conciliatory tack. Kur-Brandenburg, in his zeal, had ridden on to Innspruck, to meet the Kaiser there, and have a preliminary word with him. Both these high Cousins spoke, and bestirred themselves, a good deal, at this Diet. They had met the Kaiser on the plains of the Lech, this morning; and, no doubt, gloomed unutterable things on George and his Speech. George could not help it.
Till his death in 1543, George is to be found always in the front line of this high Movement, in the line where Kur-Sachsen, John the Steadfast (DER BESTANDIGE), and young Philip the Magnanimous of Hessen were, and where danger and difficulty were. Readers of this enlightened gold-nugget generation can form to themselves no conception of the spirit that then possessed the nobler kingly mind. "The command of God endures through Eternity,
We must now take leave of Margraf George and his fine procedures in that crisis of World-History. He had got Jugerndorf, which became important for his Family and others: but what was that to the Promethean conquests (such we may call them) which he had the honor to assist in making for his Family, and for his Country, and for all men;--very unconscious he of "bringing fire from Heaven," good modest simple man! So far as I can gather, there lived, in that day, few truer specimens of the Honest Man. A rugged, rough-hewn, rather blunt-nosed physiognomy: cheek-bones high, cheeks somewhat bagged and wrinkly; eyes with a due shade of anxiety and sadness in them; affectionate simplicity, faithfulness, intelligence, veracity looking out of every feature of him. Wears plentiful white beard short-cut, plentiful gold-chains, ruffs, ermines;--a hat not to be approved of, in comparison with brother Casimir's; miserable inverted-colander of a hat; hanging at an angle of forty-five degrees; with band of pearls round the top not the bottom of it; insecure upon the fine head of George, and by no means to its embellishment.
One of his Daughters he married to the Duke of Liegnitz, a new link in that connection. He left one Boy, George Friedrich; who came under ALCIBIADES, his Cousin of Baireuth's tutelage; and suffered much by that connection, or indeed chiefly by his own conspicuously Protestant turn, to punish which, the Alcibiades connection was taken as a pretext. In riper years, George Friedrich got his calamities brought well under; and lived to do good work, Protestant and other, in the world. To which we may perhaps allude again. The Line of Margraf George the Pious ends in this George Friedrich, who had no children; the Line of Margraf George, and the Elder Culmbach Line altogether (1603), Albert Alcibiades, Casimir's one son, having likewise died without posterity.