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that is labour and exercise, (for as we are but men, those sorrows are to be dissipated with great pains and application both in public and private) which is a much better course than what the duke took, to hide himself and retire from all manner of conversation, for by that means he grew so terrible to his own servants, that none of them durst venture to come near him to give him either counsel or comfort, but suffered him to go on in that melancholy state of life, fearing lest their advising him to the contrary, might have turned to their destruction.”
After this, the duke had to contend with conspiracies at home, as well as enemies abroad; and in the course of the next chapter we find, that in consequence of rejecting the advice of his officers, and once more meriting his appellations of “the bold,” or “ the rash :" this great prince, the last as well as greatest of Burgundy, was slain in battle, near the old town of Nancy, where « the Duke of Lorrain, to his eternal honour, buried him with great pomp, and magnificence.” He was discovered, after the battle, stripped naked, with several others, with his skull cloven, and a pike in his body, but bis identity was fully ascertained by the scars of former wounds, and other peculiarities in his person.
An only daughter was the heir of this great prince, and she appears to have experienced, at a very early period, all those evils his ambition had prepared for her. The enemies he had humbled, particularly the King of France, sought to wreak their vengeance on her; the towns he had conquered refused their allegiance and tribute to her; and her own conquered army and impoverished subjects were ill able to assist her. Many who were supported by her bounty soon deserted her interest, and those who were faithful to her were persecuted even to death, under the pretext of law, by a party who sought to bestow her hand on one of the many pretenders to it. We can scarcely conceive a young, lovely, and royal female, in a situation of more affecting interest.
“ As soon as the Princess of Burgundy (since Dutchess of Austria) had received the news of their condemnation, she came herself in person to the Town-hall, to beg their lives, but finding she could not prevail, she ran into the market-place, where the mob were got together in arms, and the two prisoners upon the scaffold. The young princess was in mourning, her head dressed carelessly (on purpose to move pity and compassion), and in this posture, with tears in her eyes, and her hair dishevelled, she begged and entreated the people to have pity upon her two servants, and restore them to her again. A great part of the mob were touched with compassion, and would fain have complied with her request, and were willing they should be saved, but others violently opposed it, and they were at push of pike one with another : at last, those who were for the exe
cution, being the stronger party, called out to the executioners to do their office, and immediately both their heads were struck off, and the poor princess returned to her palace very sad and disconsolate, for the loss of two persons in whom she chiefly confided.
“ After the Gantois had committed this horrid piece of villany, they removed from about the Princess of Burgundy, the Lord de Ravestein, and the dutchess dowager, Duke Charles's widow, because both of them had signed the letter which the chancellor and the Lord d'Hymbercourt had delivered to the king, as you have heard; so that the citizens had now the sole authority and management of the poor young princess, and well may she be called poor, not only in respect of her great loss of the several towns which had been taken from her, which were irrecoverable by force, by reason of the great power and strength of the king, who was now in possession of them.
The author concludes this book with a long dissertation on the errors of kings, which he affirms arise in general from their education and situation in life, and observes, “ that there is a necessity that every prince, or great lord, should have an adversary to restrain, or keep him in fear; otherwise there would be no living under them, or near them."
The second volume opens with the plans of Lewis to possess himself of the royal orphan's property, his successful
wheedling of the English, for fear they should interrupt him in his designs, and his offer of the Dauphin (his son, then nine years old, and already contracted to a princess of England) to be the husband of the daughter of the late Duke. This offer was abruptly objected to by Madam Haltenein, first lady of the bedchamber, to whom it was made; for she said truly “ there was more need of a man than a boy, that being what her dominions needed more than any thing else;" the historian adds," it pleased God to appoint her another husband, viz. the Duke of Aus
son of the Emperor Frederic III., “ the nearest and most covetous prince, or person, of his time," so that it appears the unhappy lady was obliged to supply him with money, and a retinue, before he could wait
her to consummate the marriage, and that he was little likely to be pleasing to a daughter of Burgundy, “whose tables are nicely served, whose palaces are magnificent, and whose dress was sumptuous. But the Germans are quite of a contrary temper, boorish in their conversation, and nasty in their way of living."
Soon after this marriage, Artois fell into the hands of Lewis, and was followed by several other acquisitions of the same nature; as it appears that the young bridegroom, disliked by his new subjects, and cramped by the sordid spirit of his father, was unable to protect the sovereignty to which he was called. The interesting daughter of Charles the Bold, however, dies within four years of her marriage.
“ The fourth year the Princess * died of a fall from her horse, or a fever, but it is certain she fell, and some say, she was breeding. Her death was a mighty loss to her subjects, for she was a person of great honour, affable and generous to all people, and more beloved and respected by her subjects than her husband, as being sovereign of their country. She was a tender and passionate lover of her husband, and of singular reputation for her modesty and virtue. This misfortune happened in the year 1482.”
Lewis now pursued new means of increasing his dominions by open war; and although in one great battle we see the Duke of Austria remain master of the field, and in no case desert the duties which, by the death of his wife, had devolved wholly upon him, yet the wily Lewis, by that management, which his historian terms “ his great policy and wisdom,” gained town after town, of the late Burgundian dominions, and seems to have arrived at nearly all he wished in point of aggrandizement, although at the expense of the true glory of a king (the happiness of his subjects), when he was seized with an illness, which eventually proved mortal.
This sickness of the king's, or rather his conduct under it, has been frequently the subject of comment by various authors, and serves to prove how difficult it is for a successful bad man to think resignedly of quitting a situation, which he has, however, rendered one of ceaseless turmoil, suspicion, and disquietude. In proportion as Lewis found himself weakened by a wasting disease, and disqualified by repeated fits from attending to the duties of his kingly station, the more closely he grasped at the power, and the evil exercise of that power. In the fear that his incapacity-should induce his subjects to deprive him of his rights, he compelled himself to attend to every matter of business which could be brought before him, and though unable to see a single word, would affect to read over all the documents committed to his secretaries. To prove his
memory, and assert his right, he dispossessed numbers of his servants of their places and pensions; and gave them to others, who, in their turn, were the slaves of his caprice. Every hour dreading the rebellion he was perhaps conscious of meriting, yet had no cause for fearing, he directed his house to be fortified and guarded, and denied himself farther air than could be obtained in one narrow court. He had little faith in the aid of medicine, but to one physician, in whose skill he had confidence, he was scarcely better than a slave; and, from superstition, almost paid adora
* “She died the second of March, in the year 1482, through an excess of female modesty, chusing rather to die, than suffer a surgeon to set her thigh, which was broken by the fall from her horse."
tion to an holy hermit, whom he was persuaded could save his life. Indeed, such was his faith in relics, that the holy oil was brought from Rheims, and kept constantly on his cupboard. The pope sent him various articles of assistance from Rome, and even the grand Turk despatched a deputation from Constantinople of holy relics, but which he declined accepting from infidel hands. During a short period of convalescence, he made a pilgrimage to St. Claude, who was his favourite saint; and he regularly maintained, that he was better than he appeared to be, although the evident pain he suffered, and the emaciated appearance of his frame, filled all who beheld him with a mixture of horror and compassion; feelings not a little increased by the melancholy contrast, which the splendour and magnificence of his dress (now become an object of especial care) presented to the feeble and wasted form it covered.
During this season of affected grandeur, and deplorable imbecility, still Lewis preserved his powers of policy, and procured the marriage of his son the Dauphin with a rich heiress, Margaret of Flanders, an object on which he had long set his heart ; although his heir was actually betrothed to the daughter of Edward IV. King of England. As Lewis had long and punctually paid to this Monarch, a yearly tribute of fifty thousand crowns, and Edward had ever expressed an earnest desire for the union; his astonishment and indignation, at the conduct of Lewis, it is here said, were such as greatly to affect his health, and added to a surfeit which he had at the time, appears to have produced an apoplectic attack, of which he died after a very short illness, to the joy and relief of the slowly expiring Lewis.
When, however, the awful summons at length arrived, the King sent for his son, gave him much good advice, and departed with decency. The author winds up his character, which is at once fairly and charitably examined, with saying “I will not accuse him, or say I never saw a better prince, for though he opprest his subjects himself, he never suffered any other person to do it;" and then goes forward to give us a trait, which we quote as indicative, not only of the man, but the times in which he lived.
“ After so many fears, sorrows, and suspicions, God, by a kind of miracle, restored him both in body and mind, as is his divine method in such kind of wonders. He took him out of the world in perfect ease, understanding, and memory; having called for all the sacraments himself, discoursing without the least twinge, or expression of pain, to the very last moment of his life. He gave directions for his own burial, appointed who should attend bis corpse to the grave, and declared that he desired to die on a Saturday of all days in the week; and that he hoped our Lady would procure bim that favour, in whom
he had always placed great part of his trust, and served her devoutly. And so it happened; for he died on Saturday the thirtieth of August, 1483, about eight at night, in the Castle of Plessis, where his fit took him on the Monday before.
“I knew him, and was entertained in his service in the flower of his age, and the height of his prosperity, yet I never knew him free from labour and care. Of all diversions he loved hunting and hawking in their seasons, but his chief delight was in dogs. As for ladies, he never meddled with any in my time; for about the time of my coming to court he lost a son called Joachim, who was born in 1459, for whose death he was extremely afficted, and made a vow in my presence, never to be concerned with any other woman but the Queen; and though this was no more than what he was obliged to by the canons of our church, yet it was much, that his command of himself should be so great, that he should be able to continue his resolutions so firmly, considering the Queen, (though an excellent Princess in all other respects) was not a person in whom a man could take any great delight.
“ In hunting, his eagerness and pain were equal to his pleasure, for his chace was the stag, which he always run down. He rose very early in the morning, rode sometimes a great way to his dogs, and would not leave his sport, let the weather be never so bad ; and when he came home at night was always very weary, and generally in a riolent passion with some of his courtiers, or huntsmen; for hunting is a sport not always to be managed according to the master's direction; yet in the opinion of most people, he understood it as well as any man of his time. He was continually at his sports, lying up and down in the country villages as his recreations led'him, till he was interrupted by the war, which for the most part of the summer was constantly between him and Charles, Duke of Burgundy, and at winter they made a truce.”
Nor are we sorry to make a truce with such subjects; for battles unredeemed by any of the attributes of heroism, save personal courage; and politics, whose eternal manœuvres and petty cunning are unrelieved by any great or noble views, soon pall upon the mind, and urge us forward to seek either in the grandeur of tragic incident, or the display of domestic virtue, some repose for the heart, or some solace to the imagination.
The history of Lewis XI. is followed by a supplement, which is so far useful as it gives a general account of the affairs of Europe at this period, and especially those of England, which include the history of Richard III. and the succession of Richmond; of whom he speaks," as a man who had long suffered in his fortunes, and was without power, money, or right;" but was greatly assisted by Charles, son and successor of Lewis.
The 7th and 8th books of these Memoirs contain the public life of Charles VIII., the last of the line of Valois; the great