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yet liveth, defender of Luther, a noble setter out, and as true a follower of Christ and his Gospel ; the other his kinsman, Duke George, who is dead, Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, a great man of the Emperor, a maintainer of Cochleus, and a notable pillar of Papistry.
Duke John Frederick is now fifty years of age, so big of personage as a very strong horse is scarce able to bear him, and yet is he a great deal bigger in all kind of virtues, in wisdom, justice, liberality, stoutness, temperancy in himself, and humanity towards others, in all affairs and either fortunes using a singular truth and stedfastness : so that Luis de Avila, and the Secretary of Ferrara, who wrote the story of the first wars in Germany, and profess to be his earnest enemies both for matters of state and also of religion, were so compelled by his worthiness to say the truth, as though their only purpose had been to write his praise. He was five years prisoner in this Court, where he won such love of all men, as the Spaniards now say, they would as gladly fight to set him up again, as ever they did to pull him down ; for they see that he is wise in all his doings, just in all his dealings, lowly to the meanest, princely with the biggest, and excelling gentle to all, whom no adversity could ever move, nor policy at any time entice, to shrink from God and his word. And here I must needs commend the Secretary of Ferrara, who being a Papist, and writing the history of the late wars in Germany, doth not keep back a goodly testimony
of Duke Frederick’s constancy toward God and his religion.
When the Emperor had taken the Duke prisoner, he came shortly after before the city of Wittemberg; and being advised by some bloody counsellors that Duke Frederick's death should, by the terror of it, turn all the Protestants from their religion, caused a writ to be made for the Duke to be executed the next morning upon a solemn scaffold, in the sight of his wife, children, and the whole city of Wittemberg.
This writ, signed with the Emperor's own hand, was sent over-night to the Duke, who, when the writ came unto him, was in his tent playing at chess with his cousin and fellow-prisoner the Landgrave of Lithenberg, and reading it advisedly over, laid it down quietly beside, and made no countenance at all at the matter, but said, “ Cousin, take good heed to your game;" and returning to his play as quietly
as though he had received some private letter of no great im. portance, did give the Landgrave a trim mate.
The Emperor (I doubt not) chiefly moved by God, secondly of his great wisdom and natural clemency, when he understood his marvellous constancy, changed his purpose, and revoked the writ; and ever after gave him more honour, and showed him more humanity, than Prince that ever I have read of hath hitherto done to his prisoner.
He is also such a lover of learning, as his library, furnished with books of all tongues and sciences, passeth all other libraries which are yet gathered in Christendom; for my friend Hieronimus Wolfius, who translated Demosthenes out of Greek into Latin, who had seen the French King's library, hath told me at Augsburg, that though in six months he was not able only to write out the titles of the books in the Fugger's library, yet was it not so big as Duke Frederick’s was which he saw in Saxony. I think he understandeth no strange tongue save the Latin and a little the French; and yet it is marvellous that my friend Johannes Sturmius doth report by writing, what he heard Philip Melancthon at a time say of this noble Duke: that he thought the Duke did privately read and write more every day than did both he and D. Aurifaber, which two were counted in all men's judgment to be the greatest readers and writers in all the university of Wittemberg.
And as he doth thus read with such diligence, even so he can report with such a memory whatsoever he doth read, and namely histories, as at his table on every new occasion he is accustomed to recite some new story, which he doth with such pleasure and utterance, as men be content to leare their meat to hear him talk; and yet he himself is not disdainful to hear the meanest, nor will overthwart any man's reason. He talketh without taunting, and is merry without scoffing, deluding no man for sport, nor nipping no man for spite.
Two kinds of men, as his preachers did tell me at Villach, he will never long suffer to be in his house; the one a common mocker, who for his pride thinketh so well of his own wit as his most delight is to make other men fools, and where God of his providence hath given small wit, he for his sport will make it none, and rather than he should lose his pleasure, he would another should lose his wit; as I hear say was once done in England, and that by the sufferance of
such as I am sorry, for the good will I bear them, to hear such a report; the other a privy whisperer, a pickthank, a tale-teller, meddling so with other men's matters, as he findeth no leisure to look to his own; one such in a great house is able to turn and toss the quietness of all. Such two kind of men, saith the Duke, besides the present troubling of others, never or seldom come to good end themselves. He loveth not also bold and thick-skinned faces, wherein the meaning of the heart doth never appear. Nor such hid talk as lieth in wait for other men's wits. But would, that words should be so framed with the tongue, as they be always meant in the heart.
And therefore the Duke himself thinketh nothing which he dare not speak, nor speaketh nothing which he will not do. Yet having thoughts grounded upon wisdom, his talk is always so accompanied with discretion, and his deeds so attended upon true-dealing, as he neither biteth with words, nor wringeth with deeds, except impudency follow the fault, which Xenophon wittily calleth the furthest point in all doing, and then he useth to speak home; as he did to a Spaniard this last year at Villach, who being of the Duke's guard, when he was prisoner, and now pleasing to sit at his table when he was at liberty, because many nobles of the Court came that day to dine with the Duke, the gentlemanusher gently desired the Spaniard to spare his room for that day for a great personage ; but he, countenancing a brave Spanish brag, said, Seignor, ye know me well enough,” and so sat him down. The Duke heard him, and preventing his man's answer, said, “Indeed you be too well known, by the same token the last time you were here you took a goblet away
you, and therefore when you have dined you may go without farewell, and have leave to come again when ye be sent for. In the mean while an honest man may occupy your place.”
But in remembering so good a Prince I have gone too far from my matter; and yet the remembrance of him is never out of place, whose worthiness is never to be for. gotten.
Duke George of Saxony, a little before he died, having no child, did disinherit Duke Henry his brother by his last will, because he was a Protestant, and gave away his whole inhe ritance to Ferdinand King of the Romans.
But Duke John Frederick, by force of arms, set and kept
his cousin Duke Henry in his right; and he dying soon after, left behind him two sons, Duke Maurice and Duke Augustus, who likewise in their youth were defended in their right by the wisdom and force of Duke John Frederick. Duke Maurice was brought up in Duke John Frederick's house, as if he had been his own son, and married the Landgrave's daughter.
After, it came to pass that the Emperor attempted to establish Papistry in Germany with the sword, against which purpose the Landgrave and Duke John Frederick armed themselves: not to resist the Emperor, as the Papists say, but to keep God's religion up, if any by violence would pull it down, refusing never, but requiring always to refer them and their doctrine to a lawful and free general council, where truth and religion might be fully tried in the hearing of even and * equal judges, and that by the touchstone of God's Canonical Scriptures.
Duke Maurice, in the beginning of his wars, was suspected neither of the Landgrave nor of Duke Frederick, being son-in-law to the one and nigh kinsman to the other, and agreeing in religion with both. Yea, he was not only not suspected, but as I heard skilful men say, he was ready with his counsel, and promised his aid, to help forward the enter. prise; or else John Frederick, being a Prince of such wisdom, would not have left at home behind him an enemy of such a force.
Francisco, Duke Maurice's agent with the Emperor, was asked, I being by at Augsburg, how he could excuse his master's unkindness towards John Frederick, who had been such a father unto him. He granted that Duke Frederick had been a great friend unto him, and might have been a greater if he had would, and then less strife had followed than did. 66 And truth it is, (said he,) as Duke Frederick kept my master in his right, so afterward he put him from part of his right, when in his young years he chopped and changed lands with him when he listed; which thing my i master complaining, could never obtain remedy therein. Kindness should rather have kindly increased, than so unkindly have decayed; especially when the one was trusted with all, and the other of such years, as he had neither wit
* Εν ίσοις και ομοίοις, words always used in Thucydides in deciding common controversies.
to perceive, nor power to amend, if any injury were offered unto him. Truth also it is, that my master was brought up in Duke Frederick's house; but he hath more cause to complain on them that brought him thither, than to thank such as brought him up there, where he had always plenty of drink, and as much scant of good teaching to come to such virtue and learning as did belong to a Prince of his state.”
Now, whether this talk was altogether true, or an ill excuse was made to cover a foul fact, I cannot tell; but sure I am Francisco said thus. I have heard wise men say, that it is not like, that for such a private strife Duke Maurice would have so forsaken not only his friend and kinsman, but also his father-in-law, or would for the loss of a little, or rather for the change of a piece, have so hazarded his whole estate, which was once in the first war all gone save Leipsic, and one other town, beside the loss of love in whole Germany, and his good name amongst all Protestants, in the inidst of whom all his livings do lie.
Well surely there was some great cause that could stir up so great a strife; and that was, as wise men and well willing on Duke Maurice's side, in mine opinion, have truly judged, the foul vice of ambition.
O Lord ! how many worthy men hath this one vice bereft from good common-weals, which for all other respects were most unworthy of that end they came unto! My heart weeps for those noble men of England, whose valiantness in war, whose wisdom in peace, this realm shall want and wail, and wish for in time to come, which of late, by this only vice, have been taken from us. Examples, less for our grief, and as fit for this purpose, be plenty enow in other states.
Over-many experiences do teach us, though a Prince be wise, stout, liberal, gentle, merciful, and excellently learned ; though he deserve all the praise that virtue, nature, and fortune can afford him, yea, that wit itself can wish for, as we read that noble Julius Cæsar had, and that by the testimony of those that loved him not; nevertheless if the two foul verses of Euripides,
Do right alway, and wrong refrain,
Except only for rule and reign :If these verses, I say, do not only sound well in his ear, but sink deep also in his heart, surely there is neither kindred,