Imágenes de páginas



XI. continued.)




ANOTHER local tradition attaches to the spot where Wallenstein, while a page in the household of Ferdinand and Philippine, fell unharmed from the window of the corridor leading to the dining-hall, making in the terrible moment a secret vow to the Blessed Virgin of his conversion if he escaped with life, which hastened the work begun doubtless by Philippine's devout example and teaching. There is another, again, more marvellous still, and dating from an earlier period, and shortly before the purchase of the castle by the reigning family. It is said that Theophrastus Paracelsus, of whom so many weird stories are told, was at one time sojourning at Innsbruck—where, another tradition has it, he died--and in the course of his wanderings in search of plants of strange healing powers, came to this outlying and then neglected castle. A peasant woman seeing him pass her cottage weary and footsore, asked him to come in and rest and taste her freshly-baked cakes, of which the homely odour scented the air. The man of strange science thanked her for her hospitality, and in return touched the tongs upon the hearth with his wonder-working book, and behold the iron was turned into pure gold. The origin of such a legend as this is easy to trace; the book, of the touch of which such virtue is fabled, plainly represents the learning of the studious savant, which brought him as well as fame, pecuniary advantage, enabling him to astonish the peasants with payment in the precious metal not often seen by them. But there are many others told of him, the details of which are more complicated, and wander much further from the outline of facts. The way in which he became possessed of his wonderworking power is thus accounted for.* One Sunday morning when he was as usual wandering in search of plants in a forest on the heights not far from Innsbruck, he heard a voice calling after him out of a tree. 'Who are you?' cried Paracelsus. 'I am he whom men call the Evil One,' answered the voice; but how wrong they are you shall judge, if you but release me out of this tree you shall see I shall do nothing but good.' 'How am I to set about it?' asked the clever Doctor. Only look straight up the stem of the pine opposite you, and you will see a bung with three crosses on it, all you have to do is to pull it out, and I am free; if y


do this I will show you how good I ain by giving you the two things you most desire, an elixir which shall turn all to gold, and another which shall heal every malady.' Paracelsus, lured by the tempting promise, pulled out the bung, and straightway an ugly black spider crawled out of the hole, which quickly transformed itself into an old man wrapped in a scarlet mantle. The demon kept his word, and gave the Doctor the promised phials, but immediately began threatening the frightful vengeance he would wreak on the exorcist who had confined him in the tree. Paracelsus now blamed himself for his too ready confidence in the character the demon had given himself for goodness, for he knew the impossibility of outrunning him and getting to Innsbruck in time to warn the exorcist, but he bethought him of a means of playing on the imp's vanity. “What a powerful man that same exorcist must be,' said Paracelsus, 'to turn a tall powerful fellow like you into a spider, and then drive you into a tree.' 'Not a bit of it,' replied the imp; "he couldn't have done anything of the sort, it was all my own doing.' * Your own doing !' exclaimed Paracelsus, with a mocking langh. 'Is that likely? I have heard of people being transformed by some one of greater power than themselves, never by their own.' "You shall soon see though,' said the provoked imp; and with that he quickly resumed the form of a spider, and crawled back into the hole. Paracelsus, it may well be imagined, lost no time in replacing the bung, on which he cut three fresh crosses to renew the spell; and never can he again be released, for it was agreed never to cut down this forest on account of the protection it afforded the country against the avalanches.

But, it may be asked, the wonder-working phials once vouchsafed to man, would surely be taken good care of. There is a legend to provide for that too. † When the other doctors of Innsbruck found that Paracelsus so far exceeded them in skill, they determined to poison bim; Paracelsus had knowledge of their plot by his arts, and he knew there was only one remedy against the poison they had adopted, and he shut himself up, telling his servant not to disturb him for five days. At the end of the fourth day, however, the curious servant came into his room and broke the spell. He had employed a wonder-working spider to draw out the poison, which

* Nork, Mythologie der Volkssagen, p. 419.
† Von Alpenburg; Mythen u. Sagen Tirols.

it would have done in the course of five days. Disturbed on the fourth, Paracelsus knew he must die. Determined that the jealous members of his profession should not profit by their crime, he sent his servant with the two phials and bid him stand on the middle of the Inn-bridge and throw them into the river. Where they fell into the river, the water was streaked with molten gold.

It only remains to call attention to the splendid and truly Tirolean panoramic view from the pretty terrace of Ambras with its luxuriant trellis of passion flower and 'virgin vine.' Overhanging the village of Ambras is the so-called Tummelplatz, where in the lifetime of Ferdinand and Philippine, many a gay tournament was held, but since used as burying-place; first for the military hospital, to which the castle was at one time devoted—and some seven or eight thousand patriots were interred here between 1796 and 1810; and afterwards for those who fell successfully resisting the Italian invasion of 1859.

Whatever was the manner of Philippine's death, it was bitterly lamented by Ferdinand, who found the usual refuge of human grief in raising a splendid monument to her memory in the so-called Silberne Kapelle in the Hofkirche. The chapel was built by him to satisfy her devotion to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception; and in her lifetime was so called from the solid silver image of the Blessed Virgin, and the bas-reliefs of the mysteries of the rosary in the same metal over the altar, itself a valuable ebony carving. She had loved to pray there, and it accordingly formed a fitting resting place for her mortal remains. Her effigy in marble over her altar-shaped tomb is a figure of exceeding beauty, and is ascribed to Alexander Collin ; it stands under a marble canopy. The upright slab of the tomb is of white marble, carved in three compartments; the centre one bearing a modest inscription, and the other two, subjects recording her charity to the living and the dead; the outline of the town of Innsbruck as it appeared at her day forms the background. By his desire Ferdinand was buried near her; his monument is similarly sunk in the thickness of the wall, which is adorned with shields carved in relief, bearing the arms of his house painted with their respective tinctures; and on the tomb are marble reliefs, setting forth, after the manner of those on Maximilian's cenotaph, the public acts of Ferdinand's life. This chapel came to be used afterwards for Italian sermons by the consorts of subsequent rulers of Tirol, many of whom were Italians.

In 1572, Innsbruck was visited by a severe shock of earthquake, which overthrew many buildings, and so filled the people with alarm, that temporary wooden huts were built in the open field where they took refuge. Ferdinand and Philippine had recourse to the same means of safety, and while living thus, their only daughter, Anna Eleonora, was born. In thanksgiving for this favour, and for the cessation of the panic, the royal pair vowed a pilgrimage to Seefeld, * which they accomplished

* Part VIII., Vol. viii., p. 396. VOL. 9.


PART 50.


on foot, accompanied by their sons; above two thousand Innsbruckers following them. The general sentiment of gratitude was further testified by the enactment on the part of Ferdinand, and the glad acceptance on the part of the people, of various rules of devotion, which have gone to form the subsequent habits of the people. Three years of dearth succeeded the earthquake, and were accepted by the pious ruler and people as a heavenly warning to lead them to increased faith and devotion. Lutheran books which had escaped earlier measures against them were spontaneously brought forward and burnt; special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was promoted, Ferdinand himself setting the example ; for whenever he met the Viaticum on the way to the sick, whether he was in a carriage or on horseback, he never failed to alight and kneel upon the ground, whatever might be its condition. This was indeed a special tradition of his house; it is told of Rudolf of Hapsburg, that one day as he was out hunting, a furious storm came on, soon swelling the mountain torrents, and sweeping away paths and bridges. On the brink of a raging stream, which there was no means of crossing, stood a priest, weather-bound on his way to carry the last Sacrament to a dying parishioner. Rudolf recognized the sound of the bell, and directed his steps by its leading to pay his homage to the hochwürdigste Gut. He no sooner learned the difficulty than he dismounted, and offered his own horse to the priest. When the priest brought the mount back next day, the pious prince told him he could not think of himself again crossing a horse which had been honoured by having borne his Lord and Redeemer, and begged him to keep it for the future service of religion.

While Philippine's relations never sought to overstep the limits which imperial etiquette had set them, Ferdinand seems to have treated them with kind cordiality. An instance of this was the magnificence with which he celebrated the marriage of her nephew, Johann von Kolourat, with her maid-of-honour, Katarina von Boimont, in 1580: the 'Neustadt' or principal street afforded space for tournaments and races which lasted many days, and attracted the remaining votaries of chivalry from all parts of Europe. The festivities were closed by a splendid pageant in which Ferdinand took part as 'Olympian Jove.'

In 1582 Ferdinand married Anna Katharina Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of Mantua, who was equally pious with Philippine. The marriage was celebrated at Innsbruck with great pomp. She has the honour of being the first to introduce the Capuchin Order into Germany; it was not indeed decided without some discussion in the general chapter of the Order to let the monks accept the consequence of being exposed to a colder climate than that they were used to. The first stone of their monastery was laid by Ferdinand and Anna Katharina in August, 1593, at the intersection of the Universitäts-gasse and the Sill-gasse. Ferdinand died the following year, regretted by all the people, but by none more than by Anna Katharina, who passed the remainder of her days in a convent she had founded at Innsbruck. She died in 1621, and desired the following inscription to be put on her tomb: Miserere mei Domine dum veneris in novissimo die.'

The warning of disastrous years, 1572-4, was not only fruitful as I have shewn above in spiritual profit; it was also turned to practical account by Ferdinand in his desire to relieve the distress of the peasants. In the first months of threatening famine, he bought with his own means large provisions of grain in Hungary and Italy, and opened depôts in various parts of Tirol, where it was sold at a reasonable price. To provide a means of earning money for those who were shut out of their ordinary labour, he laid out or improved some of the most important high-roads ; he likewise exerted himself in every way to promote the commerce of the country. His reign conferred many other benefits on the people; many laws were amended and brought into conformity with the altered circumstances of the age; the principle of self-taxation was established, and other measures enacted which it does not belong to my present province to particularize. He introduced also the use of the Gregorian Calendar, and gave great encouragement to the cultivation of letters. It was by liis care that the most authentic MSS. of the Niebelungen poems and other examples of early literature were preserved to us.

As Ferdinand had no children by Anna Katharina, and those of Philippine were not allowed to succeed, the rule over Tirol recurred at his death to the Emperor Rudolf II., Maximilian's eldest son. In 1602, however, he gave over the government to his brother, Maximilian, who is distinguished by the name of the Deutschmeister. Tirol was again fortunate in her ruler; Maximilian was as pious and prudent a prince as his predecessors. He promoted the educational establishments of the town, and was a zealous opponent of religious error; he brought in the order of Servites to oppose the remaining germs of Lutheran teaching; the church and monastery at the end of the Neustadt being built for them by Katharina Maria.* A fanatic named Paul Lederer, one of the very few Tirol has produced, rose in his reign, and carried away about thirty persons to join a kind of sect he attempted to form ; but the Tirolese, always jealous of any inroad upon the unity of the faith, were forward to arrest the growth of error; and in accordance with the laws of the age, he was tried and executed, after which his followers were no more heard of.

Maximilian was much attached to the Capuchin Order, and built himself a little hermitage within their precincts, which is still shewn, where he spent all the time he could spare in prayer and meditation ; following the rule of the monks, rising with them to their night Offices, and employing himself at manual labour in the field and in the workshop like one of them. His cell is panneled with plain wood, the bed and chair are of the most ordinary make, as are the ink-stand and other

* There are some pictures in the church by Theopbilus Polak, Martin Knoller, Grasmair, and other native artists; and the frescoes on the roof by Schöpf are worth attention.

« AnteriorContinuar »