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the dread of the malady operated to deprive the sick of the help of which they stood in need. It was when the plague raged highest, and the majority were most absorbed with the thought of securing their own safety, that a poor woman of the people, named Margaretha Hueber, rising superior to the vulgar terror, took upon herself cheerfully the management of the desolate Siechen-haus ; the example of her courage was all that was needed to bring out the Christian confidence and charity of the masses; and to her devotion was owing not only the relief of the plague-stricken, but the moral effect of her spirit and energy was also not without its fruit in staying the havoc of the contagion; and she was long remembered by the name of die fromme Siechin.

Shortly before his death, (which happened in 1564,) Ferdinand had his second son, Ferdinand II., publicly acknowledged in the Landtag of Innsbruck, Landesfürst of Tirol. His own affection for the country had prevented him from suffering its interests to be ever neglected by the pressure of his vast rule; and now that his great age warned him he would be able to watch over it no longer, he determined to give it once more the benefit of an independent government.

Ferdinand II. seems to have had all the excellent administrative qualities of his father in the degree necessary for his restricted sphere of dominion; while the grandeur of his court, and his patronage of learning and the arts, earned him the title of the Lorenzo de' Medici of the House of Hapsburg. This disposition for the culture of peaceful arts was promoted by the happiness of his family life. The story of his early love, and his marriage in accordance with the dictates of his heart, in an age when matrimonial alliances were too often dictated by political considerations alone, have made one of the romances dearest to the popular mind.

Situated at the distance of a pleasant hour's walk from Innsbruck, and forming an exceedingly picturesque object in the views from it, is Schloss Ambras, in ancient times one of the chief bulwarks of the Innthal. Ferdinand I. bought it of the noble family of Schurfen at the time he nominated his son to the government of the country, and it always remained Ferdinand II.'s favourite residence. Hither he brought home the beautiful Philippine Welser, whose grace and modesty had won his heart at first sight, as she leant forward from her turret window to cast her flowery greeting at the feet of the Emperor Charles Quint as he came into Augsburg, and the young and handsome prince rode by his side. Philippine had been betrothed by her father to the heir of the Fugger family, the richest and most powerful of Augsburg; but her eyes had met Ferdinand's, and that one glance had revealed to both that their happiness lay in union with each other. Fortunately, Philippine possessed in her mother a devoted confidant and ally. True, Ferdinand could not rest till he had obtained a stolen interview with her; but the true German woman had confidence in the honour and virtue of the reigning House, and the words Philippine, who was

e richest and most one glance had reveately, Philip

truth itself, reported were those of true love, which knows no shame. Nevertheless, the Fugger was urgent, and old Welser--a sturdy upholder of his family tradition for upright dealing-never, they knew, could be brought to be wanting to his word. The warm love of youth, however, is ever a match for the steady calculation of age. While the fathers Welser and Fugger were counting their money-bags, Ferdinand had devised a plan which easily received the assent of Philippine's affection for him, the rather that her mother, for whom a daughter's happiness stood dearer than any other consideration, gave it her countenance and aid. At an hour agreed, Ferdinand appeared beneath the turret where their happiness was first revealed to them; at a little distance his horses were in waiting. Not an instant had he to wait; Philippine, already fortified by her fond mother's farewell benediction, joined him ere a pang of misgiving had time to enter his mind, an old and trusted family servant accompanying her. Safely the fugitives reached the chapel, where a friendly priest-Ferdinand's confessor, Johann Cavallerüs—waited to bless the nuptials of the devoted pair, the old servant acting as witness. Old Franz Welser was subsequently induced to give his approval and paternal benediction; and if his burgher pride was wounded by his daughter marrying into a family which might look down upon her connexions, he had the consoling reflection that he was able to give her a dowry which many princes might envy; and also in the discovery of a friendly antiquary, that even his lineage, if not royal, was not either to be despised, for it could be traced up to the same stock which gave Belisarius to the Empire.

Ferdinand's marriage was, I believe, never known to his father. But there are stories of his being won over to forgive it by Philippine’s gentle beauty and worth, but these are probably referable to the Emperor his successor. However this may be, the devoted pair certainly lived for some time in blissful retirement at Ambras; and after his brother Maximilian II, had acknowledged the legality of the marriage, on the condition that the offspring of it should never claim the rank of Archdukes of Austria, Ambras, which had been their first retreat, was so endeared to them, that they always loved to live there better than anywhere else; and here were born to them two sons—Karl, who afterwards became a Cardinal and Bishop of Brixen, and Andreas, Markgrave of Burgau, to whom Ferdinand willed Ambras, on condition that he should maintain its regal beauties, and preserve undiminished the rich stores of books and rare manuscripts, coins, armour, objects of vertù, and curiosities of every sort it had been the delight of his and Philippine's leisure hours to collect. This testamentary disposition the son judged would be best carried out by selling the place to the Emperor Rudolf II., in 1606; and Ambras has accordingly ever since been reckoned a pleasure-seat of the Imperial family. The unfortunate love of centralization, more than the fear of foreign invasion which was the ostensible pretext, deprived Tirol of these treasures; they were removed to Vienna

in 1806, where they may be visited in the Belvedere Palace, the promise of restoring them, often made, not having yet been fulfilled. Among the remnant that are left, are still some tokens of Ferdinand's taste and genius, and some touching memorials of a thirty years of happiness, purer and truer than is often combined with the enjoyment of worldly dominion. There are some pieces of embroidery, with which Philippine occupied the lonely hours which Ferdinand's public duties obliged him to spend away from her; among them, a well-executed Crucifixion, and some natural curiosities in the shape of gnarled and twisted roots, needing little effort of the imagination to convert into naturally—perhaps supernaturally-formed crucifixes, and which they had doubtless found pleasure in unearthing in the woods round Ambras. At the time of my visit, the private chapel was being very well restored, and some frescoes, very fairly executed by Wienhold, a local artist who has studied in Rome. There is still a small collection of armour, and a suit of clothes worn by a giant in the suite of Charles Quint, which would appear to have belonged to a man near eight feet high; also some portraits of the Hapsburg family and other rulers of Tirol, among them Margareta Maultasch, which, if it be faithful, disproves the story deriving her name from the size of her mouth; but of this I shall have occasion to speak later. Inglis mentions that among the relics is a piece of the tree on which Judas hanged himself, but it was not shewn to me.

The people, whose own experience fixes the law of suffering in their minds, will have it that these years of tranquil joy were not unalloyed, but that Philippine's mother-in-law embittered them by her jealous bickerings and reproaches, and that these in the end led her to make a sacrifice of her life to the pretended exigencies of her husband's glory; the bath is yet pointed out at Ambras where she is said to have bled herself to death to make way for a consort more conformable to her husband's birth. All, even local, historians, however, are agreed in rejecting this tradition.* It has served nevertheless to endear her to the popular mind, for whom she is still a model of domestic virtues no less than a type of beauty; scarcely a house in Tirol that is not adorned by her image: among other traditions of her personal perfections, it is fabled that her skin was so delicate, that the colour of the red wine could be seen softly opalized as it passed her slender throat.

(To be continued.)

* Zoller Geschichte der Stadt Innsbruck, p. 272; and Weissegger, vol. vi. p. 61.

75

THE SPOTS ON THE SUN,

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THEIR PRESENT PREVALENCE:

BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF A LECTURE

DELIVERED AT MAIDSTONE, ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26TH, BY RICHARD A. PROCTOR, B.A., F.R.A.S., AUTHOR OF 'SATURN AND ITS SYSTEM,' &c.

In order to form adequate conceptions of the real importance of those processes to which the solar spots are due, it is necessary that we should know something about the dimensions of the solar globe. We are told in works on Astronomy that the Sun has a diameter of 850,000 miles; but it may be questioned whether this statement conveys very clear impressions to the mind. If a few cyphers were added to the number, or taken away from it, the vague idea of enormous magnitude would remain unchanged in character. It is necessary that one should compare the Sun with some known object before one can conceive the real vastness of his dimensions. For this purpose we may select the earth on which we live. We cannot indeed form adequate conceptions even of this terrestrial globe. But we know that it is very large. We can compare its dimensions with known distances, because we know how long it takes to journey from one side of it to the other. The swiftest ship sailing from our shores, must plough the seas for more than seventy days, at her utmost speed, before she can make the shores of New Zealand or Australia ; so that we learn how enormously the circuit of the globe exceeds the dimensions with which we are familiar—the league, or the mile, or the furlong, by which we measure ordinary distances.

Now it is easy to compare the dimensions of the Earth and the Sun in a satisfactory manner. If we draw on paper a circle one foot in diameter, and if on this circle we mark down two minute dots, one somewhat over à tenth of an inch in diameter and the other about a fortieth, and separated from each other by rather more than three inches, the large circle will represent the Sun, the two small ones the Earth and Moon, and the distance separating these circles the distance at which the Moon travels round the Earth. When one looks at a figure thus drawn, and remembers the relations which it represents, the idea is forced upon one how enormously the Sun exceeds the earth on which we live, and the orb which illuminates our nocturnal skies. We see that the central luminary of the solar scheme is a worthy chief of the great family which he sways. Whether we regard the vastness of his mass, or his enormous light-giving and heat-giving powers, we see that he is well fitted to supply the wants of the planets which circle around him. And lastly, seeing how small a figure our Earth makes upon his surface, we are prepared to recognize the real importance of the spots which commonly present.a much more conspicuous figure, and have sometimes covered so large a portion of his surface as to be readily visible by the naked eye.

of an inch in diame rather more than the Eart

The discovery of the solar spots belongs to the commencement of the seventeenth century. Three observers, Galileo the celebrated Florentine, Fabricius-a German astronomer less known to fame, and Fr. Scheiner, a Jesuit priest, share the distinction of having independently discovered these interesting objects. To which of these observers the credit of absolute priority is to be ascribed, is not certainly known. But as far as the evidence we have at present extends, it would seem that Fabricius was the first discoverer of the spots. No doubt exists, however, that the other two discovered them independently, and nearly at the same time.

At first the announcement that the Sun is stained with spots was received with much ridicule, and-strange as it may seem- with no little indignation. The idea entertained by the Greek philosophers, that the celestial bodies must necessarily be free from all sign of terrestrial impurity, had long held sway among learned men. Resting though it did on no basis of observation, it yet recommended itself, by a sort of fitness, to the minds of philosophers. So that they asked how we could possibly believe, that the chief of all the celestial bodies should be marked with spot or stain or blemish? “Can the eye of the universe,' said one, be supposed liable to ophthalmia?' And it is said that Fr. Scheiner himself, though he had discovered these objects, was not prepared to believe that they are really spots upon the Sun. Certain it is that the idea was not approved of by his superiors. When he announced to the Provincial of his Order that he had seen what appeared to be spots on the Sun, the worthy Father told him he must be mistaken. 'I have read the pages of the Greek philosophers through, from beginning to end,' said the Provincial; and I find no word about these spots. Therefore you may be sure they do not exist. Calm yourself, my son. Retire to the tranquillity of your cell, and forget all about these delusions. Either your telescope has deceived you, or you have been led astray by false appearances, as a deserved rebuke for an over-inquisitive spirit.'

However, Father Scheiner was not ready thus to tranquillize himself. Galileo and Fabricius also, and a host of other patient observers, set themselves diligently to inquire what the spots might be, or what might be learned from them respecting the condition of the Solar orb.

Before long it was noticed that the spots travel across the face of the Sun, and this in such a manner as to indicate that they are attached to it. It had been thought possible that their appearance might, in reality, be caused by the passage of planets across the Sun's face. In fact, this idea had been so well received that a name was given to these imaginary planets ; and in many works of that epoch references are made to the Borbonian stars, as these supposed bodies were called, in honour of the royal family of France. Others, however, thought that the spots might be caused by dark bodies within the Sun's mass. Such bodies, tossed about by the violent internal action ascribed to the Sun by the astronomers of those days, would appear as dark bodies when they neared his surface ; and would vanish, (as the spots were seen to do) when they

hat a name the Sun's facaight, in

dark bodies with action ascribed to dies when they neared

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