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the character of the times) is the religious dialect in which the whole is couched. Those who have attempted to trace the scriptural expressions and iinagery of Dante, have been scarcely aware that such had long been the language of the Christian world. These manifestos, indeed, were sent forth in Latin, but the Ghibelline party, as they were addressed to all orders, would take care that at least their substance should be made known in their popular dialects. The same imagery, and not a little of the heretical tone concerning the pride, the luxury, the pomp of the papal see, were disseminated by the Franciscans, the Methodists of Roman Catholicism. At first, indeed, these popular preachers were so entirely in the papal interest, that Frederick took the bold and decisive measure of expelling them from the kingdom of Naples ; but—both as disseminating that which may be called the poetic Christian language, in the vulgar tongue, and as inveighing against the abuses of the papal power, some of the Franciscan preachers may be considered the link between Frederick II. and the Florentine poet. We do not distinctly recollect whether Signor Rosetti, in his ingenious though too refined and systematic attempts to elucidate the inysteries of that great poem, has included these manifestoes of the emperor and the pope, as showing the tendency of the age to adapt the mystic allegories of the Revelations to the events and characters of the day. The rude hymns, the satires, the mysticism of Fra Jacopone di Todi, who was imprisoned by Boniface VIII. for disrespect to the successor of St. Peter, are something in the same strain. There can be no doubt that both of these might contribute a curious chapter to a work not yet adequately executed, the · Historia Reformationis ante Reformationem ;' though, after all, perhaps they might chiefly command public attention now-a-days as throwing some light, however feeble, on the composition of the • Divina Commedia.' How wonderful the privilege of true genius, --that state papers, which almost arrayed Europe in hostile conflict, which spoke the contending sentiments of factions, that divided every county, every city, every household,—are chiefly interesting as illustrative of a single poem!
The religion of Frederick is, and will ever be, a more inscrutable problem. How far was he beyond his age? how far had he ventured from the thick darkness of his time into the daylight of reason? Had he advanced still farther into the dim thickets of doubt, or plunged into the bottomless abyss of unbelief? His real sentiments can neither be ascertained from the careless speeches which he may have hazarded in his light hours of social revelry, nor from the public confession of faith which was extorted from him by the dangerous accusations of the pope-though in this, at the time, he may have been, or at least thought himself to VOL, LI. NO. CII.
be, perfectly sincere ; nor even from his legislation, which necessarily accommodated itself to the predominant spirit of the age.
M. von Raumer considers the religion of Frederick in something of that psychological point of view in which German philo, sophy delights to treat such questions. But the metaphysical language of this system is not yet familiar, and could be scarcely intelligible, to the common English ear. We should arrive, in a different way perhaps, at the same conclusion, that the inquiring and doubting emperor might be a much better Christian than many a simply superstitious monk.' Frederick himself would probably have found it very difficult strictly to define his own creed. He was in that situation in which the minds of eminent and influential men must be when in advance of their age, clearly seeing that much was wrong, but unable accurately to estimate how much: now driven by the intolerant bigotry of a hostile church to the desperate rejection of the whole system, with which so many manifest abuses were thus intimately associated; now trembling at his own boldness, and recoiling in conscientious apprehension to the foot of the altar. Not merely may he vho at one period would be a rational Christian, pass. at another, ike Frederick, for a Jew, a Mahometan, a Heretic, an Athe.st(charges which, as M. von Raumer justly observes, destroy each other) —but his own language, if of a gay and sportive cast, as the emperor's appears to have been, his conduct and state of mind, may be so uncertain and fluctuating as almost to justify the malicious accusations of his enemies. Yet, nevertheless, the seemingly inconsistent mind may be sincerely ardent for the truth -may be struggling with intense and earnest zeal for conviction
-at one time may have aspirations of the loftiest faith, while at another it may be floating unfixed and insecure upon the shifting currents of scepticism.
At first victory crowned the arms of Frederick in every quarter; city after city fell; the papal malediction hovered in vain over his heaven ratified not the decree of its vicar
earth. But the aged pope was still undaunted by personal danger, and unbroken by the defeat of his allies. Though near a hundred years old, he made no submissive offers of reconciliation; when the armies of Frederick gathered like toils around his lair, he shut himself in the city of Rome, and, still confident in the goodness of his cause, defied the terrors of capture and imprisonment. But he did not live to see the reverses of his devoted enemy, nor the deliverance and the triumph of the Roman see. The death of Gregory has been ascribed to chagrin and disappointment at the failure of his schemes ; M. von Raumer conceives that the unwholesome air of the crowded city, in which he was
forced to take refuge with all his followers during the heat of summer, was the real cause of his death. But a few weeks before his decease Gregory wrote these words :
Do not permit yourselves, ye faithful, to be cast down by the un. favourable appearances of the present moment; be neither depressed by misfortune, nor elated by prosperity; put your trust in God, and endure his trials with patience : the bark of Peter is for a time tossed by tempests and dashed against breakers; but soon it emerges unexpectedly from the foaming billows, and sails uninjured over the glassy surface.' The new pope, Celestine IV., elected under the terror of Frederick's successful arms, died sixteen days after his election : the cardinals, who had suffered every kind of privation, and dreaded the poisonous air of Rome, had taken the opportunity of fight, and nearly two years elapsed before the chair of St. Peter was filled again.
Frederick himself was at length obliged to urge on the election. He was still under the ban of excommunication; none but a pope could cancel the anathema of a pope. Whatever advantages he may have derived from the want of a head to the opposite faction-whether, as M. von Raumer debates the question, he may have entertained some design of changing the constitution of the church from a papal monarchy into an aristocracy of the cardinals—the general voice of Christendom demanded, in language which could not be misunderstood and might not be opposed, the election of a new spiritual sovereign. The choice fell on a cardinal, once closely connected with the interests, and supposed to be attached to the person, of Frederick-Sinibald Fiesco, of the Genoese house of Lavagna. He assumed the name of Innocent IV.-a fatal omen that he intended to tread in the steps of Innocent III. Frederick was congratulated on the accession of his declared partisan; he coldly and prophetically answered, I fear that in the cardinal I have lost a good friend, and in the pope shall find my worst enemy. No pope can be a Ghibelline.'
Negotiations commenced, but in vain. The pope demanded the liberation of the ecclesiastics of the opposite faction, whom Frederick had captured in an encounter by sea; and on all other points his tone was as high and as uncompromising as at the height of the papal power. Frederick, who was now at the summit of his glory—his fame untarnished by discomfiture- Italy prostrate at his feet—his hereditary dominions attached to him by love, the empire by respect and awe (for his rebellious son by this time dead)-on his part demanded in the first place the repeal of the interdict. But the star of the Hohenstaufen had reached its height; it began to decline, to darken-and 2 A 2
its fall was as rapid and precipitate as its rise had been slow and stately. The first sign of evil omen was the defection of Viterbo to the Guelphic party. Frederick was so enraged at the insulting behaviour of the insurgents that he declared, that if he had one foot in Paradise he would turn back to revenge himself on the Viterbans, for their ill-usage of his partisans and the razing of their houses.' But the obstinate and successful resistance of the rebellious town broke the charm by which victory seemed bound to his banners-city after city revolted; and the fatal intelligence arrived, that the pope, who, as long as he was environed by the imperial armies, was obliged to maintain at least some appearance of pacific intentions, had burst his toils and reached the shores of France. The Council of Lyons was speedily summoned ; all the old charges against the emperor were renewed and aggravated -he was again, notwithstanding the bold and eloquent defence of his representative, Thaddeus of Suessa, excommunicated, deposed, and his subjects absolved from their allegiance. The solemn ceremonial of the interdict has been often described; never was it uttered against so noble a victim---never followed with more awful consequences :
• When Innocent, without full investigation, without putting it to the vote, without any apparent participation of the Council of the Church, uttered so severe a sentence against the Emperor, the majority of the assembly were panic-struck; above all, the imperial ambassadors uttered their lame ations, beat their heads and their breasts in sorrow; and Thaddeus of Suessa cried aloud" This is a day of wrath, of tribulation, and of anguish!--Now will the heretics rejoice, the Charismians prevail, the race of the Moguls urge their irruptions !” “ I have done my part," answered the Pope ; “ God must do the rest, and guide according to his will." Thereupon he began the “ We magnify thee, O Lord God,”—and all his partisans lifted up their voices with him. At the end of the hymn followed a deep silence; then Innocent and the prelates held down their burning torches to the ground till they were extinguished, -"So be the glory and the fortune of the emperor extinguished upon earth!"'
The spell of the magician began to work: everywhere was revolt, insurrection, mistrust, defeat, shame, sorrow. Germany elected a new king of the Romans : from one end of Lombardy to the other, the Guelphic faction predominated; the barons of Apulia rose in rebellion—the severest measures were necessary to repress the intrigues of the monks in Sicily itself—the Franciscans and Dominicans were banished the realm -- the clergy heavily taxed, and forced, as far as the emperor's power could reach, to perform the services of the church in defiance of the papal interdict. At the fatal battle of Fossalta, his favourite natural son, Enzius, was taken prisoner; and his heart was
still more deeply wounded by a solemn vow of the Bolognese never to release the prisoner-a vow which they sternly maintained, notwithstanding the menaces and the most prodigal offers of ransom made by the disconsolate father. According to Sismondi, the loss of liberty was afterwards mitigated as far as possible by the attention and respect shown to their captive by the Bolognese nobility ; according to M. von Raumer, it was aggravated by many petty vexations. We regret that we have not room for his romantic account of the attempt of Enzius to escape, after twenty years of captivity, when he contrived to conceal himself in a cask, but was betrayed by a lock of hair, too beautiful to belong to any one else but the royal prisoner.
Only six years had elapsed since the flight of Innocent_and the gay and splendid monarch, who at the age of twenty-one had won the imperial crown, and worn it with greater dignity than any former sovereign; the crusader who had recovered the kingdom of Jerusalem by an honourable treaty; the master, but now, of the whole of Italy, whose fortunes had for so long defied even the papal anathema-- Frederick II.-lay expiring in the castle of Fiorentino, near Luceria, leaving to his son no more than the crown of Naples, and that endangered by the hostility of the pope. Sorrows even heavier than approaching death loaded the mind of the failing monarch. His favourite son Tay pining in hopeless imprisonment. Of his most faithful followers, one, the bold Chaddeus of Suessa, who had maintained his cause with such intrepidity before the council of Lyons, had been cut off by a barbarous death. He had been taken prisoner by the insurgents of Parma. When captured, he was almost expiring from loss of blood ; the Parmesans, considering him the adviser of the severe measures which had been put in force against their city, literally hewed him in pieces. The other, Peter of Vinea, his brother poet, who had shared his festive enjoyments in Palermo and Naples—to whose judicial integrity and consummate statesmanship he had intrusted his most secret affairs--his confidential counsellor in all his exigencies--in the touching language of Scripture, his dear familiar friend'—had, it seems, taken counsel against him. Much obscurity still hangs over the fate of Peter de Vinea. M. von Raumer does not entirely disbelieve that circumstantial narrative of Matthew Paris, which has been rejected by many writers. According to this account, while Frederick lay ill, the confidential physician of Peter had prescribed for him, and prepared his medicine. The Emperor, who had received a private warning, said,
My friend, I put my full trustin you. But take care, I entreat you, that poison is not administered to me instead of physic.” Peter answered, “Şire, how often has my physician prepared for you whole