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REMOVAL OF THE EMPRESS'S REMAINS IN 1771. 25

her husband's undiminished affection for her, and the pretty boy whose sweet features strongly resemble her own. Her crown, indeed, encircles a head of great beauty; her calm features presenting some trace of the gentle and lovely expression which characterises the face of our own Elizabeth of York, as she sleeps by the side of her cold-hearted lord, who was too apt to regard her as the rival of his throne rather than the partner of his bosom. A rich frieze of elaborate workmanship, containing armorial bearings, and the shields of the houses of Habsburg, Kibourg, and Hohenberg, runs around the sides of this costly mansion for the dead; but she for whom it was so cunningly and carefully erected is no longer its silent possessor.

After the Reformation, to which Bâsle so powerfully contributed, was finally achieved, the cathedral became the parochial church of the inhabitants; and the empress Maria Theresa of Germany, a good but certainly narrow-minded bigoted woman, reflecting with pain that the mortal remains of her ancestors were dissolving in a building no longer consecrated to the worship of the Romish faith, demanded of the senate of Bâsle, in 1771, permission to open the tomb, in order to transport their remains to the abbey of St. Blaise in the Black Forest, together with those of eleven other princes and princesses of the house of Habsburg, who, in the lapse of ages,

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since the empress's death, had been brought for interment near her. Of this number the first was a son, nineteen years of age, unfortunately drowned in the Rhine a few months afterwards, with fourteen gentlemen the élite of the Austrian nobility, attended by circumstances very analogous to the fate of our young prince, son of Henry I. Hartmann, second son of Rudolph, created landgrave in Alsace, a most gallant amiable youth, not unjustly the idol of his father, who hoped to obtain for him the reversion of the empire, had already become so distinguished that Edward I., struck by his chivalrous bearing and early promise, was entering into some negotiations, "with Master John of Derby dean of Litchfield," then at Vienna, for a union between him and the eldest princess of England, when he should have succeeded in compelling Philip, count of Savoy, with whom his father was then at variance, offer homage to the emperor. All was accomplished: a glorious peace terminated the war which the prince, with a degree of valour and skilfulness astonishing for his age, had thus successfully conducted to a brilliant close, and he was, with a numerous retinue,

to

* It was in favour of Hartmann that Rudolph, with the concurrence of the barons, meditated to erect into a kingdom the ancient Burgundy-transjurane, Provence, Languedoc, and part of northern Italy, making Arles once more a capital-forming thus a crown set with some of nature's most beautiful jewels.

FATAL ACCIDENT TO THE EMPEROR'S SON. 27

gaily descending the Rhine from Brissach to rejoin his proud and delighted father, when the boat, either by some act of carelessness, or one of those sudden accidents which proclain that " in the midst of life we ⚫ are in death," entered into a current near Rheinau, where the river is divided by many little isles, struck against the branch of a tree leaning over the water, and was capsized in a moment. The young

prince could swim; and he was in safety, when he turned back at the cry of one of his companions, and in the generous effort to preserve him, the waves swallowed up both.*

* Rhymer has preserved an affecting letter from Rudolph, to Edward the First, relative to this sad event; and Rudolph, who never ceased to lament this beloved son, gave subsequently to the chapter of Bâsle, in memorial of him, the patronage of the churches of Augst and Zeiningen, belonging to the empire, to found two prebends, and enrich two altars in the cathedral. This gift is dated at Lucerne, 18th of Weinmonats (October), 1285, six years before his own death.

There is at Bâsle a statue of Rudolph, executed during his life, in stone—a coloured likeness, as was usual in the thirteenth century. He is seated on his throne, in one hand is the imperial apple, and the other grasps a sceptre; his sword rests between his knees. He is portrayed a man of noble commanding presence, with a fine aquiline nose, high forehead, and fair but not feminine complexion, of the pure German stock. This very curious and well-preserved remnant of antiquity is to be seen near the porte St. John, within the court of a fine old mansion called the Seiden Hof, the present residence of a banker, and in 1815 temporarily occupied by the emperor Alexander.

The empress's grandson Leopold, killed at the dreadful battle of Sempach with the flower of the Austrian nobility, was the next visitant to that crowded but silent mansion where the guests exchange no salutations.

One of the wisest and most merciful decrees of Providence is that which forbids man to look into futurity. Could the just and beneficent empress, who desired to be interred at Bâsle, as some compensation for the minor wrongs her husband had inflicted on her native country by his early wars, have surmised even the half of those murderous combats which her descendants delivered on the blood-stained soil of Switzerland, her gentle spirit would indeed have been wrung with woe at its departure from earth.

The authorities of Bâsle having readily granted the empress Maria Theresa's request, the thirteen royal personages were exhumed, and, attended by several ecclesiastics and the deputation from Vienna, at length reached the Abbey of St. Blaise, where all that remained of the emperor Albert, Anne's third son, assassinated by her grandson, the miserable duke John of Swabia, whose patrimonial inheritance he had usurped, and her grand-daughter, Agnes queen of Hungary-great alike in the atrocious crimes she

Tradition points it out as the sojourn of Rudolph himself, in 1273, just after his election to the empire.

DEATH OF ALBERT.

29

committed to avenge her father's murder, and the consistency with which she inflicted on herself, during fifty years of penitence, the most painful punishments,

had already arrived from Konigsfielden, the now secularised convent erected by Agnes and her mother, over the spot where the emperor Albert fell from his horse.

Mrs. Hemans has touched on this scene with her wonted beauty of thought and language:

"A peasant girl that royal head upon her bosom laid,

And, shrinking not for woman's dread, the face of death sur

vey'd :

Alone she sate. From hill and wood low sunk the mournful

sun;

Fast gush'd the fount of noble blood. Treason his worst had

done.

With her long hair she vainly press'd the wounds to staunch their tide;

Unknown on that meek, humble breast, imperial Albert died."

Here again, amidst the solemn chants and imposing services of the Romish ritual, the mouldering remnants of greatness were once more shrouded from mortal eye; and a majestic monument soon arose in the church of the monastery under the direction of the Abbot Gilbert. In this hallowed sanctuary they reposed together, till the fierce war between the French and Austrians having alarmed the emperor Francis for the safety of these precious relics of his

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