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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Maximilian at the Diet of Worms
By Leopold von Ranke (1795–1886)
 
From the ‘History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations’

IN March 1495, Maximilian came to the Diet at Worms. He showed himself in his full chivalrous bearing, when he himself entered the lists with a Frenchman who had come to challenge all the Germans, and conquered him. He appeared in the full glory of his regal dignity when he sat in public between the archbishops and his chancellors. On such occasions, the Count Palatine sat on his right and held his orb, on his left stood the Duke of Saxony and held his sword; before him, facing him, stood the envoy of Brandenburg with the sceptre, and behind him, instead of Bohemia, the hereditary cupbearer of Limburg with the crown; and grouped round him were the rest of the forty princes, sixty-seven counts and lords,—as many as had come,—and the ambassadors of the cities, and others, all in their order. Then a prince would come before him, lower his colors before the royal throne, and receive enfeoffment. One could not perceive that the mode of enfeoffment involved any compulsion upon the King, or that the insignia of royal power resided in the hands of the princes.  1
  At this Reichstag the King gained two momentous prospects. In Würtemberg there had sprung from two lines two counts of quite opposite characters. The elder was kind-hearted, tender, always resolute, and dared “sleep in the lap of any one of his subjects”; the younger, volatile, unsteady, violent, and always repentant of what he had done. Both were named Eberhard; but the elder, by special favor of the Imperial Court, also governed the land of the younger. In return for this he furnished four hundred horse for the Hungarian war, and dispatched aid against Flanders. With the elder, Maximilian now entered into a compact. Würtemberg was to be raised to a dukedom,—an elevation which excluded the female line from the succession; and in the event of the stock failing, was to be a “widow’s portion” of the realm to the use of the Imperial Chamber. Now, as the sole hopes of this family centred in a weakling of a boy, this arrangement held out to Maximilian and his successors the prospect of acquiring a splendid country. Yet this was the smaller of his two successes. The greater was the espousal of his children, Philip and Margaret, with the two children of Ferdinand the Catholic, Juana and Juan, which was here settled. This opened to his house still greater expectations,—it brought him at once into the most intimate alliance with the kings of Spain.  2
 
 
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