Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/279

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the place of many tyrants, and he retained partisans there to the last. Had he survived until the new Pope's war with his brother-in-law the Duke of Ferrara, he would probably have commanded the latter's troops, and a new page of conquest might have opened for him.

Julius had hated Alexander above all men; but it was now incumbent upon him to resume Alexander's work, repair the damage it had sustained, and prosecute it to a successful conclusion. His record as Cardinal had not been a bright one. When in favour with Pope Innocent, he had failed to inspire him with energy except for an unjust war, or to reform any abuse in the papal administration. As the enemy of Alexander, he had put himself in the wrong by turbulence and unpatriotic intrigue. If he had not done Italy infinite harm by his invitations to France to invade her, the reason was merely that the French would have come without him. When ostensibly reconciled to Alexander, he had shown much servility. His private life had been licentious; though not illiterate, he was no proficient in literature; and one looks in vain for any service rendered by him as Cardinal to religion, letters, or art. Yet there was always something in him which conveyed the impression of a superior character; he overawed others, and was never treated with disrespect. There was indeed a natural magnanimity in him which adverse circumstances had checked, but which came out so soon as he obtained liberty of action. Unlike his predecessor, he had an ideal of what a Pope should be,—defective indeed, but embodying all the qualities particularly demanded by the age. He thought far more of the Church in her temporal than in her spiritual aspect; but Luther was not yet, and for the moment the temporal need seemed the more pressing. He possessed a great advantage over his predecessor in his freedom from nepotism: he had no son, and was content with a modest provision for his daughter, and not only seemed but was personally disinterested in the wars which he undertook for the aggrandisement of the Church. The vehemence which engaged him in such undertakings made him terrible and indefatigable in the prosecution of them; but, as he was deficient in the prudence and discernment of his predecessor, it frequently hurried him into inconsiderate actions and speeches, detrimental to his interests and dignity. Transplanted, however, to another sphere, it secured him a purer and more desirable glory than any that he could obtain by conquest. Having once determined it to be a Pope's duty to encourage the arts, he entered upon the task as he would have entered upon a campaign, and achieved results far beyond the ambition of his most refined and accomplished predecessors. His treatment of individual artists was often harsh and niggardly, but of his dealings with art as a whole Bishop Creighton rightly declares: "he did not merely employ great artists, he impressed them with a sense of his own greatness, and called out all that was strongest and noblest in their