Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/288

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from a complication of infirmities. At the end of January, 1513, he S took to his bed; on February 4 he professed himself without hope of recovery; on February 20 he received the last sacraments, and he died on the following day. Goethe says that every man abides in our memory in the character under which he has last been prominently displayed; the last days of Julius II exhibited him to the most advantage. He addressed the cardinals with dignity and tenderness; he deplored his faults and errors without descending to particulars; he spoke of the schismatics with forbearance, yet with unbending resolution; he ordered the reissue of his regulations against simony in pontifical elections; and gave many wholesome admonitions respecting the future conclave. On foreign affairs he seems not to have touched. His death evoked the most vehement demonstrations of popular sorrow. Never, says Paris de Grassis, who as papal master of the ceremonies was certain to be well-informed, had there been at the funeral of any Pope anything like the concourse of persons of every age, sex and rank thronging to kiss his feet, and imploring with cries and tears the salvation of him who had been a true Pope of Rome and Vicar of Christ, maintaining justice, augmenting the Church, and warring upon and putting down tyrants and enemies. "Many to whom his death might have been deemed welcome lamented him with abundant tears as they said, ' This Pope has delivered us all, all Italy and all Christendom from the hands of the Gauls and Barbarians.' "

This enthusiastic panegyric would have been moderated if the secret springs of Julius's policy had been better known; if it had been understood how Fortune, rather than Wisdom, had stood his friend through life; and if the inevitably transitory character of his best work had been perceived. A national dynasty might be restored to Milan, but it could not be kept there, nor could it prove aught but the puppet of the foreigner while it remained. The fate of Italy had been sealed long ago, when she refused to participate in the movement of coalescence which was consolidating disjointed communities into great nations. These nations had now become great military monarchies, for which a loose bundle of petty States was no match. A Cesare Borgia might possibly have saved her, if he had wrought at the beginning of the fifteenth century instead of the end. Venice did something; but she was essentially a maritime Power, and her possessions on the mainland were in many respects a source of weakness. The only considerable approach to consolidation was the establishment of the Papal Temporal Power, of which Alexander and Julius were the chief architects. While the means employed in its creation were often most condemnable, the creation itself was justified by the helpless condition of the Papacy without it, and by the useful end it was to serve when it became the only vestige of dignity and independence left to Italy.