Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/359

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Countess Palatine found him the most charming of guests. The personal devotion of the younger generation of princes to the Emperor did more than anything else to break up the party of constitutional reform. The rough Landsknechte called him their father; the artists and scholars looked to him for liberal support and discriminating sympathy; the Tyrolese peasantry adored him, and he was ever the favourite of women, whether of high-born princesses, or of the patrician ladies of Augsburg or Nurnberg. He relieved the tedium of his attendance at long Diets by sharing fully in the life of the citizens of the town at which the assembly was held. He attended their dances, their mummings, their archery-meetings, himself often winning the prize through his skill with the cross-bow and arquebus. Yet he was as readily interested in serious subjects as in his pleasures. His quickness was extraordinary, and the range of his interests extremely wide. He could discuss theology with Geiler and Trithemius, art with Dürer or Burgkmaier, letters with Celtes or Peutinger. On all matters of horsemanship, hunting, falconry, fortification, and artillery, he was himself an authority. Yet all these gifts were rendered ineffective by his want of tenacity and perseverance, by his superficiality, and by his strange inability to act with and through other men.

Maximilian was ever restless, a hard and quick, though by no means a thorough, worker, with real insight into many knotty problems and no small power of judging and knowing men. Keenly conscious of his own ability, and morbidly jealous of his own authority, he strove to keep the threads of affairs in his own hands, and seldom or never gave implicit confidence even to his most trusted ministers. He was a good-humoured and indulgent master, blind to the vices of his servants so long" as they pleased him or were found useful to him. But the same habit of mind that impelled him to act on his own initiative led him to prefer ministers of lowly origin who owed everything to his favour. These he treated indulgently and well, but regarded as mere secretaries, or agents for carrying out the policy which his master mind had conceived. Few princes of the Empire enjoyed his confidence, and among these none of the first rank. Yet among his better known servants were two Counts of the Empire, Henry of Fürstenberg, and Eitelfritz of Hohenzollern, Swabians both, as were so many of Maximilian's favourites. As diplomatists he preferred Burgundians to Germans. The smaller posts he commonly filled up with his favourite Tyrolese. But the most famous of his ministers was Matthaeus Lang, an Augsburg burgher's son, by profession a churchman and a lawyer, who early became his secretary, and served him with great fidelity for the rest of his life. Maximilian rewarded him nobly, forced the well-born Canons of Augsburg to accept their social inferior as Provost, and soon procured for him the bishopric of Gurk, the archbishopric of Salzburg, and a Cardinal's hat. Leo X compared Lang to Wolsey, and wrongly supposed that both ruled their