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and his lise, rapidly crowd the scene; and Conradin is at length left alone to raise once more the battle-cry of the house of Swabia. In the field of Tagliacozzo that cry was heard, never to be heard again; and we shall adopt the language of M. von Raumer to describe the closing scene, in which the destiny of that house drew her pall over the last remains of the Hohenstaufen, on the scaffold of Conradin.
• Conradin was playing at chess when he received the intelligence of his condemnation ; he did not lose his self-command, but, with the companions of his misfortunes, employed the short time that was left him in making his will, and in reconciling himself with God by confession and prayer.
• In the meantime the scaffold was raised, in the utmost silence, right before the city, near what was afterwards called the New Market, and the Church of the Carmelites. It appeared as if this place were chosen in malice, to show to Conradin, yet once more before his death, the splendour and beauty of his kingdom. The waves of the sea, which are here as lovely as they are peaceful, flow in as far as this spot, and before the eyes of the spectator spreads the magic circle of Portici, Castella-Mare, Sorrento, and Massa, which surrounds this noblest of bays, standing out more distinct in the dazzling light of the clear southern atmosphere. On the left the dark and lofty summit of Vesuvius suggests to the thought the awful might of nature; on the right the horizon is bounded by the rugged and broken rocks of the Island of Capua, where Tiberius, a worthy, rival of Charles of Anjou, held his orgies.
• On the 29th of October, 1268, two months after the battle of Skurkola, the condemned prisoners were led to the place of judgment, where the executioner, with naked feet and bare arms, already awaited them. After King Charles had taken what was considered a place of honour in the window of a neighbouring castle, Robert of Bari, their iniquitous judge, spoke thus, according to his command:-"Ye assembled people! This Conradin, the son of Conrad, came from Germany, as the misleader of this people, to reap a harrest that others had sowed, and unjustly to attack the legitimate sovereign. At first he obtained an accidental advantage; but by the valour of our king the victor was vanquished, and he who considered himself bound by no laws, was led in bondage before the tribunal of our king, which he had attempted to overthrow. On this account, with the sanction of the church, and by the counsel of the wise and of the learned in the law, sentence of death has been passed upon him and his accomplices, as a robber, a rebel, a disturber of the public peace, and a traitor ; and, to prevent all future danger, this sentence must be thus carried into execution in the sight of the whole people."
• As the multitude heard this, to most of them unexpected, sentence, a dull mụrmur arose, which betrayed the lively emotion of their minds ; but terror still predominated, and Robert of Flanders
alone, the king's son-in-law, a man no less comely than noble-minded, sprang forward, and said to Robert of Bari, “How darest thou, audacious and iniquitous villain, condemn to death so valiant and so princely a knight?” and at the same time struck him with his sword with such violence that he was carried away for dead. The king suppressed his wrath, for he saw that the whole French knighthood applauded the action of the count: yet the sentence remained unrepealed.
Hereupon Conradin requested permission to address the people, and spoke with perfect composure:-“ As a sinner before God, I have deserved death, but here I am unjustly condemned. I appeal to all loyal subjects, to whom ny ancestors have shown their fatherly care; I appeal to all the sovereigns and princes of the earth, whether he is guilty of a capital crime who protects his own right and that of his people. And even were I guilty, how dare they thus barbarously punish my guiltless followers, who, owing allegiance to no one else, have adhered to me with praiseworthy fidelity! These words produced emotions of pity in all, but no one would act; and he alone, whose emotions could have had any effect, remained hard as stone, not only against the arguments of justice, but even against those impressions which the rank, the youth, the beauty of the sufferers, made on every one else. Conradin then cast his glove down from the scaffold, to be conveyed to Peter, King of Aragon, as a testimony that he made over to him all his rights upon Apulia and Sicily; the Knight Henry Truchsess, of Waldburg, took up the glove, and fulfilled the last wish of his prince.
Conradin, bereft of all hope of a change in his unjust doom, embraced his fellow victims, particularly Frederick of Austria, then took off his upper garment, and lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven, said, “ Jesus Christ, Lord of all created beings, King of Glory! since this cup may
me, I commend my spirit to thy hands." Immediately he knelt down, and raising himself once again, he said, “Oh, my mother! what anguish am I causing thee! ” !_vol. iv.
After these words the death-blow fell. The blood thus mingled with the earth was the last of the house of Swabia, which had given so many emperors to the West. The Sicilian Vespers exacted a dreadful retribution for this most execrable judicial murder that ever disgraced the anuals of mankind. Had its chief author been involved in the ruin which was brought upon his subjects, it would be difficult to point out an example in which we might more visibly trace the justice of Divine Providence, But the bloody deeds which reddened the soil of Naples could not revive that noble stem, under the shadow of whose branches the kingdom had so long reposed in glory and peace. Charles VIII, warred even upon the dead. After the horrible þutchery of Con
radin's followers, which we have been reluctant to trace, the bodies, a thousand in number, were not interred in consecrated earth some were hastily buried in the sand of the sea-shore--some, it is believed, in the cemetery of the Jews. The fate of Conradin's own remains is by no means certain.
ART. III.-Autobiography of Sir Egerton Brydges, Bart. ;
per legem terræ Lord Chandos of Sudeley, &c. &c. 2 vols,
Svo. London. 1834. THIS is the third attempt which the author has made to
convey to the world a detailed account of his personal and literary career ; but, whether or not nature designed him for a poet, she certainly never meant him to be an historian--and vain will be the efforts of any reader to gather from any one of his autobiographies a definite notion even of the chief external events in this gentleman's now long life. By laying together his Recollections, published at Geneva in 1825—his Autobiographical Memoir, dated Paris, 1826—and the present more copious, if not more elaborate performance, something like an accurate outline might perhaps be formed; but who will take so much trouble to clear up what one who writes perpetually, and hardly now ever writes except about himself, has, by such unheard-of haste and carelessness, contrived to leave still in the dark ? His style, however, is always easy, often beautiful: his casual reflections are occasionally admirable ; and his own story, in whatever beclouded fragments he doles it out, has some leading features so pregnant with instruction and warning, that we must take this opportunity of shortly inviting our readers', and more especially our young readers', attention to them.
Though we can have no hope to acquit ourselves of this task in a manner entirely satisfactory to Sir Egerton Brydges, we shall begin and conclude it with no feelings towards himself personally, except those of admiration for his natural talents and rich attainments, and sincere and respectful pity for the misfortunes that have darkened round the evening of his days.
We know no example to be compared to this, of the comparative worthlessness to a man (and consequently to his country and posterity) of high intellectual gifts, amiable feelings, varied accomplishments, splendid opportunities, and ceaseless activity, all combined, in the absence of a just appreciation of himself, a rational degree of deference to the judgments of society, clear aiins, and orderly diligence. Sir Egerton Brydges was born in the ancient manor-house
of Wootton, near Canterbury, in 1762, the second son of a country gentleman of honourable (if not of illustrious) descent, and the possessor, apparently, of an estate amply sufficient to maintain him in the rank of his ancestors. Our author's mother was a lady of the great family of Egerton; whence his baptismal name, and subsequently a large addition of
property to this branch of the house of Brydges. He received, of course, the best education, as far as he was willing to avail himself of the opportunities placed liberally within his reach ; spent several years at Cambridge; was called to the bar in 1787; and mingled from early youth in the best society, whether in Kent or in London. Not attaining rapid success at the bar, where few, if any, ever do so, he soon wearied of his profession, retired into a country house in Hampshire, and there devoted himself to belles-lettres and English antiquities, until, by the death of his elder brother, he came into possession of the family estates, when he removed into Kent. His love of the scenery of his native county appears to have been one of the strongest feelings in his breast; and here he continued all through the prime of his life, eternally writing and printing; a catalogue of the productions of his private press at Lee Priory would indeed fill one of our pages. A short period; during which he acted as captain of a troop of fencibles and another, hardly longer, during which he sat in the House of Commons, but without making any figure there hardly deserve to be noticed as breaking his course of rural retirement in what ought to be, perhaps, the very happiest of all earthly stations. Habits of careless, lavish expenditure, however, gradually crumbled down the very handsome fortune which he had inherited ; and being no longer able to maintain the style of living to which he had been accustomed, and moreover thoroughly disgusted with this country for two specific reasons to be hereafter touched upon, Sir Egerton at length quitted Kent and England; and has, with rare intervals, resided on the continent for the last sixteen years. His innumerable publications of this period bear dates almost as numberless-Florence, Rome, Naples, Paris—and latterly, for the most part, that of Geneva. He is now in the seventythird year of his age: as indefatigable in composition as ever, with all his faculties entire, and with abundance of leisure, at all events, to review calmly a long course of experience.
The result may be thus shortly stated. If we were to judge from isolated passages, no one ever reviewed the life of another with more calmness and fairness than Sir Egerton would seem to have carried over the retrospect of his own. There is not a word, perhaps, which any human being would think it right to say of him, in his literary capacity at least, which he has not said of himself somewhere in the course of these two volumes; and we doubt if there be any criticism honestly due to his course of life as an English landlord, which has not in like manner been anticipated in his own nervous and feeling language. But these things are the panni ; the main texture of the work is throughout that of complaint and repining—a strain of angry invective against individuals and society at large is constantly resumed; and though he over and over again confesses distinctly his own guilt of every imputation that has been laid to his charge, his own perfect desert especially of the comparative neglect with which his literary efforts have been treated by the generality of his contemporaries, he seems to have these admissions extorted from him in moments of lucid vision, only granted to render more palpable the habitual darkness in which it is his pleasure to wrap his reflections. Sir Egerton may be compared to a man who has a good pair of eyes of his own, and now and then condescends to make good use of them; but who, from some fantastic caprice, has so long indulged in the habit of looking at all the world, his own image included, through an artificially tinted lens, that he is never at his ease when the unfortunate toy is in his pocket.
There are, in a word, two circumstances which have poisoned this accomplished man's existence: first, the failure of his family to satisfy the House of Peers, about the beginning of this century, that they had made out a legal claim to the honours of the old barony of Chandos ; and secondly, his own failure in achieving for himself a first-rate name as an English author, by a long lifetime most zealously devoted to the pursuits of literature. With regard to the first of these affairs, we must content ourselves with stating the universal belief of sane mankind, that a tribunal more entirely free from every suspicion than the British House of Lords, acting in its judicial capacity, never existed in this world, and never will exist; and that, whether Sir Egerton Brydges be or be not right in his personal judgment that the claim was made out, no living creature but himself will ever entertain the slightest notion that that claim could have been there disallowed, except in reluctant obedience to the dictates of deliberate conviction. ourselves incline to believe that the claim was just in itself, but that the evidence was not technically complete ; but however this may be, our author's eternal insinuations, that personal pique and spleen were the true motives of opposition on the part of the crown lawyers, are the merest day-dreams of exaggerated self-love. The virulent abuse with which, in numberless publications, he has assailed the memory of Mr. Perceval, then solicitor-general, is wholly indefensible. What possible gratification could it afford to such a man as Mr. Perceval to strain the course of justice in order