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This is the first instance of a pope presuming to deprive a sovereign of his crown; but unhappily it was too flattering to ecclesiastical pride to be the last. No preceding prelate had hitherto dared to use such imperious language as Gregory; for though Louis, the son of Charles the Great, had been deposed by his bishops, there was at least some colour for that step; they condemned him in appearance, only to do public penance.

The circular letters written by Gregory breathe the same spirit as his sentence of deposition. In them he repeatedly asserts that “ bishops are superior to kings, and made to judge them”-expressions equally artful and presumptuous. His object is said to have been that of engaging in the bonds of fidelity and allegiance to the pope as Vicar of Christ, all the potentates of the earth, and to establish at Rome an annual assembly of bishops, by whom the contests which from time to time might arise between kingdoms and sovereign states, were to be decided, the rights and pretensions of princes to be examined, and the fate of nations and empires determined.*

Gregory well knew what consequences would result from the thunders of the church. The bishops in Germany immediately came over to his party, and drew with them many of the nobles. The Saxons took the opportunity of revolting: even the emperor's favourite Guelf, a nobleman to whom he had given the duchy of Bavaria, supported the mal-contents with that very power which he owed to his sovereign's bounty, and the princes and prelates who had assisted in deposing Gregory, gave up their monarch to be tried by the pope, who was requested to come to Augsburgh for that purpose. .

To avoid the odium of this impending trial, Henry took the strange resolution of suddenly passing the Alps,

* Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. vol. ii. cent, xi. part 2..

sect. 11.] Spirited conduct of Henry IV.

395 accompanied only by a few domestics, and of throwing himself at the feet of Gregory, in order to implore his absolution. The pontiff was at that time on a visit to the countess or duchess Matilda, at Canosa, a fortress on the Appenines. At the gate of this mansion, the emperor presented himself as an humble penitent. He alone was admitted within the outer court, where, being stripped of his robes, and wrapped in sackcloth, he was compelled to remain three days, in the month of January (A. D. 1077) barefoot and fasting, before he was permitted to kiss the feet of his holiness!! The indulgence was, however, at length granted him-he was permitted to throw himself at the feet of the haughty pontiff, who condescended to grant him absolution, after he had sworn obedience to the

pope in all things, and promised to submit to his solemn decision at Augsburgh; so that Henry reaped nothing but disgrace and mortification from his journey, while the pontiff, elate with triumph, and now considering himself as the lord and master of all the crowned heads in Christendom, said in several of his letters, that “it was his duty to pull down the pride of kings.”

Happily for Henry, all sense of propriety and of common decency was not banished from the earth. The princes of Italy were disgusted with the strange accommodation that had taken place between him and the pope. They never could forgive the insolence of the former, nor the abject humility of the latter. But their indignation at Gregory's arrogance over-balanced their detestation of their monarch's meanness. He took advantage of this temper, and, by a change of fortune hitherto unknown to the German emperor's, found a strong party in Italy, when abandoned by his own subjects. All Lombardy took up arms against the pope, while the latter was raising all Germany against the emperor. The former had recourse to every art to procure the election of another emperor in

Germany, while Henry, on his part, left nothing undone to persuade the people of Italy to choose another Pope. The Germans chose Rodolph, duke of Suabia, who was solemnly crowned at Mentz; and this gave Gregory an opportunity of exercising all his finesse in order to extort submission from Henry. He affected to be displeased that Rodolph was consecrated without his order. He had deposed Henry, but it was still in his power to pardon him-he therefore declared that he would acknowledge as emperor and king of Germany that claimant who should be most submissive to the holy see.

But Henry was not now to be duped. He chose rather to trust to the valour of his arms than to the generosity of the pope, and therefore marched his troops against his rival Rodolph, whom he defeated in several engagements. Gregory seeing no hopes of submission, thundered out a second sentence of excommunication, in which, after depriving Henry of strength in combat, and condemning him never to be victorious—he desires the world to take notice that it is in the Pope's power to take away empires, kingdoms, principalities &c. and to bestow them on whom he pleases. The whole concludes with the following extraordinary apostrophe to the apostles, Peter and Paul: Make all men sensible that, as you can bind and loose every thing in heaven, you can also upon earth, take from or give to, every one according to his deserts, empires, kingdoms, principalities. Let the kings and princes of the age instantly feel your power, that they may not dare to despise the orders of your church; and let your justice be so speedily executed upon Henry, that nobody may doubt of his falling by your means and not. by chance."*

But the apostles were either deaf to the prayer of their pretended successor, or declined their co-operation with secr. 11.] Quarrel betwixt the Pope and Emperor.

* Fluery's Eccles. History.

397

it. Henry triumphed over his enemies. Rodolph had his hand cut off in a battle which was fought with great fury near Mersburgh, in Saxony, and, discouraged by the misfortune of their chief, his followers gave way. Rodolph, perceiving his end approaching, ordered the amputated member to be brought him, and thus addressed his officers. “ Behold the hand with which I took the oath of allegiance to Henry-an oath which, at the instigation of Rome, I have violated, in perfidiously aspiring to an honour that was not due to me.”

The affairs of Henry now revived apace. A new pope was elected who took the title of Clement III. and the emperor, thus delivered from his formidable antagonist, soon dispersed the rest of his enemies in Germany, and proceeded to Italy, to settle the new pontiff in the papal chair. The gates of Rome being shut against him, he was compelled to attack the city in form. After a siege of two years, it was taken by assault, and with difficulty saved from pillage, but Gregory retired into the castle of St. Angelo from whence he hurled defiance, and fulminated his thunder against the conqueror. Thę siege of $t. Angelo was now prosecuted with vigour, but in the absence of Henry, Gregory found means to escape, and died soon after at Salerno, A. D. 1085. His last words were, “ I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile."*

But the troubles of Henry did not terminate with the life of Gregory. The pontiffs who succeeded, proved as inimical to his peace and tranquillity as their predecessor. had been. Urban II. contrived, in conjunction with the countess Matilda, to seduce the es peror's son into a rebellion against his father. This young prince, whose name was Conrad, assumed the title of king of Italy,

* Life of Gregory VII. by Dithmar.

and succeeded so well in his usurpation, that the greater part of the cities of Italy and their nobles acknowledged him as their sovereign. The emperor, despairing of being able to reduce him to obedience by arms, assembled the German princes, who put the delinquent to the ban of the empire, * and declared his brother Henry king of the Romans. Two years afterwards, both Conrad and the pope died—the latter being succeeded in the papal chair by Pascal II. (another Gregory) and the former by his younger brother Henry as king of Italy.

The new pope was scarcely invested with office, ere he contrived to excite young Henry to rebel against his father. He called a council, to which he summoned the aged monarch; and as the latter did not obey the citation, he excommunicated him for the scisms which he had introduced into the church; stimulating his son to rebellion by alledging that he was bound to take upon himself the reins of government, as he could not acknowlege an excommunicated king or father. In vain did the emperor use every paternal remonstrance to dissuade his son from proceeding to extremities; the breach became wider, and each prepared for the decision of the sword. But the son, dreading his father's military superiority, and confiding in his tenderness, had recourse to a stratagem as base ás it was effectual.

He threw himself unexpectedly at the emperor's feet, and implored pardon for his undutiful behaviour, which he attributed to the influence of evil counsellors. In consequence of this submission, he was taken into favour by his indulgent parent, who instantly dismissed his army. The ungrateful youth now revealed the perfidy that was it his heart; he ordered his father to

* The word ban originally signified banner, afterwards edict, and lastly a declaration of outlawry, which was thus intimated. declare thy wife a widow, thy children orphans, and send thee, in the name of the devil, to the four corners of the earth.”

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