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Don John's heart was found much in enforcing obedience to your Majesty, diseased, and his skin was as if who, he hath told '
me an infinite numit had been burnt; many attributed ber of times, was his master, his father, his death to poison. His last dying re- his brother, and his whole wealth on quest was to be buried in the Escurial, this earth. near the bones of his father, the Em- - Two days before the victory of peror Charles V. We cannot better Gemblours, Don John sent for me close this slight sketch of one so early and told me that, although he did not snatched from a career of glory, than then intend to engage the enemy, by quoting an interesting and detailed still, considering the many chances of account of his last hours, written by war, he desired to make a general his confessor, an eye-witness of his confession from the time when he could death.
first remember to have had the use of "TO HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY. for his highness, from the frequency
his reason. This was the more easy “ Your Majesty will have heard, by with which he hath attended the holy letters from the Prince of Parma and offices of the church since he hath from Prince Octavio Farnese, the been in these parts: as rarely a month trouble which it hath pleased God to passed that he hath not communicated bring upon us by the death of Señor and confessed twice,-nay sometimes Don John of Austria: and to accomplish thrice. Thus on that night, after that which he hath so many times having made a clean breast, and discommanded me to do, during his life, posing of his affairs as if he were truly as well as somewhat to relieve the about to render an account unto God grief which I know will seize upon at that moment,-as in fact he did in your Majesty's royal heart, I will re- the spirit-his highness, with an aplate the prayer which Don John de- pearance of deep feeling and great sired me to make to your Majesty in humility said, as he walked up and his name, and with all humility, for down the room, “Reverend Fatherthe repose of his soul, the which I in order that you may, once for all, believe, and do dare to affirm, is now know my last will and testament, and in the enjoyment of that crown of my wish in other matters besides those glory which all who sacrifice their of which I have lately discoursed life for the law and the gospels in the while I was at your feet, and that you service of their king, are wont to re- may never put to me any other quesceive as their reward. And no one tions, for I have nothing further to went through greater or indeed equal say-I beg you will observe these labours and troubles than did this three matters :- 1st, My soul I commost Christian and obedient gentie- mend unto God, and to my father.man.
2d, As to what regardeth my body, “ All the time, most powerful Sir, I well know how little it availeth that his highness Don John was in where it lie until the day of judgthe castle of Namur,-or, at any rate, ment: but I wish you, in my name, most of the time, — he passed in to entreat his Majesty the king, my making his peace with God, and in master, -looking to what the Emperor ordering his worldly affairs. He mani- my father requested of his Majesty, as fested unto me many times his strong well as to the way in which I have wishes therein, entreating me to be served him,—to grant me this favour seech God, by the merits and zeal of that my bones may rest somewhere the invincible Emperor, his father and near those of my father. In this guise master, to employ his person in the my services will be amply satisfied defence of the Catholic faith, and to and recompensed.-3d, As to these old allow him to die before he should do, rags which I hare here, I know not or suffer any thing to be done, which how to dispose of them ; but as I am should offend God even in the smallest the Emperor's son, and the Emperor matter. He even said more: that he recommended me as such to his never could think of your Majesty, Majesty, and as I die in his Majesty's his father and master, without ardently house, and in his service, let him, like desiring to assist in the defence and a true father and master, dispose of spread of the holy Catholic faith, and my possessions-not only as if they
belonged to his son, but to his servant he sickened, he said that although the and slave; and I would do the same physicians declared his malady not to were the whole world mine.'
be dangerous, he did, nevertheless, feel “Don John entreated me most fer himself exceeding ill and worn. But vently to beg your Majesty, in con- what gave him infinite pleasure was sideration of this his expressed wish, to see that he was so poor that nothing to pardon him if at any time in Italy on earth could prevent him from or elsewhere he hath used your speedily being with God, more espeMajesty's moneys more than was fit- cially having his Lord and father in ting. He said very many other things heaven, and on earth your Majesty to the same effect, the which, although as his lord and brother. And he was I ren ember me of them, I will not most confident that, if his affairs write, in order not to wring your royal were left in your Majesty's hands, heart any further; and thus in that they would have that end and success same night he repented him of his which was proper. This same day sins with as much fervency as if the he did ask me many questions touching last hour of his life had actually come, the virtue of martyrdom, desiring to desiring to have some opportunity to have some share of its merits, giving receive the most holy sacrament on signs of his having many times enthe foilowing morning : this, however, treated God for martyrdom. was not possible until two days after “ The following day, the 25th Septhat most famous and miraculous vic- tember, lie confessed like one chosen tory. The Saturday before the day of God, telling me that he knew his of Pentecost, while we were before days to be numbered, and that his only Philippeville,-acting upon the leave regret was the little he had done for which his highness had formerly given the service of God and of your Mame, I did entreat him almost with re- jesty; but that he trusted in God and proaches not to place a life, so useful in the Virgin Mary, that they would to the chureh and to his brethren, in take this death as for their glory, for such frequent and imminent danger, that of the Catholic Church, and of nor to take upon himself labours to your Majesty, and for God's service; which his bodily strength was une- and that he wished to make the world qual, whatever his wishes and courage understand that, as during life he were. His highness replied ; 'Reve- had not been devoted to the church, rend father, this life and much besides as had originally been liis father's I owe to God, and to the king my mas- wish, in death he wished to be so, ter, to whom, as I have oftentimes in as much as depended upon him. said and now repeat, I leave my He besought his brother and master to bones and all I possess, should I die remember him of his servants, to here in his territories.?
whom he owed much for being good * On the first of August-for I pass and faithful to God, to himself, and over many details in order not to weary to your Majesty : and very many of vour Majesty; the night before his them were poor, having served him highness (who is in heaven) bestirred by land and by sea ; many of them, himself against the enemy before Ma- moreover, had been taken away from lines, he made a general confession of their homes, and he had not a marahis sins, placing himself in the hands vedi wherewith to pay them their of God, preparatory to receiving the salaries, which had been owing to most holy sacrament on the following them for some time. Your Majesty day; confessing again afterwards, and was also to remember his highness's saving that that was a good testament mother, whom he regarded and loved when a man commended his soul to as a mother, and a young brother, God, his body to the company which whom he knew to be such. He likehe loved best, namely that of his wise mentioned other persons, whose father and master, and his property names in due time I will make known in the hands of him who knew better unto your Majesty. His highness than he how to take the burden of it. concluded by saying, "since And, in truth, his highness only used earth I do not possess an acre I it in your Majesty's service.
might call my own, is it not just, “ Finally, the second day on which Reverend father, that I should desire
some space in heaven?' His high- “Don John passed Monday and ness then desired tliat Otavio de Gon- Tuesday in great trouble and pain, zagua should have the command, and he wandered in his mind, which on account of the good will which he ran upon ordering intrenchments to saw in him to your Majesty's af- be thrown up, or cavalry and amfairs, as well as to his highness. His munition to be sent here and there, highness ended by saying that, if he saying alway, in answer to every were not deserving of having his question, that thus it concerned the bones placed beside those of his lord service of your Majesty, and father, he desired to be buried This same Tuesday night I inat the church of our Lady of Mon- quired of him whether he wished to serrat, whom all his life through 'he have the sacrament of extreme uncheld in particular affection.
tion administered, and he answered “ On the morning of Friday, the as if he were suffering no pain what26th September, on my going to see ever, — Yea, father! Jesus ! quick, him, Don John complained to me that Reverend father!' and he received it the physicians had used force to com- with an appearance of praying, alpel him to drink a potion: this annoyed though we could not distinguish him much, as he thought it would in- what he said, as he did not speak terfere with his receiving the holy clearly. sacrament. On my telling Don John “Early in the morning of Wednesit was of no importance, he requested day, the 1st October, which was the me to inquire of the physicians if he day of his death, and about one hour ran any risk should he put off com- and a half before his decease, I asked inunicating for another day, or if he him if he wished to hear mass, and left it even until the following Sunday, he made a sign with his head in the when he thought to gain the jubilee. affirmative. When the corpus was The physicians told him that his illness raised, they who were standing at his was not so dangerous but what he bed-side advised him of it; and almiglit put off receiving the holy sacra- though his eyes were shut, and we ment till then, or even later; and thought that his senses were wandertherefore, on Sunday, the 28th, he re- ing, his highness immediately clasped conciled himself with God, with such his hands together, and hastily tore fervour, that it much pained me to off from his head some plasters and a sce the pain in which he was, know- cap, the better to adore with his ing that it would add to his malady heart that God and Saviour whom he And while I was performing mass in could not see with his eyes. The rest his room, he requested to be allowed of the time, until liis decease, which to touch the face of his God with an took place at about one o'clock in air of incredible devotion, saying the day, we passed in helping him to * Bring unto me, most Reverend father, call upon the name of Jesus and of the visage of my God;' and while he the Virgin Mary; and all who were thus uttered words of such Christian present were filled with grief, -alimport, he received the most holy though, on the other hand, they were sacrament. And on being asked if rejoiced to see such manifest tokens it were his pleasure to receive ex- of the glory to which he was fast treme unction, he requested it with attaining : and thus he departed from much earnestness as a very precious our hands without a sigh, like a bird gift and much to be desired.
on its way to heaven. " The mass over, Don John named “This, most powerful sir, was the the Prince of Parma as his successor, end of the life of this son and servant until your Majesty should be pleased of your Majesty, as he was wont to to appoint some one else. Two hours call himself. And, as far as I can see, afterwards delirium came on, and for thirty and three years he hath pernothing that he said was clear save formed the wishes of the two fathers when he talked of God. The names whom he had in this life-that is to of Jesus and of our Lady were men- say, of his lord and father the Empetioned; and when he was told to take ror, and of your Majesty, seeing that or to do this in their name, lie did it his highness hath inforined me that with much obedience and willingness. his Majesty the Emperor wished him to be in holy orders, and your death were after the manner of men, Majesty desired him to be a soldier. but that he flew like an angel of heaven But his highness, like an obedient son, up to his God. died as poor as a friar, and in an hum- Otavio Gonzagua performs, and has ble barrack like a soldier; for I pro- performed on his part whatsoever was mise your Majesty that the room ordered by the Señor Don John, taking wherein he died was a sort of garret advice in all matters of the Prince of over a stable, that in this he might Parma, and waiting like all of us to imitate the poverty of Christ; and receive the commands of your Mawithout doubt, most Christian Sir, jesty, whose royal person may our for four or five months before his Lord guard and prosper for many death, he was constantly occupied in years to come, as is most necessary works of charity, piety, and humility. for the Church. His whole pleasure consisted in visit- " From Namur, this 3d October ing the sick-of which there were many 1578."* in the camp,—and in accompanying Don John died in the fortress the · holy sacrament, giving these commanding the town of Namur; wretched men charity with his own and on the 3d October, his body, hand, receiving with the utmost com- placed on a bier, covered with cloth passion the poorest and most wretched of gold, was conveyed by several soldiers, until he could procure carts gentlemen to the cathedral. Don in which to convey them to the hos- John was dressed in full armour, the pital; constantly urging me to see order of the Golden Fleece was placed that in the hospitals nothing was round his neck, and on his head was wanting, and particularly ordering me a plain cramoisy cap, over which was to see that the sacraments were duly a crown of cloth of gold, covered with administered to the sick, that none jewels; his fingers likewise were loadshould die without this great com- ed with rings. In this guise the body fort. He appointed a separate hospi- was carried forth, escorted by all the tal for those who had contagious disor- clergy of the place, by several monks ders, and charged me to see that none of and their bishops. All the assembled those should die unaneled. And since crowd shed tears, and made loud his Holiness gave him authority to lamentation as the cavalcade passed. name some one as vicar-general, to The bier was placed on a raised plathave full power in all matters ecclesias- form in the church, and, after the sertical—whereof I understand his high- vice had been performed, the corpse ness hath informed your Majesty by was lowered into a vault near the high means of the Archbishop of Toledo- altar, where it remained until it was he determined to root out of the army carried into Spain in the following all blasphemies, oaths, and evil doings, year. and in particular the sin of heresy, Don John's corpse was then cut inpromising me that he would not to three pieces, and placed in three favour any one, even if he were small chests lined with blue velvet, especially attached to his person; and the better to enable it to pass secretly he punished those who sinned in this through France. On the 18th March manner in the army with such vigonr, 1579, the cavalcade left Namur, and, that, at the end of three months, the passing by Meziers and Paris, arrived men, especially the Spaniards, were at Nantes, where the whole party emmore like monks in a convent than barked, and reached Santander on the like soldiers in a camp. And this 6th May. On the 22d the funeral most excellent prince acted in such a procession arrived at the monastery manner that, now when the soldiers of Parreces, five leagues from Segovia, see him dead, they cannot but believe where it was met by Busto de Vilthat he had a spirit of prophecy touch- legas, Bishop of Avila, by Juan Gomez, ing his death. Nay, they do say that the Alcalde of the Court, accompanied it does not appear to them as if his by some alguazils, by twelve of
* Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España, vol. vii. p. 247-257.
VOL. LXIII. -NO, CCCLXXXVII.
the royal chaplains, and other people ders placed it on the platform which belonging to the court. The three had been raised for it, when the Reveportions of Don.John's body were now rend father vicar read the funeral orajoined together and placed in a coffin,' tion in the presence of the whole concovered with black velvet; on the vent; the bishop and the pall-bearers outside was sewn a cross of cramoisy being ranged round the raised platvelvet, upon which were emblazoned form. When this was finished, the golden nails. The coffin was made Reverend fathers went to the choir to to open at the side, in case any desire sing a vigil, and the bishop, with his might be expressed to see the dead company, adjourned for a while to take body within. The cavalcade swelled rest. The following day, which was as it approached the monastery of the the 25th, high mass was sung, the Escurial, where it arrived on the bishop assisting the choristers in the evening of Sunday the 24th May choir. When mass was over, the monks 1579, accompanied by above four went into the chapel where the corpse hundred men on horseback.
was, and sang the responses, accomWe will now follow an account panied by the organ, while the monks given by Fray Juan de San Geronimo, of San Lorenzo answered them in rea monk of the Escurial, of what hap- citative without music."'* pened on the occasion. It seems tlic After this a formal ceremony was monks came out to meet the proces- gone through. Philip's secretary,
Gastelia, read a royal order from his “ And because," says Fray Juan Majesty, directing the friars of the de San Geronimo, "the Reverend Prior convent of San Lorenzo to receive the was absent at the general chapter, body of his dear brother, the most ilholden this
year of 1579 at San Bar- lustrious Don John of Austria. Fray tolemé el Real, the Vicar Fray Her- Juan de San Geronimo thus connando de Torrecillas performed the cludes his account:offices in his stead, and went forth with " And after the reading of the said the ministers in their full canonicals: letter, the followers of Don John let all of the which halted at a table, over down the corpse into the vault which which was a dais of rich brocade, had been prepared for it underneath raised in the midst of the principal the high altar, and placed it among cloister, where the gentlemen bearing the other corpses of the royal family. the pall placed the body. The cho- This was about eleven o'clock in the risters immediately began to chant the day. After this ceremony we all • Subreniti Sancti Dei ;' whereupon went to dinner.” they all returned in procession to the
At which excellent occupation we church ; and these same gentlemen cannot do better than leave them. who bore the corpse on their shoul
* Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España, vol. vii. p. 265.