HENRY VII OF LUXEMBURG
 EXCEPT his wife and children, who loved him dearly, few, if any, mourned for Albert's death. He had been a stern and
harsh ruler, yet he was wise with a wisdom beyond his times. He had ruled Germany with more of the spirit of
modern times than any King before him. He had protected the cities and their trade, and he had curbed the
pride of the unruly nobles. Therefore the nobles hated him, and now they determined to choose a King who would
have little power and no desire to make his family great.
But Philip of France now cast a greedy eye upon the Empire. He had made himself master of the Pope, and had
forced him to leave Rome and come to live in France. He now hoped to be master of the Empire too, and he did
all he could to make the electors choose his brother, Charles of Valois.
Philip forced the Pope also to appear to wish Charles to be chosen. But in his heart the Pope was against such
a choice, and while openly he encouraged it, in secret he urged the electors to choose another King.
In spite of all Philip's persuasions and scheming, the electors rejected Charles of Valois, and to be ruler of
Germany they chose once again a poor Count. This was Henry, Count of Luxemburg. He seemed rather a Frenchman
than a German. For French was his
 mother-tongue and the language spoken at his little court, his countship being on the borders of France and
It was a wild and lonely district. Yet he ruled so well that no spot in all the Empire was more peaceful or
more safe. Far and near he was known as a peace-loving, wise, and brave man.
As soon as he was crowned Henry did all he could to bring peace to the land. He made friends with Albert's
proud sons, Leopold and Frederick, and in one way or another worked for the good of the country.
Then having made peace in Germany, Henry resolved to cross the Alps and receive the Imperial crown. Not for
fifty years had a German King claimed rule over Italy, not since Frederick II had any German King borne the
title of Emperor, and German power over Italy was really at an end. But for centuries the German kings had, in
name at least, been rulers of the world. They were loth to give up that proud title, and so the nobles gladly
accompanied their King over the Alps.
Italy was at this time in a state of wildest confusion. The whole country was divided into factions, the rival
parties still calling themselves Guelph and Ghibelline. although the old meaning of the name had long since
died out. At first Henry was received as a herald of peace, both parties greeting him with joy. The great poet
Dante came forth to meet him, praising him as the saviour of Italy. Even the city of Milan, the bitterest
enemy of German rule, opened its gates to the King who came in peace, and with rejoicing on all sides the iron
crown of Lombardy was placed upon his brow.
 But all this peace and joy was short-lived. Party hate was not dead, it did not even slumber. Soon it burst
forth in fury, and it was with his sword that Henry had to cut his way to Rome and the long-desired Imperial
Rome was reached, but only after two months' fighting. Even then part of the city, with the great church of
St. Peter, in which the Emperors had always been crowned, was still held by the enemy. Weeks, even months,
might pass ere they could be forced to yield. So rather than delay longer, Henry caused himself to be crowned
in the Church of the Lateran.
Then once more he set forth to fight. It seemed now as if he might be victorious. Frederick of Sicily made
peace with him. Pisa and Genoa opened their gates. Venice promised him ships, a great army was hurrying from
Germany to his aid. Then suddenly, on the threshold of his success, when all Italy trembled before him, Henry
died at Buonconvento, near Siena.
The noblest men of Italy mourned his loss. With him their hopes of a united, peaceful country sank into the
grave. In Germany, too, although he had spent little time there, his loss was mourned. Since the time of the
great King Charlemagne there had been none greater, it was said. But while his friends mourned his death his
enemies shouted aloud for joy. Towns were illuminated, bonfires were lit, religious processions were held in
thanksgiving. "I send you the most joyful news," wrote one Italian, "that terrible tyrant Henry, Count of
Luxemburg, whom the rebels call King of the Romans and Emperor of Germany, is dead."
With the death of the Emperor all his conquests
 vanished, and the Germans turned quickly home again, leaving their dead Emperor in Pisa. Soon the stone above
his grave was the only sign left of his conquering march, and in Italy the might of the Emperor was no more
than the light of a blown-out candle.
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