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By Otho1 (still unaw'd by Norman thrall)
To be yclep'd," Cologne Imperial!”
A bridge of
boats upon the Rhine.
Thy bridge is beautiful, and well befits
The Rhine's soft-flowing flood, from bank to bank;
As gently as yon sea-gull-so the plank,
Which bears us safe along ;—for this we thank
The Royal Frederick, generous, brave and kind,
Not honour'd less that he is free and frank.
1 About the year 890, or perhaps a little earlier, Cologne was pillaged by the Normans; but early in the tenth century it was united by Otho the Great to the empire of Germany, so becoming an Imperial city.
2 This beautiful bridge of boats, which extends from Cologne to Dewtz (the Tuitium of the Romans), was constructed in 1822.
Which well deserve far happier readier rhymes,
Than those which limp along my pointless page:
He sometimes fears its crack will quite confound him.
Yes, proud Colonia, 'twas thy glorious boast
Which Conrad1 wielded) to maintain a host
Of warlike liege-men, prompt at feud and fray,
For the defence of civic potency.
That patriotic fame the Romans gave
A boon to thee on their departing day,
A Roman gift well treasured.
1 The proud and overbearing Bishop of Hockstætten, who, early in the thirteenth century, waged frequent war against Cologne, disputing many of her civic rights: he was extremely rich, and built, though he did not quite finish, the beautiful dome already mentioned.--Nouveau Merian, p. 292.
2 Engelman, in alluding to Cologne in those days, says, "Et des l'ori
Defence of rights.
Well didst thou treasure- ever first to brave,
Or mitred tyrant, or patrician knave.
For such resistance truth be ever told-
The overstrained taxation1, on the freights
gine elle cherchait à maintenir contre les archèveques l'independance ou elle avait été sous les Romains, ce qui fut un course de querelles opiniatres et santantes."-Nouveau Merian, p. 291.
1 The patricians, or Overstols, as they were then called at Cologne, were most tyrannical in their taxations on the citizens; and which was one of the chief causes of the most important changes which soon followed.Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. iii. pp. 375, 384, 385.
2 The inhabitants of cities having obtained personal freedom, and municipal jurisdiction, soon aspired to civil liberty and political power.
Then, too, it was that Hanseatic1 League,
By the fair kindred cities, spite th' intrigue
And our emporium, London! never last
To raise the suffering, and sustain the good;
1 The origin of this confederacy is somewhat obscure, but it may be nearly referred, in point of time, to the middle of the thirteenth century. The nobles endeavoured to obstruct the formation of the Hanseatic League, which was, in fact, in a great measure designed to withstand their exactions. Eighty of the most considerable places constituted this union, divided into four colleges, whereof Lubec, Cologne, Brunswick, and Dantzic, were the leading towns.
In support of that federal band stood fast,
And privilege1.-So would she, too, her blood,
To crush beneath their walls, that bravest brood, Who, with the souls of patriots, nobly fir'd,
Made commerce honor'd2, and her sons admir'd!
What is it, then, great England, makes thee Great?
Is it because thy legions never run?
Or that we have so oft to celebrate,
Some naval fight, most gloriously won ?—
1 The Hanseatic League had four principal factories in foreign parts, at London, Bruges, Bergen, and Novogorod, endowed by the sovereigns of these cities with considerable privileges, to which every merchant of the league was entitled.-See Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. i.
2 “La maison Anseatique de Cologne, etait très renommé au Gildhall à Londres, il fallait que tous les bateaux dechargeasscent à Cologne, et les merchandises ne pouvaient etre transporté que par de batimens de la ville. La pompe d'un Prince ne l'importait pas sur celle de deux bourgmestres, lorsqu'ils paraissaient revetus de l'ancienne toge consulaire.”—Lendroy's "Voyage de Mayence à Cologne," p. 397.