“And a great forest will grow therefrom, a forest of myrtle and laurel, your highness!”
“Leave the myrtle to grow and bloom, Leuchtmar. I care not for that! But I want a rapid growth of laurel! I long for action; and one thing I will tell you, friend: to-day marks a new era of my life. Until now I have been forced to bear and temporize, to bow my head, and patiently accommodate myself to the arrogance and caprices of others. I was so small and all about me so great. I was nothing, they were everything! I must become a diplomatist in order to gain even ground enough on which to stand.”
“And now you have gained ground. One title, at least, you have substantiated, and may now claim to be veritably Duke of Prussia. You have now won your position; and my Elector never recedes—he always moves forward!”
“Yes, from this day he moves forward!” cried the Elector, with enthusiasm. “Forward in the path of glory and renown! Hear you the ringing of bells and thundering of cannon! God bless Prussia, my Prussia of the future—my great, strong, mighty Prussia, as I feel she will become. To her I dedicate my life. Not in pride and vain ambition, but in genuine humility and devotion to my duty and my calling. I will have nothing for myself, all for my people, for the honor of my God and the good of my country! In the discharge of my princely functions I shall be ever mindful that I guard not my own, but my people’s interests. And this thought will give me strength and joy! This be the device of my whole future: Pro deo et populo!—For God and the people!”
“God save our Duke!” cried and shouted the people, as the Elector now descended the steps of the throne in order to return to the palace. “Blessings on our Duke!” cried also the representatives and deputies from the Prussian towns and provinces.
The Elector bowed to right and left, smilingly acknowledging their salutations. His heart swelled with joy and love as he saw all these glad, happy faces, the faces of his own people; and in the recesses of his soul he repeated his oath, to devote his whole life and being to his country—“Pro deo et populo!—For God and the people!”
END OF THE VOLUME.
[Endnote 1: The exact words of the deputies from Cleves. Vide Droysen, History of the Prussian Policy, vol. in, part I, p. 175.]
[Endnote 2: The Elector’s own words. See F. Forster, Prussia’s Heroes in War and Peace, i, p. 15.]
[Endnote 3: Historical. Vide Nicolai, Description of the Capital City Berlin, Introduction, p. 27.]
[Endnote 4: The peace of Prague was concluded in 1635, and in this the Elector of Brandenburg renounced alliance with the Swedes and assumed a neutral position.]
[Endnote 5: Historical. Vide Nicolai, i, p. 33.]
[Endnote 6: Vide von Orlich, History of the Prussian State, etc., part 1, p. 34.]