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would take either Amsdorf himself or von Schönfeld, as he remarked years afterLuther, if she were asked. Amsdorf, feel- ward. But Katharine's suggestion seeming no inclination to marry either then or ingly had its effect. He began to regard later, passed the information on to Luther, her in a new light, and within a few
who began to think of Katharine, ap- weeks had made up his mind to marry her parently for the first time, as a possible himself. She was not beautiful, as her wife for himself.
existing portraits abundantly show, but He had not been attracted by her at Erasmus once spoke of her, probably on first. She seemed over-proud. And if he the authority of Wittenberg friends, as had been in a mood to marry at the time, wonderfully charming, and she was at any he would have preferred her friend Eva ratc a girl of strong character and unusual
gifts. She was highly thought of in Wit- Spalatin not to marry, and so incur tributenberg, where she was known among her lation of the flesh, in April, 1525, he young companions by the name of Katha- wrote him: "Why do you not proceed to rine of Siena, and the best people in town get married? I am urging others with so were her warm friends. When the exiled
many arguments that I am myself almost King Christian of Denmark was visiting persuaded; for our enemies do not cease to Lucas Cranach in the autumn of 1523, he condemn this way of living, and our wisepresented her with a gold ring which she acres daily laugh at it.” A few days later prized as long as she lived. She was cer- he wrote again, in a jocular vein: tainly no ordinary girl, and her remark to Amsdorf shows her own appreciation of
So far as my marriage is concerned, about the fact.
which you write, do not be surprised that I Luther himself had for a long time been
do not marry, celebrated lover as I am. gradually growing accustomed to the Rather wonder that I who write so much thought of marrying. One after another about marriage, and have so much to do of his followers had renounced his priestly with women, am not already a woman myor monastic vows and taken a wife, and self, to say nothing of taking one for a wife. he had been repeatedly urged to do the But if you desire me for an example, behold
For I like. Others were putting his principles I have given you a most signal one. into practice; why should he hold back?
have had three wives at once, and loved It was hoped he would marry a wealthy them so ardently that I have lost two of woman of some prominent family, and them, who have taken other husbands. The more than one eligible young lady was
third I scarcely hold on my left arm, and warmly recommended to him by his am perhaps about to lose her, too. Tardy friends. In the summer of 1521 he wrote
lover as you are, you dare not be the husSpalatin, from the Wartburg: "Good band even of one wife. But take care lest God! will our Wittenbergers give wives it happen that I, with a mind strongly set even to the monks? But they shall not against marriage, yet anticipate your most force a wife on me!” In his Church imminent espousals, for God is accustomed Postil of 1522, after attacking the monas- to do what you least hope. Joking aside, tic vow, he remarked: “I hope I have I say this that I may induce you to do what come so far that by God's grace I can you have in mind. remain as I am. At the same time, I am not yet over the mountain, and do not ven
On the fourth of May, in a letter to ture to boast of my continence.” We hear
the Mansfeld councilor John Rühel conno further references to the matter until cerning the riotous conduct of the peasNovember, 1524, when he wrote Spalatin: ants, he remarked in passing: “If I can I thank Argula for what she writes me
manage it, to spite the devil, I will yet concerning my marrying. I do not wonder
marry my Käthe before I die, if I hear at such gossip, for all sorts of reports are
that the peasants go on as they are doing. circulated about me.
I hope they will not take from me my
Thank her in my name, and tell her I am in God's hands, a
courage and my joy.” On the second of creature whose heart He is able to change bishop of Mayence, urging him to marry
June he wrote an open letter to the Archand change again, to kill and make alive
and turn his dominions into a secular prinevery hour and moment. But so long as I
cipality. The next day he sent a copy of am in my present mood I shall not marry. Not that I do not feel my sex, for my heart
the letter to Rühel with a note in which
he said: is neither wood nor stone; but my inclination is against marriage, for I am in daily If his Electoral Grace should again ask, as expectation of death and of punishment I have heard he has, why I also do not take suited to a heretic. I will not on this ac
a wife, when I am inciting every one else to count set bounds to God's work in me, nor
do it, tell him I am still afraid I am not will I rely upon my own heart. But I hope clever enough. But if my marriage would He will not let me live long.
be an inducement to his Grace, I should be
ready to set him the example, for I have Although in 1521 he had admonished already had it in mind, before departing this
LXXXII - 80
life, to enter the married state, which I re- beg you will add your blessing. Because gard as commanded by God.
the country is in such a turmoil, I do not
venture to urge you to be present. But if Ten days later, on Tuesday, June 13, you can and will kindly come of your own he and Käthe were married in the cloister, accord with my dear father and mother, in the presence only of Jonas, dean of the you may imagine it will give me special castle church; Bugenhagen, the city pas- pleasure. tor; Apel, a colleague of the law faculty; and the town councilor Lucas Cranach To Spalatin: and his wife. In a letter written the next day to Spalatin, who was at the time in
I have stopped the mouths of those who Torgau, Jonas announced Jonas announced the event,
slandered me and Katharine Bora. If I speaking of the mingled emotions with
can manage to give a banquet as a witness
to this marriage of mine, you must not only which he had witnessed it, and added: "To-day he gave a small breakfast. A
be present, but also lend your aid, if there
should be need of provisions. Meanwhile, fitting service I suppose will be held in due time, when you also will be present.
give us your benediction and your good Two days later Bugenhagen wrote Spala
wishes. I have brought myself into such tin: "Malicious talk has brought it to pass
contempt by my marriage that I hope the that Dr. Martin has unexpectedly become angels are laughing and all the demons
weeping a husband. After a few days we have thought these sacred nuptials should be celebrated before all the world by a public
To Amsdorf: ceremony, to which you also without
The report is true that I married Kathadoubt will be invited."
rine suddenly that I might not be compelled Accordingly, a fortnight later, on the
to hear the noisy talk customary on such an twenty-seventh of the month, a service was occasion. I hope I shall still live for a little held in the city church, and a wedding while, and this last service I did not wish to feast was given in the cloister, Luther's refuse my father, who asked it of me. At father and mother, with a large circle of the same time I wished to confirm what I friends, being present. A few extracts had taught by my deed, for I find so many from the invitations sent out for this occa- pusillanimous despite the light of the gospel. sion are worth quoting for the light they Thus God has willed and done. For I am throw upon the mood he was in and the
not passionately in love, but I esteem my motives prompting him to marry.
wife. And hence to celebrate my marriage To Rühel and two other Mansfeld
I shall give a banquet next Tuesday, when councilors he wrote:
my parents will be present. I want espe
cially to have you here; wherefore I now What an outcry, dear sirs, I have caused
invite you, and beg you will not stay away with my book against the peasants! All is
if you can possibly help it. forgotten that God has done for the world through me. Lords, priests, peasants, and
To Marshal von Dolzigk: everybody else are now against me, and threaten me with death. Well and good, Doubtless you have heard the news of my since they are so mad and foolish, I have venture upon the sea of matrimony. Aldetermined before my death to be found in though it seems strange enough to me, and the state ordained of God, and so far as I I can hardly believe it myself, the witnesses can to rid myself entirely of my
former are so positive that I am obliged in honor to popish life, and make them still madder and credit them. I have therefore undertaken, more foolish, all for a parting gift. For I with my father and mother and other good have a presentiment that God will one day friends, to set a stamp upon the affair and give me His grace. So, at my dear father's make it certain by a banquet to be given desire, I have now married, and have done next Tuesday. I beg that, if convenient, it in haste that I might not be hindered by you will kindly support me with venison, these talkers. A week from Tuesday I and will be present yourself and help seal purpose giving a small party, which I want the aftair with joy, and do whatever else the you as good friends to know about, and I circumstances demand.
To Leonard Koppe:
former's mind and heart should have been
full of other things than marriage. Suddenly and unexpectedly God has taken
But Luther, as usual, was unmoved by me captive in the bonds of holy matrimony, the criticisms of his friends and the attacks so that I must confirm it with a banquet on
of his foes, and never regretted what he Tuesday. That my father and mother and had done. His reasons for the step were all my good friends may be the merrier, my
many. The varying accounts he gives of Lord Katharine and I beg you will send us them are doubtless all true to the facts. as soon as possible, at my expense, a keg of His motives were complicated, as might be the best Torgau beer you can find. I will expected, and he could not himself have pay all the costs. I would have sent a analyzed them fully. He had long bewagon, but I did not know whether I could lieved and taught that marriage was find what I wanted. For it must be sea- higher than celibacy, and the conviction soned and cool, that it may taste well. If had been forcing itself upon him that he it is not good, I have determined to punish ought sometime to put his principle into you by making you drink it all yourself. In practice, and thus bear public testimony addition, I beg that you and your Audi will
to his own attitude and give his followers not stay away, but will appear in good spir- the benefit of his example. He had at first its. Bring with you Master Gabriel and his
no personal inclination to the step. He wife, if you can do it without expense to
had had very little to do with women, and him, for I well know he is almost as poor
was so absorbed in his great work that as I am.
marriage was the last thing he cared for.
But the unhappy experiences of the spring Luther's marriage raised a great hue of 1525 led him to believe the end of the and cry. The union of a renegade monk world, or, at any rate, his own death, imwith an escaped nun, violating as it did minent, and he began to think it time to their own personal vows, and ecclesiastical marry, if he was ever to do so. His natuand civil law as well, seemed to many to rally belligerent temper, excited to an throw a sinister light upon the whole re- unusual pitch at this time, also urged him formation movement. Now, they declared, on. The more his enemies raged against the significance of the Reformation was him, the more he loved to provoke them. revealed to all the world, and it was clear Many men in his position, Melanchthon what Luther had had in mind from the be- for instance, would have avoided all unginning. Satirical attacks appeared in great necessary grounds of offense; but Luther numbers. Slanderous tales were spread was of a different type. Though he would about him and his bride. Even many of do nothing his conscience disapproved, he his friends were thrown into consterna- was glad enough when his deeds offended tion, and feared he had dealt a death-blow those opposed to him. As he often said, to the cause. The lawyer Jerome Schurf, he never felt so confident he was right as when he heard the report that Luther was when they denounced his conduct. contemplating marriage, remarked: "If It is not surprising, the situation being this monk takes a wife, the whole world what it was, that Katharine's suggestion and the devil himself will laugh, and all to Amsdorf should find him in a receptive the work he has accomplished will come to mood. To marry a nun would only make naught.” Others, though wishing to see his testimony the stronger and the hostility him married, regretted that he had chosen of his opponents the more bitter. As if all Käthe rather than some woman of wealth this were not enough, he visited his parand position. The time, too, seemed to ents in Mansfeld late in April, and was almost everybody particularly inoppor- impressed with his father's eager desire tune. His prince and supporter, the Elec- that his oldest son, now finally freed from tor Frederick, had died only a month his monastic bonds, should marry, as he before, and all Saxony was still mourning had wished him to do long years before. him, as Luther was, too, for that matter. To please him thus became an added moMoreover, the peasants' war was not yet tive for the step. And it may be he felt he ended, and the whole country was in an owed something to Käthe herself, whom uproar. In these circumstances many not he had assisted to escape from the convent, unnaturally felt as though the great re- and for whom he had failed as yet to find a