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A Nobleman Lives for War, Plunder, and Adventure – Götz von Berlichingen (1480-1562)

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Just as My Gracious Lord, Count Jörg von Wertheim, had warned me, that is what happened to me. Everything I write is the correct and absolute truth, and by the true Word of God, I know of no word to be changed, and when I die, if Almighty God grants His grace, in my final moment before leaving this world, I will take the Holy Sacrament on this truth. [ . . . ]

And finally

I cannot and will not deny that since my youth Almighty God has by His divine grace often granted me victory and good fortune over all my enemies. My misfortune, which I long suffered, came solely from dealing in good faith with my enemies and opponents, and in believing that yea should be yea, and nay should be nay, and that it is only right that one should keep whatever promises he makes to another. I have relied on and trusted in this principle, and I have believed that others should do likewise, just as I have done throughout my whole life and, God willing, continue to do. As I’ve said, all my misfortune came from such causes and from too much trust. But when I, as an enemy, did not trust my enemies, which sometimes happened, I have prospered with God’s grace and help. I cannot, praise God, say otherwise, for I have known how to behave toward my enemies. May Almighty God still come to my aid!

All this I, an old man of much experience, have wanted to offer as a heartfelt warning and example to all loyal, dear, pious, and honest men, whether fighters or others of estates high and low, to emperors, kings, electors and princes, to counts, barons, knights, and squires, to cities and to others, of whatever estate, spiritual or temporal, who participated in feuds and wars.

May God, the eternal Word, help us,
The poor body here and the soul there,
And may Almighty God protect us
From eternal death. Amen.

Gottfried von Berlichingen zu Hornberg

Source of original German text: Götz von Berlichingen, Mein Fehd und Handlungen, ed. Helgard Ulmschneider, Forschungen aus Württembergisch Franken, Volume 17. Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 1981, pp. 52-54, 57-67, 122-28, 130-31, 139-41.

Translation: Thomas A. Brady Jr.

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