The two commanders met again at the Battle of Rain. Gustavus Adolphus was again victorious. Tilly himself was severely wounded by a cannonball during the battle, and he would die some days later. Gustavus, after hearing of Tilly's wounds, sent his own personal physician to tend to the Count. When he learned of this, Tilly replied:
Your king is truly a noble knight.
Gustavus was magnanimous in victory, and Tilly, in his final days acknowledged and praised Gustavus for his act of kindness- he was gracious in defeat. Despite the fact that these two men were bitter enemies fighting in a brutal, hate-filled war that would kill fully one-quarter of Germany's population, they still engaged in this act of decency and respect, allowing a fleeting moment of our species' higher impulses to shine through at a time where they were far too rare. I hope that we will be able to emulate their example in our own times where such magnanimity and graciousness are depressingly uncommon and seemingly discouraged.
Gustavus met his own death only a few months later.
|Left: Gustavus Adolphus, right: Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly|