Page images

king himself, whose anger was now changed into compassion, could not forbear weeping.

At last, whilst the whole assembly were in tears, and in deep silence, Cænus took courage, and drew near to the throue, discovering by his air and action, that he desired to speak. And when the soldiers saw him take off his helmet (that being the custom when any person spake to the king) they besought him to plead the cause of the army : and accordingly he spoke as follows : “ No, Sir, we are not & changed with regard to our affection for you : God forbid « that so great a calamity should befall us. We shall al. 6 ways retain the same zeal, the same affection and fideli« ty. We are ready to follow you at the hazard of our « lives, ani! to march whithersoever you shall think fit to « lead us.

But if your soldiers may be allowed to lay be6 fore you then sentiments sincerely, and without disguise, “ they beseech you to condescend so far as to give ear tó 65 their respectful conyplaints, which nothing but the most “ extreme necessity could have extorted from them. The

greatness, Sir, of your exploits, has conquered, not only

your enemies, but even your soldiers themselves. We .66 have done all that it was possible for men to do. We 6 have crossed seas and lands. We shall soon have march « ed to the end of the world : and yoà are meditating the á conquest of another, by going in search of new Indies, un « known to the Indians themselves. Sush a thought may be

worthy of your valour, but it surpasses ours, and our « strength still more. Behold those ghastly faces, and those 66 bodies covered with wounds and scars, You are sensible « how numerous we were at our first setting out, and you « see what now remains of us. The few who have escaped

so many toils and dangers, are neither brave nor strong “ enough to follow you. All of them long to revisit their a relations and country, and to enjoy in peace the fruit of ® their labours and your victories. Forgive them a desire “ natural to all men. It will be glorious, Sir, for you to have u fixed such boundaries to your fortune, as only your nioder« ation could prescribe you; and to have vanquished your

self, after having conquered all your enemies."

Cænus had no sooner spoke, but there were heard, on all sides, cries and confused voices intermixed with tears, call. ing upon the king as their lord and father.” Afterwards; all the rest of the officers, especially those who assumed a greater authority because of their age, and for that reason could be better excused the freedom they took, made the same humble request : but still the king would not comply with it. It must cost å monarch many pangs before he can

prevail with himself to comply with things repugnant to his inclination. Alexander therefore shut himself up two days in his tent, without once speaking to any one, not even to his most familiar friends, in order to see whether sonie change might not be wrought in the army, as frequently happens on such occasions. But finding it would be impossible to change the resolution of the soldiers, he commanded them to prepare for their return. This news filled the whole army with inexpressible joy ; and Alexander never appeared greater, or more glorious, than on this day, in which he designed, for the sake of his subjects, to sacrifice some part of his glory and grandeur. The whole camp echoed with praises and blessings of Alexander, for having suffered himself to be overcome by lvis own army, who was invincible to the rest of the world. No triumph' is comparaable to those acclamations and applauses that come from the heart, and which are the lively and sincere overflowings of it, and it is great pity that: princes are not more affected with them,

Alexander had not spent above thiree or four months, at most, in congering all the coumtry between the Indus and the Hyphasus, called to this day Pengab; that is the Five Wate ers, from the five rivers which compose it. Before his seto ting out, he raised twelve altars, to serve as so many tro. phies and thanksgivings for the victories he had obtained.

These instances of gratitude, in regard to the gods, were attended with the most incredible marks of vanity. The altars which he erected in their honour weré 75. feet high. He caused a camp to be marked out, three times as large again as his own, and surrounded it with fosses 50 feet in Hepth by. ten broad. Heordered the foot to prepare and leave each in his tent two beds seven feet and an half in length: and the cavalry to make mangers, for the horses of twice the tasual dimensions. Every thing else was in proportion. Alex. ander's view in those orders, which flowed from an extravagance of vanity, was to leave posterity monuments of his heroic and more than human grandeur, and to have it believe ed that himself and his followers were superior to all other mortals.

He afterwards crossed the Hydraotes, and left Porus all the lands he had conquered, as far as the Hyphasus. He also roconciled this monarch with Taxilus and settled å peace between them by means of an alliance equally advantageous to both.

* From whence he went and encamp ed on the banks of the Acesines; but great rains having

*As in Iad. p. 319. Strab. 1. xv. p. 69.8.

made this river overflow its banks, and the adjacent countries being under water, he was obliged to move his camp higher 'up. Here a fit of sickness carried off Cenus, whose Joss was bewailed by the king and whole army. There was not a greater officer among the Macedonians, and he had distinguished himself in a very particular manner in cverý battle in which he engaged. He was one of these singularly good men, zealous for the public, all whose actions are free from self-interested or ambitious views, and who bear so great à love to their king, as to dare to tell hin the truth, be the consequence what it will. But now Alexander was preparing for his departure.

His fleet consisted of 800 vessels as well as galleys and boats, to carry the troops and provisions. Every thing be

ing ready, the whole army, embarked, about the setting of the Pleiades, or seven stars, according to Aristoljulus, that is, about the end of October. The fifth day the Alect arived where the Hydaspes and Acesines mix their streams.Here the ships were very much shattered, because these * rivers unite with such prodigious rapidity that as great

storms arise in this part as in the open sea. At last he came into the country of the Oxydrace and the Malli, the most valiant people in those parts. These were perpetually at war one with another ; but, having united for their mutual safety, they had drawn together 10,000 horse, and 80,000 foot, all vigorous young men, with 900 chariots. However, Alexander defeated them in several engagements, dispossessed them of their strong-holds, and at last marched against the city of the Oxydraçæ, whither the greatest part were retired. Immediately he causes the scaling ladders to be set up and, as they were not nimble enough for Alexander, he forces one of the scaling-ladders from the soldier, runs up the first, covered with his shield, and gets to the top of the wall followed only by Peucestes and Linineus. Tlie soldiers, believing him to be in danger, mounted swiftly to succour him ; but the ladders breaking, the king was left alone. Alexander, seeing himself the butt against which all the darts were lerélléd, both from the towers and from the rampart, was so rash, rather than valiant, as to leap into the city, which was crowded with the enemy, having nothing to expect, but to be either taken or killed before it would be possible for him to'rise, and without once having an oppottunity to defend himself, or revenge his death. But happily for him, he poised his body in such a manner, that he feli

uper his feet; and finding himself standing, sword in hand, he repulsed such as were nearest him, and

even killed the general of the enemy, who advanced to run him through. Happily for him a second time, not far from thence there stood a great tree, against the trunk of which he leaned, his shield receiving au the darts that were shot at him from a distance ; for no one dared to approach him, so great was the dread which the boldoess of the enterprise, and the fire that shot from his eyes, had struck into the enemy. At last, an Indian let fly an arrow three feet long (that being the length of their arrows), which piercing his coat of mail, entered a considerable wiy into his body, a little above the right side, So great a quantity of blood issued from the wound, that he dropped his arms, and lay as dead. Behold then this mighty conqueror,* this vanquisher of nations, upon the point of losing his life, not at the head of his armies, but in a corner of an obscure city, into which his rashness had thrown him.

The Indian who had wounded Alexander, ran, in the greatest transports of joy, to strip him ; however, Alexander no sooner felt the hand of his enemy upon him, but, fired with the thirst of revenge, he recalled his spirits; and laya ing hold of the Indian, as he had no arms, he plunged his dagger in his side. Some of his chief officers, as Peucestes

, Leonatus, and Timæus, who had got to the top of the wall with some soldiers, came up that instant, and attempt ing impossibilities, for the sake of saving their sovereiga's life, they form themselves as a bulwark round his body, and sustain the whole effort of the enemy. It was then that a mighty battle was fought round him. In the mean time the soldiers, who had climbed up with the officers above mená tioned, having broke the bolts of a little gate standing between two towers, they by that means let in the Macedonians. Soon after the town was taken, and all the inhabitants were put to the sword, without distinction of age or sex.

The first care they took was to carry. Alexander into his tent. Being got into it, the tsurgeons cut off, so very

dex terously, the wood of the shaft which had been shot into his body, that they did not move the steel point ; and, after uadressing him, they found it was a fbearded arrow; and that it could not be pulled out, without danger, unless the wound were widened." The king bore the operation with incredible resolution, so that there was no occasion for people to hold him. The incision being made, and the arrow drawn oat, so great an effusion of blood issued that the king fainted

. Plot. de fortun. Alex. p. 344.
# In these ages they and physicians were the same thing

* So arrows are called that have beards at their points like fishia books Animadvertuot hamos ioesse cele

away. Every one thought him dead; but the blood being stopped, he recovered by degrees, and knew the persons about him. All that day, and the whole night after, the army continued under arms round his tent; and would not stir from their posts, till certain news was brought of his being better, and that he began to take a little rest.

At the end of the seven days he had employed for his recovery, before his wound was close, as he knew that the report of his death increased among the barbarians; he caused two vessels to be joined together, and had his tept pitched in the middle, in sight of every one ; purposely to show himself to those who imagined him dead, and to ruin, by this means, all their projects, and the hopes with which they flattered themselves. He afterwards went down the river, going before, at some distance from the rest of the fleet, for fear lest the noise of the oars should keep him from sleep, which he very much wanted. When he was a little better, and able to go out, the soldiers, who were upon guard, brought, him his litter, but he refused it, and, calling for his horse, mounted him. At this sight, all the shore and neighbousing forests echoed with the acclamations of the army, who imagined they saw him rise, in a manner, from the grave. Being come near his tent, he alighted, and walked a little way, surrounded with a great number of soldiers, some of whom kissed his hands, whilst others clasped his knees ; others again were contented with only touching his clothes, and with seeing him ; but all in general burst into tears, and calling for a thousand blessings from heaven, wished him a long life, and an uninterrupted series of prose perity.

At this instant deputies came from the Malli, with the chiefs of the Oxydracæ, being 160, besides the governors of the cities and of the province, who brought him presents, and paid him homage, pleading in excuse for not having done it before, their

strong love of liberty. They declared, that they were ready to receive for their governor whomso. ever he pleased to nominate ; that they would pay him tri. bute, and give him hostages. He demanded 1000 of the chief persons of their nation, whom he also might make use of in war, till he had subjected all the country. They put into his hands such of their countrymen as were handsomest and best shaped, with 500 chariots, though not demanded by him; at which the king was so much pleased, that he gave them back their hostages, and appointed Philip their governor.

Alexander, who was overjoyed at this embassy, and found his strength increase daily, tasted with so much the greater pleasure the fruits of both his victory and healthy as he had

« PreviousContinue »