Billeder på siden



REFLECTIONS. I shall not attempt to make any reflections upon the preceding story; they offer themselves in abundance to the reader, and cannot escape the view of the most dim-sighted. We see here how much a masculine, robust, and vigorous education contributes at the same time to strengthen the body, and enlarge the mind; and that the best means for young gentlemen of quality to acquire esteem and affection, is not by assuming airs of grandeur, but by a civil and obliging deport

I cannot but take notice how artfully the historian has introduced the excellent lecture he has given against drunkenness. He might have done it in a grave and serious manner, and with the air of a philosopher; for Xenophon, as much a soldier as he was, was no less a philosopher than Socrates his master. Instead of this, he puts it into the mouth of a child, and disguises it under the veil of a little story, told in the original with all the spirit and prettiness imaginable. I do not doubt, but it is wholly his own invention; and it is in this sense, in my opinion, we should understand what [t] Tully says of this admirable work; That the author has not pretended to follow the strict rules of truth and history, but designed to give princes in the person of Cyrus a perfect model of the manner in which they ought to govern their subjects. Cyrus ille à Xenophonte non ad fidem historic scriptus, sed ad effigiem justi imperii

. That is, he has added to the substance of the history, which is very true in itself, as I shall soon have occasion to observe, some particular circumstances, to exalt its beauty, and serve for the instruction of mankind. Such is, in my opinion, the history of the little Cyrus turned cup-bearer, which shews how dishonoura. ble drunkenness is to princes, far better than all the precepts of philosophers.

[s] Ad Qu. Fratr. lib. 3. Ep 1.
Bb 3


[ocr errors]


. 16с Astyages king of the Medes being dead, his son Cyaxares, brother to Mandane the mother of Cyrus, succeeded him. Hewas scarce settled upon the throne, before he found himself engaged in a terrible war. He received advice that the king of the Assyrians was raising a powerful army against him ; that he had already drawn over several other princes to espouse his quarrel, and among the rest Cræsus king of Lydia. He immediately dispatched an embassy to Cambyses to demand his assistance, with orders to desire that Cyrus might have the command of the army that should be sent to his aid. They obtained their request without much difficulty. The young prince was then in the class of men grown, after having passed ten years in the second. The joy was universal, when it was known that Cyrus was marching at the head of the army. It consisted of thirty thousand foot, for the Persians had then no horse; besides a thousand young officers, the choice of the nation, who marched as volunteers, from a particular attachment they had to the person of Cyrus.

He set forward, without losing any time, but not till after he had invoked the assistance of the gods. For his great principle, which he learned from his father, was never to enter upon any action, whether great or small, without first consulting the gods. Cambyses had often represented to him, that human prudence was very short-sighted, and the views of men confined within narrow bounds; that they could not penetrate into futurity, and what they often thought was most for their advantage, became the cause of their destruction; whereas the gods being eternal, know all things, the future as well as the past, and [u] inspire those they love with what is most proper

[u] They imputed every branch hunting. Venatio nobis hæc, amici, of their success to Divine Provis (says Cyrus,) volente Deo prospera dence, even what they caught in futura est. Cyrop. lib. 2.


for them to undertake; a protection they owe to nong and grant only to such as call upon them and consult them.

Cambyses was pleased to accompany his son as far as the frontiers of Persia. By the way he gave him excellent instructions upon the duties of the general of an army. I have already observed, in another place, that Cyrus, who thought he was a perfect master in the trade of war, after having studied it so long under the most experienced officers of his time, owned then that he was absolutely ignorant of the most essential part of the art military, till he had learned it from this familiar discourse, which deserves to be carefully read, and seriously considered by all persons designed for the profession of arms. I shall mention but one instance, from whence we may judge of the rest.

The point was, how to make the soldiers submissive and obedient. The easiest and surest method, in my opinion, says Cyrus, is to commend and reward the obedient, and to punish and disgrace the disobedient. That is right, answered Cambyses, if you would bring them to it by force: but the business is, how to make them submit voluntarily. Now the surest way of succeeding herein, is to convince those over whom we command, that we know better what is fit for them than they do themselves; for all mankind will readily obey those, of whom they have this opinion. From this principle arises the blind submission, which the sick pay to their physician, travellers to their guide, and sea-faring men to their pilot. Their obedience is wholly founded upon a persuasion, that the physician, the guide, and the pilot know more of the matter than themselves. But what must we do, says Cyrus again to his father, to appear more able and prudent than others? By being really go, replies Cambyses; and to this end applying diligently to our profession, seriously studying all the rules of it, consulta ing the ablest masters with docility and care, neglecting nothing which may make our enterprises succeed; Bb4


and above all imploring the assistance of the gods, who alone give prudence and success.

When Cyrus was arrived in Media and with Cyaxares, the first thing he did, after the usual compliments, was to inform himself of the quality and number of the troops on both sides. He found, by the list that was given in, that the enemy's army amounted to sixty thousand horse, and two hundred thousand foot, and consequently that their horse were two-thirds more than those of the Medes and Persians together, and that the latter had scarce half their foot. So great an inequality threw Cyaxeres into great terror and confusion. He could not think of

He could not think of any other expedient than the drawing fresh troops out of Persia, and in greater number than before. Bat besides that this remedy would have been very slow, it seemed impracticable. Cyrus immediately proposed a surer and shorter method, and this was to change the arms of the Persians; and as most of them used only the bow and the javelin, and consequently fought only at a distance, in which way of fighting the greater number easily carried it over the smaller, he thought it advis, able to arm them in such a manner, that they might come immediately to close fight with the enemy, and thereby render the multitude of their troops unser, viceable. This advice was approved and put in exe: cution immediately.

One day as Cyrus was making a review of his army, a courier came to him from Cyaxares with advice, that einbassadors were just arrived from the king of the Indies, and therefore he desired he would come presently to him: and for this reason, says he, I have brought you a rich vestment; for the king desires you would be magnificently dressed in presence of the Indians, for the honour of the nation. Cyrus lost no time, but set forward immediately with his troops to attend upon the king, {x} without putting an any other habit than his own; and as Cyaxares at first [x] “Εν τη Περσική σολη έδέν το

Persicâ veste indutus, ornatu alieng zozoo pirn. A beautiful expression! miniinè contaminatâ.


seemed somewhat displeased at it, Should I have done you more honour, replies Cyrus, by clothing myself in purple, and putting on a load of bracelets and gold chains, if with all this I had tarried longer before I came, than I now do you by the sweat of my brows and my diligence, in letting all the world see with what readiness your orders are executed ?

Cyrus's great care was to engage the affection of the troops, to gain the inclination of the officers, and acquire the love and esteem of the soldiers. To this end he treated them all with gentleness and good-nature, made himself popular and affable, invited them often to dine with him, and especially those who were distinguished amongst the troops. He valued money only for the sake of distributing it. He gave presents liberally to every one according to his merit and condition; to one a buckler, to another a sword, or something of a like nature. He thought a general was to distinguish himself by his greatness of soul, his generosity, and inclination to do good; and not by luxury in eating, or magnificence in dress and equipage, and still less by haughtiness and pride.

Observing all his troops full of ardour and courage, he proposed to Cyaxares to lead them against the enemy. They therefore began their march, after they had offered sacrifices to the gods. When the armies were in sight of each other, they prepared for the battle. The Assyrians were encamped in the open plain; Cyrus on the other hand was covered by some villages, and small eminences. They spent some days in looking upon one another. At last the Assyrians came first out of their camp in very great numbers

, and Cyrus advanced with his troops. Before they came within a bow-shot, he gave the word of command, which was, Jupiter the helper and conductor. Hecaused the usual hymn to be sung in honour of Castor and Pollux, and the soldiers full of religious ardour (Stocifis made the responses with a loud voice. [y] In the whole army of

U]"Ην δε μηνών το τράτευμα τω πειθούς ... εν τω τοιούτω γαρ δή οι Κύρω προθυμίας, φιλοτιμίας, ρώμης δεισιδαίμονες ήτίον τους ανθρώπους θάρσες σαρακελευσμού,ζωφροσίνες, φοβούνται.


« ForrigeFortsæt »