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retain their ancientglory, they must maintain the same discipline at Babylon amongst the Persians, as was observed in their own country, and to this end employ their chief care in the good education of their children. By this means, says he, we shall daily grow more virtuous ourselves, by striving to set them good examples ; and they cannot easily be corrupted, whilst they neither see nor hear any thing from us, but what has a tendency to virtue, and are continually employed in the practice of honest and commendable exercises.
Cyrus assigned the different parts and cares of the government to different persons, according to the talents he knew them to be masters of; but he reserved to himself alone the office of forming generals, governors of provinces, ministers and embassadors, as judging this to be properly the duty and business of a king, and that whereon his glory, the success of all his affairs, and the quiet and happiness of the empire absolutely depended. Matters relating to the war, the finances, and the civil government, he disposed in a surprising order. He had persons of known probity dispersed through all the provinces, who gave him an account of all that passed ; and these were called the eyes and ears of the prince. He was careful to reward and honour all persons distinguished by their merit, and excelling in any particular whatsoever. He set a far greater value upon clemency than courage, as the last was often the cause of the ruin and desolation of a people, whereas the other was always beneficial and salutary. The laws he judged were of admirable service in contributing to a due regulation of manners; but in his opinion, the prince was to be a living law by his example ; and he thought him - unworthy to command others, who had not more understanding and virtue than his subjects. Liberality seemed to him a virtue truly royal; but he did not think it comparable to goodness, affability, and humanity, virtues proper to gain the hearts and win the affections of the people; which is properly to reign : besides, that to be fond of giving more than others
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when one is infinitely richer than they, has nothing, so extraordinary in it, as to descend in a manner from, the throne, to make himself equal with his subjects. But the greatest preference he gave to the worship of the gods, and a reverence for religion ; as being fully persuaded, that whoever was religious and feared God, was at the same time a good and faithful servant to kings, and firmly attached to their persons and the good of the state.
When Cyrus thought he had given sufficient orders concerning the affairs of Babylon, he resolved upon a journey into Persia. He passed through Media to visit
, Cyaxares, to whom he made considerable presents,
, and let him know that he would find a magnificent palace prepared for him at Babylon, whenever he pleased to go thither, and that he should look upon that city as properly his own. Cyaxares, who had
, no male issue, offered him his daughter in marriage, and Media for her portion. He was very sensible the proposal was to his advantage, but he could not accept it till he had obtained the consent of his father and mother ; leaving to all after-ages a rare example of the respectful submission and entire dependance that all children ought to show to their parents upon such an occasion, of what age soever they be, or to what degree of power and greatness soever they are arrived. Cyrus then espoused this princess at his return from Persia, and carried her with himn to Ba. bylon, where he had fixed the seat of his empire.
There he assembled his troops. It is said, they consisted of sixscore thousand horse, two thousand chariots armed with scythes, and six hundred thousand foot., With this numerous army he took the field, and subdued all the nations from Syria to the Indian-sea. After which he turned his arms against Egypt, and brought that country in like manner under his subjection.,
He took up his residence in the midst of all these countries, passing usually seven months at Babylon during the winter, because of the warmth of the cli
mate; three months at Susa in the spring; and two months at Ecbatana, during the great heats of the summer.
After many years spent in this manner, Cyrus returned into Persia for the seventh time since the establishment of his monarchy. Cambyses and Mandane had been long dead, and himself was grown very old. Finding his end to draw near, he called together his sons and the great men of the empire, and when he had thanked the gods for all the favours they had bestowed upon him during his life, and begged a like protection of them for his children, his friends, and his country, he declared his eldest son Cambyses liis successor, and left the other several considerable governments. He gave them both excellent advice, by informing them that picty to the gods, a good understanding between brethren, and the care of acquiring and preserving faithful friends, was the firmest support of the throne. He died lamented equally by all his people.
I shall make two upon this subject; the one conçerning the character and personal qualities of Cyrus; and the other upon the truth of his history, as written by Xenophon.
The first Reflection. We
upon Cyrus as the wisest conqueror and most accomplished hero mentioned in Profane History. He wanted none of the qualities that form a great man; he had wisdom, moderation, courage, greatness of soul, noble sentiments, a wonderful dexterity in directing the will, and conciliating affection; a profound knowledge in all the branches of the art of war, and an extensive understanding, supported by a prudent resolution, in forming and executing great projects.
But what was most truly great and royal in him, [c] was a thorough conviction that all his care and attention ought to tend to making his people happy; and that a king was not to be distinguished from his subjects by the splendor of riches, the pornp of equipage, or the luxury or expence of his table; but by a superiority of merit in every kind, and especially by an indefatigable application to watch over their interests, and to procure them ease and plenty. In short, the foundation and basis in a manner of the state of princes, is not to live for themselves. To be devoted to the public good, is the very characteristic of their real greatness. They are like the fountain of light, .
, set only in an high place, to be the more universally diffused: and it would be injurious to them, to confine them within the narrow bounds of personal interest. They would fall again into the obscurity of a private condition, if their views were less extended than their dominions. The whole claims them, because confided to them.
It was from the assemblage of all these virtues that Cyrus was enabled in so short a time to lay the foundations of an empire, which took in almost all the parts of the world; that he peaceably enjoyed the fruit of his conquests for many years ; that he was so much esteemed and beloved, not only by his natural subjects, but by all the nations he had conquered ; and that after his death he was generally lamented as the common father of all his people.
We ought not to be surprised that Cyrus was so accomplished in every respect, as we know that God himself had formed him to be the instrument and agent of his design of mercy towards his people, and to give the world in his person a perfect inodel of the manner in which princes ought to govern their people, and the real use they oight to make of sovereignty.
[c] Εγώ μέν οίμαι δεν τον άρχοντα Ac mihi quidem videntur huc των αρχομένων διαφέρειν, και των σο- omnia esse referenda ab iis qui præλυτελέςερον δειπνείν, και πλέον ένδος sunt aliis, ut ii qui eorum in impeέχειν χρυσίν, άλλα των προνοείν τε και rio erunt, sint quam beatissimi. Pilotov pobupépivov. Cyrop.l. i. Cic. Ep. 1. 1. 1. ad Cuint. Fratr,
When I say that this prince was formed by God himself, I do not mean by a sensible miracle, or that he was at once made such as we admire him in history. God gave him an happy genius and capacity, by implanting in his mind the seeds of every great quality, and in his heart a disposition to the inost extraordinary virtues. He took care, that these happy natural parts should be improved by an excellent education; and thus he prepared him for the great der signs he had marked out for him. As he is the light of the soul, he dispersed all his doubts, suggested to him the properest expedients, made him attentive to the best counsels, enlarged his views, and rendered them more clear and distinct. [d] Thus God presided over all his enterprises, led him as it were by the hand in all his conquests, opened for him the gates of cities, made the strongest ramparts fall down before him, and humbled in his presence the most mighty of the earth.
To set the merit of Cyrus in a better light, we need only compare him with another king of Persia. I mean Xerxes his grandson, who, hurried on by an absurd motive of revenge, attempted to subdue Greece. We see him surrounded with whatever is held most in esteen, and makes the greatest figure in the eyes of men; the largest empire at that time in the world, iinmense riches, forces by sea and land in'an almost incredible number. But all this was but around him, not in him, and added nothing to his natural qualifications. For through a blindness too common amongst princes and great men, born to the possession of unbounded wealth with unlimited power, and encompassed with a glory he had been at no pains to acquire,
[d] Thus saith the Lord to his gates shall not be shut. I will go anointed, to Cyrus, whose right before thee, and make the crooked hand I have holden to subdue nao places strait. I will break in tions before him: And I will loose pieces the gates of brass, and cut the loins of kings, to open before as under the bars of iron. Isa. xiv, him the two-leaved gates, and the 1, 2,