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finest, most copious, and correct language that was ever spoken in the world, and which became common to all the countries that were conquered by Alexander.
SECT. VII. The various expeditions of Pyrrhus: First, into Italy; where he fights two battles with the Romans. The character and conduct of Cineas. Secondly, into Sicily; and then into Italy again. His third engagement with the Romans; wherein he is defeated. His expedition into Macedonia; of which he makes himself master for some time, after he had overthrown Antigonus. His expedition into Peloponnesus. He forms the siege of Sparta, but without suc· cess. Is slain at that of Argos. The deputation from Philadelphus to the Romans, and from the Romans to Philadelphus.
'PYRRHUS, when he returned into Epirus, after he had entirely abandoned Macedonia, might have passed his days in tranquillity among his subjects, and enjoyed the sweets of peace, by governing his people agreeably to the rules of justice. But a disposition so active and impetuous as his own, in conjunction with a restless and ardent ambition, was incapable of being at rest itself, or suffering others to be so. This indisposition of mind was, in reality, a raging fever, which knew no intermission. In a word, he grew insupportable to himself, and was continually flying himself in pursuit of foreign objects, and in following, from country to country, a felicity no where to be found. He therefore seized, with joy, the first opportunity that offered for plunging himself into new affairs.
'Plut. in Pyrrh. p. 390-397. Pausan. 1. i. p. 21, 22. Justin, 1. xviii. c. 1, 2.
The inhabitants of Tarentum were then at war A. M. with the Romans, and their own country not furnishing them with generals of sufficient abilities to Ant. J. C. oppose such formidable enemies, they turned their eyes toward Epirus, and dispatched ambassadors thither, not only from themselves, but from all the Greeks in Italy, with magnificent presents for Pyrrhus. They had orders to tell him, that they wanted a leader of experience and reputation; that they had a competent number of good troops, and by only assembling the forces of the Lucanians, Messapians, Samnites, and Tarentines, were in a condition to bring an army of twenty thousand horse, and thirty-five thousand foot into the field. The joy with which Pyrrhus received a proposal so agreeable to his cisposition, and so conformable to his character, may be easily imagined. The Epirots, by his example, conceived a warm desire and violent passion for this war.
A Thessalian, named Cineas, was then at the court of Pyrrhus. He was a man of great capacity, and having been the disciple of Demosthenes, was distinguished from all the orators of that time, not only for coming the nearest to the force and eloquence of that great master, but for having been most successful in deriving, from so excellent a school, the solid principles, and best maxims of true politics. This person was much attached to Pyrrhus, who had employed him on embassies to several cities with whom he had negociations to transact. Cineas, through the whole course of these employments, confirmed, by his conduct, the truth of this expression of Euripides, that "the eloquence of an enemy is no less prevalent than his sword." And Pyrrhus accordingly declared, that he had gained more cities by the eloquence of Cineas, than he could possibly have conquered by the force of arms. For this reason he entertained the greatest esteem for his person, conferred many honours upon him, and employed him in the most important affairs. A man
of this character is always an inestimable treasure, and would constitute the happiness of a prince and his people, were his counsels admitted to take place.
Cineas perceiving that Pyrrhus was preparing to pass into Italy, and finding him one day disengaged from affairs, and in a temper not to be offended with innocent liberties, entered into a free conversation with that prince, "Your Majesty intends (said he) to march against the Romans; should the gods be so gracious as to render you victorious, what advantage would you derive from your conquest?" "Were the Romans once subdued by my arms (replied Pyrrhus) all Italy would then be ours." "Supposing ourselves masters of that country (continued Cineas how should we proceed next?" Pyrrhus, who did not yet perceive his drift, continued, "Sicily will then present itself to us, and you know the importance of that island," "But will our expeditions (added Cineas) end with the conquest of Sicily?" "No, certainly (replied Pyrrhus, with an air of emotion) can we stop short in so glorious a career? If the gods are pleased to crown us with success, these would be only preludes to more glorious enterprises? Carthage, with all Africa, Macedonia, my ancient domain, every province in Greece, shall be part of our future conquests." "And when we have conquered all we can, how shall we dispose of ourselves?" "Dispose of ourselves! We will live at our case. We will pass whole days in feasts and agreeable conversation, and think of nothing but enjoying ourselves." "Ah! my Lord (interrupted Cineas) and what prevents us now from living at ease, making of feasts, celebrating festivals, and enjoying all your Majesty has mentioned? Why should we go so far in search of an happiness already in our power, and pay so dear for what we may now enjoy without the least trouble."
This discourse of Cineas affected, but not corrected Pyrrhus. He could make no reasonable ob
jection to what he had heard; but his natural ardour, more affecting, more durable, urged him on in pur-' suit of a phantom of glory, that was always presenting a delusive and shining outside to his view, and would not permit him to enjoy the least repose, either by night or day.
Monsieur Paschal has considered this reflection of Cineas, in the 26th chapter of his Thoughts; wherein he has explained, in an admirable manner, the origin of the tumultuous employments of mankind, and of all the world calls diversion or pastime. "The soul (says that great man) discovers nothing "in herself that can furnish her with contentment. Whatever she beholds there afflicts her when she "considers it sedately. This obliges her to have
recourse to external enjoyments, that she may "lose in them the remembrance of her real state. "In this oblivion consists her joy; and, to render "her miserable, it suffices to oblige her to enter " into, and converse with herself.”
He then proceeds to justify the truth of this reflection, by a variety of examples; after which he adds the following remarks. "When Cineas told Pyrrhus, who proposed to live at ease when he "C had conquered a large part of the world, that it "would be better for him to hasten his intended happiness, by enjoying the repose in his power, "without going in quest of it through such a num"ber of fatigues; he gave him a counsel that ad"mitted of many difficulties, and which seemed "almost as irrational as the design of that ambi"tious youth. Each of them supposed, that man
was capable of being satisfied with himself, and "his present enjoyments, without filling up the "void of his heart with imaginary hopes, which is "certainly false. Pyrrhus could not be happy, "either before, or after he had conquered the world;
and perhaps the life of ease recommended to him "by his minister would have proved less satisfac
"tory to him, than the hurry of all the wars and "expeditions he meditated."
It is certain, however, that neither the philosopher, nor the conqueror, were in a condition to know the heart of man to the bottom. Pyrrhus, therefore, immediately dispatched Cineas to the Ta rentines with a band of three thousand foot; soon after which a large number of flat-bottomed vessels, gallies, and all sorts of transport-ships, arriving from Tarentum, he embarked on board that fleet twenty elephants, three thousand horse, twenty thou sand heavy-armed foot, two thousand archers, and five hundred slingers.
All being ready, he set sail; but as soon as he advanced into the open sea, a violent tempest arose from the north, and drove him out of his course. The vessel in which he was, yielded at first to the fury of the storm; but the care of the pilot and mariners was employed so effectually, that he at last gained the coast of Italy, after a voyage of infinite fatigue and danger. The other ships were incapable of holding the same course. At last a strong gale sprung up from the land, and the waves beat so violently against the head of the King's ship, that they expected it to founder immediately. Pyrrhus did not hesitate a moment in this extremity, but threw himself into the sea, and was immediately followed by his friends and guards, who were emulous to save him at the hazard of their own lives; but the night, which happened to be extremely dark, and the impetuous bursting of the waves upon the coast, from whence they were repelled with a loud roar, made it very difficult for them to assist him; till at last, the King, after he had struggled with the winds and waves for a considerable part of the night, was cast the next morning on the shore, the wind being then considerably abated. The long fatigue he had sustained, weakened him to such a degree, that nothing but his courage, always great and invincible, prevented him from sinking under it.