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20. The Achaeans, then, were thus engaged. But Deinocrates, who feared that delay was the one thing most likely to save Philopoemen, and wished to forestall the efforts of the Achaeans, when night came on and the multitude of Messene had dispersed, opened the prison and sent in a public official with poison, ordering him to give it to Philopoemen and to stand by his side until he had drunk it. [2] Now, Philopoemen was lying down wrapped in his soldier's cloak, not sleeping, but overwhelmed with trouble and grief. When, however, he saw a light and a man standing by him holding the cup of poison, he pulled himself together as much as his weakness permitted and sat up. Then taking the cup he asked the man if he had heard anything about the horsemen, and particularly about Lycortas, [3] and on being told by him that the greater part of them had escaped, he nodded his head, and with a kindly look at the man said to him: ‘That is good news, if we have not wholly lost.’ Without another word and even without a sigh he drained the cup and laid himself down again. He did not give the poison much to do, but breathed his last speedily, so weak was he.

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