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Tell me now; can such generous acts of Alexander as these be thought to speak the spontaneous favors of Fortune, only an impetuous torrent of success and strength of hand? Do they not rather demonstrate much of fortitude and justice, much of mildness and temperance, in one who managed all things with decorum and consideration, with a sober and intelligent judgment? Not that I (believe me) go about to distinguish between the several acts of Alexander, and to ascribe this to fortitude, that to humanity, another to temperance; but I take every act to be an act of all the virtues mixed together. This is conformable to that Stoic sentence, ‘What a wise man does he does by the impulse of all the virtues together; only one particular virtue seems to head every action, and calling the rest to her assistance drives on to the end proposed.’ Therefore we may behold in Alexander a warlike humanity, a meek fortitude, a liberality poised with good husbandry, anger easily appeased, chaste amours, a busy relaxation of mind, and labor not wanting recreation. Who ever like him mixed festivals with combats, revels and jollity with expeditions, nuptials and bacchanals with sieges and difficult attempts? To those that offended against the law who more severe To the unfortunate who more pitiful? To those that made resistance who more terrible? To suppliants who more [p. 489] merciful? This gives me an occasion to insert here the saying of Porus. For he being brought a captive before Alexander, and by him being asked how he expected to be treated, Royally, said he, O Alexander. And beiig further asked whether he desired no more, he replied, Nothing; for all things are comprehended in that word ‘royally.’ And for my part, I know not how to give a greater applause to the actions of Alexander, than by adding the word ‘philosophically,’ for in that word all other things are included. Being ravished with the beauty of Roxana, the daughter of Oxyarthes, dancing among the captive ladies, he never assailed her with injurious lust, but married her philosophically. Beholding Darius stuck to the heart with several arrows, he did not presently sacrifice to the Gods or sing triumphal songs to celebrate the end of so long a war, but unclasping his own cloak from his shoulders he threw it over the dead corpse philosophically, as it were to cover the shame of royal calamity. Another time, as he was perusing a private letter sent him by his mother, he observed Hephaestion, who was sitting by him, to read it along with him, little understanding what he did. For which unwary act Alexander forbore to reprove him; only clapping his signet to his mouth, he thus kindly admonished him that his lips were then sealed up to silence by the friendly confidence which he reposed in him,—all this philosophically. And indeed if these were not acts done philosophically, where shall we find them?
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