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What were then the hopes with which Alexander passed into Asia Not a vast power mustered out of populous cities, nor fleets sailing through mountains; not whips and fetters, the instruments of barbarians' fury, to curb and manacle the sea. But in his small army there was surpassing desire of glory, emulation among those of equal age, and a noble strife to excel in honor and virtue among friends. Then, as for himself, he carried with him all these great hopes,—piety towards the Gods, fidelity to his friends, generous frugality, temperance, beneficence, contempt of death, magnanimity, humanity, decent affability, candid integrity, constancy in counsel, quickness in execution, love of precedence in honor, and an effectual purpose to follow the steps of virtue. And though Homer, in describing the beauty of Agamemnon, seems not to have observed the rules of decorum or probability in any of his three similitudes,— Like thundering Jove's, his awful head and eyes The gazing crowd with majesty surprise; In every part with form celestial graced, His breast like Neptune's, and like Mars his waist;1 [p. 512] yet as for Alexander, if his celestial parents formed and composed him of several virtues, may we not conclude that he had the wisdom of Cyrus, the temperance of Agesilaus, the foresight of Themistocles, the skill of Philip, the daring courage of Brasidas, the shrewdness and political skill of Pericles? Certainly, if we compare him with the most ancient heroes, he was more temperate than Agamemnon, who preferred a captive before his lawful wife, though but newly wedded, while Alexander, before he was legally married, abstained from his prisoners. He was more magnanimous than Achilles, who accepted a small sum of money for the redemption of Hector's dead body, while Alexander spared no expense to adorn the funeral of Darius. Achilles accepted gifts and bribes from his friends, as the atonement of his wrath; Alexander, when once a victor, enriched his enemies. He was much more pious than Diomede, who scrupled not to fight against the Gods, while Alexander ascribed to Heaven all his successes. Finally, he was more bewailed of his relations than Ulysses, whose mother died for grief, while the mother of Alexander's enemy, out of affection, bare him company in his death.
1 Il. II. 478.
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