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Rather let us therefore affirm that Fortune makes her favorites little, poor-spirited, and pusillanimous cowards. But it is not just to ascribe vice to misfortune, fortitude and wisdom to prosperity. Fortune indeed was herself made great by Alexander's reign; for in him she appeared illustrious, invincible, magnanimous, merciful, and just. Insomuch that after his decease Leosthenes likened this vast bulk of power—wandering as in a mist, and sometimes violently rushing one part against the other—to the giant Cyclops, who after he had lost his eye went feeling and groping about with his hands before him, not knowing where to lay them. So strangely did that vast pile of dominion roll and tumble about in the dark of confusion, when shattered into anarchy by the loss of its supreme head. Or rather, as dead bodies, when the soul takes her flight, no longer grow together, no longer act together, but are broken up and dissolved, and are finally dissipated; thus Alexander's empire, wanting his enlivening conduct, panted, gasped, and boiled with fever, struggling with Perdiccas, Meleager, Seleucus, and Antigonus,—as with vital spirits still remaining hot, and with irregular and intermittent pulses,—till at length, totally corrupted and putrefied, it produced a sort of degenerate kings and faint-hearted princes, like so many worms. This he himself seemed to prophesy, reproving Hephaestion for quarrelling with Craterus: What power, said he, or signal achievement couldst thou pretend to, should any one deprive thee of thy Alexander? The same will I be bold to say to the Fortune of that time: Where would have been thy grandeur, [p. 499] where thy glory, where thy vast empire, thy invincibility, should any one have bereaved thee of thy Alexander?— that is, should any one have deprived thee of thy skill and dexterity in war, thy magnificence in expense, thy moderation in the midst of so much affluence, thy prowess in the field, thy meekness to the vanquished? Frame, if thou canst, another piece like him, that missing all his noble qualities shall neither be magnificently liberal nor foremost in battle, that shall not regard nor esteem his friends, that shall not be compassionate to his captives, that shall not moderate his pleasures, that shall not be watchful to take all opportunities, whom victory shall make inexorable and prosperity insolent; and try if thou canst make him another Alexander. What ruler ever obtained renown by folly and improbity Separate virtue from the fortunate, and he everywhere appears little;—among those that deserve his bounty, for his close-handed illiberality; among the laborious, for his effeminacy; among the Gods, for his superstition; among the good, for his envious conditions; among men, for his cowardice; among women, for his inordinate lust. For as unskilful workmen, erecting small figures upon huge pedestals, betray the slightness of their own understandings; so Fortune, when she brings a person of a poor and narrow soul upon the stage of weighty and glorious actions, does but expose and disgrace him, as a person whom the vanity of his own ill conduct has rendered worthless.
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