The prose life of Alexander

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Alexander and his Physician.

chases a great flock of sheep & [gerse them sparple.] Right so, and the wisdom of the greeks passes other nations.

In this meantime, Alexander assembled a great multitude of folks to the number of [cc] of fighting men, and removed toward Persia, & come to a river that is called Mociona, of which the water was wonder cold, & fair, & clear. And Alexander had a great [lyste] for to be bathed therein, and went into it & bathed him, & washed him therein, and also soonhe fell in a fever and a head-ache therewith, so that he [fure[ wonder ill. And when the Macedonians saw their lord so [grievously?] sick, they were wonder [heuy] and [alarmed], and said amongst themselves: "And Darius,' quoth they, '[wete] that our lorde Alexander be thus sick, he shall come & fall upon us suddenly, & [fordo] us each. For, and we had the [health?] of our lorde Alexander, we had comfort enough & dread no nation.' Then king Alexander called to him his Physician that [highte] Philippe & bade him ordain him a Medicine for his sickness. This [ilk] Physician was but a young man, but he was a [passionate cunning?] man and a [sottell] in all the points that belonged to [physics?]. And he [highte] Alexander, that [by] a certain drink he should anon make him all hale. Now fell it, that was with Alexander a prince, that [highte] Parmenius & was lord of hermony This prince had great envy to this physician, because that Alexander loved him so passionatly well & [belyfe] he wrote to Alexander, and warned him that he should be [warre] with Phillippe his physician, and on no ways receive that drink that he would give him. For he said, that Darius had [highte] to give him his daughter to wife & his kingdom after his disease of [swa ware], that he might be any craft make an end of him. When Alexander had read this letter he was nothing troubled, so much he trusted of the conscience of his physician.

In the meantime, this Physician come to Alexander with the forsaid drink, and Alexander took his drink in a hand & the forsaid letter in his other hand and beheld the Physician in the visage right sharply. To whom the Physician said:

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Alexander puts his Physician to the test.

"worshipful Emperor,' quoth the, 'be nothing feared but drink the medicine boldly,' and then anon Alexander took this drink, & showed Philippe the letter. And when Philippe had red the letter, he said to Alexander: 'Now forsooth, my lord,' quoth he, 'I take our gods to witness that I am not guilty of this treason, that here is written.' Alexander then was all hale as ever he was, & called unto Philippe his physician & embraced' him in his arms & said: 'Philippe,' quoth he, "knows thou how much love & trust I have in thee. First I drank thy medicine, & [syne] I showed thee the letter that was sent me against thee.' 'My lord,' quoth Philippe, 'I beseek thou that thee will vouchsafe to send after my acuser, and do him come before your presence that this letter sent unto thou, and has [lered] me for to do such a high treason. [Be-lyfe] then great Alexander send after Parmeny for to come unto him, and [gerte the sothe] be searched, & found that he was worthy the deed. And then he [gert girde] of his [heued.']

^ Fra beine kyng Alexander remowed" his Oste titi hermony be Alexander

■• t/ o ^ ^ ... conquers

mare & onane he conquered" it, & put it vnder his subiecciofD. Armenia

20 And fra f>eine he trauailed" many a day * wit his Oste, and at pe * ^^^^ »5

laste come titt a cantre wonder drye, & futt of creuesce^ of ,, ^ ,

cauerne^, & aide cisternes whare na water myghte be funden). and

And Fra J^eine puj passede thurgti a cuntree, j^at es called" through

24 Andrias, to pe Reuere of Eufrates. And J^are fay lugede psiin). th^^E^^ *^

pan Alexander garte brynge many grete tree^, for to make phrates.

a brygge of ouer J'at water, appon) schippe;, and garte tj^e Jjam) bridge of

SamefD w^t chenys of Iren) & ireiD nayle^. And when) pe brigge J'^^^^s a^<^^

28 was att redy, he badde his knyghtes wende ouer apofD it. Bot his knights

T _^ , 1 . -n 1 1 •,! fear to cross

when) pay saw pe grete reuer ryne so swiitely and with so it because

a grete a byrre, thay dred ]:am) pat pe brygge schulde fatte. ^^^^

For paj supposede pe chenys schuld breke be-cause of grete of the

32 weghte. And, when Alexander saw J^ain) dredand* on this Alexander

wyse, he gert hirde-men), pat were J>are kepand" katett, wend' ?f^^^

ouer before, and warnede pat pe Oste schulde folowe J^am). over, yet

Bot jit pe knyghtis ware ferde & durste noghte wende ouer. durst^not ^

36 Than) was Alexander ri:tc wrathe and callede vntilt hym alt follow.

** , r» 1 Alexander

his prynces, & grete lorde3, and firste he went hym selfc ouer then goes * MS. repeats for to do twice, ^ Three lines with miniature F.

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Alexander s trouble with his men; the Battle with Darius.

the bridges, & all his princes followed him, and [sythen] all the Oste. Two great rivers run through Medea, Mesopotamia and Babylon, that is to say Tigris & Euphrates, and so runs into the river of Niles. When Alexander & all his Oste were past over Euphrates, he [gert smyte sonder] the bridge that he had [gert] make before, and [dissolue] each a piece thereof from other. And when his knights saw that, they were right [heuy] and mourned greatly therefore, and said amongst themselves, 'What shall we now do,' quoth they, 'when we are hard [be-stadde] with our enemies & would flee. For over this river may we not win.' And when Alexander perceived that murmur of his folke, he said unto them. 'What es that,' quoth he, 'tht thee say [amangez] thoug, 'If it fall that we flee out of the battle.' [Sothely], I let thou well [wite], that this is the cause why I [garte] fordo this bridge, that I [gert] make; [For-thi], that other we should fight manly or else if [we] would flee, we should all perish at once and all drink of a cup. [For-whi] the victory es not [arretted] to them that flees, But to them that abides, or follows on the chase. Therefore comforts thou well, & be bold of heart, and think it but a play stalwartly to fight. For I say thou [secretly?]; we shall never see Macedonia, before we have overcome all our enemies, And then with the victory we shall turn home again.

In this meantime, king Darius gathered a great multitude of men against Alexander, and ordained over them five-hundred chieftains of great lords and [deluged?] him with his men upon the river of Tigris. And on a day their two. kings with their [bather] Ostes met together upon a fair field and fought together eagerly. But soon Darius men had the [war?] & [zode] to ground thick-fold, slain in the field. And when the remnant saw that, they took them to the flight. In Darius oste was a man of Persia, a doubty, & a bold; to whom Darius [highte] for to give his daughter to wife, if so were, that he might, by any way, slay king Alexander. This man got him clothing and Armour like unto the macedonians, and went amongst them, as they fought, ay till he come behind king Alexander. And also as he come near him, he lift his

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The brave Persian; who alone dares against Alexander.

sword on high, & let fly at him with all the might that he had, and hit him on the head so fiercely, that he [perched] his [bayonet?], and drew the blood of him. When Alexander knights saw that: they took him anon, & brought him before Alexander, and Alexander, supposing that he had been a macedonian, said unto him, 'Worshipful man,' quoth he, '& doubty & strange what ailed thee at me, for to give such a strike, knew thou not well that it was I, Alexander your helper & your [allere] servante'. And [the] Persian answered, & said, '[Wait?] thou well worshipful emperor,' quoth he, 'I am not macedonian, but I am a man of Persia; and this deed I did. For king Darius made me a promise of his daughter to wife, if I might bring him thy head.' Then king Alexander called before him all his knights and asked them what they thought it best to go smite off his head, Some for to put him to the fire for to burn, Some to go draw & hang him. And when Alexander had heard their counsel, he answered & said: 'Sirs,' quoth he, 'what wrong or what fault can thee find in this man, [Sen] he has [besied] him to obey to his lord's commandment, and at his power fulfilled it. Which of thou, so deems him worthy to be dead, es worthy in time coming to have the same doom. For if I command any of thou for to go & slay Darius, the same pain, that thee deem this man for to suffer, were thee worthy for to suffer yourselves of Darius, if thee might be [gotten?]. And then he commanded that he should wend home to his fellows without any harm. When Darius heard that his lords were slain in great number, he gathered a great multitude of knights and of footmen, and went up on a hill that is called Taurisius, and there he made his muster of his men, supposing that he should overcome Alexander through [a] multitude of folke. But also as they met with their [bathere] ostez, and began for to fight, Darius men fled and himself also. And Alexander persuaded him unto the city of Bactrian, and there he [luged] him, and offered Sacrifice to his gods. And on the morn, he [garte] assail the

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Darius again defeated; treachery and trouble.

citee, and won it on war. And in the chief place thereof he set his throne. And all their other cities that wer about it, he [warned?] them of war, & put them under his subjection. In this [ilke] city of Bactrian, he found treasure without number, and also is mother, and his wife.

And in the meantime, while Alexander lay at Bactrian: there come a prince of Darius oste unto Alexander, & said unto him, 'Worshipful emperor,' quoth he, 'I have a long time been a knight of Darius, and done him great service; and [zitt] to this day I had never [na] rewarded him. And therefore it if like unto thou majesty; take me ten thousand of your men of arms; and I [hete zow,] for to bring to your hand king Darius, & the most part of his oste.' And when Alexander had heard this, he said unto him. 'Friend,' quoth he, 'I thank thee muh of thy fair promise. Nevertheless, I let thee [wite] my men will not believe that thou will fight against thine own people.' In the meantime a Prince of Darius oste sent unto him a letter, of which this was the tenor.

'To Darius, great king of kings, his lords which he has ordained chieftains under him Sends meek service. Oftimes before this have we written to your majesty, and now again we write unto thou, & [latez zow wite] that the macedonians & king Alexander, as would lions are entered our lands, and all our strengths, as a wild [raueschande] beast he has destroyed: & our knights slain. And oppressed we are with so great tribulations, that we [may] not longer suffer his [mawgree], ne his malice bear. Wherefore, meekly we beseek your benign majesty, that thee will draw to your mind our meek service, and such succor vouchsafe to send us, that we put off and withstand the violence & the malice of our foresaid enemies.' When Darius had read this letter, anon he [gert] writ a letter to king Alexander, saying on this ways.

'Darius, king of Persia and king of kings, unto my servant Alexander, I say. Now [late pare es commen till our eres thyngez: that thou went to even thy little head till our high magnificence. But [Sen] it is impossible till a [heuy asse], with

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