The prose life of Alexander

ReadAboutContentsHelp

Pages

3: He would lie as a god with the young Queen.
Complete

3: He would lie as a god with the young Queen.

asked many things of him. ' Art thou not an Egyptian? ' And Anectanabus answered: ' The word thou saidst was kingly, when thou didst name the Egyptians. For the Egyptians are [4] wise, and read dreams, understand the birds of the air in their flight, open up the hidden places, and tell the fate of those newborn, babes. Of all these things, as a seer, I, too, have knowledge.' And Olympia saw how he gazed upon her, and spoke, ' Master, of [8] what dost thou bethink thee, who thus lookest on me ? ' And Anectanabus answered, ' I call to my mind many answers of the gods. One answer had been that I was to look upon a queen.' And saying this, he drew forth from his breast a cleansing [12] tablet of bronze and ivory, inwrought with gold and silver, and on its face were three whirls. The first contained in itself the Twelve Minds, and in the third, sun and moon were fashioned. Next to them, was seen a chain of ivory, and from it he [16] pulled forth seven wonder-bright stars, that told the hours and birth-dooms of men, and seven carven stones, and two stones for the saving men whole.

And Olympia beheld these things, and said : ' Master, if [20] thou wouldst I should believe thee, tell me the year, the day and hour of the king's birth.' And upon this, he said to the queen, ' Wishest thou to hear nothing else from me ? ' Quoth the queen, ' Tell me what shall fall out betwixt Philip and me, for [24] men say that, when Philip shall come from the war, he will thrust me forth, and take another mate.' And Anectanabus answered : ' They prate of many things untruly ; but ere a long time pass, it shall be as they say.' And the queen answered : [28] ' I beg thee, master, unveil me all the truth.' Thereupon Anectanabus : — ' One of the mightiest gods shall share thy bed and uphold thee through all thy thrivings and downfalls, even if they be overstrong.' Olympia replied : ' I beseech thee, say [32] what shape this god shall put on ? ' Anectanabus replied : 'Neither young, nor old; his beard besprinkled with white hairs. Wherefore, if this please thee, be ready for him, for at night shalt thou see him, and in thy sleep shall he lie by [36] thee.' The queen said : ' If I behold this, neither as a seer, nor as godly, but, as the god himself, will I worship ' [thee]. And at once Anectanabus said, ' Fare thee well, O queen.' After this Anectanabus, leaving the palace, and walking straight forth

Last edit almost 3 years ago by Amanda Beene
4: As a god he knows her, begets Alexander, beshields her.
Complete

4: As a god he knows her, begets Alexander, beshields her.

to the city's camp in a desert spot, tore up herbs, and ground them, and took their juice, and wrought spells and other like things of the fiend, that in that same night Olympia might [4] behold the god Hamon lying beside her, and saying to her thereafter, ' Woman, thou hast conceived him who shall beshield thee.' And, on the morrow, Olympia awoke from her slumbers, and called Anectanabus to her, and told him of the dream she [8] had beheld. Then Anectanabus said : ' If thou wilt give me room in the palace, thou shalt see the god himself, face to face. For that god shall come to thee in the shape of a great snake, and soon after, taking on a manlike body, he shall seem to be in [12] my likeness.' And to this Olympia said : ' As thou hast spoken, master, do. Take to thyself a bed in the palace, and canst thou make good the truth thereof, I will deem thee to be the father of the boy.' And, about the first watch of the night, Anectanabus [16] took on him, through spells and wizardry to be changed into the shape of a great snake, and whistling on to the bedchamber of Olympia, to fly through. And he entered her room, and rose on to her bed, and with great love began to kiss her, and the [20] kisses betokened to her who he was. And when he rose up from the bed, he smote her on the womb, and spake : ' This begetting be thy avenging, and in no wise may it be upbraided of men.'

[24] On such a fashion was Olympia cheated, who had lain with a man as though he had been a god. And in the morning, Anectanabus went down from the palace, and the queen was with child.

[28] And when she began to be big, she called unto her Anectanabus, saying : ' Master, tell me, what doom will Philip wreak on me, when he shall come back?' And Anectanabus said to her, ' Be not afraid : god Hamon will champion thee.' [32] And with these words he left the palace, and went outside the town, to a barren spot. And, uprooting grasses, rubbed them, and grated them, and took their sap. And he caught a sea-bird, and began to sing over the herbs, and anoint the herbs with the [36] sap. This he did in fellowship with the fiends, that he might betray King Philip through a dream. And this was brought about. That same night the god Hamon appeared to Philip, in a dream, lying with his wife Olympia, and, the night ended, he

Last edit almost 3 years ago by Amanda Beene
5: He makes Philip dream that she by a god conceives her saviour.
Complete

5: He makes Philip dream that she by a god conceives her saviour.

saw him touch her womb, and seal it with a golden ring. And on this ring there was a stone, and graven on this a lion's head, and the chariot of the sun, and a very sharp sword. And he [4] said to her : ' Woman, thou hast conceived thy saviour.' And Philip awoke from his sleep, and calling Arideus, made known to him the dream, and what he had seen. And Arideus said : ' Philip, not from man, but from a god, hath thy wife conceived. [8] In truth, the lion's head and the chariot of the sun and the sharp sword, foretoken that he, who shall be born of her, shall journey to the East whence riseth the sun ! And with the sharp sword shall he underyoke to himself the nations of the [12] whole world.'

HOW ANECTANABUS IN THE SHAPE OF A MIGHTY DRAGON WENT TO THE FORE IN THE FRONT OF PHILIP AND OVERCAME HIS ENEMIES IN THE FRAY.

In the meanwhile, King Philip fought and won. For there appeared in the battle a dragon, who went before him and laid low his foes. And when he came back to Macedonia, he met [16] and kissed Olympia. And King Philip gazed on her, and said, ' To whom, O Olympia, hast thou given thyself up. For sinned thou hast, yet not sinned, for as much as thou hast brooked frowardness from a god. But I have seen all that has what has [20] been done by a god on thee, in a dream : therefore be blameless in my eyes, and the eyes of all men ! '

HOW ANECTANABUS IN THE SHAPE OF A DRAGON CAME BEFORE PHILIP AT A FESTIVAL AND KISSED OLYMPIA.

On a certain day Philip was feasting with his lords and chieftains of Macedonia and with Olympia his wife. And [24] Anectanabus through wizardry took on himself the shape of a dragon, and, passing through the midst of the couch whereon they lay apart, whistled so loudly that all the revellers were stricken with fear, and the greatest dread, and coming near [28] Olympia, he put his head on her breast and kissed her. Philip, seeing this, spoke to Olympia, ' Woman, thee and all I tell ;

beheld this dragon, what time I laid my enemies low.'

Last edit almost 3 years ago by Amanda Beene
6: Amid wonders the child is born.
Complete

6: Amid wonders the child is born.

HOW A BIRD LAID AN EGG IN PHILIP'S BOSOM AT WHOSE BREAKING THERE CAME FORTH A SERPENT, WHICH FORTH-WITH DIED.

And a few days after this Philip the king was sitting in his palace, and there appeared unto him a little and most gentle bird, which flew into his bosom and laid an egg. And the egg, [4] falling to the ground, was broken. And at once there crept forth from it a very little snake. And it turned around, wishful to go into the egg, but, before it might put in its head, it was quenched. And Philip, seeing this, was heavily distressed, and [8] called to him Arideus, and showed him the monstrous thing he had seen. And Arideus said to him, ' King Philip, a son shall be born to thee, who shall reign after thy death, and shall fare forth over the whole world and sway all peoples, and ere he [12] come back to the land of his birth, shall die by a most swift death.'

And as the time of child-birth was drawing nigh, Olympia began to feel pain, and her womb was tormented, and she bade [16] Arideus be called to her, and spoke with him : ' Master, my womb is wrenched with very heavy labours.' Anectanabus [sic in both editions 1489 and 1494] then spake : ' Raise thyself awhile from thy throne, for in this hour the elements are [20] troubled by the sun.' This was done, and the pain went from her. And soon after, Anectanabus said to her, ' Sit down, O Queen ! ' and she sate herself and bore a child. And as soon as the boy was fallen on to the earth, a mighty thunderclap and [24] thunderbolts, with tokens and lightnings came about throughout the whole world. Then night was spread forth and lasted, it reaching unto the last hour of day. Then parts of the clouds fell down in Italy. And seeing these signs, Philip the king [28] was afrighted, and went in to Olympia, and said : ' I deemed that this little babe should in no wise be fostered. For he is not conceived of me, but of some god, for at his birth I beheld the heavens changed. Yet let him be fostered in my memory, [32] as though he were my son, and follow in the stead of a son I begot through another wife.' And when he said this, she handled the babe with great care. And the boy's face had the likeness neither of father nor mother. The hair on his head

Last edit almost 3 years ago by Amanda Beene
7: The child is named Alexander ; his wondrousness.
Complete

7: The child is named Alexander ; his wondrousness.

was shaggy as a lion's. His eyes glistened like the stars, but each beamed with its own hue, one black, the other yellow, And his teeth were sharp, and his eager rush as a lion's. His [4] shape foreshadowed his energy and forethought. By his parents he was called Alexander. In the schools, and wheresoever he sate, he strove with them in letters and disputations, and by his keen swiftness won the mastership. And when he was twelve [8] years old, he was beweaponed for battle, and excelled in arms. And Philip, seeing how quick he was, praised him, and said : ' Son Alexander, I love thy speed, and wit of mind for its work. But I am sore and feel foolish that thy form is so unlike mine.' [12] And Olympia heard this, and was greatly afraid. And she called hither Anectanabus, and said : ' Master, learn from me what Philip misdeemeth. For he said to Alexander, " Son, I love thy speed and wit of mind. But, that thy shape is [16] unlike mine, I am saddened." ' And Anectanabus began to think, and said : ' His thought is nowise harmful.' And gazing aloft as he was wont, he looked on a certain star, and riddled out his wish. And when Alexander heard this, he spake : [20] ' The star thou seest is seen in the heavens ? ' And Anectanabus replied : ' My son, it is.' Alexander said : ' Canst thou show it unto me ? ' Anectanabus answered : ' Follow me in the hour of night, and I will show it unto thee.' Alexander said : ' Thy [24] fate is not known to thee, or uncertain ? ' Anectanabus replied : ' Enough of this.' Alexander said : ' I would fain know it.' Anectanabus answered : ' In truth know that from my son shall come my death.' This said, as he went down from the palace, [28] Alexander followed him in the hour of the evening without the city. And when they arrived up on to the ditch of the city, Anectanabus spake : ' Son Alexander, gaze thou on the stars ; look how the star of Hercules is perplexed, and how Mercury's [32] star is blithe. If I see Jove sparkling, my doom telleth me of my coming death at the hands of my son.' At this sight Alexander came up nigh to him, and made an onslaught on him, making him fall

[The early Text begins.]

[36] down in to the dyke, and thare he felle, & was all to-frusched; and than Alexander said un-to hym one this wyse. ' Fals

Last edit over 2 years ago by estherawetzel
Displaying pages 16 - 20 of 134 in total