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almost as irrational as the design of that ambitious youth. Each of them supposed, that man was capable of being satisfied with himself, and his present enjoyments, without filling up the void of his heart with imaginary hopes, which is certainly false. Pyrrhus could not be happy, either before, or after he had conquered the world; and perhaps the life of ease recommended to him by his minister would have proved less satisfactory to him, than the hurry of all the wars and expeditions he meditated."
It is certain, however, that neither the philosopher, nor the conqueror, were in a condition to know the heart of man to the bottom. Pyrrhus, therefore, immediately dispatched Cineas to the Tarentines with a band of three thousand foot; soon after which a large number of flat bottomed vessels, galleys, and all sorts of transport ships, arriving from Tarentum, he embarked on board that fleet twenty elephants, three thousand horse, twenty thousand heavy armed foot, two thousand archers, and five hundred slingers.
All being ready, he set sail; but as soon as he advanced into the open sea, a violent tempest arose from the north, and drove him out of his course. The vessel in which he was, yielded at first to the fury of the storm; but the care of the pilot and mariners was employed so effectually, that he at last gained the coast of Italy, after a voyage of infinite fatigue and danger. The other ships were incapable of holding the same course. At last a strong gale sprung up from the land, and the waves beat so violently against the head of the king's ship, that they expected it to founder immediately. Pyrrhus did not hesitate a moment in this
extremity, but threw himself into the sea, and was immediately followed by his friends and guards, who were emulous to save him at the hazard of their own lives; but the night, which happened to be extremely dark, and the impetuous bursting of the waves upon the coast, from whence they were repelled with a loud roar, made it very difficult for them to assist him; till at last the king, after he had struggled with the winds and waves for a considerable part of the night, was cast the next morning on the shore, the wind being then considerably abated. The long fatigue he had sustained, weakened him to such a degree, that nothing but his courage, always great and invincible, prevented him from sinking under it.
In the mean time, the Messapians, on whose coast the waves had cast him, hastened to him with the utmost speed, to tender him all the assistance in their power. They also went to meet some of his ships that escaped the storm; but the cavalry they found on board were very inconsiderable in number; the infantry, however, amounted to two thousand men, and had two elephants with them. Pyrrhus, after he had drawn them up in a body, led them directly to Tarentum.
Cineas, as soon as he received intelligence of his approach, advanced to him with his troops. Pyrrhus, when he arrived at Tarentum, was extremely surprised to find the inhabitants solely employed in pleasures, which it was their usual custom to indulge, without the least prudence or interruption. And they now took it for granted, that whilst Pyrrhus fought for them, they might quietly continue in their own
houses, solely employed in bathing, using exquisite perfumes, feasting and recreations. Pyrrhus did not intend to lay them under any constraint, till he had received intelligence that his ships were safe, and till the greatest part of his army had joined him. He then treated them like one determined to be their master. He began with shutting up all the public gardens, and places of exercise, where the inhabitants usually entertained themselves with news, and regulated military affairs as they walked together. He also suspended their feasts and public shews, and was altogether as severe upon the assemblies of news mongers. In a word, he compelled them to take arms, and behaved at all musters and reviews with very inexorable severity to those who failed in their duty. In consequence of which, several, who had never been accustomed to so rigorous a discipline, withdrew from the city; thinking it an insupportable servitude, to be debarred from the full enjoyment of their effeminate pleasures.
Pyrrhus, about this time, received information that Levinus the consul was advancing against him with a powerful army, and that he was then in Lucania, where he burnt and destroyed all the country around him. Though the allies of Pyrrhus had not sent him any succours at that time, yet as he thought it very dishonourable to permit the enemy to approach nearer him, and commit their ravages in his view, he took the field with the few troops he had. But before he entered upon any hostilities, he dispatched a herald to demand of the Romans, whether they would consent, before the commencement of the war, to an amicable accommodation of the differences between them and the Greeks
of Italy, by referring the whole affair to his judgment and decision? To which Levinus the consul made this reply; "That the Romans neither took Pyrrhus for an arbiter, nor feared him as an enemy."
Pyrrhus, upon receiving this answer, advanced with his troops, and encamped in a plain between the cities of Pandosia and Heraclea; and when he heard that the Romans were very near him, and encamped on the other side of the river Siris, he mounted his horse, and approached the bank, to take a view of their situation. When he saw the appearance of their troops; their advanced guards; the fine order observed universally, and the commodious situation of their camp, he was astonished at what he saw; and addressing himself to one of his friends who was then near him, "Megacles," said he," the disposition of those barbarians is by no means barbarous; we shall see whether the rest will correspond with this appearance." f And already anxious for the success of the future, he resolved to wait the arrival of his allies; thinking it sufficient, at that time, to post a body of troops on the bank of the river, to oppose the Romans, if they should attempt to pass; but this precaution was then too late, for the Roman infantry had already forded the stream, and the cavalry passed it where they found it practicable. The advanced troops of Pyrrhus, therefore, not finding themselves sufficiently strong, and fearing to be surrounded by their enemies, were obliged to join the main army with great precipitation; so that Pyrrhus, who arrived there a few moments before, with the rest
The Greeks considered all other nations as barbarians, and treated
of his troops, had not time to dispute the
As soon as he saw a great nun ber of Roman bucklers, glittering on this side of the river, and their cavalry advancing toward him in fine order, he closed his rank, and began the attack. The lustre and beauty of his arms, which were very magnificent, distinguished him in a conspicuous manner; and his actions inade it evident, that the reputation he had acquired did not exceed his merit. For while he engaged in the battle, without sparing his own person, and bore down all before him, he was attentive to the functions of a general; and amidst the greatest dangers was perfectly cool, dispatched his commands with as much tranquillity as if he had been in his palace; and sprung from place to place, to reinstate what was amiss, and sustain those who suffered most.
During the heat of the engagement, one of the Italian horse, with a lance in his hand, singled out Pyrrhus from all the rest of the troops, and followed him with the utmost ardour wherever he went; directing all his own motions by those of the king. And having at last found a favourable opportunity, he aimed a furious stroke at him, but wounded only his horse. At the same time Leonatus of Macedon killed the Italian's horse. Both horses being down, Pyrrhus was immediately surrounded by a troop of his friends, who carried him off, and killed the Italian, who fought with great bravery.
This adventure taught Pyrrhus more precaution than he had practised before, and obliged him to be more careful of himself; which is an indispensable duty in