Prose life of Alexander
J.S. Westlake


And on the following day, he gathered his army, which told two hundred and twenty thousand of weaponed men. And he went up

[leaf 19] on a hye place & comforthed his men̛ and said̛ vn-to þam̛: 'Þe multitude of þe percienes,' quoþ he, 'may noȝte be euend to þe multitude of þe greckes. For sewrly we are ma þan þay. And if þay were ane hundreth sythes maa then̛ wee, late noȝte ȝour hertis faile ȝow þarefore. For I telle ȝow a grete multitude of flyes may do na harme till a fewee waspes.' And when̛ þe Oste had herde thire wordes þay commendide hym halelely wit a voyce.

Than̛ þe emperour Darius remowed̛ his oste, and come to þe reuere of Graunt on þe nyghte, and went ouer on þe ysȝ, and þar he luged̛ hym. The Oste of Darius was wonder grete and strange. For þay hadd̛ in þaire oste Xm cartes ordaynd̛ For þe werre, and grete multitude of Olyfanteȝ, wit towres of tree on̛ þam̛, stuffed̛ wit feghtyng men̛. And sone after appon̛ a day thir twa kynges wit þaire osteȝ mett samen̛ on a faire felde, Darius wit his men̛, and Alexander wit his men.

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Than Alexender lept apon̛ his horse, þat highte Buctiphalas, and rade furthe bi-fore aƚƚ his oste, and houed in þe myddes waye bi-twene þe twa ostes. And when̛ þe Percyenes saw hym, þa had grete wonder of hym, and ware riȝte ferde for hym, by cause he was so vggly. Neuere-þe-lesse þay tromped̛ vp & went to-warde Alexander. And sone þe bateƚƚ ioyned, & faghte to-gedir fersely, and many men̛ dyed̛ on ayther party; þare was so thikke schott of arowes, þat þe ayer was couerde, as it had bene wit a clowde. Some faghte wit swerdeȝ, sum wit speres, sum wit axes, & sum̛ wit arowes. Þe felde lay fuƚƚ of folke, sum̛ dede, sum̛ halfe-dede, & sum̛ greuously wonded̛. Thay began̛ for to feghte at þe son̛-rysynge, and faghte to þe son̛-settyng. Bot þare dyed̛ many ma of þe percyenes þan þare dide of Macedoyns.

And when̛ Darius sawe his men̛ faƚƚe so thikke in þe felde, he lefte þe felde, and fledd, and þe percyenes seyng that, þay fledd̛ also. Bot þan̛ þaire cartes of werre rane amange þe percyens & slewe of þam̛ folke wit-owte nouwmer & namely of fote-men̛. For by þat tyme it was myrke nyghte, and þay ne myȝte noȝte see for tiƚƚ eschewe þam̛. When̛ Darius come [leaf 19 bk.] to the foresaid̛ watere he fande it frosen̛, and ouer he went. And when̛ he was ouer, þe oþer lordes of perse went appon̛ þe ysȝ, so grete a multitude þat þay couerde þe ysȝ fra þe taa banke to þe toþer, & þat a grete brede, & þan̛ onane þe ysȝ brake als sone als Darius was paste ouer, & aƚƚ þat ware on þe ysȝ ware perischte, ilk a moder son̛, & drownede in þe water. Þe remanaunt, when̛ þay come to the water, þay myȝte noȝte wyn̛ ouer. And þan̛ þe Macedoynes come, & dange þam̛ downe. In this bateƚƚe þare was slaen of þe percyenes CCCm wit-owten̛ thase þat were drownned.

Kyng Darius fledd̛ to þe citee of Susis, & went in tiƚƚ his palace, & feƚƚe downe to þe grounde, & sigheand & wepande wit a sare hert, he said̛ theis wordes: 'Allas, fuƚƚ wa es me, vnhappye wriche, þat euer I was borne, for þe ire & þe indignacionn̛ of heuen̛ es fallen̛ one mee. For I Darius þat lifte my seluen̛ vp to þe sternes, Now am I broghte lawe to þe erthe. Now es Darius, þat conquerede aƚƚ þe Este nacyons, & made þam subiecte & tributaries vn-tiƚƚ hym, fayne for to flee fra his enemys and submytte hym vn-to þam̛. And it warePage  50 knawen̛ vn-to þe wreched man̛, what schulde falle tiƚƚ hym after-wardeȝ, he schulde hafe littiƚƚ thoghte of þe tyme presentt, bot one þe tyme to come solde his thoȝte be. In a poynte of a daye it falles, þat þe meke es raysede vp to þe clowddeȝ, and þe prowde es putt to noȝte.' And when̛ he hade saide thir wordes, he rase vp, & satt & wrate a lettre vn-till Alexander, sayande on this wyese.

'Tiƚƚ his lorde Alexander, kyng of Macedoyne, Darius, kyng of Perse, gretyng & Joy. We hafe wele vndirstanden by þat that we hafe herde of ȝowe and sene, þat ȝe hafe in ȝow grete wysedom̛ & a hye witt: so þat noȝte allanly ȝe knawe thynges þat are present or passede, bot also thyngeȝ þat ere for to come, and þare-fore aƚƚ thyngeȝ, þat ȝe doo: ȝe do it wit-owten̛ any lakke or repreue. Neuer-þe-lesse hafeȝ in mynde þat riȝte as wee ware, so ware ȝe geten̛ & borne of a fleschly woman̛. And þare fore rayse noȝte ȝour herte to hye bi-cause of ȝour prowesche & ȝour doghty dedis, so þat ȝe forgete ȝour laste ende. For ofte tymes we see þat þe lattere end of a man̛ discordes wit þe firste. It sufficeȝ tiƚƚ a werryoure for to gete þe victorye of his enemys, þofe aƚƚ he schewe noȝte aƚƚe þe malice þat he may. Remembre ȝow of þe wirchipfuƚƚ kyng ȝerses oure progenytour, þat many victoryes gatt & schane in aƚƚe prosperiteez, Be-fore he raysed̛ his hert in pride passande mesure. Aƚƚe þe wirchippe þat he hadd: wonn̛ be-fore, he loste in Ellada, þare-fore remembre ȝow, þat aƚƚ þe wirchipes & þe victoryes þat ȝe hafe geten̛ by þe forluke of godd̛

ye got this victory. To us then who beseech grant your mercy. Yield us our mother, our sons, and wife, and we will render unto you the treasures we have in Aydem and Susa and Batram, the which our fathers hoarded and hid in earthen cellars. And we will give you the kingsbip of the Medes and Persians, that thus ye may have and keep what victory Jove the all-mighty hath granted you.'