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The prose life of Alexander

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The Bishop of the Jews' dream.

after, when the Bishop had made his sacrifice, and was lying in prayers, he fell [to slumbering?] and an Angel appeared unto him and said, 'Be not afraid,' quoth he, 'but such great array [honestly] all the streets of the city, and cast open the gates, and warn all the folk that they array them in white clothing, and thyself & all the priests requests thou solemnly, and tomorrow early went forth of the city against Alexander in procession. For him [by-houey] reign & be lord of all the world. But at the last the wrath of god shall fall upon him.' When the bishop wakened of his sleep, he called to him the jews and told them his revelation, and bade them do all as the Angel had showed him. And they did so. For they arrayed the streets of the city and clad them in white clothing, and the bishop & the priests request them, and both they and all the folk went further of the city to a place where the temple & all the city may be seen. And there they have bade the coming of Alexander. And when Alexander come near this foresaid place, and saw before him such a multitude of folk, clad all in white, and the priests arrayed solemnly in rich vestments, and the bishop also in his pontificals and a mitre on his head, and thereupon a plate of gold, whereon was written the name of great god [YHWH?], he commanded all his men that they should hold them behind him, and abide till he come to them. And he lighted off his horse, and went by him on to the jewes, And knelt down to the earth and worshipped the high name of god, that he saw there written upon the bishop's head. And then all the jews knelt down & saluted Alexander and cried all with a voice: 'live, live,' quoth they, ' great Alexander, live, live the greatest Emperor of the world, live he that shall overcome all men and not be overcome. Prince most glorious and most worthy of all the princes that reign upon earth.' When the kings of Surrey saw this, they had great wonder thereof. And a prince of Alexanders, that [highte] Parmenion, said unto Alexander: ' My lord the Emperor,' quoth he, ' we marvel it greatly that thou, whom all men worship and [lowtey,] worship here the bishop of the Jews.' And Alexander answered, ' I worship not him,' this quoth he, 'But God whose state he presents. For when I was in Macedonia, and unbethought me, on what

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20 Alexander worships Jehovah.

ways I might conquer [Assye], I saw him sleeping in such habit & in such array; and he [lete] as he set not by me, but went boldly further by me. And for I see none in such array but him, I suppose it be he that I saw in my sleep. And therefore I know that through the help of God I shall overcome Darius, the king of Persia, and his great pride [fordo]. And all things that I cast in my heart for to do, it is my full trust that through his help I shall fulfill it, and will bring it to end. And this is because I worshipped him.' And he had said these words, he went into the city with the bishop and the priests and went into the temple that Solomon made. And as the bishop taught him, he offered sacrifice unto God. And the bishop took Alexander in hand a book of the prophecy of Daniel , in which he found written, that a man of Grece should destroy the power of Persia. And Alexander was right glad, supposing that it was himself. And then he gave the bishop & the other priests great gifts & rich & precious, And bade the bishop ask of him what so he would. And the bishop asked that he would give them leave to use the same laws that their fathers used before them, and he granted it. And then the bishop asked that would give the jews that were in Medea & in Babyloyn, leave for to use their laws, & he granted him that & all other things that he would ask.

Alexander then went from Jerusalem & left there Andromac, his Messenger, and himself & his Oste went to other cities that were in the land of Judaea, and at [ilke] a city that he come to, he was worshipfully [ressayued]. In the meantime the Syrians that fled from Alexander, went to Persia, and told the emperor Darius how Alexander had done to them. And Darius spurred them of his stature & of his shape, and they showed him portrayed in a parchment skin the image of Alexander. And also as Darius saw it, he despised Alexander because of his little stature, and belief the great

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Letters of Darius and Alexander.

Letters of Darius and Alexander.

Letters of Darius and Alexander. 43

often wings, or other instruments of flying, for to be lifted up to thee sterness, let not to thine hurt be raised too high in pride for thee victories that thou has gotten. We have well heard tell that thou has done gently, and showed great humanity to our mother, our wife and our children, and therefore I let thee well with that, as long as thou does well to them, thou shall find me none enemy to thee. And if thou do ill to them thou shall have thee enemy of me, and therefore spare them not, but do to them as thee [liste]. For sometime thou shall see and feel the sentence of our ire light upon the high pride.' When Alexander had read this letter he wrote him another again whereof the tenor] was this.

Alexander the son of Phillippe and queen Olympias to Darius king of Persia we write. Pride and vainglory has our gods always hated; and takes vengence of deadly men that takes upon them the name of immortality. But thou, as I well see, ceases not that hitherto for to blaspheme in all that thou may. But of that that thou blames me for the benignities that I showed thy mother, thy wife, and thy children; thou art moved on a [lewd] fantasy. For I let thee well [?] I did it not for to be thanked of thee, nor for to have thy benevolence therefore. But it come of a gentleness of our own heart, founded in virtue. Of the victories also which the foresight of god has sent us, here we nothing enprided. For we know well that our gods always helps us, which thou each a day despises and sets at naught. And this shall be the last letter that I shall write unto thee. Beware if thou will, for I say the [secretly?], I come to thee anon.' This letter gave Alexander to the messengers of Darius and many great gifts therewith. Seyme, he sent another letter to his princes and lords under our subjection in Capadoce, in [laodice?], or elsewhere [duelland?], greeting, and good grace. We charge thou and commands thou straightly that each of thou ordain us in all the haste that thee may [nete-hydes barked], and send them to Alexander, that we and our Knights may [gere?]

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44 Letter of Alexander. Another defat. Porus' letter.

44 Letter of Alexander. Another defat. Porus' letter.

44

Letter of Alexander. Another defeat. Porus' letter.

make us of them clothing, and shoes; and with camels that have at Alexander [gerre] carry them to thee water of Euphrates.' In the meantime a prince of Darius, Nostande by name, wrote to Darius on his way.

To Darius the worshipful great god has servant Nostande loyal service. Me ought not to send such things to our royal majesty, but great need [gers] me do it. Therefore be it known unto our high lordship, that the great prince of ours, and I, have fought with king Alexander, and him is fallen thee victory, and slain he has their two worthy princes, and I killed other folk, and I fled grievously wounded. And many worthy knights of ours have forsaken our lordship and joined him to Alexander oste, the which he has worshipfully, and has given great lordships of ours. And when Darius had read this letter, he sent in haste till Nostand and commanded him for to ordain a great Oste; and manfully withstand the folk of Macedonia. He also sent a letter to Porus king of Ynde, praying to him to help him against Alexander, and Porus wrote again in this manner.

Porus, king of Ynde, unto Darius, king of Persia, greeting. For thou has prayed for us to come to thee in helping of thee against thine enemies, we let thee [wete], that we are ready and always have been, for to come to help you. But at this time we are [leted] to come to thou, because of great sickness that we are stood in, Nevertheless, [secretly?], it is right [heuy] unto us, and grievous, unto us to hear of thee great injury that is done unto thou. And therefore we let thou [wete], that within short time, we shall come for to help thou with ten legions of knights.' But when Rodogorious, Darius mother, heard tell that Darius her son ordained him for to fight again with king Alexander she was right sorry and wrote a letter unto him that contained this sentence.

To king Darius, her most beloved son, Rodogorius, his mother sends greetings and joy. I have understood that he has assembled our men, and much other folk also, for to fight

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Darius' mother. Alexander's vision. 45

Darius' mother. Alexander's vision. 45

Darius' mother. Alexander's vision. 45

[eftsones] with Alexander. But I let thee [wete] it will avail thee nothing. For though he had gathered together all the men in the world dueling, with thee were unable to withstand him. For the foresight of god maintains him, and upholds him. And therefore dear son, it is my counsel, our highness of heart thee left, and fell somewhat from our glory, and be favorable to the greatness of Alexander. For better it is to forego that at he may not hold, and have in [this?] than that thee may hold, that for to covet all and be excluded and forego all.' When Darius read this letter, he was greatly troubled and wept bitterly, come unto his mind, his mother, his wife, and his children.

In the meantime king Alexander removed his army, and drew near the city of Susis, in the which Darius was [?] the same time, so that he might see all the high hills that were around the city. Then Alexander commanded all his men, that each of them should cut down a branch of a tree, and bare them forth with them and drive before them all manner of beast that they might find in the way. And when the Persians saw them from the high hills they [wounded?] them greatly. And Alexander came with his army to the city of Susis and [luged] him near beside the city. And then he called his princes and his other lords and said unto them, 'Let us,' quoth he, 'send a messenger to king Darius and bid him over and come fight with us or else submit him to us'. The next night after, Godd Amon appeared unto Alexander in his sleep bringing him the figure of Mercury and a mantle, and another manner of garment of Macedonia, and said unto him. 'Alexander, son,' quoth he, 'evermore when thou has need, shall I help thee. And therefore let thou send not to Darius that messenger that thou spoke of. For I will that thou thyself clothe thee with my figure and go thither thyself, if all it be perilous for to do, dread thee nothing, for I shall be thy help, so that thou shall have no manner of disease.

On the morning when Alexander rose from sleep, he was greatly comforted by his dream and called to him his princes and told them his whole dream, and they assented all, that he should go to Darius in his proper person. And anon he called unto him all of the princes, the which [hight] Emulus. This

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