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contend singly with the enemy. He killed several with his sword, and pushed others over the walls; but the Indians from the adjacent tower galled him with their arrows. Perceiving that only three Macedonians had followed him, he threw himself, therefore, into the citadel ; and Peucestas, Leonatus, and Abreas followed his example. Immediately they were attacked by the enemy: the king was shot in the breast with an arrow, and at length fell senseless upon his shield.
The Macedonians had now burst through the gates of the place, and their first care was to carry off the king. They then prepared to revenge his death, for they had every reason to believe that the wound he had received was mortal. The weapon is said to have been extracted by Perdiccas, one of Alexander's life guards, who, by the command of his master, opened the wound with his sword. The king's immediate dissolution was threatened by the great
effusion of blood that followed. A swooning, however, retarded the circulation of the fluids, stopped the discharge of blood, and saved his life. As soon as his health would permit, the king showed himself to his soldiers, who testified immoderate joy at his recovery. Some of the principal officers of the army, however, ventured to remonstrate with him on the imprudence of his conduct; but Alexander could no longer endure truth.
DEATH OF SOCRATES.
It had been well for humanity, and to the honour of Athens, if the abettors of aristocratical faction had been the only persons, who experienced the unjust rigour of its tribunals. But soon after the re-establishment of the popular form of government happened a very memorable transaction, the trial and condemnation of Socrates, a man guiltless of any vice, and against whom no blame could be imputed, except that the illustrious merit of the philosopher disgraced the crimes and the follies of his contemporaries. His active, useful, and honourable life, was sealed by a death, that appeared bestowed as a favour, not inflicted as a curse; since Socrates had passed his seventieth year, and must have yielded in a little time to the decays of nature. Had he, therefore, died a natural death, his fame would have been less splendid, and certainly more doubtful in the eyes of posterity.
This great and good man had been represented in the ludicrous farce of Aristophanes, entitled “the Clouds," as a person who denied the religion of his country, corrupted the morals of his disciples, and professed the odious arts of sophistry and chicane. Socrates was of too independeni 2 spirit
to court, and too sincere to flatter a licentious populace. The envy, therefore, of the people gradually envenomed the. shafts of the poet; and they r ally began to suppose, that the pretended philosopher and sage was no better than the petulance of Aristophanes had described his morals and character to be. The calumny was greedily received, and its virulence heightened by priests and seditious demagogues, whose temples and designs he had ridiculed and despised ; and by bad poets and vain sophists, whose pretended excellencies the discernment of Socrates had removed, and whose irritable temper the sincerity of the philosopher had greatly offended.
It is astonishing, indeed, that such a powerful combination should have permitted Socrates to live to the age he did ; especially when we consider, that during the democratical form of government, he never disguised his sentiments, but treated with contempt and derision the capricious levity, injustice, and cruelty of the multitude; and that, during the usurpation of the tyrants, he openly arraigned their vices, excited the people against them, and defied the authority and vengeance of the thirty. He was not ambitious, and this may be considered as the cause of his escaping so long. If publick affairs had excited his attention, and he had endeavoured to invest himself with authority, and thereby to withstand the prevalent corruption of the times, it is more than probable, that his formidable opposition would have exposed him to an earlier fate. But, notwithstanding his private station, his disciples considered it as somewhat remarkable, that amidst the litigious turbulence of democracy, and the tyrannical oppressions of the thirty, his superior merit and virtues should have escaped persecution during a life of seventy years.
At the time that his enemies determined to sacrifice this illustrious character, it required no uncommon art, to give to their calumnies an appearance of probability. Socrates discoursed with all descriptions of men, in all places and on all occasions. The opinions he professed were uniform and consistent, and known to all men, He taught no secret doctrines, admitted no private auditors. His lessons were open to all; and that they were gratuitous, the poverty in which he lived, compared with the exorbitant wealth of the sophists, fully demonstrated. His enemies, however, to surmount all these difficulties, trusted to the hatred which the judges and jury had conceived against him, and the perjory of false witnesses, whose testimony might be procured at Athens for a trifling sum of money. They also confided in the artifices and eloquence of Miletus, Anytus, and Lycon, who appeared for the priests and poets, for the politicians and artists, and for the rhetori
cians and sophists. Socrates, according to the laws of Greece, ought, as his cause chiefly respected religion, to have been tried by the tribunal of the Areoparus, a less numerous but more enlightened court of justice. He was, however, immediately carried before the tumultuary assembly, or rather mob of the Heliæa. This was a tribunal consisting of five hundred persons, most of whom were liable, by their education and manner of life, to be seduced by eloquence, intimidated by authority, and corrupted by every species of undue influence.
When Socrates was called on to make his defence, he confessed he bad been much affected by the persuasive eloquence of his adversaries; but that in truth, if he might be allowed the expression, they had not spoken one word to the purpose. His friend Chærephon had, he said, consulted the Delphic oracle, whether any man was wiserthan Socrates; and receive ed for answer, that he was the wisest of men.
That he might justify the reply of the god, whose veracity they all acknowledged, he had conversed with the most eminent and distinguished persons in the republic: he found, that they univer. sally pretended to the knowledge of many things of which they were ignorant; and therefore suspected, thai in this circumstance he excelled them, because he pretended to no kind of knowledge, of which he was not really possessed. What he did know he freely communicated, and strove, to the utmost of his power, to render his fellow-citizens more virtuous and more happy. He believed the god had called him to this employment, and his authority, O Athenians ! I respect stil! more than yours.”
When he had thus spoken, the judges were seized with indignation at the firmness of a man capitally accused, and who, according to the usual custom, they expected would have brought his wife and children to intercede for bim by their tears; or, at least, that he would have made use of a long and elaborate discourse, which his friend Lysias, the orator, had prepared for his defence, and which was alike fitted to detect calumny, and to excite compassion. But Socrates, who always considered it as a much greater evil to commit than to suffer an injustice, declared that he thought it unbecoming to employ any other defence than that of an innocent and useful life. The gods alone were capable of discerning, whether to incur the penalties, with which he was unjustly charged, ought to be considered as an evil or not.
The firmness and magnanimity, with which the philosopher delivered himself, could not, however, alter the resolution of his judges; but such is the ascendancy of virtue over the most worthless of mankind, that he was found guilty by a majority
of three voices only. He was then commanded, according to a principle that betrays the true spirit of democratical tyranpy, to pass sentence of condemnation on himself, and to name the punishment which ought to be inflicted on him. * The punishment I ought to receive," replied Socrates," for having spent an useful and active life in endeavouring to make my fellow-citizens wiser and better, and to inspire the Athenian youth with the love of virtue and temperance, is, that I should be maintained, during the remainder of my life, in the Prytane
This is an honour due to me, rather than to the victors in the Olympic games; since I have always endeavoured to make my countrymen more happy in reality, they only in appearance.” The judges, provoked by an observation which ought to have confounded them, immediately passed sentence, and condemned Socrates to drink the deleterious hemlock сир. .
Though this atrocious act of injustice excited the indignation of the philosopher's friends, he himself felt no other passion, than what pity for the prejudices of his countrymen occasioned. Socrates then addressed that part of the audience, which had been favourable to his cause, and said he considered them as friends, with whom he would willingly converse for a few moments, upon an event that had happened to him previously to his being summoned to death. After the prosecution had commenced, he had observed that an unusual circumstance had attended all his words and actions, and every step he had taken in the course of his trial. Formerly, and on ordinary occasions, he had been restrained from saying or doing any thing improper or hurtful; but during the whole progress of this affair, he had never been withheld, in any one particular, from following the bent of his inclination. He was therefore of opinion, that the fate which the court had awarded him, ought not to be considered as an evil, but as what was meant for his real good. He added;
56 And if death be only a change of existence, must certainly be advantageous to remove from judges like these, to Minos, Rhadamanthus, and other upright men, who, on account of their love of justice and virtue, have been exalted by the divinity to the exercise of this important function. What delight must it not occasion, to live in continual intercourse with the heroes and poets of antiquity. And since no real evil can happen to those, who are the concern and protection of Heaven, it becomes you, my friends, to be of good comfort vith respect to my death. For my own part, I am fully per$uaded, that with me to die is gain; and therefore I am not offended at my judges, for condemning me so unjustly. I make it my particular request, that all of you will so behave towards my sons, when they attain the years of reason and manhood, as I have ever treated you. I entreat you will not cease to blame and accuse them, when you see them prefer wealth, or pleasure, or any other frivolous object, to the inestimable worth of virtue. And if they think highly of their own merit, while, at the same time, O Athenians! it is insignificant and of little value, reproach them for it, as I have done you. If you act according to the tenour of these instructions, you will do justice to me and to my sons. And now I go to die, and you to live; but which is preferable the divinity only knows."
It is no wonder, that the disciples of Socrates should have considered the events of his extraordinary life, and more espe. cially the conclusion of it, as regulated and directed by the interposition of Heaven. His unalterable firmness and amiable virtues were evinced and displayed in every circumstance. It happened that his trial took place immediately after the commencement of an annual festival, in which a vessel, decorated by the high-priest, was sent to Delos, to commemorate, by grateful acknowledgments to Apollo, the triumphant return of Theseus of Crete, and the happy deliverance of Athens from a disgraceful tribute. During the absence of the vessel, it was not lawful to inflict any capital punishment. The friends of Socrates, in the meanwhile, visited him in prison. Their conversation chiefly turned on the subjects that had formerly occupied their attention : and though they did not afford that pleasure, which they usually derived from the company of the philosopher, they did not occasion that gloom which is naturally excited by the presence of a friend under the condemnation of death.
Contrary winds protracted the absence of the vessel thirty days; but when the fatal ship arrived in the harbour of Sunium, and was hourly expected at Piræus, Crito, the most confidential of the disciples of Socrates, carried the first intelligence of it to his master; and ventured to propose a clandestine escape, by means of money that he had collected, and which would, he doubted not, corrupt the fidelity of his keepers. This unmanly proposal, excited by the friendship of Crito, Socrates answered in a vein of pleasantry, which showed the perfect composure of his mind: In what country, my friend, is it possible to elude the shafts of death? Whither shall I flee, to avoid the irrevocable doom passed on all the human race?” Apollodorus, another of his disciples, remarked, “ that what grieved him beyond measure was, that such a man should