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and Sparta it afforded leisure to seek after wealth by foreign employment in Egypt, whither Agesilaus was sent with some small forces to assist, or indeed, as a mercenary, to serve under, Tachos king of Egypt, in his war upon Syria. Chabrias the Athenian, who had before commanded under Acoris king of Egypt, went now as a Voluntary, with such forces as he could raise by entreaty and offer of good pay, to the same service. These Egyptian kings, descended from Amyrtaeus of Sais, who rebelled against Darius Nothus, havin" retained the country, notwithstanding all intestine dissensions and foreign invasions, during three generations of their own race were so well acquainted with the valour of the Greeks, that by their help (easily procured with gold) they conceived great hope, not only to assure themselves, but to become lords of the provinces adjoining which were held by the Persian. What the issue of this great enterprise might have been, had it not fallen by domestic rebellion it is uncertain. But very likely it is that the rebellion itself had soon come to nothing, if Agesilaus had not proved a false traitor joining with Nectanebus, who rose against his prince, and helping the rebel with that army which the money of Tachos had waged! This falsehood Agesilaus excused, as tending to the good of his own country; though it seems rather that he grudged because the kinotook upon himself the conduct of the army, using his service only as lieutenant, who had made full account of being appointed the general. Howsoever it came to pass, Tachos, being shamefully betrayed by them in whom he had reposed his chief confidence fled unto the Persian; who, upon his submission, gave him gentle entertainment; and Nectanebus (who seems to have been the nephew of Tachos) reigned in his stead. At the same time the citizens of Mendes had set up another king, to whom all, or most of the Egyptians, yielded their obedience. But Agesilaus, fighting with him in places of advantage, prevailed so far, that he left Nectanebus in quiet possession of the kingdom: who, in recompense of his treason to the former king, Tachos, and good service done to himself, rewarded him with two hundred and thirty talents of silver; with which booty sailing homewards, he died by the way. He was a
priuce very temperate and valiant, and a good leader in war; free
from covetousness, and not reproached with any blemish of lust:
which praises are the less admirable in him, for that the discipline
of Sparta was such as did endue every one of the citizens (not carried
away by the violent stream of an ill nature) with all, or the chief, of
these good qualities. He was, nevertheless, very arrogant, perverse,
unjust, and vain-glorious, measuring all things by his own will, and
obstinately prosecuting those courses whose ends were beyond hope.
The expedition of Xenophon had filled him with an opinion that by his
hand the empire of Persia should be overthrown; with which conceit
being transported, and finding his proceedings interrupted by the
Thebans and their allies, he did ever after bear such hatred unto
Thebes as compelled that estate by mere necessity to grow warlike
and able, to the utter dishonour of Sparta, and the irreparable loss
of all her former greatness. The commendations given to him by
Xenophon, his good friend, have caused Plutarch to lay his name in
the balance against Pompey the Great; whose actions (the solemn
gravity of carriage excepted) are very disproportionable. Yet we
may truly say, that as Pompey made great wars under sundry
climates, and in all the provinces of the Roman empire, exceeding in
the multitude of employments all that were before him; so Agesilaus
had at one time or other some quarrel with every town in Greece;
had made a war in Asia, and meddled in the business of the
Egyptians: in which variety he went beyond all his predecessors;
yet not winning any countries, as Pompey did many, but obtaining
large wages, which Pompey never took. Herein also they are very
like: each of them was the last great captain which his nation
brought forth in time of liberty, and each of them ruined the liberty
of his country by his own lordly wilfulness. We may therefore well
say, "Similia magis omnia quam paria"—"The resemblance was
nearer than the equality." Indeed the freedom of Rome was lost
with Pompey, falling into the hands of Caesar, whom he had enforced
to take arms; yet the Roman empire stood, the form of government
only being changed: but the liberty of Greece, or of Sparta itself,
was not forfeited unto the Thebans, whom Agesilaus had compelled to enter into a victorious war; yet the signiory and ancient renown of Sparta was presently lost; and the freedom of all Greece being wounded in this Theban war, and, after much blood lost, ill healed by the peace ensuing, did very soon, upon the death of Agesilaus, give up the ghost, and the lordship of the whole country was seized by Philip king of Macedon, whose actions are now on foot, and more to be regarded than the contemporary passages of things in any other nation.
Johk Milton, who, though best known as one of our very greatest poets, yet is also to be found in the roll of our English prose classics, was born in Bread Street, Cheapside, London, in the year 1608. The records of his life are so familiar to most readers, or at least so accessible to all, that a very brief summary will suffice. He was of good descent, though his father, having been disinherited, was obliged to adopt the profession of a scrivener.
John Milton was educated at St. Paul's School, and at Christ's College, Cambridge. Though he took the usual degrees at the University, he does not seem to have had much liking for the place, and there are reasons for thinking that he came into unpleasant collision with the college authorities. After leaving Cambridge he resided with his father in Buckinghamshire for five years, and devoted himself zealously to classical studies. During that period he wrote his Comus, Lycidas, and A rcades.
In 1638 he went on his travels, and visited France, Italy, and Switzerland. In Italy he was received by scholars and poets with much honour, and made the acquaintance amongst others of the famous Galileo. On his return to England he settled in London, and opened a school, where he tried to put in practice his own peculiar theories of education. He married in 1643, but did not enjoy much happiness in his married life. He interested himself in the great political and theological questions at that time debated, and became an active and vigorous writer against Prelacy, and in favour of Popular Rights.
He was made Latin Secretary to Oliver Cromwell, and continued his contributions to the fierce controversy which the death of Charles had called forth. Meantime he was rapidly losing his eyesight, and the Restoration found him poor, blind, and hastening on to the infirmities of old age. Possibly his misfortunes won for him the forbearance of the dominant party; for, though his Defence was burned by the common hangman, and orders were issued for his prosecution, yet he was never arrested; and shortly after the Restoration he was made safe by the passing of the Act of Oblivion. The remainder of his life was spent in obscurity, blindness, and suffering; but in the midst of these he gave to the world Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. He died at his house in Bunhill-fields on November 10, 1674.
Of the poetry of Milton nothing need be said here. It is in name, if not in subject-matter, familiar as a household word to every reader of English literature. Of his prose writings, however, much less is known by the majority of educated persons. This may arise from the fact that his works of this class are for the most part controversial, and have reference to questions which, if always interesting, are now, however, in a great degree set at rest. Possibly, too, his great fame as a poet has overshadowed his fame as a writer of prose.
He is, however, entitled to a very high place in the ranks of English prbse writers. It must be added that some of his works are in Latin, and that he wrote Latin, if not with absolute Ciceronian purity, yet with great elegance, freedom, and mastery.
Foremost amongst his Latin writings must be mentioned his Defence of the People of England. It is a justification of the execution of Charles I., in answer to a work by Salmasius of Leydeu, entitled A Defence of the King.
Shortly afterwards Milton put forth a Second Defence of the People of England, in consequence of a pamphlet called The Royal Blood Calling to Heaven for Vengeance on the English Parricides; which was published anonymously, but was the work of a Frenchman named Dumoulin, assisted by one More, a Scotchman.
Amongst his earliest English works is his treatise on Reformation in England (published in 1641). In this work he considers the causes that have hindered the progress of reform in ecclesiastical affairs from the time of Henry VIII. These causes, he says, are the retaining of ceremonies, and the confiding of ordination exclusively to diocesan bishops. To bishops he is by no means friendly; and in the same year he followed up his work on Reformation by his Reasons of Church Government urged against Prelacy. But he was not yet done with the subject. A pamphlet against Episcopacy appeared, written by five Presbyterian divines, and called Smectymnuus, from the initial letters of the names of its authors. To this work Hall, Bishop of Norwich, replied; and was answered in his turn by Milton, in his Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence. This brought forth a rejoinder from Hall, or some other advocate of Episcopacy, entitled a Modest Confutation; whereupon Milton closed the controversy by his Apology for Smectymnuus.
Meantime the unhappy relations which subsisted between him and his first wife led him to turn his attention to the subject of divorce. Being resolved on