Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ed Adrastus's heart against the most wholesome coun fels. By not following them, he daily triumphed over his enemies ; for haughtiness, breach of faith and violence continually made him victorious. The evils with which Polydamas bad so long threatened him , did not happen. Adrastus laughed at an apprehensive wisdom , which was perpetually foreseeing inconveniencies. Polydamas became insupportable to him ; he was removed from all his posts, and left to languish in folitude and poverty.

Polydamas was a first greatly dejected at this ditgrace; bur it gave him what he wanted, by showing him the vanity of exalted stations. He became wise at his own expence ; he rejoiced that he had been unfortunate; he learned by degrees to suffer , to live upon a licile , calmly to nourish his' foul with the truth, to cultivate secret virtues, which are of much greater worth than the glaring; in fine, to live without mankind. He dwelc in a defert a the foot of mount Garganus , where an balf-arched rock served him for a house, a brook which fell from a moun. tain, Naked his chirst, and fome trees presented him their fruits. He had two slaves, who rilled a little field , with whom he himself toiled with his own hands. The earth liberally rewarded him for his pains, and fuffered him to want for nothing; he had not only fruits and pulse in abundance, but all foris of fragrant flowers also. There he deplored the mifery of nations, which the mad ambition of a prince hurries on to their ruin. There he daily expected that the righteous Gods, notwithstanding their forbearance , would crush the impious Adraftus. The more his prosperity increased, the nearer he ihought he faw his inevitable fall; for imprudent measures attended with success, and power scrued up to the highest pitch of absolute authority, are the forerunners of the downfall of kings and kingdoms. When he heard of Adrastus's defeat and death, he discovered no joy that he had foreseen it, nor that he was rid of the cyrant; he only grieved lest he should see the Daunians in servitude.

This

ou

Voilà l'homme que Télémaque proposa pour le faire régner. Il y avoir déjà quelque temps qu'il connoisloic son courage & fa veriu ; car Télémaque , selon les conseils de Mentor ne cessoit de s'informer partout des qualités bonnes & mauvaises de toutes les personnes qui étoient dans quelque emploi considérable , non-seulement dans les nations alliées qui fervoient en cette guerre, mais encore chez les ennemis. Son principal soin étoit de découvrir & d'examiner par-tout les hommes qui avoient quelque talent, unc vertu particuliere.

Les princes alliés eurent d'abord quelque répue gnance à mercre Polydamas dans la royauté. Nous avons éprouvé, disoient-ils, combien un roi des Dauniens , quand il aime la guerre, & qu'il fait la faire, eft redoutable à ses voisins. Polydamas est un grand capitaine , & il peut nous jetrer dans de grands périls. Mais Télémaque leur répondit : Polydamas , il est vrai , fait la guerre, mais il aime la paix ; & voilà les deux choses qu'il faut souhaiter. Un homme qui connoît les malheurs, les dangers, les difficultés de la

guerre , est bien plus capable de l'éviter, qu'un autre qui n'en a aucune expérience. Il a appris à goû. ter le bonheur d'une vie tranquille ; il a condamné les entreprises d'Adraste ; il en a prévu les suites funestes. Un prince foible & ignorant est plus à craindre pour vous, qu'un homme qui connoîtra , & qui décidera tout par lui-même. Le prince foible , ignorant & sans expérience, ne verra que par les yeux d'un fa-. vori pallionné, ou d'un ministre flacceur , inquiet & ambitieux. Ainsi ce prince aveugle s'engagera à la guerre, fars la vouloir faire ; vous ne pourrez jamais vous assurer de lui, car il pe pourra jamais être für de lui - même ; 'il vous manquera de parole ; il vous réduira bientôr à certe extrémité, qu'il faudra , ou que vous le faffiez périr, ou qu'il vous accable. N'est-il pas plus utile', plus sûr , & en même temps plus juste & plus noble , de répondre fidélement à la confiance des Dauniens , & de leur donner un roi digne de commander ? Toute l'assemblée fut persuadée par ces discours.

On

was

the

This was the Man whom Telemachus proposed to be advanced to the throne. He had for some cime been acquainced with his courage and virtue ; for Telemachus according to Mentor's advice every where continually informing himself of the good and bad qualities of all persons who were in any considerable post , not only among the confederate nations who served in this war , buc

among enemy

also. His principal care in every place was to find out and Gift the men who had any partis cular talent or virtue.

The confederate princes were at first a little unwilling to place Polydamas on the throne. We have experienced, said they, how formidable a king of the Daunians who understands and delights in war, is to his neighbours. Polydamas is a great commander , and may bring us into great dangers. But Telemachus replied, Polydamas indeed understands war, but he loves peace; and these are the two very things which we ought to wish for. A man who knows the calamities, dangers and difficulties of war, is much better qualified to avoid it than one who has no experience of them. Polydamas has learned to relish the blessings of a quiet life; he condemned the enterprises of Adrastus, and foresaw their fatal consequences. A weak and ignorant prince is more to be dreaded by you, than a man who will enquire into and determine every ching himself. A weak, ignorant and inexperienced prince will see only with the eyes of a passionate favourite, or of a flattering , turbulent and ambitious minister. He will therefore blindly engage himself in war contrary to his inclinations; you will never be sure of him for he will never have it in his power to be sure of himself; he will break his word with you, and will quickly reduce you to such extremities, that you must destroy him, or he you. Is it not more advantageous, more safe, and at the same time more just and noble to make a faithful return to the confidence of the Daunians and to give them a king worthy of commanding?

This speech convincing the whole assembly, Poly

[ocr errors]

damas

On alla proposer Polydamas aux Dauniens, qui atcen. doient une réponse avec impacience. Quand ils entendirent le nom de Polydamas ils répondirent : Nous connoissons bien maintenant que les princes alliés veulent agir de bonne foi avec nous , & faire une paix éternelle , puisqu'ils nous veulent donner pour roi un homme si vertueux & fi capable de nous gouverner. Si on nous eût proposé un homme lâche, efféminé & mal instruit nous aurions cru qu'on ne cherchoir qu'à nous abatere , & qu'à corrompre la forme de notre gouvernement; nous aurions confervé en secret un vif ressentiment d'une conduice si dure & fi arcificieuse ; mais le choix dé Polydamas nous montre une véritable candeur. Les alliés, fans doute , n'attendent rien de nous que de juste & de noble, puisqu'ils nous accordent un roi qui est incapable de rien faire contre la liberté & la gloire de notre nacion. Ausfi pouvons-nous protester, à la face des justes Dieux, que les fleuves remonteront vers leurs sources, avant que nous cessions d'aimer des rois fi bienfaisans. Puissent nos derniers neveux fe ressouvenir du bienfait que nous recevons aujourd'hui , & renouveller, de génération en génération, la paix de l'âge d'or dans toute la côte de l'Hefpérie !

Télémaque leur proposa ensuite de donner à Dios mede les campagnes d'Arpi , pour y fonder une cofonie. Ce nouveau peuple, leur disoit-il, vous devra fon établissement dans un pays que vous n'occupez point. Souvenez-vous que tous les hommes doivent s'entr'aimer ; que la terre est trop vaste pour eux ; qu'il faut bien avoir des voisins & qu'il vaut mieux en avoir qui vous soient obligés de leur établissement. Soyez touchés du malheur d'un roi qui ne peut retourner dans fon pays. Polydamas & lui écane unis ensemble par les liens de la justice & de la vertu, qui font les seuls durables, vous entretiendront dans une paix profonde , & vous rendront redoutables à tous les peuples voisins qui penseroient à s'agrandir. Vous voyez į ô Daunietis, que nous avouis donné à votre terre un roi capable d'en élever la gloire jusqu'au ciel, Donner aufli, puisque nous vous le demandons, une

certo

damas was proposed to the Daunians, who were impatiently waiting for an answer. When they heard the name of Polydamas, they replied, we now plainly perceive that the confederate princes design to deal sincerely and to make an eternal peace with us, since they give us for our king a man so virtuous and fo capable of governing, Had they proposed to us a cowardly , an effeminate and ignorant person, we should have thought that they only intended to depress us and to change the form of our government, and we should secretly have retained a lively resentment of fo cruel and artful a conduct; but the choice of Polydamas is a proof of their real candour. The allies without doubt expect nothing from us but what is just and noble, since they give us a king who is in capable of doing any thing contrary to the liberty and glory of our country. We accordingly protest in the light of the righteous Gods, that rivers shall uproll to their sources, before we cease to love sucha bem neficent princes. May our latest posterity be mindful of the benefit which we this day receive , new from generation to generation the peace of the golden age through the whole coat of Hefperia!

Telemachus then proposed to the Daunians the gi. ving the fields of Arpi to Diomed, to settle a colony therc. This new people , said he , will be indebted to you for their establishment in a country which you do not cultivate. Remember that all men ought to love each other ; that the earth is too large for them ; that you must have neighbours, and that it is best to have such as may be obliged to you for their sertlemenc. Pity the misfortunes of a prince who cannot return to his own country. Polydamas and he, being united together in the bands of justice and virtue which alone are lasting, will maintain you in a profound peace , and render you formidable to all the neighbouring nations that inay think of aggrandizing themselves. You see, ye Daunians, thac ven your nation a king capable of raising its glory to she heavens ; do you therefore on your part give, at

and re

we have

« AnteriorContinuar »