The Library of History

Page 30

Page 30 Obelisks of Polish'd Marble, a Hundred and Twenty Cubits high, on which were inscrib'd a Description of the large Extent of his Empire, the great value of his Revenue, and the number of the Nations by him conquer'd. He plac'd likewise at Memphis, in the Temple of Vulcan, his and his Wives Statues, each of one intire Stone, Thirty Cubits in height, and those of his Sons, Twenty Cubits high, upon this occasion. After his return from his great Expedition into Egypt, being at Pelusium, his Brother at a Feast having invited him, together with his Wife and Children, plotted against his Life; for being all overcome by Wine, and gone to rest, he caus'd a great quantity of dry Reeds (long before prepar'd for the purpose) to be plac'd round the King's Pavilion in the Night, and set them all on Fire; upon which the Flame suddenly mounted aloft; and little assistance the King had either from his Servants or Life-guard, who were all still overloaden with Wine: Upon which Sesostris with his Hands lift up to Heaven, calling upon the Gods for help for his Wife and Children, rusht through the Flames and escap'd; and so being thus unexpectedly preserv'd, he made Oblations as to other of the Gods (as is before said) so especially to Vulcan, as he by whose Favour he was so remarkably deliver'd.

Although Sesostris was eminent in many great and worthy Actions, yet the most stately and magnificent of all, was that relating to the Princes in his Progresses. For those Kings of the conquer'd Nations, who through his Favour still held their Kingdoms, and such as had receiv'd large Principalities of his free Gift and Donation, came with their Presents and Tributes into Egypt, at the times appointed, whom he receiv'd with all the Marks of Honour and Respect; save that when he went into the Temple or the City, his Custom was to cause the Horses to be unharnest out of his Chariot, and in their Room Four Kings, and other Princes to draw it; hereby thinking to make it evident to all, that there was none comparable to him for Valour, who had conquer'd the most potent and famous Princes in the World. This King seems to have excell'd all others that ever were eminent for Power and Greatness, both as to his Warlike Atchievements, the number of his Gifts and Oblations, and his wonderful Works in Egypt.

After he had reign'd Three and Thirty Years, he fell blind, and wilfully put an end to his own Life; for which he was admir'd not only by Priests, but by all the rest of the Egyptians; for that as he had before manifested the Greatness of his Mind by his Actions, so now his End was agreeable (by a voluntary Death) to the Glory of his Life.

The Fame and Renown of this King continu'd so fresh down to Posterity, that many Ages after, when Egypt was conquer'd by the Persians, and Darius the Father of Xerxes would set up his Statue at Memphis above that of Sesoosis, the Chief Priest in the debating of the matter in the Conclave boldly spoke against it, declaring that Darius had not yet exceeded the noble Acts of Sesoosis. The King was so far from resenting this, that on the contrary he was so pleas'd and taken with this freedom of Speech, that he said he would endeavour (if he liv'd as long as the other did) to be nothing inferiour to him; and wisht them to compare things done proportionable to the time, for that this was the justest examination and trial of Valour. And thus much shall suffice to be said of Sesoosis.