THE THIRTEENTH NOUELL.
The oration of the Scythian Ambassadours to Alexander the great, reprouing his ambicion, and desire of Empire.
Tvllie in the firste booke of his Offices, saieth, that very miserable, is ambicion and desire of honour: and that mostemen, whiche be giuen to cupiditie of gouernement, honor and glorie, bee forgetfull of Iustice. The truthe of whiche graue wordes, vttred by a Prince of eloquence, the rude and barbarous Ambassadours of Scythia, in plaine and homelie talke, boldly did pronounce to king Alexander (surnamed Magnus) when hee was about to inuade their countrie. For when he had within three dayes finished twelue thoufand boates, to transporte his armie ouer the famous ryuer of Tanais, (whiche deuideth Afia from Europa) against the poore Scythians, twenty Ambassadours of the Scythians came to Alexanders campe to speake with hym, to proue if they coulde by woordes withdrawe his entended purpose: Before whome when they were placed, the eldest of them spake these wordes.
"If the Goddes had giuen thee a bodie according to the immoderate desyre of thy mynde, the whole worlde coulde not be able to holde thee. With one of thy handes thou wouldest touche the Oriente, and with thy other hande the Occidente. And when thou haste gotten that, thou wylt desyre to knowe, where the brightnesse of the Diuine Maiestie is placed. Thus thou couetest after the thing, thou art not able to receyue. Out of Europa thou marchest into Asia, and out of Asia thou passest into Europa. Afterwardes, if thou doest vanquishe all mankynde, thou must make warre with woodes and Snowes, with Ryuers and wylde beastes. What? doest thou not knowe, that great trees growe long, and yet be rooted out of the grounde in a moment? He is a foole that looketh after the fruite, and doeth not measure the height of the tree wheron it groweth. Take hede left whyle thou doest contende to clymme to the toppe, thou fallest downe with the bowes whiche thou doest imbrace. The lion also sometyme is made the foode of the smalest byrdes: and rust consumeth iron. There is