Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was provided by Ben R. Schneider, Lawrence University, Wisconsin. It is in the public domain. "Florio's Translation of Montaigne's Essays was first published in 1603. In 'The World's Classics' the first volume was published in 1904, and reprinted in 1910 and 1924." Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 1998 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.
HERE hapned divers rare accidents and remarkable chances in our battell of Dreux, but those who doe not greatly favour the reputation of the Duke of Guise doe boldly aleage that he cannot be excused to have made a stand and temporised with the forces he commanded, whilst the Lord Constable of France, General of the Armie, was engaged and suppressed with the enemies artillerie, and that it had beene better for him to hazard himselfe to charge the enemie flankwise, than by expecting any advantage to have him come behind him, to suffer so reproachfull an overthrow and so shamefull a losse. But omitting what the event thereof witnessed, he that shall without passion debate the matter shall easily (in my conceit) confesse that the ayme and drift, not only of a captaine, but of every particular souldier, ought chiefly to respect a victory in great: and that no particular occurrences, of what consequence soever , or what interest may depend on them, should ever divert him from that point. Philopoemen, in an encounter with Machanidas, having sent before a strong troupe of archers and good marke men to begin the skirmish, and the enemie, after he had put them to rout and disranked them, ammusing himselfe in mainly pursuing them, and following the victory alongst the maine battel where Philopoemen was, although his souldiers were much moved and offended to see their fellows put to the worst, he could not be moved to bouge from his place, nor make head against his enemie to succour his men; but rather, having suffered them to be defeated and cut in peecesbefore his face, began then to charge his enemies in the battalion of their infanterie when he perceived them forsaken of their horsemen. And albeit they were Lacedemonians, forasmuch as he charged them at what time (supposing to have gained the day) they began to disorder themselves, he easily overcame them, which done, he pursued Machanidas. This case is cousin-german unto that of the Duke of Guise. In that sharpe-bloody battell of Agesilaus against Boeotians, which Xenophon (who was there present) saith to have beene the hottest and rudest that ever he had seene, Agesilaus refused the advantage which fortune presented him, to let the battallion of the Bæotians passe, and to charge them behind, what certaine victorie soever he saw likely to follow the same, esteeming that it were rather skill than valour; and to shew his prowesse and matchlesse-haughty courage, chose rather to charge them in the front of their forces. But what followed? He was well beaten and himselfe sore-hurt, and in the end compelled to leave his enterprise and embrace the resolution which in the beginning he had refused, causing his men to open themselves to give passage unto that torrent of the Boeotians who when they were past through, perceiving them to march in disaray, as they who perswaded themselves to be out of all danger, he pursued them and charged them flankwise. All which notwithstanding, he could never put to rout or force them run-away, for they orderly and faire and softly made their retreit, ever showing their face, until such time as they got safely into their holds, and trenches.