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PYRRHUS AT THE COURT OF GLAUTIAS.
Few princes have had so precarious an existence as Pyrrhus, King of Epirus. The Molossians, having revolted against Æacides his father, were desirous of destroying the whole of the royal family-Pyrrhus was then in his cradle. Some faithful domestics, however, contrived to conceal him from his murderers, and fled with him to the Megarians; but, upon the road, they very narrowly escaped being overtaken by their pursuers.
« At length,” says Plutarch, “ having eluded their vigilance, they arrived at the palace of Glautias, King of Sclavonia, whom they found seated, with his wife, and placed the child before him. The King remained, for some time, silent, teyolving in his mind in what manner he should act, since he dreaded Cassander, who was the mortal enemy of the Eacideans, In the mean time, Pyrrhus, crawling on his hands and knees, look hold of the King's robe, and raised himself by it before him. This, at first, excited the prince's attention ; afterwards, an emotion of pity :-he appearing in the light of a supplicant, throwing himself freely upon his protection.” Some say it was not to Glautias that he addressed himself, but to the domestic gods, whom, raising himself beside them, he embraced. Glautias conceiving this adventure to be by divine command, committed the child into the hands of his wife, and ordered that he should be brought up with his own children,
A little time after, his enemies sent to demand him of the King, Cassander having offered two hundred talents for his surrender, but this Glautias refused; and as soon as he had attained his twelfth year, he sent him with an army into Epirus, where he remained secure.
Poussin, in one of his landscapes, admirably represented the flight of Pyrrhus to the Megarians; and two modern artists, of great celebrity-M. Vincent, professor of the Academy of Painting, at Paris; and Mr. West, President of the Royal Academy-have each depictured the moment in which Pyrrhus implores the protection of Glautias. These two compositions possess very signal merit, and are remarkable for the beauty of their expressions, the happy disposition of the drapery, for freedom of execution, and strength of colouring.
The picture of Pyrrhus, one of the first pieces of M. Vincent, the figures of which are of the natural size, was exhibited at the Louvre a little time before the revolution, and was wrought in tapestry by command of Louis the Sixteenth.