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Marcus Brutus   


speak here those words that provoked me, that I may strike you again
as I did before." Such was the disposition of Cassius.
But Brutus was roused up and pushed on to the undertaking by many
persuasions of his familiar friends, and letters and invitations
from unknown citizens. For under the statue of his ancestor Brutus,
that overthrew the kingly government, they wrote the words, "O that we
had a Brutus now!" and, "O that Brutus were alive!" And Brutus's own
tribunal, on which he sat as praetor, was filled each morning with
writings such as these: "You are asleep, Brutus," and, "You are not
a true Brutus." Now the flatterers of Caesar were the occasion of
all this, who, among other invidious honours which they strove to
fasten upon Caesar, crowned his statues by night with diadems, wishing
to incite the people to salute him king instead of dictator. But quite
the contrary came to pass, as I have more particularly related in
the life of Caesar.
When Cassius went about soliciting friends to engage in this
design against Caesar, all whom he tried readily consented, if
Brutus would be head of it; for their opinion was that the
enterprise wanted not hands or resolution, but the reputation and
authority of a man such as he was, to give as it were the first
religious sanction, and by his presence, if by nothing else, to
justify the undertaking; that without him they should go about this
action with less heart, and should lie under greater suspicions when
they had done it; for if their cause had been just and honourable,
people would be sure that Brutus would not have refused it. Cassius,
having considered these things with himself, went to Brutus and made
him the first visit after their falling out; and after the compliments
of reconciliation had passed, and former kindnesses were renewed
between them, he asked him if he designed to be present on the calends
of March, for it was discoursed, he said, that Caesar's friends
intended then to move that he might be made king. When Brutus
answered, that he would not be there, "But what," says Cassius, "if
they should send for us?" "It will be my business, then," replied
Brutus, "not to hold my peace, but to stand up boldly, and die for the
liberty of my country." To which Cassius with some emotion answered,
"But what Roman will suffer you to die? What, do you not know
yourself, Brutus? Or do you think that those writings that you find
upon your praetor's seat were put there by weavers and shopkeepers,
and not by the first and most powerful men of Rome? From other
praetors, indeed, they expect largesses and shows and gladiators,
but from you they claim, as an hereditary debt, the exurpation of
tyranny; they are all ready to suffer anything on your account, if you
will but show yourself such as they think you are and expect you
should be." Which said, he fell upon Brutus, and embraced him; and
after this, they parted each to try their several friends.
Among the friends of Pompey there was one Caius Ligarius, whom
Caesar had pardoned, though accused for having been in arms against
him. This man, not feeling so thankful for having been forgiven as
he felt oppressed by that power which made him need a pardon, hated
Caesar, and was one of Brutus's most intimate friends. Him Brutus
visited, and finding him sick, "O Ligarius," says he, "what a time you
have found out to be sick in!" At which words Ligarius, raising
himself and leaning on his elbow, took Brutus by the hand, and said,
"But, O Brutus, if you are on any design worthy of yourself, I am
well."
From this time they tried the inclinations of all their
acquaintances that they durst trust, and communicated the secret to
them, and took into the design not only their familiar friends, but as
many as they believed bold and brave and despisers of death. For which
reason they concealed the plot from Cicero, though he was very much
trusted and as well beloved by them all, lest, to his own disposition,
which was naturally timorous, adding now the weariness and caution
of old age, by his weighing, as he would do, every particular, that he
might not make one step without the greatest security, he should blunt

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