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Marcus Brutus   


the edge of their forwardness and resolution in a business which
required all the despatch imaginable. As indeed there were also two
others that were companions of Brutus, Statilius the Epicurean, and
Favonius the admirer of Cato, whom he left out for this reason: as
he was conversing one day with them, trying them at a distance, and
proposing some such question to be disputed of as among
philosophers, to see what opinion they were of, Favonius declared
his judgment to be that a civil war was worse than the most illegal
monarchy; and Statilius held, that to bring himself into troubles
and danger upon the account of evil or foolish men did not become a
man that had any wisdom or discretion. But Labeo, who was present,
contradicted them both and Brutus, as if it had been an intricate
dispute, and difficult to be decided, held his peace for that time,
but afterwards discovered the whole design to Labeo, who readily
undertook it. The next thing that was thought convenient was to gain
the other Brutus surnamed Albinus, a man of himself of no great
bravery or courage, but considerable for the number of gladiators that
he was maintaining for a public show, and the great confidence that
Caesar put in him. When Cassius and Labeo spoke with him concerning
the matter, he gave them no answer; but, seeking an interview with
Brutus himself alone, and finding that he was their captain, he
readily consented to partake in the action. And among the others,
also, the most and best were gained by the name of Brutus. And, though
they neither gave nor took any oath of secrecy, nor used any other
sacred rite to assure their fidelity to each other, yet all kept their
design so close, were so wary, and held it so silently among
themselves that, though by prophecies and apparitions and signs in the
sacrifices the gods gave warning of it, yet could it not be believed.
Now Brutus, feeling that the noblest spirits of Rome for virtue
birth, or courage were depending upon him, and surveying with
himself all the circumstances of the dangers they were to encounter,
strove indeed, as much as possible, when abroad, to keep his
uneasiness of mind to himself, and to compose his thoughts; but at
home, and especially at night, he was not the same man, but
sometimes against his will his working care would make him start out
of his sleep, and other times he was taken up with further
reflection and consideration of his difficulties, so that his wife
that lay with him could not choose but take notice that he was full of
unusual trouble, and had in agitation some dangerous and perplexing
question. Porcia, as was said before, was the daughter of Cato, and
Brutus, her cousin-german, had married her very young, though not a
maid, but after the death of her former husband, by whom she had one
son that was named Bibulus; and there is a little book, called Memoirs
of Brutus, written by him, yet extant. This Porcia, being addicted
to philosophy, a great lover of her husband, and full of an
understanding courage, resolved not to inquire into Brutus's secrets
before she had made this trial of herself. She turned all her
attendants out of her chamber, and taking a little knife, such as they
use to cut nails with, she gave herself a deep gash in the thigh; upon
which followed a great flow of blood, and soon after, violent pains
and a shivering fever, occasioned by the wound. Now when Brutus was
extremely anxious and afflicted for her, she, in the height of all her
pain, spoke thus to him: "I, Brutus, being the daughter of Cato, was
given to you in marriage, not like a concubine, to partake only in the
common intercourse of bed and board, but to bear a part in all your
good and all your evil fortunes; and for your part, as regards your
care for me, I find no reason to complain; but from me, what
evidence of my love, what satisfaction can you receive, if I may not
share with you in bearing your hidden griefs, nor to be admitted to
any of your counsels that require secrecy and trust? I know very
well that women seem to be of too weak a nature to be trusted with
secrets; but certainly, Brutus, a virtuous birth and education, and
the company of the good and honourable, are of some force to the
forming our manners; and I can boast that I am the daughter of Cato,

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