Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Plutarch
Pages of Marcus Brutus



Previous | Next
                  

Marcus Brutus   


thoughtful and silent, contrary to his temper and custom; that after
supper he took him earnestly by the hand, and speaking to him, as
his manner was when he wished to show affection, in Greek, said, "Bear
witness for me, Messala, that I am brought into the same necessity
as Pompey the Great was before me, of hazarding the liberty of my
country upon one battle; yet ought we to be of courage, relying on our
good fortune, which it were unfair to mistrust, though we take evil
counsels." These, Messala says, were the last words that Cassius spoke
before he bade him farewell; and that he was invited to sup with him
the next night, being his birthday.
As soon as it was morning, the signal of battle, the scarlet coat,
was set out in Brutus's and Cassius's camps, and they themselves met
in the middle space between their two armies. There Cassius spoke thus
to Brutus: "Be it as we hope, O Brutus, that this day we may overcome,
and all the rest of our time may live a happy life together; but since
the greatest of human concerns are the most uncertain, and since it
may be difficult for us ever to see one another again, if the battle
should go against us, tell me, what is your resolution concerning
flight and death?" Brutus answered, "When I was young, Cassius, and
unskillful in affairs, I was led, I know not how, into uttering a bold
sentence in philosophy, and blamed Cato for killing himself, as
thinking it an irreligious act, and not a valiant one among men, to
try to evade the divine course of things, and not fearlessly to
receive and undergo the evil that shall happen, but run away from
it. But now in my own fortunes I am of another mind; for if Providence
shall not dispose what we now undertake according to our wishes, I
resolve to put no further hopes or warlike preparations to the
proof, but will die contented with my fortune. For I already have
given up my life to my country on the Ides of March; and have lived
since then a second life for her sake, with liberty and honour."
Cassius at these words smiled, and, embracing Brutus, said, "With
these resolutions let us go on upon the enemy; for either we ourselves
shall conquer, or have no cause to fear those that do." After this
they discoursed among their friends about the ordering of the
battle; and Brutus desired of Cassius that he might command the
right wing, though it was thought that this was more fit for
Cassius, in regard both of his age and his experience. Yet even in
this Cassius complied with Brutus, and placed Messala with the
valiantest of all his legions in the same wing, so Brutus
immediately drew out his horse, excellently well equipped, and was not
long in bringing up his foot after them.
Antony's soldiers were casting trenches from the marsh by which they
were encamped across the plain, to cut off Cassius's communications
with the sea. Caesar was to be at hand with his troops to support
them, but he was not able to be present himself, by reason of his
sickness; and his soldiers, not much expecting that the enemy would
come to a set battle, but only make some excursions with their darts
and light arms to disturb the men at work in the trenches, and not
taking notice of the troops drawn up against them ready to give
battle, were amazed when they heard the confused and great outcry that
came from the trenches. In the meanwhile Brutus had sent his
tickets, in which was the word of battle, to the officers; and himself
riding about to all the troops, encouraged the soldiers; but there
were but few of them that understood the word before they engaged; the
most of them, not staying to have it delivered to them, with one
impulse and cry ran upon the enemy. This disorder caused an unevenness
in the line, and the legions got severed and divided one from another;
that of Messala first, and afterwards the other adjoining, went beyond
the left wing of Caesar and having just touched the extremity, without
slaughtering any great number, passing around that wing, fell directly
into Caesar's camp. Caesar himself, as his own memoirs tell us, had
but just before been conveyed away, Marcus Artorius, one of his
friends, having had a dream bidding Caesar be carried out of the camp.
And it was believed that he was slain; for the soldiers had pierced

Previous | Next
Site Search