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Marcus Brutus   


camp; but when after a long time he did not return, Brutus said, "If
Statyllius be alive, he will come back." But it happened that in his
return he fell into the enemy's hands, and was slain.
The night now being far spent, Brutus, as he was sitting, leaned his
head towards his servant, Clitus, and spoke to him; he answered him
not, but fell a weeping. After that he drew aside his armour-bearer,
Dardanus, and had some discourse with him in private. At last,
speaking to Volumnius in Greek, he reminded him of their common
studies and former discipline and begged that he would take hold of
his sword with him, and help him to thrust it through him. Volumnius
put away his request, and several others did the like; and some one
saying, that there was no staying there, but they needs must fly,
Brutus, rising up, said, "Yes, indeed, we must fly, but not with our
feet, but with our hands." Then giving each of them his right hand,
with a countenance full of pleasure, he said, that he found an
infinite satisfaction in this, that none of his friends had been false
to him; that as for fortune, he was angry with that only for his
country's sake; as for himself, he thought himself much more happy
than they who had overcome, not only as he had been a little time ago,
but even now in his present condition; since he was leaving behind him
such a reputation of his virtue as none of the conquerors with all
their arms and riches should ever be able to acquire, no more than
they could hinder posterity from believing and saying, that being
unjust and wicked men, they had destroyed the just and the good, and
usurped a power to which they had no right. After this, having
exhorted and entreated all about him to provide for their own
safety, he withdrew from them with two or three only of his peculiar
friends; Strato was one of these, with whom he had contracted an
acquaintance when they studied rhetoric together. Him he placed next
to himself, and, taking hold of the hilt of his sword and directing it
with both his hands, fell upon it, and killed himself. But others say,
that not he himself, but Strato, at the earnest entreaty of Brutus,
turning aside his head, held the sword, upon which he violently
throwing himself, it pierced his breast, and he immediately died. This
same Strato, Messala, a friend of Brutus, being after reconciled to
Caesar, brought to him once at his leisure, and with tears in his eyes
said, "This, O Caesar, is the man that did the last friendly office to
my beloved Brutus." Upon which Caesar received him kindly; and had
good use of him in his labours and his battles at Actium, being one of
the Greeks that proved their bravery in his service. It is reported of
Messala himself, that, when Caesar once gave him this commendation,
that though he was his fiercest enemy at Philippi in the cause of
Brutus, yet he had shown himself his most entire friend in the fight
of Actium, he answered, "You have always found me, Caesar, on the best
and justest side."
Brutus's dead body was found by Antony, who commanded the richest
purple mantle that he had to be thrown over it, and afterwards the
mantle being stolen, he found the thief, and had him put to death.
He sent the ashes of Brutus to his mother Servilia. As for Porcia
his wife, Nicolaus the philosopher and Valerius Maximus write, that,
being desirous to die, but being hindered by her friends, who
continually watched her, she snatched some burning charcoal out of the
fire, and, shutting it close in her mouth, stifled herself, and
died. Though there is a letter current from Brutus to his friends,
in which he laments the death of Porcia, and accuses them for
neglecting her so that she desired to die rather than languish with
her disease. So that it seems Nicolaus was mistaken in the time; for
this epistle (if it indeed is authentic and truly Brutus's) gives us
to understand the malady and love of Porcia, and the way in which
her death occurred.

[End]

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