The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch Being Parts of The "Lives" of Plutarch Edited for Boys and Girls With Introductions

Part 8 out of 8

saw were so great, that they durst not fly nor assist Caesar, nor
so much as speak a word. But those who came prepared for the
business inclosed him on every side, with their naked daggers in
their hands. Which way soever he turned, he met with blows, and
saw their swords leveled at his face and eyes, and was
encompassed, like a wild beast in the toils, on every side. For it
had been agreed that they should each make a thrust at him, and
flesh themselves with his blood; for which reason Brutus also gave
him one stab in the groin. Some say that he fought and resisted
all the rest, shifting his body to avoid the blows, and calling
out for help, but that when he saw Brutus's sword drawn, he
covered his face with his robe and submitted, letting himself
fall, whether it were by chance, or that he was pushed in that
direction by his murderers, at the foot of the pedestal on which
Pompey's statue stood, and which was thus wet with his blood. So
that Pompey himself seemed to have presided, as it were, over the
revenge done upon his adversary, who lay here at his feet, and
breathed out his soul through his multitude of wounds, for they
say he received three and twenty. And the conspirators themselves
were many of them wounded by each other, whilst they all leveled
their blows at the same person.

When Caesar's will was opened, and it was found that he had left a
considerable legacy to each one of the Roman citizens, and when
his body was seen carried through the marketplace all mangled with
wounds, the multitude could no longer contain themselves within
the bounds of tranquility and order, but heaped together a pile of
benches, bars, and tables, upon which they placed the corpse, and
setting fire to it, burnt it on them. Then they took brands from
the pile, and ran some to fire the conspirators, others up and
down the city, to find out the men and tear them to pieces, but
met, however, with none of them, they having taken effectual care
to secure themselves.

Caesar died in his fifty-sixth year, not having survived Pompey
above four years. That empire and power which he had pursued
through the whole course of his life with so much hazard, he did
at last with much difficulty compass, but reaped no other fruits
from it than the empty name and invidious glory. But the great
genius which attended him through his lifetime, even after his
death remained as the avenger of his murder, pursuing through
every sea and land all those who were concerned in it, and
suffering none to escape, but reaching all who in any sort or kind
were either actually engaged in the fact, or by their counsels any
way promoted it.

The most remarkable of mere human coincidences was that which
befell Cassius, who, when he was defeated at Philippi, killed
himself with the same dagger which he had made use of against
Caesar. The most signal preternatural appearances were the great
comet, which shone very bright for seven nights after Caesar's
death, and then disappeared, and the dimness of the sun, whose orb
continued pale and dull for the whole of that year, never showing
its ordinary radiance at its rising, and giving but a feeble heat.
The air consequently was damp and gross, for want of stronger rays
to open and rarefy it. The fruits, for that reason, never properly
ripened, and began to wither and fall off for want of heat, before
they were fully formed.


Back to Full Books