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Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Life of Caesar
  • Editor: John D. Cox

  • Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Plutarch
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Life of Caesar

    45

    45XLV.Now the footmen of both battles being come to the sword, the horsemen of the left wing of Pompey did march as fiercely also, spreading out their troops, to compass in the right wing of Caesar's battle. But before they began to give charge, the six ensigns of footmen which Caesar had laid in ambush behind him, they began to run full upon them, not throwing away their darts far off, as they were wont to do, neither striking their enemies on the thighs nor on the legs, but to seek to hit them full in the eyes, and to hurt them in the face, as Caesar had taught them.

    Caesar's strategem.

    For he hoped that these lusty young gentlemen that had not been often in the wars nor were used to see themselves hurt, and the which, being in the prime of their youth and beauty, would be afraid of those hurts, as well for the fear of the present danger to be slain, as also for that their faces should not for ever be deformed. As indeed it came to pass, for they could never abide that they should come so near their faces with the points of their darts, but hung down their heads for fear to be hit with them in their eyes, and turned their backs, covering their face because they should not be hurt. Then, breaking of themselves, they began at length cowardly to fly, and were occasion also of the loss of all the rest of Pompey's army. For they that had broken them ran immediately to set upon the squadron of the footmen behind, and slew them. Then Pompey, seeing his horsemen, from the other wing of his battle, so scattered and dispersed, flying away,

    Caesar overcometh Pompey.

    forgat that he was any more Pompey the Great, which he had been before, but was rather like a man whose wits the gods had taken from him, being afraid and amazed with the slaughter sent from above, and so retired into his tent, speaking never a word, and sat there to see the end of this battle; until at the length all his army being overthrown and put to flight, the enemies came, and got up upon the rampiers and defence of his camp, and fought hand to hand with them that stood to defend the same. Then as a man come to himself again, he spake but this only word: "What, even into our camp?" So in haste, casting off his coat-armor and apparel of a general, he shifted him, and put on such as became his

    Pompey's flight.

    miserable fortune, and so stole out of his camp. Furthermore, what he did after this overthrow, and how he had put himself into the hands of the Egyptians' by whom he was miserably slain, we have set it forth at large in his life.