Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Plutarch
Editor: John D. Cox
Not Peer Reviewed

Life of Caesar


XXXIV.Thus the Consuls themselves, before they had done their common sacrifices accustomed at their going out of the city, fled every man of them. So did likewise the most part of the senators, taking their own things in haste such as came first to hand, as if by stealth they had taken them from another. And there were some of them also that always loved Caesar, whose wits were then so troubled and besides themselves with the fear they had conceived, that they also fled, and followed the stream of this tumult, without manifest cause or necessity. But above all things it was a lamentable sight to see the city itself, that in this fear and trouble was left at all adventure, as a ship tossed in storm of sea, forsaken of her pilots and despairing of her safety. This their departure being thus miserable, yet men esteemed their banishment (for the love they bare unto Pompey) to be their natural country, and reckoned Rome no better than Caesar's camp.

Labienus forsook Caesar, and fled to Pompey.

At that time also Labienus, who was one of Caesar's greatest friends, and had been always used as his lieutenant in the wars of Gaul, and had valiantly fought in his cause, he likewise forsook him then, and fled unto Pompey. But Caesar sent his money and carriage after him, and then went and encamped before the city of Corfinium, the which Domitius kept with thirty cohorts or ensigns. When Domitius saw he was besieged, he straight thought himself but undone; and despairing of his success, he bade a physician, a slave of his, give him poison. The physician gave him a drink, which he drank, thinking to have died. But shortly after, Domitius hearing them report what clemency and wonderful courtesy Caesar used unto them he took, repented him then that he had drunk this drink, and began to lament and bewail his desperate resolution taken to die. The physician did comfort him again, and told him that he had taken a drink only to make him sleep, but not to destroy him.

Domitius escaped from Caesar, and fled to Pompey.

Then Domitius rejoiced, and went straight and yielded himself unto Caesar; who gave him his life, but he notwithstanding stole away immediately and fled unto Pompey. When these news were brought to Rome, they did marvelously rejoice and comfort them that still remained there: and moreover there were of them that had forsaken Rome, which returned thither again.