Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Life of Caesar


LXIX.Caesar died at six and fifty years of age, and Pompey also lived not passing four years more than he. So he reaped no other fruit of all his reign and dominion, which he had so vehemently desired all his life and pursued with such extreme danger, but a vain name only and a superficial glory, that procured him the envy and hatred of his country.

The revenge of Caesar's death.

But his great prosperity and good fortune that favored him all his lifetime, did continue afterwards in the revenge of his death, pursuing the murtherers both by sea and land, till they had not left a man more to be executed, of all them that were actors or counsellers in the conspiracy of his death.

Cassius being overthrown at the battle of Philippes slew himself with the selfsame sword, wherewith he struck Caesar.

Furthermore, of all the chances that happen unto men upon the earth, that which came to Cassius above all other, is most to be wondered at: for he, being overcome in battle at the journey of Philippes, slew himself with the same sword with the which he strake Caesar.

Wonders seen in the elements after Caesar's death.

Again, of signs in the element, the great comet, which seven nights together was seen very bright after Caesar's death, the eighth night after was never seen more. Also the brightness of the sun was darkened, the which all that year through rose very pale and shined not out, whereby it gave but small heat: therefore the air being very cloudy and dark, by the weakness of the heat that could not come forth, did cause the earth to bring forth but raw and unripe fruit, which rotted before it could ripe. But above all, the ghost that appeared unto Brutus showed plainly, that the gods were offended with the murther of Caesar.

Brutus' vision.

The vision was thus: Brutus being ready to pass over his army from the city of Abydos to the other coast lying directly against it, slept every night (as his manner was) in his tent; and being yet awake, thinking of his affairs (for by report he was as careful a captain and lived with as little sleep as ever man did) he thought he heard a noise at his tent-door, and looking towards the light of the lamp that waxed very dim,

A spirit appeared unto Brutus.

he saw a horrible vision of a man, of a wonderful greatness and dreadful look, which at the first made him marvelously afraid. But when he saw that it did him no hurt, but stood by his bed-side and said nothing; at length he asked him what he was. The image answered him: "I am thy ill angel, Brutus, and thou shalt see me by the city of Philippes." Then Brutus replied again, and said, "Well, I shall see thee then." Therewithal the spirit presently vanished from him. After that time Brutus, being in battle near unto the city of Philippes against Antonius and Octavius Caesar, at the first battle he wan the victory, and overthrowing all them that withstood him, he drave them into young Caesar's camp, which he took.

The second appearing of the spirit unto Brutus.

The second battle being at hand, this spirit appeared again unto him, but spake never a word. Thereupon Brutus, knowing that he should die, did put himself to all hazard in battle, but yet fighting could not be slain. So seeing his men put to flight and overthrown, he ran unto a little rock not far off, and there setting his sword's point to his breast, fell upon it and slew himself; but yet, as it is reported, with the help of his friend that despatched him.