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each roll as he received it to the attendants about him, he came very near, and said, “ This you alone should read, Cæsar, and read it soon; for it is about weighty matters which concern you.” Accordingly Cæsar received the roll, but he was prevented from reading it by the number of people who came in his way, though he made several attempts, and he entered the Senate holding that roll in his hand, and retaining that alone among all that had been presented to him. Some say that it was another person who gave him this roll, and that Artemidorus did not even approach him, but was kept from him all the way by the pressure of the crowd.
Now these things perchance may be brought about by mere spontaneity; but the spot that was the scene of that murder and struggle, wherein the Senate was then assembled, which contained the statue of Pompeius and was a dedication by Pompeius and one of the orna. ments that he added to his theatre, completely proved that it was the work of some dæmon to guide and call the execution of the deed to that place. It is said also that Cassius looked towards the statue of Pompeius before the deed was begun and silently invoked it, though he was not averse to the philosophy of Epicurus; but the critical moment for the bold attempt which was now come probably produced in him enthusiasm and feeling in place of his former principles. Now Antonius, who was faithful to Cæsar and a robust man, was kept on the outside by Brutus Albinus, who purposely engaged him in a long conversation. When Cæsar entered, the Senate rose to do him honour, and some of the party of Brutus stood around his chair at the back, and others presented themselves before him, as if their purpose was to support the prayer of Tillius Cimber on behalf of his exiled brother, and they all joined in entreaty, following Cæsar as far as his seat. When he had taken his seat and was rejecting their entreaties, and as they urged them still more strongly, began to show displeasure towards them individually, Tillius taking hold of his toga with both his hands pulled it downwards from the neck, which was the signal for the attack. Casca was the first to strike him on the neck with his sword a blow neither mortal nor severe, for as was natural at the beginning of so bold a deed he was confused, and Cæsar turning round seized the dagger and held it fast. And it happened that at the same moment he who was struck cried out in the Roman language, “ You villain Casca, what are you doing?" and he who had given the blow
cried out to his brother in Greek, “Brother, help.” Such being the disting beginning, those who were not privy to the conspiracy were prevented by consternation and horror at what was going on either from flying slide or going to aid, and they did not even venture to utter a word. And the now each of the conspirators bared his sword, and Cæsar being du hemmed in all round, in whatever direction he turned meeting blows and swords aimed against his eyes and face, driven about like a wild beast was caught in the hands of his enemies; for it was arranged B that all of them should take a part in and taste of the deed of blood. Accordingly Brutus also gave him one blow in the groin. It is said by some authorities, that he defended himself against the rest, moving about his body hither and thither and calling out, till he saw that Brutus had drawn his sword, when he pulled his toga over his face and offered no further resistance, having been driven either by chance or by the conspirators to the base on which the statue of Pompeius stood. And the base was drenched with blood, as if Pompeiusi was directing the vengeance upon his enemy who was stretched beneath his feet and writhing under his many wounds; for he is said to have received three and twenty wounds. Many of the conspirators were wounded by one another, while they were aiming so many blows against one body.
After Cæsar was killed, though Brutus came forward as if he was going to say something about the deed, the Senators, without waiting to listen, rushed through the door, and making their escape filled the people with confusion and indescribable alarm, so that some closed their houses, and others left their tables and places of business, and while some ran to the place to see what had happened, others who had seen it ran away. But Antonius and Lepidus, who were the chief friends of Cæsar, stole away and fled for refuge to the houses of other persons. The partisans of Brutus, just as they were, warm from the slaughter, and showing their bare swords, all in a body advanced from the Senate-house to the Capitol, not like men who were flying, but exulting and confident, calling the people to liberty and joined by the nobles who met them. Some even went up to the Capitol with them and mingled with them as if they had participated in the deed, and claimed the credit of it, among whom were Caius Octavius and Lentulus Spinther. But they afterwards paid the penalty of their vanity, for they were put to death by Antonius and the young Cæsar, without
having enjoyed even the reputation of that for which they lost their lives, for nobody believed that they had a share in the deed. For neither did those who put them to death, punish them for what they did, but for what they wished to do. On the next day Brutus came down and addressed the people, who listened without expressing disapprobation or approbation of what had been done, but they indicated by their deep silence that they pitied Cæsar and respected Brutus. The Senate, with a view of making an amnesty and conciliating all parties, decreed that Cæsar should be honoured as a god, and that not the smallest thing should be disturbed which he had settled while he was in power; and they distributed among the partisans of Brutus provinces and suitable honours, so that all people supposed that affairs were quieted and had been settled in the best way.
But when the will of Cæsar was opened, and it was discovered that he had given to every Roman a handsome present, and they saw the body, as it was carried through the Forum, disfigured with wounds, the multitude no longer kept within the bounds of propriety and order, but heaping about the corpse benches, lattices and tables, taken from the Forum, they set fire to it on the spot and burnt it; then taking the flaming pieces of wood they ran to the houses of the conspirators to fire them, and others ran about the city in all directions seeking for the men to seize and tear them in pieces. But none of the conspirators came in their way, and they were all well protected. One Cinna, however, a friend of Cæsar, happened, as it is said, to have had a strange dream the night before; for he dreamed that he was invited by Cæsar to sup with him, and when he excused himself, he was dragged along by Cæsar by the hand, against his will and making resistance the while. Now when he heard that the body of Cæsar was burning in the Forum, he got up and went there out of respect, though he was somewhat alarmed at his dream and had a fever on him. One of the multitude who saw Cinna told his name to another who was inquiring of him, and he again told it to a third, and immediately it spread through the crowd, that this man was one of those who had killed Cæsar; and indeed there was one of the conspirators who was named Cinna: and taking this man to be him the people forthwith rushed upon him and tore him in pieces on the spot. It was principally through alarm at this that the partisans of Brutus and Cassius after a few days left the city.
50.-The Strange Contrarieties Discoverable in Human Nature,
PASCAL. [BLAISE PASCAL was characterized by Bayle as “one of the sublimest spirits in the world.” He was born in 1623 ; he died in 1662. His genius led him to the strictest inquiries of human reason ; his piety compelled him to the most complete submission of his reasoning faculty to the truths of revelation. Up to his twenty-fifth year he devoted himself to the pursuits of science; thenceforward, to the time of his early death, his mind was dedicated to religious contemplation. His
Pensées' furnish a monument of the elevation and purity of his devotional feeling; his · Lettres Provençales,' in which he assailed the morality of the Jesuits, with a power of logic and of wit which have never been surpassed, show how completely his religion could be separated from the enthusiasm of his temperament, and the ascetic practices of his life. It has been said of him that he knew exactly how to distinguish between the rights of faith and of reason. The passage which we select from his ‘Pensées' is thus noticed by Dr. Arnold: • The necessity'of faith, arising from the absurdity of scepticism on the one hand, and of dogmatism on the other, is shown with great power and eloquence in the first article of the second part of Pascal's . Pensées,' a book of which there is an English translation by no means difficult to meet with.”
Nothing can be more astonishing in the nature of man than the contrarieties which we there observe, with regard to all things. He is made for the knowledge of truth : this is what he most ardently desires, and most eagerly pursues; yet when he endeavours to lay hold on it, he is so dazzled and confounded as never to be secure of actual possession. Hence the two sects of the Pyrrhonians and the dogmatists took their rise ; of which the one would utterly deprive men of all truth, the other would infallibly insure their inquiries after it : but each with reasons so improbable, as only to increase our coufusion and perplexity, while we are guided by no other lights than those which we find in our own bosom.
The principal arguments of the Pyrrhonians, or sceptics, are as follow :-If we accept faith and revelation, we can have no other certainty to the truth of principles, than that we naturally feel and perceive them within ourselves. But now this inward perception is no convictive evidence of their truth; because, since without faith we have no assurance whether we were made by a good God, or by some evil