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Antony and Cleopatra Scenes

Scene 1

A plain in Syria.

(Ventidius; Silius; Romans; Officers; Soldiers; the dead body of Pacorus)

Ventidius has beaten the Parthian host, but decides not to pursue them further. (41 lines)

Enter Ventidius as it were in triumph with Silius and other Romans, Officers, and Soldiers, the dead body of Pacorus borne before him.


Now, darting Parthia, art thou struck, and now

Pleas’d Fortune does of Marcus Crassus’ death

Make me revenger. Bear the King’s son’s body

Before our army. Thy Pacorus, Orodes,

Pays this for Marcus Crassus.


Noble Ventidius,

Whilst yet with Parthian blood thy sword is warm,

The fugitive Parthians follow. Spur through Media,

Mesopotamia, and the shelters whither

The routed fly; so thy grand captain, Antony,

Shall set thee on triumphant chariots, and

Put garlands on thy head.


O Silius, Silius,

I have done enough; a lower place, note well,

May make too great an act. For learn this, Silius:

Better to leave undone, than by our deed

Acquire too high a fame when him we serve’s away.

Caesar and Antony have ever won

More in their officer than person. Sossius,

One of my place in Syria, his lieutenant,

For quick accumulation of renown,

Which he achiev’d by th’ minute, lost his favor.

Who does i’ th’ wars more than his captain can

Becomes his captain’s captain; and ambition

(The soldier’s virtue) rather makes choice of loss

Than gain which darkens him.

I could do more to do Antonius good,

But ’twould offend him; and in his offense

Should my performance perish.


Thou hast, Ventidius, that

Without the which a soldier and his sword

Grants scarce distinction. Thou wilt write to Antony?


I’ll humbly signify what in his name,

That magical word of war, we have effected;

How with his banners, and his well-paid ranks,

The ne’er-yet-beaten horse of Parthia

We have jaded out o’ th’ field.


Where is he now?


He purposeth to Athens, whither, with what haste

The weight we must convey with ’s will permit,

We shall appear before him. On, there, pass along!



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