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.
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!