Open Source Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act III, Scene 1

A plain in Syria.


[Enter VENTIDIUS as it were in triumph, with SILIUS,] [p]and other Romans, Officers, and Soldiers; the dead [p]body of PACORUS borne before him]

  • Ventidius. Now, darting Parthia, art thou struck; and now
    Pleased fortune does of Marcus Crassus' death
    Make me revenger. Bear the king's son's body 1550
    Before our army. Thy Pacorus, Orodes,
    Pays this for Marcus Crassus.
  • Silius. Noble Ventidius,
    Whilst yet with Parthian blood thy sword is warm,
    The fugitive Parthians follow; spur through Media, 1555
    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.
  • Ventidius. O Silius, Silius, 1560
    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 1565
    More in their officer than person: Sossius,
    One of my place in Syria, his lieutenant,
    For quick accumulation of renown,
    Which he achieved by the minute, lost his favour.
    Who does i' the wars more than his captain can 1570
    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 offence 1575
    Should my performance perish.
  • Silius. Thou hast, Ventidius,
    Without the which a soldier, and his sword,
    Grants scarce distinction. Thou wilt write to Antony! 1580
  • Ventidius. 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' the field. 1585
  • Silius. Where is he now?
  • Ventidius. 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!