ACT III SCENE I

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Antony and Cleopatra

 

ACT III SCENE I A plain in Syria.
[ Enter VENTIDIUS as it were in triumph, with SILIUS, and other Romans, Officers, and Soldiers; the dead 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
Before our army. Thy Pacorus, Orodes,
Pays this for Marcus Crassus. 5
SILIUS 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 10
Shall set thee on triumphant chariots and
Put garlands on thy head.
VENTIDIUS O Silius, Silius,
I have done enough; a lower place, note well,
May make too great an act: for learn this, Silius; 15
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, 20
For quick accumulation of renown,
Which he achieved by the minute, lost his favour.
Who does i’ the wars more than his captain can
Becomes his captain’s captain: and ambition,
The soldier’s virtue, rather makes choice of loss, 25
Than gain which darkens him.
I could do more to do Antonius good,
But ‘twould offend him; and in his offence
Should my performance perish.
SILIUS Thou hast, Ventidius, 30
that
Without the which a soldier, and his sword,
Grants scarce distinction. Thou wilt write to Antony!
VENTIDIUS I’ll humbly signify what in his name,
That magical word of war, we have effected; 35
How, with his banners and his well-paid ranks,
The ne’er-yet-beaten horse of Parthia
We have jaded out o’ the field.
SILIUS Where is he now?
VENTIDIUS He purposeth to Athens: whither, with what haste 40
The weight we must convey with’s will permit,
We shall appear before him. On there; pass along!
[Exeunt]

Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 2
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Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1
From Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
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1. Darting Parthia. The Parthian horsemen, as they fled, turned in their saddles discharging darts at the enemy.

2. Marcus Crassus. A Roman general who was defeated by the Parthians in 53 B.C., and treacherously put to death.

4. Pacorus. Son of Orodes, king of Parthia.

11. Chariots. The plural is used simply to amplify the picture.

15. Too great. Too great because it may excite the jealousy of his superior.

18. In their officer. By their generals than by their own deeds.

19. By the minute. Every minute.

26. Darken. Obscure his fame.

33. Grants. Affords. That is, you have that wisdom without which there is little difference between a soldier and his sword.

35. Jaded. Driven out like jades, a name given to worn out horses.

40. Purposeth to. That is, purposes to make for Athens.

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How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908.