Enter VENTIDIUS as it were in triumph, the dead body of Pacorus borne before him, with SILIUS, and other Romans, officers, and soldiers
The dead body of Pacorus is carried in, followed by the triumphant entrance of VENTIDIUS, with SILIUS and soldiers.
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.
Now I’ve paid you back, Parthia, and gotten revenge for Marcus Crassus’ death. Carry
Orodes was King of Parthia and father of Pacorus. He assassinated Marcus Crassus, a member of the first Roman triumvirate.King Orodes’ son at the front of our army, so all the Parthians will know—Orodes, Pacorus pays 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.
Noble Ventidius, while your sword is still warm with the blood of slain Parthians, why not finish the job? The Parthians retreat. Go after them. Chase them down if you have to track them through
Media and Mesopotamia were countries bordering ParthiaMedia, Mesopotamia, or any other places they may go to hide. Then our great general, Antony, will commend you.
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 achieved 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.
Oh, Silius, Silius, I’ve done enough. A subordinate may exceed his authority. You must understand, Silius, that it’s better to leave something undone than achieve too much fame in your superior’s absence. Caesar and Antony have always achieved more by delegating authority to their officers than by leading their troops in person. Sossius, an officer that held the same position in Syria as I do here, achieved great distinction very quickly but lost Antony’s support as a result. A man who achieves more in war than his captain does becomes his captain’s rival. Ambition is a good quality in a soldier, but it proves detrimental rather than beneficial when used to surpass his superiors. I could do more to help Antony, but to do so would insult him. And by insulting him, I would lose credit for the good I have done him already.