Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT: PART 1, by CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT: PART 1, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: From jigging veins of rhyming mother wits
Last Line: ^2^ dissolve.
Subject(s): Tamerlane (1336-1404); Timure (1336-144); Tamberlaine (1336-144)


FROM jigging veins of rhyming mother wits,
And such conceits as clownage keeps in pay,
We'll lead you to the stately tent of war,
Where you shall hear the Scythian Tamburlaine
Threatening the world with high astounding terms,
And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword.
View but his picture in this tragic glass,
And then applaud his fortune as you please.


MYCETES, King of Persia.
COSROE, his Brother.

MEANDER, Persian Lords and Captains.

TAMBURLAINE, a Scythian Shepherd.

TECHELLES, his Followers.

BAJAZETH, Emperor of the Turks.
KING of ARGIER (Algiers).

AGYDAS, Median Lords.

CAPOLIN, an Egyptian Captain.
PHILEMUS, a Messenger.

ZENOCRATE, Daughter of the Soldan of Egypt.
ANIPPE, her Maid.
ZABINA, Wife of Bajazeth.
EBEA, her Maid.
Virgins of Damascus.





with others.

MYC. Brother Cosroe, I find myself aggrieved,
Yet insufficient to express the same;
For it requires a great and thundering speech;
Good brother, tell the cause unto my lords;
I know you have a better wit than I.
Cos. Unhappy Persia, that in former age
Hast been the seat of mighty conquerors,
That, in their prowess and their policies,
Have triumphed over Afric and the bounds
Of Europe, where the sun scarce dares appear
For freezing meteors and congealèd cold,
Now to be ruled and governed by a man
At whose birthday Cynthia with Saturn joined,
And Jove, the Sun, and Mercury denied
To shed their influence in his fickle brain!
Now Turks and Tartars shake their swords at thee,
Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.
Myc. Brother, I see your meaning well enough,
And through your planets I perceive you think
I am not wise enough to be a king;
But I refer me to my noblemen
That know my wit, and can be witnesses.
I might command you to be slain for this:
Meander, might I not?
Meand. Not for so small a fault, my sovereign lord.
Myc. I mean it not, but yet I know I might;
Yet live; yea live, Mycetes wills it so.
Meander, thou, my faithful counsellor,
Declare the cause of my conceivèd grief,
Which is, God knows, about that Tamburlaine,
That, like a fox in midst of harvest time,
Doth prey upon my flocks of passengers;
And, as I hear, doth mean to pull my plumes:
Therefore 'tis good and meet for to be wise.
Meand. Oft have I heard your majesty complain
Of Tamburlaine, that sturdy Scythian thief,
That robs your merchants of Persepolis
Trading by land unto the Western Isles,
And in your confines with his lawless train
Daily commits incivil outrages,
Hoping (misled by dreaming prophecies)
To reign in Asia, and with barbarous arms
To make himself the monarch of the East;
But ere he march in Asia, or display
His vagrant ensign in the Persian fields,
Your grace hath taken order by Theridamas,
Charged with a thousand horse, to apprehend
And bring him captive to your highness' throne.
Myc. Full true thou speak'st, and like thyself, my lord,
Whom I may term a Damon for thy love:
Therefore 'tis best, if so it like you all,
To send my thousand horse incontinent
To apprehend that paltry Scythian.
How like you this, my honourable lords?
Is't not a kingly resolution?
Cos. It cannot choose, because it comes from you.
Myc. Then hear thy charge, valiant Theridamas,
The chiefest captain of Mycetes' host,
The hope of Persia, and the very legs
Whereon our State doth lean as on a staff,
That holds us up, and foils our neighbour foes:
Thou shalt be leader of this thousand horse,
Whose foaming gall with rage and high disdain
Have sworn the death of wicked Tamburlaine.
Go frowning forth; but come thou smiling home,
As did Sir Paris with the Grecian dame;
Return with speed—time passeth swift away;
Our life is frail, and we may die to-day.
Ther. Before the moon renew her borrowed light,
Doubt not, my lord and gracious sovereign,
But Tamburlaine and that Tartarian rout,
Shall either perish by our warlike hands,
Or plead for mercy at your highness' feet.
Myc. Go, stout Theridamas, thy words are swords,
And with thy looks thou conquerest all thy foes;
I long to see thee back return from thence,
That I may view these milk-white steeds of mine
All loaden with the heads of killèd men,
And from their knees e'en to their hoofs below
Besmeared with blood that makes a dainty show.
Ther. Then now, my lord, I humbly take my leave.
Myc. Theridamas, farewell! ten thousand times.
Ah, Menaphon, why stay'st thou thus behind,
When other men press forward for renown?
Go, Menaphon, go into Scythia;
And foot by foot follow Theridamas.
Cos. Nay, pray you let him stay; a greater task
Fits Menaphon than warring with a thief:
Create him Prorex of all Africa,
That he may win the Babylonians' hearts
Which will revolt from Persian government,
Unless they have a wiser king than you.
Myc. "Unless they have a wiser king than you."
These are his words; Meander, set them down.
Cos. And add this to them—that all Asia
Laments to see the folly of their king.
Myc. Well, here I swear by this my royal seat,—
Cos. You may do well to kiss it then.
Myc. Embossed with silk as best beseems my state,
To be revenged for these contemptuous words.
Oh, where is duty and allegiance now?
Fled to the Caspian or the Ocean main?
What shall I call thee? brother?—no, a foe;
Monster of nature!—Shame unto thy stock
That dar'st presume thy sovereign for to mock!
Meander, come: I am abused, Meander.
[Exeunt all but COSROE and MENAPHON.
Men. How now, my lord? What, mated and amazed
To hear the king thus threaten like himself!
Cos. Ah, Menaphon, I pass not for his threats;
The plot is laid by Persian noblemen
And captains of the Median garrisons
To crown me Emperor of Asia:
But this it is that doth excruciate
The very substance of my vexèd soul—
To see our neighbours that were wont to quake
And tremble at the Persian monarch's name,
Now sit and laugh our regiment to scorn;
And that which might resolve me into tears,
Men from the farthest equinoctial line
Have swarmed in troops into the Eastern India,
Lading their ships with gold and precious stones,
And made their spoils from all our provinces.
Men. This should entreat your highness to rejoice,
Since Fortune gives you opportunity
To gain the title of a conqueror
By curing of this maimèd empery.
Afric and Europe bordering on your land,
And continent to your dominions,
How easily may you, with a mighty host,
Pass into Græcia, as did Cyrus once,
And cause them to withdraw their forces home,
Lest you subdue the pride of Christendom.
[Trumpet within.
Cos. But, Menaphon, what means this trumpet's sound?
Men. Behold, my lord, Ortygius and the rest
Bringing the crown to make you Emperor!

Enter ORTYGIUS and CENEUS, with others, bearing a crown.

Orty. Magnificent and mighty Prince Cosroe,
We, in the name of other Persian States
And Commons of the mighty monarchy,
Present thee with the imperial diadem.
Cen. The warlike soldiers and the gentlemen,
That heretofore have filled Persepolis
With Afric captains taken in the field,
Whose ransom made them march in coats of gold,
With costly jewels hanging at their ears,
And shining stones upon their lofty crests,
Now living idle in the wallèd towns,
Wanting both pay and martial discipline,
Begin in troops to threaten civil war,
And openly exclaim against their king:
Therefore, to stop all sudden mutinies,
We will invest your highness Emperor,
Whereat the soldiers will conceive more joy
Than did the Macedonians at the spoil
Of great Darius and his wealthy host.
Cos. Well, since I see the state of Persia droop
And languish in my brother's government,
I willingly receive the imperial crown,
And vow to wear it for my country's good,
In spite of them shall malice my estate.
Orty. And in assurance of desired success,
We here do crown thee monarch of the East,
Emperor of Asia and Persia;
Great Lord of Media and Armenia;
Duke of Africa and Albania,
Mesopotamia and of Parthia,
East India and the late-discovered isles;
Chief Lord of all the wide, vast Euxine sea,
And of the ever-raging Caspian lake.
All. Long live Cosroe, mighty Emperor!
Cos. And Jove may never let me longer live
Than I may seek to gratify your love,
And cause the soldiers that thus honour me
To triumph over many provinces!
By whose desire of discipline in arms
I doubt not shortly but to reign sole king,
And with the army of Theridamas,
(Whither we presently will fly, my lords)
To rest secure against my brother's force.
Orty. We knew, my lord, before we brought the crown,
Intending your investion so near
The residence of your despisèd brother,
The lords would not be too exasperate
To injury or suppress your worthy title;
Or, if they would, there are in readiness
Ten thousand horse to carry you from hence,
In spite of all suspected enemies.
Cos. I know it well, my lord, and thank you all.
Orty. Sound up the trumpets then. [Trumpets sound.
All. God save the King! [Exeunt.


MAGNETES, Lords, and Soldiers, laden with treasure.

Tamb. Come, lady, let not this appal your thoughts;
The jewels and the treasure we have ta'en
Shall be reserved, and you in better state,
Than if you were arrived in Syria,
Even in the circle of your father's arms,
The mighty Soldan of Ægyptia.
Zeno. Ah, shepherd! pity my distressèd plight,
(If, as thou seem'st, thou art so mean a man.)
And seek not to enrich thy followers
By lawless rapine from a silly maid,
Who travelling with these Median lords
To Memphis, from my uncle's country of Media,
Where all my youth I have been governèd,
Have passed the army of the mighty Turk,
Bearing his privy signet and his hand
To safe conduct us thorough Africa.
Mag. And since we have arrived in Scythia,
Besides rich presents from the puissant Cham,
We have his highness' letters to command
Aid and assistance, if we stand in need.
Tamb. But now you see these letters and commands
Are countermanded by a greater man;
And through my provinces you must expect
Letters of conduct from my mightiness,
If you intend to keep your treasure safe.
But, since I love to live at liberty,
As easily may you get the Soldan's crown
As any prizes out of my precinct;
For they are friends that help to wean my state
'Till men and kingdoms help to strengthen it,
And must maintain my life exempt from servitude.—
But, tell me, madam, is your grace betrothed?
Zeno. I am—my lord—for so you do import.
Tamb. I am a lord, for so my deeds shall prove:
And yet a shepherd by my parentage.
But, lady, this fair face and heavenly hue
Must grace his bed that conquers Asia,
And means to be a terror to the world,
Measuring the limits of his empery
By east and west, as Phœbus doth his course.
Lie here ye weeds that I disdain to wear!
This complete armour and this curtle-axe
Are adjuncts more beseeming Tamburlaine.
And, madam, whatsoever you esteem
Of this success and loss unvaluèd,
Both may invest you Empress of the East;
And these that seem but silly country swains
May have the leading of so great an host,
As with their weight shall make the mountains quake,
Even as when windy exhalations
Fighting for passage, tilt within the earth.
Tech. As princely lions, when they rouse themselves,
Stretching their paws, and threatening herds of beasts,
So in his armour looketh Tamburlaine.
Methinks I see kings kneeling at his feet,
And he with frowning brows and fiery looks,
Spurning their crowns from off their captive heads.
Usum. And making thee and me, Techelles, kings,
That even to death will follow Tamburlaine.
Tamb. Nobly resolved, sweet friends and followers!
These lords, perhaps do scorn our estimates,
And think we prattle with distempered spirits;
But since they measure our deserts so mean,
That in conceit bear empires on our spears,
Affecting thoughts coequal with the clouds,
They shall be kept our forcèd followers,
Till with their eyes they view us emperors.
Zeno. The gods, defenders of the innocent,
Will never prosper your intended drifts,
That thus oppress poor friendless passengers.
Therefore at least admit us liberty,
Even as thou hopest to be eternised,
By living Asia's mighty Emperor.
Agyd. I hope our ladies' treasure and our own,
May serve for ransom to our liberties:
Return our mules and empty camels back,
That we may travel into Syria,
Where her betrothèd lord Alcidamas,
Expects th' arrival of her highness' person.
Mag. And wheresoever we repose ourselves,
We will report but well of Tamburlaine.
Tamb. Disdains Zenocrate to live with me?
Or you, my lords, to be my followers?
Think you I weigh this treasure more than you?
Not all the gold in India's wealthy arms
Shall buy the meanest soldier in my train.
Zenocrate, lovelier than the love of Jove,
Brighter than is the silver Rhodope,
Fairer than whitest snow on Scythian hills,—
Thy person is more worth to Tamburlaine,
Than the possession of the Persian crown,
Which gracious stars have promised at my birth.
A hundred Tartars shall attend on thee,
Mounted on steeds swifter than Pegasus;
Thy garments shall be made of Median silk,
Enchased with precious jewels of mine own,
More rich and valurous than Zenocrate's.
With milk-white harts upon an ivory sled,
Thou shalt be drawn amidst the frozen pools,
And scale the icy mountains' lofty tops,
Which with thy beauty will be soon resolved.
My martial prizes with five hundred men,
Won on the fifty-headed Volga's waves,
Shall we all offer to Zenocrate,—
And then myself to fair Zenocrate.
Tech. What now!—in love?
Tamb. Techelles, women must be flatterèd:
But this is she with whom I am in love.

Enter a Soldier.

Sold. News! news!
Tamb. How now—what's the matter?
Sold. A thousand Persian horsemen are at hand,
Sent from the king to overcome us all.
Tamb. How now, my lords of Egypt, and Zenocrate!
How!—must your jewels be restored again,
And I, that triumphed so, be overcome?
How say you, lordings,—is not this your hope?
Agyd. We hope yourself will willingly restore them.
Tamb. Such hope, such fortune, have the thousand horse.
Soft ye, my lords, and sweet Zenocrate!
You must be forcèd from me ere you go.
A thousand horsemen!—We five hundred foot!—
An odds too great for us to stand against.
But are they rich?—and is their armour good?
Sold. Their plumèd helms are wrought with beaten gold,
Their swords enamelled, and about their necks
Hang massy chains of gold, down to the waist,
In every part exceeding brave and rich.
Tamb. Then shall we fight courageously with them?
Or look you I should play the orator?
Tech. No: cowards and faint-hearted runaways
Look for orations when the foe is near:
Our swords shall play the orator for us.
Usum. Come! let us meet them at the mountain top,
And with a sudden and a hot alarum,
Drive all their horses headlong down the hill.
Tech. Come, let us march!
Tamb. Stay, Techelles! ask a parley first.

The Soldiers enter.

Open the mails, yet guard the treasure sure;
Lay out our golden wedges to the view,
That their reflections may amaze the Persians;
And look we friendly on them when they come;
But if they offer word or violence,
We'll fight five hundred men-at-arms to one,
Before we part with our possession.
And 'gainst the general we will lift our swords,
And either lance his greedy thirsting throat,
Or take him prisoner, and his chain shall serve
For manacles, till he be ransomed home.
Tech. I hear them come; shall we encounter them?
Tamb. Keep all your standings and not stir a foot,
Myself will bide the danger of the brunt.

Enter THERIDAMAS and others.

Ther. Where is this Scythian Tamburlaine?
Tamb. Whom seek'st thou, Persian?—I am Tamburlaine.
Ther. Tamburlaine!—
A Scythian shepherd so embellishèd
With nature's pride and richest furniture!
His looks do menace Heaven and dare the gods:
His fiery eyes are fixed upon the earth,
As if he now devised some stratagem,
Or meant to pierce Avernus' darksome vaults
To pull the triple-headed dog from hell.
Tamb. Noble and mild this Persian seems to be,
If outward habit judge the inward man.
Tech. His deep affections make him passionate.
Tamb. With what a majesty he rears his looks!
In thee, thou valiant man of Persia,
I see the folly of thy emperor.
Art thou but captain of a thousand horse,
That by charàcters graven in thy brows,
And by thy martial face and stout aspèct,
Deserv'st to have the leading of a host!
Forsake thy king, and do but join with me,
And we will triumph over all the world;
I hold the Fates bound fast in iron chains,
And with my hand turn Fortune's wheel about:
And sooner shall the sun fall from his sphere,
Than Tamburlaine be slain or overcome.
Draw forth thy sword, thou mighty man-at-arms,
Intending but to raze my charmèd skin,
And Jove himself will stretch his hand from Heaven
To ward the blow and shield me safe from harm.
See how he rains down heaps of gold in showers,
As if he meant to give my soldiers pay!
And as a sure and grounded argument,
That I shall be the monarch of the East,
He sends this Soldan's daughter rich and brave,
To be my Queen and portly Emperess.
If thou wilt stay with me, Renownèd man,
And lead thy thousand horse with my condúct,
Besides thy share of this Egyptian prize,
Those thousand horse shall sweat with martial spoil
Of conquered kingdoms and of cities sacked;
Both we will walk upon the lofty cliffs,
And Christian merchants that with Russian stems
Plough up huge furrows in the Caspian sea,
Shall vail to us, as lords of all the lake.
Both we will reign as consuls of the earth,
And mighty kings shall be our senators.
Jove sometimes maskèd in a shepherd's weed,
And by those steps that he hath scaled the Heavens
May we become immortal like the gods.
Join with me now in this my mean estate,
(I call it mean because being yet obscure,
The nations far removed admire me not,)
And when my name and honour shall be spread
As far as Boreas claps his brazen wings,
Or fair Böotes sends his cheerful light,
Then shalt thou be competitor with me,
And sit with Tamburlaine in all his majesty.
Ther. Not Hermes, prolocutor to the gods,
Could use persuasions more pathetical.
Tamb. Nor are Apollo's oracles more true,
Than thou shalt find my vaunts substantial.
Tech. We are his friends, and if the Persian king
Should offer present dukedoms to our state,
We think it loss to make exchange for that
We are assured of by our friend's success.
Usum. And kingdoms at the least we all expect,
Besides the honour in assurèd conquests,
When kings shall crouch unto our conquering swords
And hosts of soldiers stand amazed at us;
When with their fearful tongues they shall confess,
These are the men that all the world admires.
Ther. What strong enchantments tice my yielding soul!
These are resolvèd, noble Scythians:
But shall I prove a traitor to my king?
Tamb. No, but the trusty friend of Tamburlaine.
Ther. Won with thy words, and conquered with thy looks,
I yield myself, my men, and horse to thee,
To be partaker of thy good or ill,
As long as life maintains Theridamas.
Tamb. Theridamas, my friend, take here my hand,
Which is as much as if I swore by Heaven,
And called the gods to witness of my vow.
Thus shall my heart be still combined with thine
Until our bodies turn to elements,
And both our souls aspire celestial thrones.
Techelles and Casane, welcome him!
Tech. Welcome, renownèd Persian, to us all!
Usum. Long may Theridamas remain with us!
Tamb. These are my friends, in whom I more rejoice
Than doth the King of Persia in his crown,
And by the love of Pylades and Orestes,
Whose statues we adore in Scythia,
Thyself and them shall never part from me
Before I crown you kings in Asia.
Make much of them, gentle Theridamas,
And they will never leave thee till the death.
Ther. Nor thee nor them, thrice noble Tamburlaine,
Shall want my heart to be with gladness pierced,
To do you honour and security.
Tamb. A thousand thanks, worthy Theridamas.
And now fair madam, and my noble lords,
If you will willingly remain with me
You shall have honours as your merits be;
Or else you shall be forced with slavery.
Agyd. We yield unto thee, happy Tamburlaine.
Tamb. For you then, madam, I am out of doubt.
Zeno. I must be pleased perforce. Wretched Zenocrate! [Exeunt.



Enter COSROE, MENAPHON, ORTYGIUS, and CENEUS, with Soldiers.

COS. Thus far are we towards Theridamas,
And valiant Tamburlaine, the man of fame,
The man that in the forehead of his fortune
Bears figures of renown and miracle.
But tell me, that hast seen him, Menaphon,
What stature wields he, and what personage?
Men. Of stature tall, and straightly fashionèd,
Like his desire lift upward and divine;
So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit,
Such breadth of shoulders as might mainly bear
Old Atlas' burthen;—'twixt his manly pitch,
A pearl, more worth than all the world, is placed,
Wherein by curious sovereignty of art
Are fixed his piercing instruments of sight,
Whose fiery circles bear encompassèd
A heaven of heavenly bodies in their spheres,
That guides his steps and actions to the throne,
Where honour sits invested royally:
Pale of complexion, wrought in him with passion,
Thirsting with sovereignty and love of arms;
His lofty brows in folds do figure death,
And in their smoothness amity and life;
About them hangs a knot of amber hair,
Wrappèd in curls, as fierce Achilles' was,
On which the breath of Heaven delights to play,
Making it dance with wanton majesty.—
His arms and fingers, long, and sinewy,
Betokening valour and excess of strength;—
In every part proportioned like the man
Should make the world subdued to Tamburlaine.
Cos. Well hast thou pourtrayed in thy terms of life
The face and personage of a wondrous man;
Nature doth strive with Fortune and his stars
To make him famous in accomplished worth;
And well his merits show him to be made
His fortune's master and the king of men,
That could persuade at such a sudden pinch,
With reasons of his valour and his life,
A thousand sworn and overmatching foes.
Then, when our powers in points of swords are joined
And closed in compass of the killing bullet,
Though strait the passage and the port be made
That leads to palace of my brother's life,
Proud is his fortune if we pierce it not.
And when the princely Persian diadem
Shall overweigh his weary witless head,
And fall like mellowed fruit with shakes of death,
In fair Persia, noble Tamburlaine
Shall be my regent and remain as king.
Orty. In happy hour we have set the crown
Upon your kingly head that seeks our honour,
In joining with the man ordained by Heaven,
To further every action to the best.
Cen. He that with shepherds and a little spoil
Durst, in disdain of wrong and tyranny,
Defend his freedom 'gainst a monarchy,
What will he do supported by a king,
Leading a troop of gentlemen and lords,
And stuffed with treasure for his highest thoughts!
Cos. And such shall wait on worthy Tamburlaine.
Our army will be forty thousand strong,
When Tamburlaine and brave Theridamas
Have met us by the river Araris;
And all conjoined to meet the witless king,
That now is marching near to Parthia,
And with unwilling soldiers faintly armed,
To seek revenge on me and Tamburlaine,
To whom, sweet Menaphon, direct me straight.
Men. I will, my lord. [Exeunt.


Enter MYCETES, MEANDER, with other Lords and Soldiers.

Myc. Come, my Meander, let us to this gear.
I tell you true, my heart is swoln with wrath
On this same thievish villain, Tamburlaine,
And on that false Cosroe, my traitorous brother.
Would it not grieve a king to be so abused
And have a thousand horsemen ta'en away?
And, which is worse, to have his diadem
Sought for by such scald knaves as love him not?
I think it would; well then, by Heavens I swear,
Aurora shall not peep out of her doors,
But I will have Cosroe by the head,
And kill proud Tamburlaine with point of sword.
Tell you the rest, Meander: I have said.
Meand. Then having passed Armenian deserts now,
And pitched our tents under the Georgian hills,
Whose tops are covered with Tartarian thieves,
That lie in ambush, waiting for a prey,
What should we do but bid them battle straight,
And rid the world of those detested troops?
Lest, if we let them linger here awhile,
They gather strength by power of fresh supplies.
This country swarms with vile outrageous men
That live by rapine and by lawless spoil,
Fit soldiers for the wicked Tamburlaine;
And he that could with gifts and promises
Inveigle him that led a thousand horse,
And make him false his faith unto his king,
Will quickly win such as be like himself.
Therefore cheer up your minds; prepare to fight;
He that can take or slaughter Tamburlaine
Shall rule the province of Albania:
Who brings that traitor's head, Theridamas,
Shall have a government in Media,
Beside the spoil of him and all his train:
But if Cosroe, (as our spials say,
And as we know) remains with Tamburlaine,
His highness' pleasure is that he should live,
And be reclaimed with princely lenity.
A Spy. A hundred horsemen of my company
Scouting abroad upon these champion plains
Have viewed the army of the Scythians,
Which make report it far exceeds the king's.
Meand. Suppose they be in number infinite,
Yet being void of martial discipline,
All running headlong greedy after spoils,
And more regarding gain than victory,
Like to the cruel brothers of the earth,
Sprung of the teeth of dragons venomous,
Their careless swords shall lance their fellows' throats,
And make us triumph in their overthrow.
Myc. Was there such brethren, sweet Meander, say,
That sprung of teeth of dragons venomous?
Meand. So poets say, my lord.
Myc. And 'tis a pretty toy to be a poet.
Well, well, Meander, thou art deeply read,
And having thee, I have a jewel sure.
Go on, my lord, and give your charge, I say;
Thy wit will make us conquerors to-day.
Meand. Then, noble soldiers, to entrap these thieves,
That live confounded in disordered troops,
If wealth or riches may prevail with them,
We have our camels laden all with gold,
Which you that be but common soldiers
Shall fling in every corner of the field;
And while the base-born Tartars take it up,
You, fighting more for honour than for gold,
Shall massacre those greedy-minded slaves;
And when their scattered army is subdued,
And you march on their slaughtered carcases,
Share equally the gold that bought their lives,
And live like gentlemen in Persia.
Strike up the drum! and march courageously!
Fortune herself doth sit upon our crests.
Myc. He tells you true, my masters: so he does.
Drums, why sound ye not, when Meander speaks?
[Exeunt, drums sounding.


ORTYGIUS, with others.

Cos. Now, worthy Tamburlaine, have I reposed
In thy approvèd fortunes all my hope.
What think'st thou, man, shall come of our attempts?
For even as from assurèd oracle,
I take thy doom for satisfaction.
Tamb. And so mistake you not a whit, my lord;
For fates and oracles of Heaven have sworn
To royalise the deeds of Tamburlaine,
And make them blest that share in his attempts.
And doubt you not but, if you favour me,
And let my fortunes and my valour sway
To some direction in your martial deeds,
The world will strive with hosts of men-at-arms,
To swarm unto the ensign I support:
The host of Xerxes, which by fame is said
To have drank the mighty Parthian Araris,
Was but a handful to that we will have.
Our quivering lances, shaking in the air,
And bullets, like Jove's dreadful thunderbolts,
Enrolled in flames and fiery smouldering mists,
Shall threat the gods more than Cyclopian wars:
And with our sun-bright armour as we march,
We'll chase the stars from Heaven and dim their eyes
That stand and muse at our admirèd arms.
Ther. You see, my lord, what working words he hath;
But when you see his actions top his speech,
Your speech will stay or so extol his worth
As I shall be commended and excused
For turning my poor charge to his direction.
And these his two renownèd friends, my lord,
Would make one thirst and strive to be retained
In such a great degree of amity.
Tech. With duty and with amity we yield
Our utmost service to the fair Cosroe.
Cos. Which I esteem as portion of my crown.
Usumcasane and Techelles both,
When she that rules in Rhamnus' golden gates,
And makes a passage for all prosperous arms,
Shall make me solely Emperor of Asia,
Then shall your meeds and valours be advanced
To rooms of honour and nobility.
Tamb. Then haste, Cosroe, to be king alone,
That I with these, my friends, and all my men
May triumph in our long-expected fate.—
The king, your brother, is now hard at hand;
Meet with the fool, and rid your royal shoulders
Of such a burthen as outweighs the sands
And all the craggy rocks of Caspia.

Enter a Messenger.

Mes. My lord, we have discovered the enemy
Ready to charge you with a mighty army.
Cos. Come, Tamburlaine! now whet thy wingèd sword,
And lift thy lofty arm into the clouds,
That it may reach the King of Persia's crown,
And set it safe on my victorious head.
Tamb. See where it is, the keenest curtle-axe
That e'er made passage thorough Persian arms.
These are the wings shall make it fly as swift
As doth the lightning or the breath of Heaven,
And kill as sure as it swiftly flies.
Cos. Thy words assure me of kind success;
Go, valiant soldier, go before and charge
The fainting army of that foolish king.
Tamb. Usumcasane and Techelles, come!
We are enow to scare the enemy,
And more than needs to make an emperor.
[Exeunt to the battle.


Enter MYCETES with his crown in his hand.

Myc. Accursed be he that first invented war!
They knew not, ah they knew not, simple men,
How those were hit by pelting cannon shot,
Stand staggering like a quivering aspen leaf
Fearing the force of Bcreas' boisterous blasts.
In what a lamentable case were I
If Nature had not given me wisdom's lore,
For kings are clouts that every man shoots at,
Our crown the pin that thousands seek to cleave;
Therefore in policy I think it good
To hide it close; a goodly stratagem,
And far from any man that is a fool:
So shall I not be known; or if I be,
They cannot take away my crown from me.
Here will I hide it in this simple hole.


Tamb. What, fearful coward, straggling from the camp,
When kings themselves are present in the field?
Myc. Thou liest.
Tamb. Base villain! darest give me the lie?
Myc. Away; I am the king; go; touch me not.
Thou break'st the law of arms, unless thou kneel
And cry me "mercy, noble king."
Tamb. Are you the witty King of Persia?
Myc. Ay, marry am I: have you any suit to me?
Tamb. I would entreat you speak but three wise words.
Myc. So I can when I see my time.
Tamb. Is this your crown?
Myc. Ay, didst thou ever see a fairer?
Tamb. You will not sell it, will you?
Myc. Such another word and I will have thee executed. Come, give it
Tamb. No; I took it prisoner.
Myc. You lie; I gave it you.
Tamb. Then 'tis mine.
Myc. No; I mean I let you keep it.
Tamb. Well; I mean you shall have it again.
Here; take it for a while: I lend it thee,
'Till I may see thee hemmed with armèd men;
Then shalt thou see me pull it from thy head:
Thou art no match for mighty Tamburlaine.
Myc. O gods! Is this Tamburlaine the thief?
I marvel much he stole it not away.
[Trumpets sound to the battle, and he runs out.



Tamb. Hold thee, Cosroe! wear two imperial crowns;
Think thee invested now as royally,
Even by the mighty hand of Tamburlaine,
As if as many kings as could encompass thee
With greatest pomp, had crowned thee emperor.
Cos. So do I, thrice renownèd man-at-arms,
And none shall keep the crown but Tamburlaine.
Thee do I make my regent of Persia,
And general lieutenant of my armies.
Meander, you, that were our brother's guide,
And chiefest counsellor in all his acts,
Since he is yielded to the stroke of war,
On your submission we with thanks excuse,
And give you equal place in our affairs.
Meand. Most happy Emperor, in humblest terms,
I vow my service to your majesty,
With utmost virtue of my faith and duty.
Cos. Thanks, good Meander: then, Cosroe, reign,
And govern Persia in her former pomp!
Now send embassage to thy neighbour kings,
And let them know the Persian king is changed,
From one that knew not what a king should do,
To one that can command what 'longs thereto.
And now we will to fair Persepolis,
With twenty thousand expert soldiers.
The lords and captains of my brother's camp
With little slaughter take Meander's course,
And gladly yield them to my gracious rule.
Ortygius and Menaphon, my trusty friends,
Now will I gratify your former good,
And grace your calling with a greater sway.
Orty. And as we ever aimed at your behoof,
And sought your state all honour it deserved,
So will we with our powers and our lives
Endeavour to preserve and prosper it.
Cos. I will not thank thee, sweet Ortygius;
Better replies shall prove my purposes.
And now, Lord Tamburlaine, my brother's camp
I leave to thee and to Theridamas,
To follow me to fair Persepolis.
Then will we march to all those Indian mines,
My witless brother to the Christians lost,
And ransom them with fame and usury.
And till thou overtake me, Tamburlaine,
(Staying to order all the scattered troops,)
Farewell, lord regent and his happy friends!
I long to sit upon my brother's throne.
Meand. Your majesty shall shortly have your wish,
And ride in triumph through Persepolis.
Tamb. "And ride in triumph through Persepolis!"
Is it not brave to be a king, Techelles?
Usumcasane and Theridamas,
Is it not passing brave to be a king,
"And ride in triumph through Persepolis?"
Tech. O, my lord, 'tis sweet and full of pomp.
Usum. To be a king is half to be a god.
Ther. A god is not so glorious as a king.
I think the pleasure they enjoy in Heaven,
Cannot compare with kingly joys in earth.—
To wear a crown enchased with pearl and gold,
Whose virtues carry with it life and death;
To ask and have, command and be obeyed;
When looks breed love, with looks to gain the prize,
Such power attractive shines in princes' eyes!
Tamb. Why say, Theridamas, wilt thou be a king?
Ther. Nay, though I praise it, I can live without it.
Tamb. What say my other friends? Will you be kings?
Tech. I, if I could, with all my heart, my lord.
Tamb. Why, that's well said, Techelles; so would I,
And so would you, my masters, would you not?
Usum. What then, my lord?
Tamb. Why then, Casane, shall we wish for aught
The world affords in greatest novelty,
And rest attemptless, faint and destitute?
Methinks we should not: I am strongly moved,
That if I should desire the Persian crown,
I could attain it with a wondrous ease.
And would not all our soldiers soon consent,
If we should aim at such a dignity?
Ther. I know they would with our persuasions.
Tamb. Why then, Theridamas, I'll first assay
To get the Persian kingdom to myself;
Then thou for Parthia; they for Scythia and Media;
And, if I prosper, all shall be as sure
As if the Turk, the Pope, Afric and Greece,
Came creeping to us with their crowns apace.
Tech. Then shall we send to this triumphing king,
And bid him battle for his novel crown?
Usum. Nay, quickly then, before his room be hot.
Tamb. 'Twill prove a pretty jest, in faith, my friends.
Ther. A jest to charge on twenty thousand men!
I judge the purchase more important far.
Tamb. Judge by thyself, Theridamas, not me;
For presently Techelles here shall haste
To bid him battle ere he pass too far,
And lose more labour than the game will quite.
Then shalt thou see this Scythian Tamburlaine,
Make but a jest to win the Persian crown.
Techelles, take a thousand horse with thee,
And bid him turn him back to war with us,
That only made him king to make us sport.
We will not steal upon him cowardly,
But give him warning and more warriors.
Haste thee, Techelles, we will follow thee.
What saith Theridamas?
Ther. Go on for me. [Exeunt.



Cos. What means this devilish shepherd to aspire
With such a giantly presumption
To cast up hills against the face of Heaven,
And dare the force of angry Jupiter?
But as he thrust them underneath the hills,
And pressed out fire from their burning jaws,
So will I send this monstrous slave to hell,
Where flames shall ever feed upon his soul.
Meand. Some powers divine, or else infernal, mixed
Their angry seeds at his conception;
For he was never sprung of human race,
Since with the spirit of his fearful pride,
He dare so doubtlessly resolve of rule,
And by profession be ambitious.
Orty. What god, or fiend, or spirit of the earth,
Or monster turnèd to a manly shape,
Or of what mould or mettle he be made,
What star or fate soever govern him,
Let us put on our meet encountering minds;
And in detesting such a devilish thief,
In love of honour and defence of right,
Be armed against the hate of such a foe,
Whether from earth, or hell, or Heaven, he grow.
Cos. Nobly resolved, my good Ortygius;
And since we all have sucked one wholesome air,
And with the same proportion of elements
Resolve, I hope we are resembled
Vowing our loves to equal death and life.
Let's cheer our soldiers to encounter him,
That grievous image of ingratitude,
That fiery thirster after sovereignty,
And burn him in the fury of that flame,
That none can quench but blood and empery.
Resolve, my lords and loving soldiers, now
To save your king and country from decay.
Then strike up, drum; and all the stars that make
The loathsome circle of my dated life,
Direct my weapon to his barbarous heart,
That thus opposeth him against the gods,
And scorns the powers that govern Persia
[Exeunt; drums and trumpets sounding.


Alarms of battle within. Enter COSROE, wounded, TAMBURLAINE,

Cos. Barbarous and bloody Tamburlaine,
Thus to deprive me of my crown and life!
Treacherous and false Theridamas,
Even at the morning of my happy state,
Scarce being seated in my royal throne,
To work my downfall and untimely end!
An uncouth pain torments my grievèd soul,
And death arrests the organ of my voice,
Who, entering at the breach thy sword hath made,
Sacks every vein and artier of my heart.—
Bloody and insatiate Tamburlaine!
Tamb. The thirst of reign and sweetness of a crown
That caused the eldest son of heavenly Ops,
To thrust his doting father from his chair,
And place himself in the empyreal Heaven,
Moved me to manage arms against thy state.
What better precedent than mighty Jove?
Nature that framed us of four elements,
Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world,
And measure every wandering planet's course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always moving as the restless spheres,
Will us to wear ourselves, and never rest,
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,
That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.
Ther. And that made me to join with Tamburlaine:
For he is gross and like the massy earth,
That moves not upwards, nor by princely deeds
Doth mean to soar above the highest sort.
Tech. And that made us the friends of Tamburlaine,
To lift our swords against the Persian king.
Usum. For as when Jove did thrust old Saturn down,
Neptune and Dis gained each of them a crown,
So do we hope to reign in Asia,
If Tamburlaine be placed in Persia.
Cos. The strangest men that ever nature made!
I know not how to take their tyrannies.
My bloodless body waxeth chill and cold,
And with my blood my life slides through my wound;
My soul begins to take her flight to hell,
And summons all my senses to depart.—
The heat and moisture, which did feed each other,
For want of nourishment to feed them both,
Are dry and cold; and now doth ghastly death,
With greedy talons gripe my bleeding heart,
And like a harpy tirès on my life.
Theridamas and Tamburlaine, I die:
And fearful vengeance light upon you both!
[COSROE dies.—TAMBURLAINE takes his crown and
puts it on.
Tamb. Not all the curses which the Furies breathe,
Shall make me leave so rich a prize as this.
Theridamas, Techelles, and the rest,
Who think you now is King of Persia?
All. Tamburlaine! Tamburlaine!
Tamb. Though Mars himself, the angry god of arms,
And all the earthly potentates conspire
To dispossess me of this diadem,
Yet will I wear it in despite of them,
As great commander of this eastern world.
If you but say that Tamburlaine shall reign.
All. Long live Tamburlaine and reign in Asia!
Tamb. So now it is more surer on my head,
Than if the gods had held a parliament,
And all pronounced me King of Persia.



others in great pomp.

BAJ. Great Kings of Barbary and my portly bassoes,
We hear the Tartars and the eastern thieves,
Under the conduct of one Tamburlaine,
Presume a bickering with your emperor,
And think to rouse us from our dreadful siege
Of the famous Grecian Constantinople.
You know our army is invincible;
As many circumcisèd Turks we have,
And warlike bands of Christians renied,
As hath the ocean or the Terrene sea
Small drops of water when the moon begins
To join in one her semicircled horns.
Yet would we not be braved with foreign power,
Nor raise our siege before the Grecians yield,
Or breathless lie before the city walls.
K. of Fez. Renownèd Emperor, and mighty general,
What, if you sent the bassoes of your guard
To charge him to remain in Asia,
Or else to threaten death and deadly arms
As from the mouth of mighty Bajazeth.
Baj. Hie thee, my basso, fast to Persia,
Tell him thy Lord, the Turkish Emperor,
Dread Lord of Afric, Europe, and Asia,
Great King and conqueror of Græcia,
The ocean, Terrene, and the Coal-black sea,
The high and highest monarch of the world
Wills and commands (for say not I entreat),
Not once to set his foot on Africa,
Or spread his colours once in Græcia,
Lest he incur the fury of my wrath.
Tell him I am content to take a truce,
Because I hear he bears a valiant mind:
But if, presuming on his silly power,
He be so mad to manage arms with me,
Then stay thou with him; say, I bid thee so:
And if, before the sun have measured Heaven
With triple circuit, thou regreet us not,
We mean to take his morning's next arise
For messenger he will not be reclaimed,
And mean to fetch thee in despite of him.
Bas. Most great and puissant monarch of the earth,
Your basso will accomplish you behest,
And show your pleasure to the Persian,
As fits the legate of the stately Turk. [Exit.
K. of Arg. They say he is the King of Persia;
But, if he dare attempt to stir your siege,
'Twere requisite he should be ten times more,
For all flesh quakes at your magnificence.
Baj. True, Argier; and trembles at my looks.
K. of Mor. The spring is hindered by your smothering host,
For neither rain can fall upon the earth,
Nor sun reflex his virtuous beams thereon,
The ground is mantled with such multitudes.
Baj. All this is true as holy Mahomet;
And all the trees are blasted with our breaths.
K. of Fez. What thinks your greatness best to be achieved
In pursuit of the city's overthrow?
Baj. I will the captive pioners of Argier
Cut off the water that by leaden pipes
Runs to the city from the mountain Carnon.
Two thousand horse shall forage up and down,
That no relief or succour come by land:
And all the sea my galleys countermand.
Then shall our footmen lie within the trench,
And with their cannons mouthed like Orcus' gulf,
Batter the walls, and we will enter in;
And thus the Grecians shall be conquerèd. [Exeunt.


Enter ZENOCRATE, AGYDAS, ANIPPE, with others.

Agyd. Madam Zenocrate, may I presume
To know the cause of these unquiet fits,
That work such trouble to your wonted rest?
'Tis more than pity such a heavenly face
Should by heart's sorrow wax so wan and pale,
When your offensive rape by Tamburlaine,
(Which of your whole displeasures should be most,)
Hath seemed to be digested long ago.
Zeno. Although it be digested long ago,
As his exceeding favours have deserved,
And might content the Queen of Heaven, as well
As it hath changed my first conceived disdain,
Yet since a farther passion feeds my thoughts
With ceaseless and disconsolate conceits,
Which dyes my looks so lifeless as they are,
And might, if my extremes had full events,
Make me the ghastly counterfeit of death.
Agyd. Eternal heaven sooner be dissolved,
And all that pierceth Phœbus' silver eye,
Before such hap fall to Zenocrate!
Zeno. Ah, life and soul, still hover in his breast
And leave my body senseless as the earth.
Or else unite you to his life and soul,
That I may live and die with Tamburlaine!

Enter, behind, TAMBURLAINE, TECHELLES, and others.

Agyd. With Tamburlaine! Ah, fair Zenocrate,
Let not a man so vile and barbarous,
That holds you from your father in despite,
And keeps you from the honours of a queen,
(Being supposed his worthless concubine,)
Be honoured with your love but for necessity.
So, now the mighty Soldan hears of you,
Your highness needs not doubt but in short time
He will with Tamburlaine's destruction
Redeem you from this deadly servitude.
Zeno. Agydas leave to wound me with these words,
And speak of Tamburlaine as he deserves.
The entertainment we have had of him
Is far from villany or servitude,
And might in noble minds be counted princely.
Agyd. How can you fancy one that looks so fierce,
Only disposed to martial stratagems?
Who, when he shall embrace you in his arms,
Will tell you how many thousand men he slew;
And when you look for amorous discourse,
Will rattle forth his facts of war and blood,
Too harsh a subject for your dainty ears.
Zeno. As looks the Sun through Nilus' flowing stream,
Or when the Morning holds him in her arms,
So looks my lordly love, fair Tamburlaine;
His talk much sweeter than the Muses' song
They sung for honour 'gainst Pierides;
Or when Minerva did with Neptune strive:
And higher would I rear my estimate
Than Juno, sister to the highest god,
If I were matched with mighty Tamburlaine.
Agyd. Yet be not so inconstant in your love;
But let the young Arabian live in hope
After your rescue to enjoy his choice.
You see though first the King of Persia,
Being a shepherd, seemed to love you much,
Now in his majesty he leaves those looks,
Those words of favour, and those comfortings,
And gives no more than common courtesies.
Zeno. Thence rise the tears that so distain my cheeks
Fearing his love through my unworthiness.—
[TAMBURLAINE goes to her and takes her away lovingly by the hand,
looking wrathfully on AGYDAS. Exeunt all but AGYDAS.
Agyd. Betrayed by fortune and suspicious love,
Threatened with frowning wrath and jealousy,
Surprised with fear of hideous revenge,
I stand aghast; but most astonièd
To see his choler shut in secret thoughts,
And wrapt in silence of his angry soul.
Upon his brows was pourtrayed ugly death;
And in his eyes the furies of his heart
That shone as comets, menacing revenge,
And cast a pale complexion on his cheeks.
As when the seaman sees the Hyades
Gather an army of Cimmerian clouds,
(Auster and Aquilon with wingèd steeds,
All sweating, tilt about the watery Heavens,
With shivering spears enforcing thunder claps,
And from their shields strike flames of lightning,)
All-fearful folds his sails and sounds the main,
Lifting his prayers to the Heavens for aid
Against the terror of the winds and waves,
So fares Agydas for the late-felt frowns,
That sent a tempest to my daunted thoughts,
And make my soul divine her overthrow.

Re-enter TECHELLES with a naked dagger, followed by USUMCASANE.

Tech. See you, Agydas, how the king salutes you?
He bids you prophesy what it imports.
Agyd. I prophesied before, and now I prove
The killing frowns of jealousy and love.
He needed not with words confirm my fear,
For words are vain where working tools present
The naked action of my threatened end:
It says, Agydas, thou shalt surely die,
And of extremities elect the least;
More honour and less pain it may procure
To die by this resolvèd hand of thine,
Than stay the torments he and Heaven have sworn.
Then haste, Agydas, and prevent the plagues
Which thy prolongèd fates may draw on thee.
Go, wander, free from fear of tyrant's rage,
Removèd from the torments and the hell,
Wherewith he may excruciate thy soul,
And let Agydas by Agydas die,
And with this stab slumber eternally. [Stabs himself.
Tech. Usumcasane, see, how right the man
Hath hit the meaning of my lord, the king.
Usum. 'Faith, and Techelles, it was manly done;
And since he was so wise and honourable,
Let us afford him now the bearing hence,
And crave his triple-worthy burial.
Tech. Agreed, Casane; we will honour him.
[Exeunt bearing out the body.


ZENOCRATE, ANIPPE, with others.

Tamb. Basso, by this thy lord and master knows
I mean to meet him in Bithynia:
See how he comes! tush, Turks are full of brags,
And menace more than they can well perform.
He meet me in the field, and fetch thee hence!
Alas! poor Turk! his fortune is too weak
To encounter with the strength of Tamburlaine.
View well my camp, and speak indifferently;
Do not my captains and my soldiers look
As if they meant to conquer Africa?
Bas. Your men are valiant, but their number few,
And cannot terrify his mighty host.
My lord, the great commander of the world,
Besides fifteen contributory kings,
Hath now in arms ten thousand Janissaries,
Mounted on lusty Mauritanian steeds,
Brought to the war by men of Tripoli;
Two hundred thousand footmen that have served
In two set battles fought in Græcia;
And for the expedition of this war,
If he think good, can from his garrisons
Withdraw as many more to follow him.
Tech. The more he brings the greater is the spoil,
For when they perish by our warlike hands,
We mean to set our footmen on their steeds,
And rifle all those stately Janisars.
Tamb. But will those kings accompany your lord?
Bas. Such as his highness please; but some must stay
To rule the provinces he late subdued.
Tamb. [To his Officers.] Then fight courageously: their crowns
This hand shall set them on your conquering heads,
That made me Emperor of Asia.
Usum. Let him bring millions infinite of men,
Unpeopling Western Africa and Greece,
Yet we assure us of the victory.
Ther. Even he that in a trice vanquished two kings,
More mighty than the Turkish emperor,
Shall rouse him out of Europe, and pursue
His scattered army till they yield or die.
Tamb. Well said, Theridamas; speak in that mood;
For will and shall best fitteth Tamburlaine,
Whose smiling stars give him assurèd hope
Of martial triumph ere he meet his foes.
I that am termed the scourge and wrath of God,
The only fear and terror of the world,
Will first subdue the Turk, and then enlarge
Those Christian captives, which you keep as slaves,
Burthening their bodies with your heavy chains,
And feeding them with thin and slender fare;
That naked row about the Terrene sea,
And when they chance to rest or breathe a space,
Are punished with bastones so grievously,
That they lie panting on the galley's side,
And strive for life at every stroke they give.
These are the cruel pirates of Argier,
That damnèd train, the scum of Africa,
Inhabited with straggling runagates,
That make quick havoc of the Christian blood;
But as I live that town shall curse the time
That Tamburlaine set foot in Africa.


Baj. Bassoes and Janissaries of my guard,
Attend upon the person of your lord,
The greatest potentate of Africa.
Tamb. Techelles, and the rest, prepare your swords;
I mean to encounter with that Bajazeth.
Baj. Kings of Fez, Moroccus, and Argier,
He calls me Bajazeth, whom you call lord!
Note the presumption of this Scythian slave!
I tell thee, villain, those that lead my horse,
Have to their names titles of dignity,
And dar'st thou bluntly call me Bajazeth?
Tamb. And know, thou Turk, that those which lead my horse,
Shall lead thee captive thorough Africa;
And dar'st thou bluntly call me Tamburlaine?
Baj. By Mahomet my kinsman's sepulchre,
And by the holy Alcoran I swear,
He shall be made a chaste and lustless eunuch,
And in my sarell tend my concubines;
And all his captains that thus stoutly stand,
Shall draw the chariot of my emperess,
Whom I have brought to see their overthrow.
Tamb. By this my sword, that conquered Persia,
Thy fall shall make me famous through the world.
I will not tell thee how I'll handle thee,
But every common soldier of my camp
Shall smile to see thy miserable state.
K. of Fez. What means the mighty Turkish emperor,
To talk with one so base as Tamburlaine?
K. of Mor. Ye Moors and valiant men of Barbary,
How can ye suffer these indignities?
K. of Arg. Leave words, and let them feel you lances' points
Which glided through the bowels of the Greeks.
Baj. Well said, my stout contributory kings:
Your threefold army and my hugy host
Shall swallow up these base-born Persians.
Tech. Puissant, renowned, and mighty Tamburlaine,
Why stay we thus prolonging of their lives?
Ther. I long to see those crowns won by our swords,
That we may rule as kings of Africa.
Usum. What coward would not fight for such a prize?
Tamb. Fight all courageously, and be you kings;
I speak it, and my words are oracles.
Baj. Zabina, mother of three braver boys
Than Hercules, that in his infancy
Did pash the jaws of serpents venomous;
Whose hands are made to gripe a warlike lance,
Their shoulders broad for complete armour fit,
Their limbs more large, and of a bigger size,
Than all the brats ysprung from Typhon's loins;
Who, when they come unto their father's age,
Will batter turrets with their manly fists;—
Sit here upon this royal chair of state,
And on thy head wear my imperial crown,
Until I bring this sturdy Tamburlaine,
And all his captains bound in captive chains.
Zab. Such good success happen to Bajazeth!
Tamb. Zenocrate, the loveliest maid alive,
Fairer than rocks of pearl and precious stone,
The only paragon of Tamburlaine,
Whose eyes are brighter than the lamps of Heaven,
And speech more pleasant than sweet harmony!
That with thy looks canst clear the darkened sky,
And calm the rage of thundering Jupiter,
Sit down by her, adornèd with my crown,
As if thou wert the Empress of the world.
Stir not, Zenocrate, until thou see
Me march victoriously with all my men,
Triumphing over him and these his kings;
Which I will bring as vassals to thy feet;
Till then take thou my crown, vaunt of my worth,
And manage words with her, as we will arms.
Zeno. And may my love the King of Persia,
Return with victory and free from wound!
Baj. Now shalt thou feel the force of Turkish arms,
Which lately made all Europe quake for fear.
I have of Turks, Arabians, Moors, and Jews,
Enough to cover all Bithynia.
Let thousands die; their slaughtered carcasses
Shall serve for walls and bulwarks to the rest
And as the heads of Hydra, so my power,
Subdued, shall stand as mighty as before.
If they should yield their necks unto the sword,
Thy soldiers' arms could not endure to strike
So many blows as I have heads for thee.
Thou know'st not, foolish, hardy Tamburlaine,
What 'tis to meet me in the open field,
That leave no ground for thee to much upon.
Tamb. Our conquering swords shall marshal us the way
We use to march upon the slaughtered foe,
Trampling their bowels with our horses' hoofs;
Brave horses bred on th' white Tartarian hills;
My camp is like to Julius Cæsar's host,
That never fought but had the victory;
Nor in Pharsalia was there such hot war,
As these, my followers, willingly would have.
Legions of spirits fleeting in the air
Direct our bullets and our weapons' points,
And make your strokes to wound the senseless lure,
And when she sees our bloody colours spread,
Then Victory begins to take her flight,
Resting herself upon my milk-white tent?—
But come, my lords, to weapons let us fall;
The field is ours, the Turk, his wife and all.
[Exit with his followers.
Baj. Come, kings and bassoes, let us glut our swords,
That thirst to drink the feeble Persians' blood.
[Exit with his followers.
Zab. Base concubine, must thou be placed by me,
That am the empress of the mighty Turk?
Zeno. Disdainful Turkess and unreverend boss!
Call'st thou me concubine, that am betrothed
Unto the great and mighty Tamburlaine?
Zab. To Tamburlaine, the great Tartarian thief!
Zeno. Thou wilt repent these lavish words of thine,
When thy great basso-master and thyself
Must plead for mercy at his kingly feet,
And sue to me to be your advocate.
Zab. And sue to thee!—I tell thee, shameless girl,
Thou shalt be laundress to my waiting maid!
How lik'st thou her, Ebea?—Will she serve?
Ebea. Madam, perhaps, she thinks she is too fine,
But I shall turn her into other weeds,
And make her dainty fingers fall to work,
Zeno. Hear'st thou, Anippe, how thy drudge doth talk?
And how my slave, her mistress, menaceth?
Both for their sauciness shall be employed
To dress the common soldiers' meat and drink,
For we will scorn they should come near ourselves.
Anip. Yet sometimes let your highness send for them
To do the work my chambermaid disdains.
[They sound to the battle within.
Zeno. Ye gods and powers that govern Persia,
And made my lordly love her worthy king,
Now strengthen him against the Turkish Bajazeth,
And let his foes, like flocks of fearful roes
Pursued by hunters, fly his angry looks,
That I may see him issue conqueror!
Zab. Now, Mahomet, solicit God himself,
And make him rain down murdering shot from Heaven
To dash the Scythians' brains, and strike them dead,
That dare to manage arms with him
That offered jewels to thy sacred shrine,
When first he warred against the Christians!
[They sound again to the battle within.
Zeno. By this the Turks lie weltering in their blood,
And Tamburlaine is Lord of Africa.
Zab. Thou art deceived.—I heard the trumpets sound,
As when my emperor overthrew the Greeks,
And led them captive into Africa.
Straight will I use thee as they pride deserves—
Prepare thyself to live and die my slave.
Zeno. If Mahomet should come from Heaven and swear
My royal lord is slain or conquerèd,
Yet should he not persuade me otherwise
But that he lives and will be conqueror.

Re-enter BAJAZETH, pursued by TAMBURLAINE; they fight, and
is overcome.

Tamb. Now, king of bassoes, who is conqueror?
Baj. Thou, by the fortune, of this damnèd foil.
Tamb. Where are your stout contributory kings?


Tech. We have their crowns—their bodies strow the field.
Tamb. Each man a crown!—Why kingly fought i' faith.
Deliver them into my treasury.
Zeno. Now let me offer to my gracious lord
His royal crown again so highly won.
Tamb. Nay, take the crown from her, Zenocrate,
And crown me Emperor of Africa.
Zab. No, Tamburlaine: thought now thou gat the best,
Thou shalt not yet be lord of Africa.
Ther. Give her the crown, Turkess: you were best.
[He takes it from her.
Zab. Injurious villains!—thieves!—runagates!
How dare you thus abuse my majesty?
Ther. Here, madam, you are Empress; she is none.
[Gives it to ZENOCRATE.
Tamb. Not now, Theridamas; her time is past.
The pillars that have bolstered up those terms,
Are fallen in clusters at my conquering feet.
Zab. Though he be prisoner, he may be ransomed.
Tamb. Not all the world shall ransom Bajazeth.
Baj. Ah, fair Zabina! we have lost the field;
And never had the Turkish emperor
So great a foil by any foreign foe.
Now will the Christian miscreants be glad,
Ringing with joy their superstitious bells,
And making bonfires for my overthrow.
But, ere I die, those foul idolaters
Shall make me bonfires with their filthy bones.
For though the glory of this day be lost,
Afric and Greece have garrisons enough
To make me sovereign of the earth again.
Tamb. Those wallèd garrisons will I subdue,
And write myself great lord of Africa.
So from the East unto the furthest West
Shall Tamburlaine extend his puissant arm.
The galleys and those pilling brigandines,
That yearly sail to the Venetian gulf,
And hover in the Straits for Christians' wreck,
Shall lie at anchor in the isle Asant,
Until the Persian fleet and men of war,
Sailing along the oriental sea,
Have fetched about the Indian continent,
Even from Persepolis to Mexico,
And thence unto the straits of Jubaltèr;
Where they shall meet and join their force in one
Keeping in awe the bay of Portingale,
And all the ocean by the British shore;
And by this means I'll win the world at last.
Baj. Yet set a ransom on me, Tamburlaine.
Tamb. What, think'st thou Tamburlaine esteems thy gold?
I'll make the kings of India, ere I die,
Offer their mines to sue for peace to me,
And dig for treasure to appease my wrath.
Come, bind them both, and one lead in the Turk;
The Turkess let my love's maid lead away.
[They bind them.
Baj. Ah, villains!—dare you touch my sacred arms?
O Mahomet!—O sleepy Mahomet!
Zab. O cursèd Mahomet, that makes us thus
The slaves to Scythians rude and barbarous!
Tamb. Come, bring them in; and for this happy conquest,
Triumph and solemnise a martial feast. [Exeunt.



Enter the SOLDAN of EGYPT, CAPOLIN, Lords, and a Messenger.

SOLD. Awake, ye men of Memphis!—hear the clang
Of Scythian trumpets!—hear the basilisks,
That, roaring, shake Damascus' turrets down!
The rogue of Volga holds Zenocrate,
The Soldan's daughter, for his concubine,
And with a troop of thieves and vagabonds,
Hath spread his colours to our high disgrace,
While you, faint-hearted, base Egyptians,
Lie slumbering on the flowery banks of Nile,
As crocodiles that unaffrighted rest,
While thundering cannons rattle on their skins.
Mess. Nay, mighty Soldan, did your greatness see
The frowning looks of fiery Tamburlaine,
That with his terror and imperious eyes,
Commands the hearts of his associates,
It might amaze your royal majesty.
Sold. Villain, I tell thee, were that Tamburlaine
As monstrous as Gorgon prince of hell,
The Soldan would not start a foot from him.
But speak, what power hath he?
Mess. Mighty lord,
Three hundred thousand men in armour clad,
Upon their prancing steeds disdainfully,
With wanton paces trampling on the ground:
Five hundred thousand footmen threatening shot,
Shaking their swords, their spears, and iron bills,
Environing their standard round, that stood
As bristle-pointed as a thorny wood:
Their warlike engines and munition
Exceed the forces of their martial men.
Sold. Nay, could their numbers countervail the stars,
Or ever-drizzling drops of April showers,
Or withered leaves that Autumn shaketh down,
Yet would the Soldan by his conquering power
So scatter and consume them in his rage,
That not a man should live to rue their fall.
Capo. So might your highness, had you time to sort
Your fighting men, and raise your royal host;
But Tamburlaine, by expedition,
Advantage takes of your unreadiness.
Sold. Let him take all the advantages he can.
Were all the world conspired to fight for him,
Nay, were he devil, as he is no man,
Yet in revenge of fair Zenocrate,
Whom he detaineth in despite of us,
This arm should send him down to Erebus,
To shroud his shame in darkness of the night.
Mess. Pleaseth your mightiness to understand,
His resolution far exceedeth all.
The first day when he pitcheth down his tents,
White is their hue, and on his silver crest,
A snowy feather spangled white he bears,
To signify the mildness of his mind,
That, satiate with spoil, refuseth blood.
But when Aurora mounts the second time
As red as scarlet is his furniture;
Then must his kindled wrath be quenched with blood,
Not sparing any that can manage arms;
But if these threats move not submission,
Black are his colours, black pavilion;
His spear, his shield, his horse, his armour, plumes,
And jetty feathers, menace death and hell!
Without respect of sex, degree, or age,
He razeth all his foes with fire and sword.
Sold. Merciless villain!—peasant, ignorant
Of lawful arms or martial discipline!
Pillage and murder are his usual trades.
The slave usurps the glorious name of war.
See, Capolin, the fair Arabian king,
That hath been disappointed by this slave
Of my fair daughter, and his princely love,
May have fresh warning to go war with us,
And be revenged for her disparagement. [Exeunt.


two Moors drawing BAJAZETH in a cage, and ZABINA following

Tamb. Bring out my footstool.
[BAJAZETH is taken out of the cage.
Baj. Ye holy priests of heavenly Mahomet,
That, sacrificing, slice and cut your flesh,
Staining his altars with your purple blood;
Make Heaven to frown and every fixèd star
To suck up poison from the moorish fens,
And pour it in this glorious tyrant's throat!
Tamb. The chiefest God, first mover of that sphere,
Enchased with thousands ever-shining lamps,
Will sooner burn the glorious frame of Heaven,
Than it should so conspire my overthrow.
But, villain! thou that wishest this to me,
Fall prostrate on the low disdainful earth,
And be the footstool of great Tamburlaine,
That I may rise into my royal throne.
Baj. First shalt thou rip my bowels with thy sword,
And sacrifice my soul to death and hell,
Before I yield to such a slavery.
Tamb. Base villain, vassal, slave to Tamburlaine!
Unworthy to embrace or touch the ground,
That bears the honour of my royal weight;
Stoop, villain, stoop!—Stoop! for so he bids
That may command thee piecemeal to be torn,
Or scattered like the lofty cedar trees
Struck with the voice of thundering Jupiter.
Baj. Then, as I look down to the damnèd fiends,
Fiends look on me! and thou, dread god of hell,
With ebon sceptre strike this hateful earth,
And make it swallow both of us at once!
[TAMBURLAINE steps upon him to mount his throne.
Tamb. Now clear the triple region of the air,
And let the majesty of Heaven behold
Their scourge and terror tread on emperors.
Smile stars, that reigned at my nativity,
And dim the brightness of your neighbour lamps!
Disdain to borrow light of Cynthia!
For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth,
First rising in the East with mild aspèct,
But fixèd now in the meridian line,
Will send up fire to your turning spheres,
And cause the sun to borrow light of you.
My sword struck fire from his coat of steel,
Even in Bithynia, when I took this Turk;
As when a fiery exhalation,
Wrapt in the bowels of a freezing cloud
Fighting for passage, makes the welkin crack,
And casts a flash of lightning to the earth:
But ere I march to wealthy Persia,
Or leave Damascus and the Egyptian fields,
As was the fame of Clymene's brain-sick son,
That almost brent the axle-tree of Heaven,
So shall our swords, our lances, and our shot
Fill all the air with fiery meteors:
Then when the sky shall wax as red as blood
It shall be said I made it red myself,
To make me think of nought but blood and war.
Zab. Unworthy king, that by thy cruelty
Unlawfully usurp'st the Persian seat,
Dar'st thou that never saw an emperor,
Before thou met my husband in the field,
Being thy captive, thus abuse his state,
Keeping his kingly body in a cage,
That roofs of gold and sun-bright palaces
Should have prepared to entertain his grace?
And treading him beneath thy loathsome feet,
Whose feet the kings of Africa have kissed.
Tech. You must devise some torment worse, my lord,
To make these captives rein their lavish tongues.
Tamb. Zenocrate, look better to your slave.
Zeno. She is my handmaid's slave, and she shall look
That these abuses flow not from her tongue:
Chide her, Anippe.
Anip. Let these be warnings for you then, my slave,
How you abuse the person of the king;
Or else I swear to have you whipt, stark-naked.
Baj. Great Tamburlaine, great in my overthrow,
Ambitious pride shall make thee fall as low,
For treading on the back of Bajazeth,
That should be horsèd on four mighty kings.
Tamb. Thy names, and titles, and thy dignities
Are fled from Bajazeth and remain with me,
That will maintain it 'gainst a world of kings.
Put him in again. [They put him back into the cage.
Baj. Is this a place for mighty Bajazeth?
Confusion light on him that helps thee thus!
Tamb. There, whiles he lives, shall Bajazeth be kept;
And, where I go, be thus in triumph drawn;
And thou, his wife, shalt feed him with the scraps
My servitors shall bring thee from my board;
For he that gives him other food than this,
Shall sit by him and starve to death himself;
This is my mind and I will have it so.
Not all the kings and emperors of the earth,
If they would lay their crowns before my feet,
Shall ransom him, or take him from his cage.
The ages that shall talk of Tamburlaine,
Even from this day to Plato's wondrous year,
Shall talk how I have handled Bajazeth;
These Moors, that drew him from Bithynia,
To fair Damascus, where we now remain,
Shall lead him with us wheresoe'er we go.
Techelles, and my loving followers,
Now may we see Damascus' lofty towers,
Like to the shadows of Pyramides,
That with their beauties grace the Memphian fields:
The golden statue of their feathered bird
That spreads her wings upon the city's walls
Shall not defend it from our battering shot:
The townsmen mask in silk and cloth of gold,
And every house is as a treasury:
The men, the treasure, and the town is ours.
Ther. Your tents of white now pitched before the gates,
And gentle flags of amity displayed,
I doubt not but the governor will yield,
Offering Damascus to your majesty.
Tamb. So shall he have his life and all the rest:
But if he stay until the bloody flag
Be once advanced on my vermilion tent,
He dies, and those that kept us out so long.
And when they see us march in black array,
With mournful streamers hanging down their heads,
Were in that city all the world contained,
Not one should 'scape, but perish by our swords.
Zeno. Yet would you have some pity for my sake,
Because it is my country, and my father's.
Tamb. Not for the world, Zenocrate; I've sworn.
Come; bring in the Turk. [Exeunt.


Enter the SOLDAN, the KING of ARABIA, CAPOLIN, and Soldiers
with colours flying.

Sold. Methinks we march as Meleager did,
Environéd with brave Argolian knights,
To chase the savage Calydonian boar,
Or Cephalus with lusty Theban youths
Against the wolf that angry Themis sent
To waste and spoil the sweet Aonian fields,
A monster of five hundred thousand heads,
Compact of rapine, piracy, and spoil.
The scum of men, the hate and scourge of God,
Raves in Ægyptia and annoyeth us.
My lord, it is the bloody Tamburlaine,
A sturdy felon and a base-bred thief,
By murder raisèd to the Persian crown,
That dares control us in our territories.
To tame the pride of this presumptuous beast,
Join your Arabians with the Soldan's power,
Let us unite our royal bands in one,
And hasten to remove Damascus' siege.
It is a blemish to the majesty
And high estate of mighty emperors,
That such a base usurping vagabond
Should brave a king, or wear a princely crown.
K. of Arab. Renownèd Soldan, have you lately heard
The overthrow of mighty Bajazeth
About the confines of Bithynia?
The slavery wherewith he persecutes
The noble Turk and his great emperess?
Sold. I have and sorrow for his bad success;
But noble lord of great Arabia,
Be so persuaded that the Soldan is
No more dismayed with tidings of his fall,
Than in the haven when the pilot stands,
And views a stranger's ship rent in the winds,
And shiverèd against a craggy rock;
Yet in compassion to his wretched state,
A sacred vow to Heaven and him I make,
Confirming it with Ibis' holy name.
That Tamburlaine shall rue the day, the hour,
Wherein he wrought such ignominious wrong
Unto the hallowed person of a prince,
Or kept the fair Zenocrate so long
As concubine, I fear, to feed his lust.
K. of Arab. Let grief and fury hasten on revenge;
Let Tamburlaine for his offences feel
Such plagues as we and Heaven can pour on him.
I long to break my spear upon his crest,
And prove the weight of his victorious arm;
For Fame, I fear, hath been too prodigal
In sounding through the world his partial praise.
Sold. Capolin, hast thou surveyed our powers?
Capol. Great Emperors of Egypt and Arabia,
The number of your hosts united is
A hundred and fifty thousand horse;
Two hundred thousand foot, brave men-at-arms,
Courageous, and full of hardiness.
As frolic as the hunters in the chase
Of savage beasts amid the desert woods.
K. of Arab. My mind presageth fortunate success;
And Tamburlaine, my spirit doth foresee
The utter ruin of thy men and thee.
Sold. Then rear your standards; let your sounding drums
Direct our soldiers to Damascus'. walls.
Now, Tamburlaine, the mighty Soldan comes,
And leads with him the great Arabian king,
To dim thy baseness and obscurity,
Famous for nothing but for theft and spoil;
To raze and scatter thy inglorious crew
Of Scythians and slavish Persians. [Exeunt.


A Banquet set out; to it come TAMBURLAINE, all in scarlet ZENOCRATE,

Tamb. Now hang our bloody colours by Damascus,
Reflexing hues of blood upon their heads,
While they walk quivering on their city walls,
Half dead for fear before they feel my wrath,
Then let us freely banquet and carouse
Full bowls of wine unto the god of war
That means to fill your helmets full of gold,
And make Damascus spoils as rich to you,
As was to Jason Colchos' golden fleece.—
And now, Bajazeth, hast thou any stomach?
Baj. Ay, such a stomach, cruel Tamburlaine, as I
could willingly feed upon thy blood-raw heart.
Tamb. Nay thine own is easier to come by; pluck out that: and 'twill
serve thee and thy wife: Well, Zenocrate, Techelles, and the rest, fall
to your
Baj. Fall to, and never may your meat digest!
Ye Furies, that can mask invisible,
Dive to the bottom of Avernus' pool,
And in your hands bring hellish poison up
And squeeze it in the cup of Tamburlaine!
Or, wingèd snakes of Lerna, cast your stings,
And leave your venoms in this tyrant's dish!
Zab. And may this banquet prove as ominous
As Progne's to the adulterous Thracian king,
That fed upon the substance of his child.
Zeno. My lord, how can you tamely suffer these
Outrageous curses by these slaves of yours?
Tamb. To let them see, divine Zenocrate,
I glory in the curses of my foes,
Having the power from the imperial Heaven
To turn them all upon their proper heads.
Tech. I pray you give them leave, madam; this speech is a goodly
refreshing to them.
Ther. But if his highness would let them be fed, it would do
them more
Tamb. Sirrah, why fall you not to?—are you so daintily
brought up,
you cannot eat your own flesh?
Baj. First, legions of devils shall tear thee in pieces.
Usum. Villain, know'st thou to whom thou speakest?
Tamb. O, let him alone. Here; eat, sir; take it from my
sword's point,
or I'll thrust it to thy heart.
[BAJAZETH takes it and stamps upon it.
Ther. He stamps it under his feet, my lord.
Tamb. Take it up, villain, and eat it; or I will make thee slice the
brawns of thy arms into carbonadoes and eat them.
Usum. Nay, 'twere better he killed his wife, and then
she shall be sure
not to be starved, and he be provided for a month's victual beforehand.
Tamb. Here is my dagger: despatch her while she is
fat, for if she live
but a while longer, she will fall into a consumption with
fretting, and then she
will not be worth the eating.
Ther. Dost thou think that Mahomet will suffer this?
Tech. 'Tis like he will when he cannot let it.
Tamb. Go to; fall to your meat.—What, not a bit!
Belike he hath not been watered to-day; give him some drink.
[They give BAJAZETH water to drink, and he flings it upon the
Tamb. Fast, and welcome, sir, while hunger make you eat. How now,
Zenocrate, do not the Turk and his wife make a goodly show at a banquet?
Zeno. Yes, my lord.
Ther. Methinks, 'tis a great deal better than a consort of music.
Tamb. Yet music would do well to cheer up Zenocrate. Pray thee, tell,
why thou art so sad?—If thou wilt have a song, the Turk shall strain his
voice. But why is it?
Zeno. My lord, to see my father's town besieged,
The country wasted where myself was born,
How can it but afflict my very soul?
If any love remain in you, my lord,
Or if my love unto your majesty
May merit favour at your highness' hands,
Then raise your siege from fair Damascus' walls,
And with my father take a friendly truce.
Tamb. Zenocrate, were Egypt Jove's own land,
Yet would I with my sword make Jove to stoop.
I will confute those blind geographers
That make a triple region in the world,
Excluding regions which I mean to trace,
And with this pen reduce them to a map,
Calling the provinces cities and towns,
After my name and thine, Zenocrate.
Here at Damascus will I make the point
That shall begin the perpendicular;
And would'st thou have me buy thy father's love
With such a loss?—Tell me, Zenocrate.
Zeno. Honour still wait on happy Tamburlaine;
Yet give me leave to plead for him my lord.
Tamb. Content thyself: his person shall be safe
And all the friends of fair Zenocrate,
If with their lives they may be pleased to yield,
Or may be forced to make me Emperor;
For Egypt and Arabia must be mine.—
Feed, you slave; thou may'st think thyself happy to be fed from my trencher.
Baj. My empty stomach, full of idle heat,
Draws bloody humours from my feeble parts,
Preserving life by hastening cruel death.
My veins are pale; my sinews hard and dry;
My joints benumbed; unless I eat, I die.
Zab. Eat, Bajazeth: and let us live
In spite of them,—looking some happy power
Will pity and enlarge us.
Tamb. Here, Turk; wilt thou have a clean trencher?
Baj. Ay, tyrant, and more meat.
Tamb. Soft, sir; you must be dieted; too much eating will make you
Ther. So it would, my lord, 'specially having so small a walk and so
little exercise.
[A second course of crowns is brought in.
Tamb. Theridamas, Techelles, and Casane, here are the cates you
to finger, are they not?
Ther. Ay, my lord: but none save kings must feed with these.
Tech. 'Tis enough for us to see them, and for Tamburlaine only
to enjoy
Tamb. Well; here is now to the Soldan of Egypt, the King of
Arabia, and
the Governor of Damascus. Now take these three crowns, and pledge me, my
contributory kings.—I crown you here, Theridamas, King of Argier;
Techelles, King of Fez; and Usumcasane, King of Moroccus. How say you to this,
Turk? These are not your contributory kings.
Baj. Nor shall they long be thine, I warrant them.
Tamb. Kings of Argier, Moroccus, and of Fez,
You that have marched with happy Tamburlaine
As far as from the frozen plage of Heaven,
Unto the watery morning's ruddy bower,
And thence by land unto the torrid zone,
Deserve these titles I endow you with,
By valour and by magnanimity.
Your births shall be no blemish to your fame,
For virtue is the fount whence honour springs,
And they are worthy she investeth kings.
Ther. And since your highness hath so well vouch-safed;
If we deserve them not with higher meeds
Than erst our states and actions have retained
Take them away again and make us slaves.
Tamb. Well said, Theridamas; when holy fates
Shall 'stablish me in strong Ægyptia,
We mean to travel to the antarctic pole,
Conquering the people underneath our feet,
And be renowned as never emperors were.
Zenocrate, I will not crown thee yet,
Until with greater honours I be graced. [Exeunt.



Enter the GOVERNOR of DAMASCUS, with several Citizens, and
Virgins, having branches of laurel in their hands.

GOV. Still doth this man, or rather god of war,
Batter our walls and beat our turrets down;
And to resist with longer stubbornness
Or hope of rescue from the Soldan's power,
Were but to bring our wilful overthrow,
And make us desperate of our threatened lives.
We see his tents have now been altered
With terrors to the last and cruellest hue.
His coal-black colours everywhere advanced,
Threaten our city with a general spoil;
And if we should with common rites of arms
Offer our safeties to his clemency,
I fear the custom, proper to his sword,
Which he observes as parcel of his fame,
Intending so to terrify the world,
By any innovation or remorse
Will never be dispensed with till our deaths;
Therefore, for these our harmless virgins' sakes,
Whose honours and whose lives rely on him,
Let us have hope that their unspotted prayers,
Their blubbered cheeks, and hearty, humble moans,
Will melt his fury into some remorse,
And use us like a loving conqueror.
1st Virg. If humble suits or imprecations,
(Uttered with tears of wretchedness and blood
Shed from the heads and hearts of all our sex,
Some made your wives and some your children)
Might have entreated your obdurate breasts
To entertain some care of our securities
Whiles only danger beat upon our walls.
These more than dangerous warrants of our death
Had never been erected as they be,
Nor you depend on such weak helps as we.
Gov. Well, lovely virgins, think our country's care,
Our love of honour, loath to be inthralled
To foreign powers and rough imperious yokes,
Would not with too much cowardice or fear,
(Before all hope of rescue were denied)
Submit yourselves and us to servitude.
Therefore in that your safeties and our own,
Your honours, liberties, and lives were weighed
In equal care and balance with our own,
Endure as we the malice of our stars,
The wrath of Tamburlaine and power of wars;
Or be the means the overweighing heavens
Have kept to qualify these hot extremes,
And bring us pardon in your cheerful looks.
2nd Virg. Then here before the majesty of Heaven
And holy patrons of Ægyptia,
With knees and hearts submissive we entreat
Grace to our words and pity to our looks
That this device may prove propitious,
And through the eyes and ears of Tamburlaine
Convey events of mercy to his heart;
Grant that these signs of victory we yield
May bind the temples of his conquering head,
To hide the folded furrows of his brows,
And shadow his displeasèd countenance
With happy looks of ruth and lenity.
Leave us, my lord, and loving countrymen;
What simple virgins may persuade, we will.
Gov. Farewell, sweet virgins, on whose safe return
Depends our city, liberty, and lives.
[Exeunt GOVERNOR and Citizens; the Virgins remain.

Enter TAMBURLAINE, all in black and very melancholy, TECHELLES,

Tamb. What, are the turtles frayed out of their nests?
Alas, poor fools! must you be first shall feel
The sworn destruction of Damascus?
They knew my custom; could they not as well
Have sent ye out, when first my milk-white flags,
Through which sweet Mercy threw her gentle beams,
Reflexing them on your disdainful eyes,
As now, when fury and incensèd hate
Flings slaughtering terror from my coal-black tents,
And tells for truth submission comes too late?
1st Virg. Most happy King and Emperor of the earth,
Image of honour and nobility,
For whom the powers divine have made the world,
And on whose throne the holy Graces sit;
In whose sweet person is comprised the sum
Of Nature's skill and heavenly majesty;
Pity our plights! O pity poor Damascus!
Pity old age, within whose silver hairs
Honour and reverence evermore have reigned!
Pity the marriage bed, where many a lord,
In prime and glory of his loving joy,
Embraceth now with tears of ruth and blood
The jealous body of his fearful wife,
Whose cheeks and hearts so punished with conceit,
To think thy puissant, never-stayèd arm,
Will part their bodies, and prevent their souls
From heavens of comfort yet their age might bear,
Now wax all pale and withered to the death,
As well for grief our ruthless governor
Hath thus refused the mercy of thy hand,
(Whose sceptre angels kiss and furies dread.)
As for their liberties, their loves, or lives!
O then for these, and such as we ourselves,
For us, our infants, and for all our bloods,
That never nourished thought against thy rule,
Pity, O pity, sacred Emperor,
The prostrate service of this wretched town,
And take in sign thereof this gilded wreath;
Whereto each man of rule hath given his hand,
And wished, as worthy subjects, happy means
To be investers of thy royal brows
Even with the true Egyptian diadem!
Tamb. Virgins, in vain you labour to prevent
That which mine honour swears shall be performed.
Behold my sword! what see you at the point?
1st Virg. Nothing but fear, and fatal steel, my lord.
Tamb. Your fearful minds are thick and misty then;
For there sits Death; there sits imperious Death
Keeping his circuit by the slicing edge.
But I am pleased you shall not see him there;
He now is seated on my horsemen's spears,
And on their points his fleshless body feeds.
Techelles, straight go charge a few of them
To charge these dames, and show my servant, Death,
Sitting in scarlet on their armèd spears.
Virgins. O pity us!
Tamb. Away with them, I say, and show them Death.
[The Virgins are taken out.
I will not spare these proud Egyptians,
Nor change my martial observations
For all the wealth of Gihon's golden waves,
Or for the love of Venus, would she leave
The angry god of arms and lie with me.
They have refused the offer of their lives,
And know my customs are as peremptory
As wrathful planets, death, or destiny.


What, have your horsemen shown the virgins Death?
Tech. They have, my lord, and on Damascus' walls
Have hoisted up their slaughtered carcases.
Tamb. A sight as baneful to their souls, I think,
As are Thessalian drugs or mithridate:
But go, my lords, put the rest to the sword.
[Exeunt all except TAMBURLAINE.
Ah, fair Zenocrate!—divine Zenocrate!—
Fair is too foul an epithet for thee,
That in thy passion for thy country's love,
And fear to see thy kingly father's harm,
With hair dishevelled wip'st thy watery cheeks;
And, like to Flora in her morning pride,
Shaking her silver tresses in the air,
Rain'st on the earth resolvèd pearl in showers,
And sprinklest sapphires on thy shining face,
Where Beauty, mother to the Muses, sits
And comments volumes with her ivory pen,
Taking instructions from thy flowing eyes;
Eyes that, when Ebena steps to Heaven,
In silence of thy solemn evening's walk,
Make, in the mantle of the richest night,
The moon, the planets, and the meteors, light;
There angels in their crystal armours fight
A doubtful battle with my tempted thoughts
For Egypt's freedom, and the Soldan's life;
His life that so consumes Zenocrate,
Whose sorrows lay more siege unto my soul,
Than all my army to Damascus' walls:
And neither Persia's sovereign, nor the Turk
Troubled my senses with conceit of foil
So much by much as doth Zenocrate.
What is beauty, saith my sufferings, then?
If all the pens that ever poets held
Had fed the feeling of their masters' thoughts,
And every sweetness that inspired their hearts,
Their minds, and muses on admirèd themes;
If all the heavenly quintessence they still
From their immortal flowers of poesy,
Wherein, as in a mirror, we perceive
The highest reaches of a human wit;
If these had made one poem's period,
And all combined in beauty's worthiness,
Yet should there hover in their restless heads
One thought, one grace, one wonder, at the least,
Which into words no virtue can digest.
But how unseemly is it for my sex,
My discipline of arms and chivalry,
My nature, and the terror of my name,
To harbour thoughts effeminate and faint!
Save only that in beauty's just applause,
With whose instinct the soul of man is touched;
And every warrior that is wrapt with love
Of fame, of valour, and of victory,
Must needs have beauty beat on his conceits:
I thus conceiving and subduing both
That which hath stooped the chiefest of the gods,
Even from the fiery-spangled veil of Heaven,
To fell the lowly warmth of shepherds' flames,
And mask in cottages of strowèd reeds,
Shall give the world to note for all my birth,
That virtue solely is the sum of glory,
And fashions men with true nobility.—
Who's within there?

Enter Attendants.

Hath Bajazeth been fed to-day?
Atten. Ay, my lord.
Tamb. Bring him forth; and let us know if the town be ransacked.
[Exeunt Attendants.


Tech. The town is ours, my lord, and fresh supply
Of conquest and of spoil is offered us.
Tamb. That's well, Techelles; what's the news?
Tech. The Soldan and the Arabian king together,
March on us with such eager violence,
As if there were no way but one with us.
Tamb. No more there is not, I warrant thee, Techelles.

Attendants bring in BAJAZETH in his cage, followed by ZABINA; then

Ther. We know the victory is ours, my lord;
But let us save the reverend Soldan's life,
For fair Zenocrate that so laments his state.
Tamb. That will we chiefly see unto, Theridamas,
For sweet Zenocrate, whose worthiness
Deserves a conquest over every heart.
And now, my footstool, if I lose the field,
You hope of liberty and restitution?
Here let him stay, my masters, from the tents,
Till we have made us ready for the field.
Pray for us, Bajazeth; we are going.

Baj. Go, never to return with victory.
Millions of men encompass thee about,
And gore thy body with as many wounds!
Sharp, forkèd arrows light upon thy horse!
Furies from the black Cocytus lake,
Break up the earth, and with their firebrands
Enforce thee run upon the baneful pikes!
Volleys of shot pierce through thy charmèd skin,
And every bullet dipt in poisoned drugs!
Or, roaring cannons sever all thy joints,
Making thee mount as high as eagles soar!
Zab. Let all the swords and lances in the field
Stick in his breast as in their proper rooms!
At every pore let blood come dropping forth,
That lingering pains may massacre his heart,
And madness send his damnèd soul to hell!
Baj. Ah, fair Zabina! we may curse his power;
The heavens may frown, the earth for anger quake:
But such a star hath influence on his sword,
As rules the skies and countermands the gods
More than Cimmerian Styx or destiny;
And then shall we in this detested guise,
With shame, with hunger, and with horror stay,
Griping our bowels with retorquèd thoughts,
And have no hope to end our ecstasies.
Zab. Then is there left no Mahomet, no God,
No fiend, no fortune, nor no hope of end
To our infàmous monstrous slaveries.
Gape earth, and let the fiends infernal view
A hell as hopeless and as full of fear
As are the blasted banks of Erebus,
Where shaking ghosts with ever howling groans
Hover about the ugly ferryman,
To get a passage to Elysium!
Why should we live? O, wretches, beggars, slaves!
Why live we, Bajazeth, and build up nests
So high within the region of the air
By living long in this oppression,
That all the world will see and laugh to scorn
The former triumphs of our mightiness
In this obscure infernal servitude?
Baj. O life, more loathsome to my vexèd thoughts
Than noisome parbreak of the Stygian snakes,
Which fills the nooks of hell with standing air,
Infecting all the ghosts with cureless griefs!
O dreary engines of my loathèd sight,
That see my crown, my honour, and my name
Thrust under yoke and thraldom of a thief,
Why feed ye still on day's accursèd beams
And sink not quite into my tortured soul?
You see my wife, my queen, and emperess,
Brought up and proppèd by the hand of fame,
Queen of fifteen contributory queens,
Now thrown to rooms of black abjection,
Smearèd with blots of basest drudgery,
And villainess^1^ to shame, disdain, and misery.
Accursèd Bajazeth, whose words of ruth,
(That would with pity cheer Zabina's heart,
And make our souls resolve^2^ in ceaseless tears;)
Sharp hunger bites upon, and gripes the root,
From whence the issues of my thoughts do break;
O poor Zabina! O my queen! my queen!
Fetch me some water for my burning breast,
To cool and comfort me with longer date,
That in the shortened sequel of my life
I may pour forth my soul into thine arms
With words of love, whose moaning intercourse
Hath hitherto been stayed with wrath and hate
Of our expressless banned inflictions.
Zab. Sweet Bajazeth, I will prolong thy life,
As long as any blood or spark of breath
Can quench or cool the torments of my grief. [Exit.
Baj. Now, Bajazeth, abridge thy baneful days,
And beat thy brains out of thy conquered head,
Since other means are all forbidden me,
That may be ministers of my decay.
O, highest lamp of ever-living Jove,
Accursèd day! infected with my griefs,
Hide now thy stainèd face in endless night,
And shut the windows of the lightsome heavens!
Let ugly Darkness with her rusty coach,
Engirt with tempests, wrapt in pitchy clouds,
Smother the earth with never-fading mists!
And let her horses from their nostrils breathe
Rebellious winds and dreadful thunder-claps!
That in this terror Tamburlaine may live,
And my pined soul, resolved in liquid air,
May still excruciate his tormented thoughts!
Then let the stony dart of senseless cold
Pierce through the centre of my withered heart,
And make a passage for my loathèd life!
[He brains himself against the cage.

Re-enter ZABINA.

Zab. What do mine eyes behold? my husband dead
His skull all riven in twain! his brains dashed out.—
The brains of Bajazeth, my lord and sovereign:
O Bajazeth, my husband and my lord!
O Bajazeth! O Turk! O Emperor!
Give him his liquor? not I. Bring milk and fire, and my blood I bring him
again.—Tear me in pieces—give me the sword with a ball of wild-fire
upon it.—Down with him! Down with him!—Go to my child! Away! Away!
Away!—Ah, save that infant! save him, save him!—I, even I, speak to
her.—The sun was down—streamers white, red, black—here, here,
here!—Fling the meat in his
face—Tamburlaine.—Tamburlaine!—Let the soldiers be
buried.—Hell! Death, Tamburlaine, Hell! Make ready my coach, my chair, my
jewels.—I come! I come! I come!
[She runs against the cage and brains herself.


Zeno. Wretched Zenocrate! that liv'st to see
Damascus' walls dyed with Egyptians' blood,
Thy father's subjects and thy countrymen;
The streets strowed with dissevered joints of men
And wounded bodies gasping yet for life:
But most accurst, to see the sun-bright troop
Of heavenly virgins and unspotted maids,
(Whose looks might make the angry god of arms
To break his sword and mildly treat' of love)
On horsemen's lances to be hoisted up
And guiltlessly endure a cruel death:
For every fell and stout Tartarian steed,
That stampt on others with their thundering hoofs,
When all their riders charged their quivering spears,
Began to check the ground and rein themselves,
Gazing upon the beauty of their looks.—
Ah Tamburlaine! wert thou the cause of this
That term'st Zenocrate thy dearest love?
Whose lives were dearer to Zenocrate
Than her own life, or aught save thine own love.
But see another bloody spectacle!
Ah, wretched eyes, the enemies of my heart,
How are ye glutted with these grievous objects,
And tell my soul more tales of bleeding ruth!
See, see, Anippe, if they breathe or no.
Anippe. No breath, nor sense, nor motion in them both;
Ah, madam! this their slavery hath enforced,
And ruthless cruelty of Tamburlaine.
Zeno. Earth, cast up fountains from thy entrails,
And wet thy cheeks for their untimely deaths!
Shake with their weight in sign of fear and grief!
Blush, Heaven, that gave them honour at their birth
And let them die a death so barbarous!
Those that are proud of fickle empery
And place their chiefest good in earthly pomp,
Behold the Turk and his great Emperess!
Ah, Tamburlaine! my love! sweet Tamburlaine!
That fight'st for sceptres and for slippery crowns,
Behold the Turk and his great Emperess!
Thou, that in conduct of thy happy stars
Sleep'st every night with conquests on thy brows,
And yet would'st shun the wavering turns of war,
In fear and feeling of the like distress
Behold the Turk and his great Emperess!
Ah, mighty Jove and holy Mahomet,
Pardon my love!—O, pardon his contempt
Of earthly fortune and respect of pity,
And let not conquest, ruthlessly pursued,
Be equally against his life incensed
In this great Turk and hapless Emperess!
And pardon me that was not moved with ruth
To see them live so long in misery!
Ah, what may chance to thee, Zenocrate?
Anippe. Madam, content yourself, and be resolved
Your love hath Fortune so at his command,
That she shall stay and turn her wheel no more,
As long as life maintains his mighty arm
That fights for honour to adorn your head.

Enter PHILEMUS, a Messenger.

Zeno. What other heavy news now brings Philemus?
Phil. Madam, your father, and the Arabian king,
The first affecter of your excellence,
Comes now, as Turnus 'gainst Æneas did,
Armèd with lance into the Egyptian fields,
Ready for battle 'gainst my lord, the king.
Zeno. Now shame and duty, love and fear present
A thousand sorrows to my martyred soul.
Whom should I wish the fatal victory
When my poor pleasures are divided thus
And racked by duty from my cursèd heart?
My father and my first-betrothèd love
Must fight against my life and present love;
Wherein the change I use condemns my faith,
And makes my deeds infàmous through the world:
But as the gods, to end the Trojans' toil
Prevented Turnus of Lavinia
And fatally enriched Æneas' love,
So for a final issue to my griefs,
To pacify my country and my love
Must Tamburlaine by their resistless pow'rs
With virtue of a gentle victory
Conclude a league of honour to my hope;
Then, as the Powers divine have pre-ordained,
With happy safety of my father's life
Send like defence of fair Arabia.
[Trumpets sound to the battle within: afterwards, the KING of
ARABIA enters wounded.
K. of Arab. What cursèd power guides the murdering hands
Of this infàmous tyrant's soldiers.
That no escape may save their enemies,
Nor fortune keep themselves from victory?
Lie down, Arabia, wounded to the death,
And let Zenocrate's fair eyes behold
That, as for her thou bear'st these wretched arms,
Even so for her thou diest in these arms,
Leaving thy blood for witness of thy love.
Zeno. Too dear a witness for such love, my lord,
Behold Zenocrate! the cursèd object,
Whose fortunes never masterèd her griefs;
Behold her wounded, in conceit, for thee,
As much as thy fair body is for me.
K. of Arab. Then shall I die with full, contented heart,
Having beheld divine Zenocrate,
Whose sight with joy would take away my life
As now it bringeth sweetness to my wound,
If I had not been wounded as I am.
Ah! that the deadly pangs I suffer now,
Would lend an hour's licence to my tongue,
To make discourse of some sweet accidents
Have chanced thy merits in this worthless bondage;
And that I might be privy to the state
Of thy deserved contentment, and thy love;
But, making now a virtue of thy sight,
To drive all sorrow from my fainting soul,
Since death denies me farther cause of joy,
Deprived of care, my heart with comfort dies,
Since thy desirèd hand shall close mine eyes. [He dies.

USUMCASANE, with others.

Tamb. Come, happy father of Zenocrate,
A title higher than thy Soldan's name.
Though my right hand have thus enthrallèd thee,
Thy princely daughter here shall set thee free;
She that hath calmed the fury of my sword,
Which had ere this been bathed in streams of blood
As vast and deep as Euphrates or Nile.
Zeno. O sight thrice welcome to my joyful soul,
To see the king, my father, issue safe
From dangerous battle of my conquering love!
Sold. Well met, my only dear Zenocrate,
Though with the loss of Egypt and my crown.
Tamb. 'Twas I, my lord, that got the victory,
And therefore grieve not at your overthrow,
Since I shall render all into your hands,
And add more strength to your dominions
Than ever yet confirmed the Egyptian crown.
The god of war resigns his room to me,
Meaning to make me general of the world:
Jove, viewing me in arms, looks pale and wan,
Fearing my power should pull him from his throne.
Where'er I come the Fatal Sisters sweat,
And grisly Death, by running to and fro,
To do their ceaseless homage to my sword;
And here in Afric, where it seldom rains,
Since I arrived with my triumphant host,
Have swelling clouds, drawn from wide-gasping wounds,
Been oft resolved in bloody purple showers,
A meteor that might terrify the earth,
And make it quake at every drop it drinks.
Millions of souls sit on the banks of Styx
Waiting the back return of Charon's boat;
Hell and Elysium swarm with ghosts of men,
That I have sent from sundry foughten fields,
To spread my fame through hell and up to Heaven.
And see, my lord, a sight of strange import,
Emperors and kings lie breathless at my feet:
The Turk and his great Empress, as it seems,
Left to themselves while we were at the fight,
Have desperately despatched their slavish lives:
With them Arabia, too, hath left his life:
All sights of power to grace my victory;
And such are objects fit for Tamburlaine;
Wherein, as in a mirror, may be seen
His honour, that consists in shedding blood,
When men presume to manage arms with him.
Sold. Mighty hath God and Mahomet made thy hand,
Renownèd Tamburlaine! to whom all kings
Of force must yield their crowns and emperies;
And I am pleased with this my overthrow,
If, as beseems a person of thy state,
Thou hast with honour used Zenocrate.
Tamb. Her state and person want no pomp, you see;
And for all blot of foul inchastity
I record Heaven her heavenly self is clear:
Then let me find no farther time to grace
Her princely temples with the Persian crown.
But here these kings that on my fortunes wait,
And have been crowned for provèd worthiness,
Even by this hand that shall establish them,
Shall now, adjoining all their hands with mine,
Invest her here the Queen of Persia.
What saith the noble Soldan and Zenocrate!
Sold. I yield with thanks and protestations
Of endless honour to thee for her love.
Tamb. Then doubt I not but fair Zenocrate
Will soon consent to satisfy us both.
Zeno. Else should I much forget myself, my lord.
Ther. Then let us set the crown upon her head,
That long hath lingered for so high a seat.
Tech. My hand is ready to perform the deed;
For now her marriage-time shall work us rest.
Usum. And here's the crown, my lord; help set it on.
Tamb. Then sit thou down, divine Zenocrate;
And here we crown thee Queen of Persia,
And all the kingdoms and dominions
That late the power of Tamburlaine subdued.
As Juno, when the giants were suppressed,
That darted mountains at her brother Jove,
So looks my love, shadowing in her brows
Triumphs and trophies for my victories;
Or, as Latona's daughters, bent to arms,
Adding more courage to my conquering mind.
To gratify the sweet Zenocrate,
Egyptians, Moors, and men of Asia,
From Barbary unto the western India,
Shall pay a yearly tribute to thy sire:
And from the bounds of Afric to the banks
Of Ganges shall his mighty arm extend.
And now, my lords and loving followers,
That purchased kingdoms by your martial deeds,
Cast off your armour, put on scarlet robes,
Mount up your royal places of estate,
Environèd with troops of noblemen,
And there make laws to rule your provinces.
Hang up your weapons on Alcides' post,
For Tamburlaine takes truce with all the world.
Thy first-betrothèd love, Arabia,
Shall we with honour, as beseems, entomb
With this great Turk and his fair Emperess.
Then, after all these solemn exequies,
We will our rites of marriage solemnise.


^1^ Slave.

^2^ Dissolve.

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