Tamburlaine the Great, Part 1 by Christopher Marlowe

ANGLE BRACKETS: Any place where angle brackets are used, i.e. < >, it is a change made during the preparation of this text. The original printed book did not use this character at all. SQUARE BRACKETS: The square brackets, i.e. are copied from the printed book, without change, except that the stage directions usually do
Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe
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Any place where angle brackets are used, i.e. < >, it is
a change made during the preparation of this text. The original printed book did not use this character at all.


The square brackets, i.e. [ ] are copied from the printed book, without change, except that the stage directions usually do not have closing brackets. These have been added.


For this online version of the book, the footnotes have been consolidated at the end of the play.

Numbering of the footnotes has been changed, and each footnote is given a unique identity in the form .


Character names were expanded. For Example, TAMBURLAINE was TAMB., ZENOCRATE was ZENO., etc.

One word, appearing in note 115, was printed in Greek Characters. This word has been transliterated as <>.


This is Part 1


Tamburlaine the Great. Who, from a Scythian Shephearde by his rare and woonderfull Conquests, became a most puissant and mightye Monarque. And (for his tyranny, and terrour in Warre) was tearmed, The Scourge of God. Deuided into two Tragicall Discourses, as they were sundrie times shewed vpon Stages in the Citie of London. By the right honorable the Lord Admyrall, his seruauntes. Now first, and newlie published. London. Printed by Richard Ihones: at the signe of the Rose and Crowne neere Holborne Bridge. 1590. 4to.

The above title-page is pasted into a copy of the FIRST PART OF TAMBURLAINE in the Library at Bridge-water House; which copy, excepting that title-page and the Address to the Readers, is the impression of 1605. I once supposed that the title-pages which bear the dates 1605 and 1606 (see below) had been added to the 4tos of the TWO PARTS of the play originally printed in 1590; but I am now convinced that both PARTS were really reprinted, THE FIRST PART in 1605, and THE SECOND PART in 1606, and that nothing remains of the earlier 4tos, except the title-page and the Address to the Readers, which are preserved in the Bridge- water collection.

In the Bodleian Library, Oxford, is an 8vo edition of both PARTS OF TAMBURLAINE, dated 1590: the title-page of THE FIRST PART agrees verbatim with that given above; the half-title-page of THE SECOND PART is as follows;

The Second Part of The bloody Conquests of mighty Tamburlaine. With his impassionate fury, for the death of his Lady and loue faire Zenocrate; his fourme of exhortacion and discipline to his three sons, and the maner of his own death.

In the Garrick Collection, British Museum, is an 8vo edition of both PARTS dated 1592: the title-page of THE FIRST PART runs thus;

Tamburlaine the Great. Who, from a Scythian Shepheard, by his rare and wonderfull Conquestes, became a most puissant and mightie Mornarch [sic]: And (for his tyrannie, and terrour in warre) was tearmed, The Scourge of God. The first part of the two Tragicall discourses, as they were sundrie times most stately shewed vpon Stages in the Citie of London. By the right honorable the Lord Admirall, his seruauntes. Now newly published. Printed by Richard Iones, dwelling at the signe of the Rose and Crowne neere Holborne Bridge.

The half-title-page of THE SECOND PART agrees exactly with that already given. Perhaps the 8vo at Oxford and that in the British Museum (for I have not had an opportunity of comparing them) are the same impression, differing only in the title-pages.

Langbaine (ACCOUNT OF ENGL. DRAM. POETS, p. 344) mentions an 8vo dated 1593.

The title-pages of the latest impressions of THE TWO PARTS are as follows;

Tamburlaine the Greate. Who, from the state of a Shepheard in Scythia, by his rare and wonderfull Conquests, became a most puissant and mighty Monarque. London Printed for Edward White, and are to be solde at the little North doore of Saint Paules-Church, at the signe of the Gunne, 1605. 4to.

Tamburlaine the Greate. With his impassionate furie, for the death of his Lady and Loue fair Zenocrate: his forme of exhortation and discipline to his three Sonnes, and the manner of his owne death. The second part. London Printed by E. A. for Ed. White, and are to be solde at his Shop neere the little North doore of Saint Paules Church at the Signe of the Gun. 1606. 4to.

The text of the present edition is given from the 8vo of 1592, collated with the 4tos of 1605-6.


Gentlemen and courteous readers whosoever: I have here published in print, for your sakes, the two tragical discourses of the Scythian shepherd Tamburlaine, that became so great a conqueror and so mighty a monarch. My hope is, that they will be now no less acceptable unto you to read after your serious affairs and studies than they have been lately delightful for many of you to see when the same were shewed in London upon stages. I have purposely omitted and left out some fond<3> and frivolous gestures,
digressing, and, in my poor opinion, far unmeet for the matter, which I thought might seem more tedious unto the wise than any way else to be regarded, though haply they have been of some vain-conceited fondlings greatly gaped at, what time they were shewed upon the stage in their graced deformities: nevertheless now to be mixtured in print with such matter of worth, it would prove a great disgrace to so honourable and stately a history. Great folly were it in me to commend unto your wisdoms either the eloquence of the author that writ them or the worthiness of the matter itself. I therefore leave unto your learned censures<4> both the one and the other, and myself the poor printer of them unto your most courteous and favourable protection; which if you vouchsafe to accept, you shall evermore bind me to employ what travail and service I can to the advancing and pleasuring of your excellent degree.
Yours, most humble at commandment, R[ichard] J[ones], printer.



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 fortunes as you please.


MYCETES, king of Persia.
COSROE, his brother.
ORTYGIUS, > Persian lords.
TAMBURLAINE, a Scythian shepherd.
USUMCASANE, > his followers.
BAJAZETH, emperor of the Turks.
MAGNETES, > Median lords.
CAPOLIN, an Egyptian.
PHILEMUS, Bassoes, Lords, Citizens, Moors, Soldiers, and Attendants.

ZENOCRATE, daughter to the Soldan of Egypt. ANIPPE, her maid.
EBEA, her maid.
Virgins of Damascus.





MYCETES. Brother Cosroe, I find myself agriev’d; 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.

COSROE. Unhappy Persia,–that in former age Hast been the seat of mighty conquerors, That, in their prowess and their policies, Have triumph’d over Afric,<5> and the bounds Of Europe where the sun dares scarce appear For freezing meteors and congealed cold,– Now to be rul’d and govern’d by a man
At whose birth-day Cynthia with Saturn join’d, And Jove, the Sun, and Mercury denied
To shed their<6> influence in his fickle brain! Now Turks and Tartars shake their swords at thee, Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.

MYCETES. Brother, I see your meaning well enough, And through<7> 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?

MEANDER. Not for so small a fault, my sovereign lord.

MYCETES. 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 conceived 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.

MEANDER. 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<8> 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, Charg’d with a thousand horse, to apprehend And bring him captive to your highness’ throne.

MYCETES. 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<9> To apprehend that paltry Scythian.
How like you this, my honourable lords? Is it not a kingly resolution?

COSROE. It cannot choose, because it comes from you.

MYCETES. Then hear thy charge, valiant Theridamas, The chiefest<10> 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.

THERIDAMAS. Before the moon renew her borrow’d light, Doubt not, my lord and gracious sovereign, But Tamburlaine and that Tartarian rout<11> Shall either perish by our warlike hands, Or plead for mercy at your highness’ feet.

MYCETES. 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 killed men, And, from their knees even to their hoofs below, Besmear’d with blood that makes a dainty show.

THERIDAMAS. Then now, my lord, I humbly take my leave.

MYCETES. Theridamas, farewell ten thousand times. [Exit THERIDAMAS.]
Ah, Menaphon, why stay’st thou thus behind, When other men press<12> forward for renown? Go, Menaphon, go into Scythia,
And foot by foot follow Theridamas.

COSROE. Nay, pray you,<13> let him stay; a greater [task] Fits Menaphon than warring with a thief: Create him pro-rex of all<14> Africa, That he may win the Babylonians’ hearts, Which will revolt from Persian government, Unless they have a wiser king than you.

MYCETES. Unless they have a wiser king than you! These are his words; Meander, set them down.

COSROE. And add this to them,–that all Asia Lament to see the folly of their king.

MYCETES. Well, here I swear by this my royal seat–

COSROE. You may do well to kiss it, then.

MYCETES. Emboss’d with silk as best beseems my state, To be reveng’d for these contemptuous words! O, 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 abus’d, Meander.
[Exeunt all except COSROE and MENAPHON.]

MENAPHON. How now, my lord! what, mated<15> and amaz’d To hear the king thus threaten like himself!

COSROE. Ah, Menaphon, I pass not<16> 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 vexed soul,
To see our neighbours, that were wont to quake And tremble at the Persian monarch’s name, Now sit and laugh our regiment<17> to scorn; And that which might resolve<18> me into tears, Men from the farthest equinoctial line
Have swarm’d in troops into the Eastern India, Lading their ships<19> with gold and precious stones, And made their spoils from all our provinces.

MENAPHON. This should entreat your highness to rejoice, Since Fortune gives you opportunity
To gain the title of a conqueror
By curing of this maimed empery.
Afric and Europe bordering on your land, And continent to your dominions,
How easily may you, with a mighty host, Pass<20> into Graecia, as did Cyrus once, And cause them to withdraw their forces home, Lest you<21> subdue the pride of Christendom! [Trumpet within.]

COSROE. But, Menaphon, what means this trumpet’s sound?

MENAPHON. Behold, my lord, Ortygius and the rest Bringing the crown to make you emperor!

Re-enter ORTYGIUS and CENEUS,<22> with others, bearing a crown.

ORTYGIUS. Magnificent and mighty prince Cosroe, We, in the name of other Persian states<23> And commons of this mighty monarchy,
Present thee with th’ imperial diadem.

CENEUS. The warlike soldiers and the gentlemen, That heretofore have fill’d 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 walled towns,
Wanting both pay and martial discipline, Begin in troops to threaten civil war,
And openly exclaim against their<24> king: Therefore, to stay 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.

COSROE. Well, since I see the state of Persia droop And languish in my brother’s government, I willingly receive th’ imperial crown,
And vow to wear it for my country’s good, In spite of them shall malice my estate.

ORTYGIUS. And, in assurance of desir’d success, We here do crown thee monarch of the East<;>
Emperor of Asia and Persia;<25> Great lord of Media and Armenia;
Duke of Africa and Albania,
Mesopotamia and of Parthia,
East India and the late-discover’d isles; Chief lord of all the wide vast Euxine Sea, And of the ever-raging<26> Caspian Lake.

ALL.<27> Long live Cosroe, mighty emperor!

COSROE. And Jove may<28> 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 desires 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.

ORTYGIUS. We knew,<29> my lord, before we brought the crown, Intending your investion so near
The residence of your despised brother, The lords<30> would not be too exasperate To injury<31> 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.

COSROE. I know it well, my lord, and thank you all.

ORTYGIUS. Sound up the trumpets, then. [Trumpets sounded.]

ALL.<32> God save the king!



TAMBURLAINE. Come, lady, let not this appal your thoughts; The jewels and the treasure we have ta’en Shall be reserv’d, and you in better state Than if you were arriv’d in Syria,
Even in the circle of your father’s arms, The mighty Soldan of Aegyptia.

ZENOCRATE. Ah, shepherd, pity my distressed 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<33> with these Median lords To Memphis, from my uncle’s country of Media, Where, all my youth, I have been governed, Have pass’d the army of the mighty Turk, Bearing his privy-signet and his hand
To safe-conduct us thorough<34> Africa.

MAGNETES. And, since we have arriv’d in Scythia, Besides rich presents from the puissant Cham, We have his highness’ letters to command Aid and assistance, if we stand in need.

TAMBURLAINE. 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 betroth’d?

ZENOCRATE. I am, my lord,–for so you do import.

TAMBURLAINE. 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 Phoebus 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 unvalued,<35> 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.

TECHELLES. 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.

USUMCASANE. And making thee and me, Techelles, kings, That even to death will follow Tamburlaine.

TAMBURLAINE. Nobly resolv’d, sweet friends and followers! These lords perhaps do scorn our estimates, And think we prattle with distemper’d spirits: But, since they measure our deserts so mean, That in conceit<36> bear empires on our spears, Affecting thoughts coequal with the clouds, They shall be kept our forced followers
Till with their eyes they view us emperors.

ZENOCRATE. 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 hop’st to be eternized By living Asia’s mighty emperor.

AGYDAS. I hope our lady’s 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 betrothed lord, Alcidamus, Expects the arrival of her highness’ person.

MAGNETES. And wheresoever we repose ourselves, We will report but well of Tamburlaine.

TAMBURLAINE. 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,<37> 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 promis’d at my birth. A hundred Tartars shall attend on thee,
Mounted on steeds swifter than Pegasus; Thy garments shall be made of Median silk, Enchas’d with precious jewels of mine own, More rich and valurous<38> than Zenocrate’s; With milk-white harts upon an ivory sled Thou shalt be drawn amidst the frozen pools,<39> And scale the icy mountains’ lofty tops, Which with thy beauty will be soon resolv’d:<40> My martial prizes, with five hundred men, Won on the fifty-headed Volga’s waves,
Shall we all offer<41> to Zenocrate, And then myself to fair Zenocrate.

TECHELLES. What now! in love?

TAMBURLAINE. Techelles, women must be flattered: But this is she with whom I am in<42> love.

Enter a SOLDIER.

SOLDIER. News, news!

TAMBURLAINE. How now! what’s the matter?

SOLDIER. A thousand Persian horsemen are at hand, Sent from the king to overcome us all.

TAMBURLAINE. How now, my lords of Egypt, and Zenocrate! Now must your jewels be restor’d again,
And I, that triumph’d<43> so, be overcome? How say you, lordings? is not this your hope?

AGYDAS. We hope yourself will willingly restore them.

TAMBURLAINE. Such hope, such fortune, have the thousand horse. Soft ye, my lords, and sweet Zenocrate!
You must be forced 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!

SOLDIER. Their plumed helms are wrought with beaten gold, Their swords enamell’d, and about their necks Hang massy chains of gold down to the waist; In every part exceeding brave<44> and rich.

TAMBURLAINE. Then shall we fight courageously with them? Or look you I should play the orator?

TECHELLES. No; cowards and faint-hearted runaways Look for orations when the foe is near:
Our swords shall play the orators for us.

USUMCASANE. Come, let us meet them at the mountain-top,<45> And with a sudden and an hot alarum
Drive all their horses headlong down the hill.

TECHELLES. Come, let us march.

TAMBURLAINE. Stay, Techelles; ask a parle first.

The SOLDIERS enter.

Open the mails,<46> 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<47> his greedy thirsting throat, Or take him prisoner, and his chain shall serve For manacles till he be ransom’d home.

TECHELLES. I hear them come: shall we encounter them?

TAMBURLAINE. Keep all your standings, and not stir a foot: Myself will bide the danger of the brunt.

Enter THERIDAMAS with others.

THERIDAMAS. Where is this<48> Scythian Tamburlaine?

TAMBURLAINE. Whom seek’st thou, Persian? I am Tamburlaine.

THERIDAMAS. Tamburlaine!
A Scythian shepherd so embellished
With nature’s pride and richest furniture! His looks do menace heaven and dare the gods; His fiery eyes are fix’d upon the earth, As if he now devis’d some stratagem,
Or meant to pierce Avernus’ darksome vaults<49> To pull the triple-headed dog from hell.

TAMBURLAINE. Noble and mild this Persian seems to be, If outward habit judge the inward man.

TECHELLES. His deep affections make him passionate.

TAMBURLAINE. With what a majesty he rears his looks!– In thee, thou valiant man of Persia,
I see the folly of thy<50> emperor. Art thou but captain of a thousand horse, That by characters graven in thy brows,
And by thy martial face and stout aspect, Deserv’st to have the leading of an 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 charmed 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,<51> To be my queen and portly emperess.
If thou wilt stay with me, renowmed<52> man, And lead thy thousand horse with my conduct, Besides thy share of this Egyptian prize, Those thousand horse shall sweat with martial spoil Of conquer’d kingdoms and of cities sack’d: Both we will walk upon the lofty cliffs;<53> And Christian merchants,<54> that with Russian stems<55> Plough up huge furrows in the Caspian Sea, Shall vail<56> 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 sometime masked in a shepherd’s weed; And by those steps that he hath scal’d 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-remov’d admire me not,)
And when my name and honour shall be spread As far as Boreas claps his brazen wings, Or fair Bootes<57> sends his cheerful light, Then shalt thou be competitor<58> with me, And sit with Tamburlaine in all his majesty.

THERIDAMAS. Not Hermes, prolocutor to the gods, Could use persuasions more pathetical.

TAMBURLAINE. Nor are Apollo’s oracles more true Than thou shalt find my vaunts substantial.

TECHELLES. 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 assur’d of by our friend’s success.

USUMCASANE. And kingdoms at the least we all expect, Besides the honour in assured conquests, Where kings shall crouch unto our conquering swords, And hosts of soldiers stand amaz’d at us, When with their fearful tongues they shall confess, These are the men that all the world admires.

THERIDAMAS. What strong enchantments tice my yielding soul To these<59> resolved, noble Scythians! But shall I prove a traitor to my king?

TAMBURLAINE. No; but the trusty friend of Tamburlaine.

THERIDAMAS. Won with thy words, and conquer’d 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.

TAMBURLAINE. Theridamas, my friend, take here my hand, Which is as much as if I swore by heaven, And call’d the gods to witness of my vow. Thus shall my heart be still combin’d with thine Until our bodies turn to elements,
And both our souls aspire celestial thrones.– Techelles and Casane, welcome him.

TECHELLES. Welcome, renowmed<60> Persian, to us all!

USUMCASANE. Long may Theridamas remain with us!

TAMBURLAINE. 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<61> we adore in Scythia, Thyself and them shall never part from me Before I crown you kings<62> in Asia. Make much of them, gentle Theridamas,
And they will never leave thee till the death.

THERIDAMAS. Nor thee nor them,<63> thrice-noble Tamburlaine, Shall want my heart to be with gladness pierc’d, To do you honour and security.

TAMBURLAINE. A thousand thanks, worthy Theridamas.– And now, fair madam, and my noble lords, If you will<64> willingly remain with me, You shall have honours as your merits be; Or else you shall be forc’d with slavery.

AGYDAS. We yield unto thee, happy Tamburlaine.

TAMBURLAINE. For you, then, madam, I am out of doubt.

ZENOCRATE. I must be pleas’d perforce,–wretched Zenocrate! [Exeunt.]




COSROE. 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?

MENAPHON. Of stature tall, and straightly fashioned, Like his desire, lift upwards and divine; So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit, Such breadth of shoulders as might mainly bear Old Atlas’ burden; ‘twixt his manly pitch,<65> A pearl more worth than all the world is plac’d, Wherein by curious sovereignty of art
Are fix’d his piercing instruments of sight, Whose fiery circles bear encompassed
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<66> 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, Wrapped 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,<67> Betokening valour and excess of strength;– In every part proportion’d like the man
Should make the world subdu’d<68> to Tamburlaine.

COSROE. Well hast thou pourtray’d in thy terms of life The face and personage of a wondrous man: Nature doth strive with Fortune<69> and his stars To make him famous in accomplish’d worth; And well his merits shew 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 join’d, And clos’d in compass of the killing bullet, Though strait the passage and the port<70> be made That leads to palace of my brother’s life, Proud is<71> his fortune if we pierce it not; And, when the princely Persian diadem
Shall overweigh his weary witless head, And fall, like mellow’d fruit, with shakes of death, In fair<72> Persia noble Tamburlaine Shall be my regent, and remain as king.

ORTYGIUS. In happy hour we have set the crown Upon your kingly head, that seeks our honour In joining with the man ordain’d by heaven To further every action to the best.

CENEUS. 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 stuff’d with treasure for his highest thoughts!

COSROE. 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 conjoin’d to meet the witless king, That now is marching near to Parthia,
And, with unwilling soldiers faintly arm’d, To seek revenge on me and Tamburlaine;
To whom, sweet Menaphon, direct me straight.

MENAPHON. I will, my lord.



MYCETES. 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 of<73> that false Cosroe, my traitorous brother. Would it not grieve a king to be so abus’d, And have a thousand horsemen ta’en away? And, which is worse,<74> 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.

MEANDER. Then, having pass’d Armenian deserts now, And pitch’d our tents under the Georgian hills, Whose tops are cover’d 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 a while, They gather strength by power of fresh supplies. This country swarms with vile outragious men That live by rapine and by lawless spoil, Fit soldiers for the<75> 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<76> king, Will quickly win such as be<77> 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<78> 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 reclaim’d with princely lenity.

Enter a SPY.

SPY. An hundred horsemen of my company, Scouting abroad upon these champion<79> plains, Have view’d the army of the Scythians;
Which make report it far exceeds the king’s.

MEANDER. Suppose they be in number infinite, Yet being void of martial discipline,
All running headlong, greedy after<80> spoils, And more regarding gain than victory,
Like to the cruel brothers of the earth, Sprung<81> of the teeth of<82> dragons venomous, Their careless swords shall lance<83> their fellows’ throats, And make us triumph in their overthrow.

MYCETES. Was there such brethren, sweet Meander, say, That sprung of teeth of dragons venomous?

MEANDER. So poets say, my lord.

MYCETES. 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.

MEANDER. Then, noble soldiers, to entrap these thieves That live confounded in disorder’d 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 scatter’d army is subdu’d, And you march on their slaughter’d carcasses, Share equally the gold that bought their lives, And live like gentlemen in Persia.
Strike up the<84> drum, and march courageously: Fortune herself doth sit upon our crests.

MYCETES. He tells you true, my masters; so he does.– Drums, why sound ye not when Meander speaks? [Exeunt, drums sounding.]


and ORTYGIUS, with others.

COSROE. Now, worthy Tamburlaine, have I repos’d In thy approved fortunes all my hope.
What think’st thou, man, shall come of our attempts? For, even as from assured oracle,
I take thy doom for satisfaction.

TAMBURLAINE. And so mistake you not a whit, my lord; For fates and oracles [of] heaven have sworn To royalize 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<85> direction in your martial deeds, The world will<86> strive with hosts of men-at-arms To swarm unto the ensign I support.
The host of Xerxes, which by fame is said To drink 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, Enroll’d 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 admired arms.

THERIDAMAS. You see, my lord, what working words he hath; But, when you see his actions top<87> his speech, Your speech will stay, or so extol his worth As I shall be commended and excus’d
For turning my poor charge to his direction: And these his two renowmed<88> friends, my lord, Would make one thirst<89> and strive to be retain’d In such a great degree of amity.

TECHELLES. With duty and<90> with amity we yield Our utmost service to the fair<91> Cosroe.

COSROE. Which I esteem as portion of my crown. Usumcasane and Techelles both,
When she<92> that rules in Rhamnus'<93> golden gates, And makes a passage for all prosperous arms, Shall make me solely emperor of Asia,
Then shall your meeds<94> and valours be advanc’d To rooms of honour and nobility.

TAMBURLAINE. 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 burden as outweighs the sands
And all the craggy rocks of Caspia.


We have discovered the enemy
Ready to charge you with a mighty army.

COSROE. Come, Tamburlaine; now whet thy winged sword, And lift thy lofty arm into<95> the clouds, That it may reach the king of Persia’s crown, And set it safe on my victorious head.

TAMBURLAINE. 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<96> as it swiftly flies.

COSROE. Thy words assure me of kind success: Go, valiant soldier, go before, and charge The fainting army of that foolish king.

TAMBURLAINE. 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.<97>

MYCETES. Accurs’d be he that first invented war! They knew not, ah, they knew not, simple men, How those were<98> hit by pelting cannon-shot Stand staggering<99> like a quivering aspen-leaf Fearing the force of Boreas’ 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<100> 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 not I be known; or if I be, They cannot take away my crown from me.
Here will I hide it in this simple hole.


TAMBURLAINE. What, fearful coward, straggling from the camp, When kings themselves are present in the field?

MYCETES. Thou liest.

TAMBURLAINE. Base villain, darest thou give me<101> the lie?

MYCETES. 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!”

TAMBURLAINE. Are you the witty king of Persia?

MYCETES. Ay, marry,<102> am I: have you any suit to me?

TAMBURLAINE. I would entreat you to speak but three wise words.

MYCETES. So I can when I see my time.

TAMBURLAINE. Is this your crown?

MYCETES. Ay: didst thou ever see a fairer?

TAMBURLAINE. You will not sell it, will you?

MYCETES. Such another word, and I will have thee executed. Come, give it me.

TAMBURLAINE. No; I took it prisoner.

MYCETES. You lie; I gave it you.

TAMBURLAINE. Then ’tis mine.

MYCETES. No; I mean I let you keep it.

TAMBURLAINE. Well, I mean you shall have it again. Here, take it for a while: I lend it thee, Till I may see thee hemm’d with armed men; Then shalt thou see me pull it from thy head: Thou art no match for mighty Tamburlaine. [Exit.]

MYCETES. O gods, is this Tamburlaine the thief? I marvel much he stole it not away.
[Trumpets within sound to the battle: he runs out.]



TAMBURLAINE. 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 crown’d thee emperor.

COSROE. So do I, thrice-renowmed man-at-arms;<103> 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<104> 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.

MEANDER. Most happy<105> emperor, in humblest terms I vow my service to your majesty,
With utmost virtue of my faith and duty.

COSROE. 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 chang’d, 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.

ORTYGIUS. And as we ever aim’d<106> at your behoof, And sought your state all honour it<107> deserv’d, So will we with our powers and our<108> lives Endeavour to preserve and prosper it.

COSROE. 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<109> 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 scatter’d troops,) Farewell, lord regent and his happy friends. I long to sit upon my brother’s throne.

MEANDER. Your majesty shall shortly have your wish, And ride in triumph through Persepolis.

TAMBURLAINE. 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?

TECHELLES. O, my lord, it is sweet and full of pomp!

USUMCASANE. To be a king is half to be a god.

THERIDAMAS. A god is not so glorious as a king: I think the pleasure they enjoy in heaven, Cannot compare with kingly joys in<110> earth;– To wear a crown enchas’d with pearl and gold, Whose virtues carry with it life and death; To ask and have, command and be obey’d;
When looks breed love, with looks to gain the prize,– Such power attractive shines in princes’ eyes.

TAMBURLAINE. Why, say, Theridamas, wilt thou be a king?

THERIDAMAS. Nay, though I praise it, I can live without it.

TAMBURLAINE. What say my other friends? will you be kings?

TECHELLES. I, if I could, with all my heart, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE. Why, that’s well said, Techelles: so would I;– And so would you, my masters, would you not?

USUMCASANE. What, then, my lord?

TAMBURLAINE. Why, then, Casane,<111> shall we wish for aught The world affords in greatest novelty,
And rest attemptless, faint, and destitute? Methinks we should not. I am strongly mov’d, 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?

THERIDAMAS. I know they would with our persuasions.

TAMBURLAINE. 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 a-piece.<112>

TECHELLES. Then shall we send to this triumphing king, And bid him battle for his novel crown?

USUMCASANE. Nay, quickly, then, before his room be hot.

TAMBURLAINE. ‘Twill prove a pretty jest, in faith, my friends.

THERIDAMAS. A jest to charge on twenty thousand men! I judge the purchase<113> more important far.

TAMBURLAINE. 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 gain will quite:<114> Then shalt thou see this<115> Scythian Tamburlaine Make but a jest to win the Persian crown.– Techelles, take a thousand horse with thee, And bid him turn him<116> 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<117> more warriors: Haste thee, Techelles; we will follow thee. [Exit TECHELLES.]
What saith Theridamas?

THERIDAMAS. Go on, for me.



COSROE. 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 press’d out fire from their burning jaws, So will I send this monstrous slave to hell, Where flames shall ever feed upon his soul.

MEANDER. Some powers divine, or else infernal, mix’d Their angry seeds at his conception;
For he was never sprung<118> of human race, Since with the spirit of his fearful pride, He dares<119> so doubtlessly resolve of rule, And by profession be ambitious.

ORTYGIUS. What god, or fiend, or spirit of the earth, Or monster turned to a manly shape,
Or of what mould or mettle he be made, What star or fate<120> 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 arm’d against the hate of such a foe, Whether from earth, or hell, or heaven he grow.

COSROE. Nobly resolv’d, my good Ortygius; And, since we all have suck’d one wholesome air, And with the same proportion of elements Resolve,<121> 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 sounding.]


Alarms of battle within. Then enter COSROE wounded, TAMBURLAINE, THERIDAMAS, TECHELLES, USUMCASANE, with others.

COSROE. Barbarous<122> 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 grieved soul; And death arrests the organ of my voice, Who, entering at the breach thy sword hath made, Sacks every vein and artier<123> of my heart.– Bloody and insatiate Tamburlaine!

TAMBURLAINE. The thirst of reign and sweetness of a crown, That caus’d the eldest son of heavenly Ops To thrust his doting father from his chair, And place himself in the empyreal heaven, Mov’d me to manage arms against thy state. What better precedent than mighty Jove?
Nature, that fram’d us of four elements Warring within our breasts for regiment,<124> 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<125> of all, That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.

THERIDAMAS. 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.

TECHELLES. And that made us, the friends of Tamburlaine, To lift our swords against the Persian king.

USUMCASANE. For as, when Jove did thrust old Saturn down, Neptune and Dis gain’d each of them a crown, So do we hope to reign in Asia,
If Tamburlaine be plac’d in Persia.

COSROE. 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<126> dry and cold; and now doth ghastly Death With greedy talents<127> gripe my bleeding heart, And like a harpy<128> tires on my life.– Theridamas and Tamburlaine, I die:
And fearful vengeance light upon you both! [Dies.–TAMBURLAINE takes COSROE’S crown, and puts it on his own head.]

TAMBURLAINE. Not all the curses which the<129> 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!

TAMBURLAINE. 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!

TAMBURLAINE. So; now it is more surer on my head Than if the gods had held a parliament,
And all pronounc’d me king of Persia. [Exeunt.]



Enter BAJAZETH, the KINGS OF FEZ, MOROCCO, and ARGIER, with others, in great pomp.

BAJAZETH. Great kings of Barbary, and my portly bassoes,<130> 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 circumcised Turks we have,
And warlike bands of Christians renied,<131> As hath the ocean or the Terrene<132> sea Small drops of water when the moon begins To join in one her semicircled horns:
Yet would we not be brav’d with foreign power, Nor raise our siege before the Grecians yield, Or breathless lie before the city-walls.

KING OF FEZ. Renowmed<133> 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?

BAJAZETH. Hie thee, my basso,<134> fast to Persia; Tell him thy lord, the Turkish emperor,
Dread lord of Afric, Europe, and Asia, Great king and conqueror of Graecia,
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<135> once to set his foot in<136> Africa, Or spread<137> his colours in Graecia, 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 measur’d heaven<138> With triple circuit, thou regreet us not, We mean to take his morning’s next arise For messenger he will not be reclaim’d,
And mean to fetch thee in despite of him.

BASSO. Most great and puissant monarch of the earth, Your basso will accomplish your behest,
And shew your pleasure to the Persian, As fits the legate of the stately Turk.

KING OF ARGIER. 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.

BAJAZETH. True, Argier; and tremble[s] at my looks.

KING OF MOROCCO. The spring is hinder’d 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.

BAJAZETH. All this is true as holy Mahomet; And all the trees are blasted with our breaths.

KING OF FEZ. What thinks your greatness best to be achiev’d In pursuit of the city’s overthrow?

BAJAZETH. I will the captive pioners<139> 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, mouth’d like Orcus’ gulf, Batter the walls, and we will enter in;
And thus the Grecians shall be conquered. [Exeunt.]


Enter ZENOCRATE, AGYDAS, ANIPPE, with others.

AGYDAS. 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 seem’d to be digested long ago.

ZENOCRATE. Although it be digested long ago, As his exceeding favours have deserv’d,
And might content the Queen of Heaven, as well As it hath chang’d my first-conceiv’d disdain; Yet since a farther passion feeds my thoughts With ceaseless<140> and disconsolate conceits,<141> Which dye my looks so lifeless as they are, And might, if my extremes had full events, Make me the ghastly counterfeit<142> of death.

AGYDAS. Eternal heaven sooner be dissolv’d, And all that pierceth Phoebus’ silver eye, Before such hap fall to Zenocrate!

ZENOCRATE. Ah, life and soul, still hover in his<143> breast, And leave my body senseless as the earth, Or else unite you<144> to his life and soul, That I may live and die with Tamburlaine!

Enter, behind, TAMBURLAINE, with TECHELLES, and others.

AGYDAS. 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 suppos’d his worthless concubine,) Be honour’d 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.

ZENOCRATE. Leave<145> 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.

AGYDAS. How can you fancy one that looks so fierce, Only dispos’d to martial stratagems?
Who, when he shall embrace you in his arms, Will tell how many thousand men he slew; And, when you look for amorous discourse, Will rattle forth his facts<146> of war and blood, Too harsh a subject for your dainty ears.

ZENOCRATE. 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<147> sweeter than the Muses’ song They sung for honour ‘gainst Pierides,<148> Or when Minerva did with Neptune strive: And higher would I rear my estimate
Than Juno, sister to the highest god, If I were match’d with mighty Tamburlaine.

AGYDAS. Yet be not so inconstant in your love, But let the young Arabian<149> live in hope, After your rescue to enjoy his choice.
You see, though first the king of Persia, Being a shepherd, seem’d 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.

ZENOCRATE. Thence rise the tears that so distain my cheeks, Fearing his love<150> through my unworthiness.

[TAMBURLAINE goes to her, and takes her away lovingly by the hand, looking wrathfully on AGYDAS, and says nothing. Exeunt all except AGYDAS.]

AGYDAS. Betray’d by fortune and suspicious love, Threaten’d with frowning wrath and jealousy, Surpris’d with fear of<151> hideous revenge, I stand aghast; but most astonied
To see his choler shut in secret thoughts, And wrapt in silence of his angry soul:
Upon his brows was pourtray’d ugly death; And in his eyes the fury<152> of his heart, That shone<153> 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 winged 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 send<154> a tempest to my daunted thoughts, And make my soul divine her overthrow.

Re-enter TECHELLES with a naked dagger, and USUMCASANE.

TECHELLES. See you, Agydas, how the king salutes you! He bids you prophesy what it imports.

AGYDAS. 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 threaten’d 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 resolved hand of thine
Than stay the torments he and heaven have sworn. Then haste, Agydas, and prevent the plagues Which thy prolonged fates may draw on thee: Go wander free from fear of tyrant’s rage, Removed 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.]

TECHELLES. Usumcasane, see, how right the man Hath hit the meaning of my lord the king!

USUMCASANE. 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.

TECHELLES. Agreed, Casane; we will honour him. [Exeunt, bearing out the body.]



TAMBURLAINE. 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<155> more than they can well perform. He meet me in the field, and fetch<156> thee hence! Alas, poor Turk! his fortune is too weak T’ 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?

BASSO. 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 janizaries, Mounted on lusty Mauritanian steeds,
Brought to the war by men of Tripoly; Two hundred thousand footmen that have serv’d In two set battles fought in Graecia;
And for the expedition of this war, If he think good, can from his garrisons Withdraw as many more to follow him.

TECHELLES. The more he brings, the greater is the spoil; For, when they perish by our warlike hands, We mean to set<157> our footmen on their steeds, And rifle all those stately janizars.

TAMBURLAINE. But will those kings accompany your lord?

BASSO. Such as his highness please; but some must stay To rule the provinces he late subdu’d.

Then fight courageously: their crowns are yours; This hand shall set them on your conquering heads, That made me emperor of Asia.

USUMCASANE. Let him bring millions infinite of men, Unpeopling Western Africa and Greece,
Yet we assure us of the victory.

THERIDAMAS. Even he, that in a trice vanquish’d two kings More mighty than the Turkish emperor,
Shall rouse him out of Europe, and pursue His scatter’d army till they yield or die.

TAMBURLAINE. Well said, Theridamas! speak in that mood; For WILL and SHALL best fitteth Tamburlaine, Whose smiling stars give him assured hope Of martial triumph ere he meet his foes. I that am term’d 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, Burdening their bodies with your heavy chains, And feeding them with thin and slender fare; That naked row about the Terrene<158> sea, And, when they chance to rest or breathe<159> a space, Are punish’d with bastones<160> so grievously That they<161> lie panting on the galleys’ side, And strive for life at every stroke they give. These are the cruel pirates of Argier,
That damned 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.


BAJAZETH. Bassoes and janizaries of my guard, Attend upon the person of your lord,
The greatest potentate of Africa.

TAMBURLAINE. Techelles and the rest, prepare your swords; I mean t’ encounter with that Bajazeth.

BAJAZETH. Kings of Fez, Morocco,<162> 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<163> of dignity; And dar’st thou bluntly call me Bajazeth?

TAMBURLAINE. And know, thou Turk, that those which lead my horse Shall lead thee captive thorough Africa; And dar’st thou bluntly call me Tamburlaine?

BAJAZETH. 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<164> 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!

TAMBURLAINE. By this my sword that conquer’d Persia, Thy fall shall make me famous through the world! I will not tell thee how I’ll<165> handle thee, But every common soldier of my camp
Shall smile to see thy miserable state.

KING OF FEZ. What means the<166> mighty Turkish emperor, To talk with one so base as Tamburlaine?

KING OF MOROCCO. Ye Moors and valiant men of Barbary. How can ye suffer these indignities?

KING OF ARGIER. Leave words, and let them feel your lances’ points,
Which glided through the bowels of the Greeks.

BAJAZETH. Well said, my stout contributory kings! Your threefold army and my hugy<167> host Shall swallow up these base-born Persians.

TECHELLES. Puissant, renowm’d,<168> and mighty Tamburlaine, Why stay we thus prolonging of<169> their lives?

THERIDAMAS. I long to see those crowns won by our swords, That we may rule<170> as kings of Africa.

USUMCASANE. What coward would not fight for such a prize?

TAMBURLAINE. Fight all courageously, and be you kings: I speak it, and my words are oracles.

BAJAZETH. Zabina, mother of three braver<171> boys Than Hercules, that in his infancy
Did pash<172> 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 y-sprung<173> 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.

ZABINA. Such good success happen to Bajazeth!

TAMBURLAINE. 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 darken’d sky, And calm the rage of thundering Jupiter; Sit down by her, adorned 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.

ZENOCRATE. And may my love, the king of Persia, Return with victory and free from wound!

BAJAZETH. 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 slaughter’d carcasses Shall serve for walls and bulwarks to the rest; And as the heads of Hydra, so my power,
Subdu’d, 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 them.<174> Thou know’st not, foolish-hardy Tamburlaine, What ’tis to meet me in the open field,
That leave no ground for thee to march upon.

TAMBURLAINE. Our conquering swords shall marshal us the way We use to march upon the slaughter’d foe, Trampling their bowels with our horses’ hoofs, Brave horses bred on the<175> white Tartarian hills My camp is like to Julius Caesar’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 light;<176> 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.]

BAJAZETH. Come, kings and bassoes, let us glut our swords, That thirst to drink the feeble Persians’ blood. [Exit with his followers.]

ZABINA. Base concubine, must thou be plac’d by me That am the empress of the mighty Turk?

ZENOCRATE. Disdainful Turkess, and unreverend boss,<177> Call’st thou me concubine, that am betroth’d Unto the great and mighty Tamburlaine?

ZABINA. To Tamburlaine, the great Tartarian thief!

ZENOCRATE. 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.<178>

ZABINA. 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, she thinks perhaps she is too fine; But I shall turn her into other weeds,
And make her dainty fingers fall to work.

ZENOCRATE. Hear’st thou, Anippe, how thy drudge doth talk? And how my slave, her mistress, menaceth? Both for their sauciness shall be employ’d To dress the common soldiers’ meat and drink; For we will scorn they should come near ourselves.

ANIPPE. Yet sometimes let your highness send for them To do the work my chambermaid disdains.
[They sound to the battle within.]

ZENOCRATE. 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 Pursu’d by hunters, fly his angry looks, That I may see him issue conqueror!

ZABINA. 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<179> to manage arms with him That offer’d jewels to thy sacred shrine When first he warr’d against the Christians! [They sound again to the battle within.]

ZENOCRATE. By this the Turks lie weltering in their blood, And Tamburlaine is lord of Africa.

ZABINA. Thou art deceiv’d. I heard the trumpets sound As when my emperor overthrew the Greeks, And led them captive into Africa.
Straight will I use thee as thy pride deserves; Prepare thyself to live and die my slave.

ZENOCRATE. If Mahomet should come from heaven and swear My royal lord is slain or conquered,
Yet should he not persuade me otherwise But that he lives and will be conqueror.

Re-enter BAJAZETH, pursued by TAMBURLAINE.<180>

TAMBURLAINE. Now, king of bassoes, who is conqueror?

BAJAZETH. Thou, by the fortune of this damned foil.<181>

TAMBURLAINE. Where are your stout contributory kings?


TECHELLES. We have their crowns; their bodies strow the field.

TAMBURLAINE. Each man a crown! why, kingly fought, i’faith. Deliver them into my treasury.

ZENOCRATE. Now let me offer to my gracious lord His royal crown again so highly won.

TAMBURLAINE. Nay, take the Turkish crown from her, Zenocrate, And crown me emperor of Africa.

ZABINA. No, Tamburlaine; though now thou gat<182> the best, Thou shalt not yet be lord of Africa.

THERIDAMAS. Give her the crown, Turkess, you were best. [Takes it from her.]

ZABINA. Injurious villains, thieves, runagates, How dare you thus abuse my majesty?

THERIDAMAS. Here, madam, you are empress; she is none. [Gives it to ZENOCRATE.]

TAMBURLAINE. Not now, Theridamas; her time is past: The pillars, that have bolster’d up those terms, Are faln in clusters at my conquering feet.

ZABINA. Though he be prisoner, he may be ransom’d.

TAMBURLAINE. Not all the world shall ransom Bajazeth.

BAJAZETH. 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.

TAMBURLAINE. Those walled 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<183> 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 fetch’d about the Indian continent, Even from Persepolis to Mexico,
And thence unto the Straits of Jubalter; Where they shall meet and join their force in one. Keeping in awe the Bay of Portingale,
And all the ocean by the British<184> shore; And by this means I’ll win the world at last.

BAJAZETH. Yet set a ransom on me, Tamburlaine.

TAMBURLAINE. What, think’st thou Tamburlaine esteems thy gold?