Tamburlaine the Great, Part 2 by Christopher Marlowe

ANGLE BRACKETS: Any place where angle brackets are used, i.e. < >, it is a change made during the preparation of this E-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 E-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 E-Text 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 . One aditional
footnote <> has been inserted.

Many of the footnotes refer back to notes to “The First Part Of Tamburlaine the Great.” These references have been copied and inserted into the notes to this play.


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



The Second Part of Tamburlaine the Great. Concerning the old eds., see the prefatory matter to THE FIRST PART.<>

The general welcomes Tamburlaine receiv’d, When he arrived last upon the<1> stage, Have made our poet pen his Second Part,
Where Death cuts off the progress of his pomp, And murderous Fates throw all his triumphs<2> down. But what became of fair Zenocrate,
And with how many cities’ sacrifice He celebrated her sad<3> funeral,
Himself in presence shall unfold at large.

TAMBURLAINE, king of Persia.
AMYRAS, > his sons.
THERIDAMAS, king of Argier.
TECHELLES, king of Fez.
USUMCASANE, king of Morocco.
ORCANES, king of Natolia.
GAZELLUS, viceroy of Byron.
SIGISMUND, King of Hungary.
BALDWIN, > Lords of Buda and Bohemia. CALLAPINE, son to BAJAZETH, and prisoner to TAMBURLAINE. ALMEDA, his keeper.
MAXIMUS, PERDICAS, Physicians, Lords, Citizens, Messengers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

OLYMPIA, wife to the CAPTAIN OF BALSERA. Turkish Concubines.




Enter ORCANES king of Natolia, GAZELLUS viceroy of Byron, URIBASSA,<4> and their train, with drums and trumpets.

ORCANES. Egregious viceroys of these eastern parts, Plac’d by the issue of great Bajazeth,
And sacred lord, the mighty Callapine, Who lives in Egypt prisoner to that slave Which kept his father in an iron cage,– Now have we march’d from fair Natolia
Two hundred leagues, and on Danubius’ banks Our warlike host, in complete armour, rest, Where Sigismund, the king of Hungary,
Should meet our person to conclude a truce: What! shall we parle with the Christian? Or cross the stream, and meet him in the field?

GAZELLUS. King of Natolia, let us treat of peace: We all are glutted with the Christians’ blood, And have a greater foe to fight against,– Proud Tamburlaine, that now in Asia,
Near Guyron’s head, doth set his conquering feet, And means to fire Turkey as he goes:
‘Gainst him, my lord, you must address your power.

URIBASSA. Besides, King Sigismund hath brought from Christendom More than his camp of stout Hungarians,– Sclavonians, Almains, Rutters,<5> Muffs, and Danes, That with the halberd, lance, and murdering axe, Will hazard that we might with surety hold.

ORCANES.<6> Though from the shortest northern parallel, Vast Grantland, compass’d with the Frozen Sea, (Inhabited with tall and sturdy men,
Giants as big as hugy<7> Polypheme,) Millions of soldiers cut the<8> arctic line, Bringing the strength of Europe to these arms, Our Turkey blades shall glide through all their throats, And make this champion<9> mead a bloody fen: Danubius’ stream, that runs to Trebizon, Shall carry, wrapt within his scarlet waves, As martial presents to our friends at home, The slaughter’d bodies of these Christians: The Terrene<10> main, wherein Danubius falls, Shall by this battle be the bloody sea:
The wandering sailors of proud Italy Shall meet those Christians, fleeting with the tide, Beating in heaps against their argosies, And make fair Europe, mounted on her bull, Trapp’d with the wealth and riches of the world, Alight, and wear a woful mourning weed.

GAZELLUS. Yet, stout Orcanes, pro-rex of the world, Since Tamburlaine hath muster’d all his men, Marching from Cairo<11> northward, with his camp, To Alexandria and the frontier towns,
Meaning to make a conquest of our land, ‘Tis requisite to parle for a peace
With Sigismund, the king of Hungary, And save our forces for the hot assaults Proud Tamburlaine intends Natolia.

ORCANES. Viceroy of Byron, wisely hast thou said. My realm, the centre of our empery,
Once lost, all Turkey would be overthrown; And for that cause the Christians shall have peace. Sclavonians, Almains, Rutters, Muffs, and Danes, Fear<12> not Orcanes, but great Tamburlaine; Nor he, but Fortune that hath made him great. We have revolted Grecians, Albanese,
Sicilians, Jews, Arabians, Turks, and Moors, Natolians, Sorians,<13> black<14> Egyptians, Illyrians, Thracians, and Bithynians,<15> Enough to swallow forceless Sigismund,
Yet scarce enough t’ encounter Tamburlaine. He brings a world of people to the field, >From Scythia to the oriental plage<16> Of India, where raging Lantchidol
Beats on the regions with his boisterous blows, That never seaman yet discovered.
All Asia is in arms with Tamburlaine, Even from the midst of fiery Cancer’s tropic To Amazonia under Capricorn;
And thence, as far as Archipelago,
All Afric is in arms with Tamburlaine: Therefore, viceroy,<17> the Christians must have peace.

Enter SIGISMUND, FREDERICK, BALDWIN, and their train, with drums and trumpets.

SIGISMUND. Orcanes, (as our legates promis’d thee,) We, with our peers, have cross’d Danubius’ stream, To treat of friendly peace or deadly war. Take which thou wilt; for, as the Romans us’d, I here present thee with a naked sword:
Wilt thou have war, then shake this blade at me; If peace, restore it to my hands again,
And I will sheathe it, to confirm the same.

ORCANES. Stay, Sigismund: forgett’st thou I am he That with the cannon shook Vienna-walls, And made it dance upon the continent,
As when the massy substance of the earth Quiver[s] about the axle-tree of heaven? Forgett’st thou that I sent a shower of darts, Mingled with powder’d shot and feather’d steel, So thick upon the blink-ey’d burghers’ heads, That thou thyself, then County Palatine, The King of Boheme,<18> and the Austric Duke, Sent heralds out, which basely on their knees, In all your names, desir’d a truce of me? Forgett’st thou that, to have me raise my siege, Waggons of gold were set before my tent, Stampt with the princely fowl that in her wings Carries the fearful thunderbolts of Jove? How canst thou think of this, and offer war?

SIGISMUND. Vienna was besieg’d, and I was there, Then County Palatine, but now a king,
And what we did was in extremity
But now, Orcanes, view my royal host, That hides these plains, and seems as vast and wide As doth the desert of Arabia
To those that stand on Bagdet’s<19> lofty tower, Or as the ocean to the traveller
That rests upon the snowy Appenines; And tell me whether I should stoop so low, Or treat of peace with the Natolian king.

GAZELLUS. Kings of Natolia and of Hungary, We came from Turkey to confirm a league, And not to dare each other to the field. A friendly parle<20> might become you both.

FREDERICK. And we from Europe, to the same intent;<21> Which if your general refuse or scorn,
Our tents are pitch’d, our men stand<22> in array, Ready to charge you ere you stir your feet.

ORCANES. So prest<23> are we: but yet, if Sigismund Speak as a friend, and stand not upon terms, Here is his sword; let peace be ratified On these conditions specified before,
Drawn with advice of our ambassadors.

SIGISMUND. Then here I sheathe it, and give thee my hand, Never to draw it out, or<24> manage arms Against thyself or thy confederates,
But, whilst I live, will be at truce with thee.

ORCANES. But, Sigismund, confirm it with an oath, And swear in sight of heaven and by thy Christ.

SIGISMUND. By Him that made the world and sav’d my soul, The Son of God and issue of a maid,
Sweet Jesus Christ, I solemnly protest And vow to keep this peace inviolable!

ORCANES. By sacred Mahomet, the friend of God, Whose holy Alcoran remains with us,
Whose glorious body, when he left the world, Clos’d in a coffin mounted up the air,
And hung on stately Mecca’s temple-roof, I swear to keep this truce inviolable!
Of whose conditions<25> and our solemn oaths, Sign’d with our hands, each shall retain a scroll, As memorable witness of our league.
Now, Sigismund, if any Christian king Encroach upon the confines of thy realm, Send word, Orcanes of Natolia
Confirm’d<26> this league beyond Danubius’ stream, And they will, trembling, sound a quick retreat; So am I fear’d among all nations.

SIGISMUND. If any heathen potentate or king Invade Natolia, Sigismund will send
A hundred thousand horse train’d to the war, And back’d by<27> stout lanciers of Germany, The strength and sinews of the imperial seat.

ORCANES. I thank thee, Sigismund; but, when I war, All Asia Minor, Africa, and Greece,
Follow my standard and my thundering drums. Come, let us go and banquet in our tents: I will despatch chief of my army hence
To fair Natolia and to Trebizon,
To stay my coming ‘gainst proud Tamburlaine: Friend Sigismund, and peers of Hungary,
Come, banquet and carouse with us a while, And then depart we to our territories.


Enter CALLAPINE, and ALMEDA his keeper.

CALLAPINE. Sweet Almeda, pity the ruthful plight Of Callapine, the son of Bajazeth,
Born to be monarch of the western world, Yet here detain’d by cruel Tamburlaine.

ALMEDA. My lord, I pity it, and with my heart Wish your release; but he whose wrath is death, My sovereign lord, renowmed<28> Tamburlaine, Forbids you further liberty than this.

CALLAPINE. Ah, were I now but half so eloquent To paint in words what I’ll perform in deeds, I know thou wouldst depart from hence with me!

ALMEDA. Not for all Afric: therefore move me not.

CALLAPINE. Yet hear me speak, my gentle Almeda.

ALMEDA. No speech to that end, by your favour, sir.

CALLAPINE. By Cairo<29> runs–

ALMEDA. No talk of running, I tell you, sir.

CALLAPINE. A little further, gentle Almeda.

ALMEDA. Well, sir, what of this?

CALLAPINE. By Cairo runs to Alexandria-bay Darotes’ stream,<30> wherein at<31> anchor lies A Turkish galley of my royal fleet,
Waiting my coming to the river-side, Hoping by some means I shall be releas’d; Which, when I come aboard, will hoist up sail, And soon put forth into the Terrene<32> sea, Where,<33> ‘twixt the isles of Cyprus and of Crete, We quickly may in Turkish seas arrive.
Then shalt thou see a hundred kings and more, Upon their knees, all bid me welcome home. Amongst so many crowns of burnish’d gold, Choose which thou wilt, all are at thy command: A thousand galleys, mann’d with Christian slaves, I freely give thee, which shall cut the Straits, And bring armadoes, from<34> the coasts of Spain, Fraughted with gold of rich America:
The Grecian virgins shall attend on thee, Skilful in music and in amorous lays,
As fair as was Pygmalion’s ivory girl Or lovely Io metamorphosed:
With naked negroes shall thy coach be drawn, And, as thou rid’st in triumph through the streets, The pavement underneath thy chariot-wheels With Turkey-carpets shall be covered,
And cloth of arras hung about the walls, Fit objects for thy princely eye to pierce: A hundred bassoes, cloth’d in crimson silk, Shall ride before thee on Barbarian steeds; And, when thou goest, a golden canopy
Enchas’d with precious stones, which shine as bright As that fair veil that covers all the world, When Phoebus, leaping from his hemisphere, Descendeth downward to th’ Antipodes:–
And more than this, for all I cannot tell.

ALMEDA. How far hence lies the galley, say you?

CALLAPINE. Sweet Almeda, scarce half a league from hence.

ALMEDA. But need<35> we not be spied going aboard?

CALLAPINE. Betwixt the hollow hanging of a hill, And crooked bending of a craggy rock,
The sails wrapt up, the mast and tacklings down, She lies so close that none can find her out.

ALMEDA. I like that well: but, tell me, my lord, if I should let you go, would you be as good as your word? shall I be made a king for my labour?

CALLAPINE. As I am Callapine the emperor, And by the hand of Mahomet I swear,
Thou shalt be crown’d a king, and be my mate!

ALMEDA. Then here I swear, as I am Almeda, Your keeper under Tamburlaine the Great, (For that’s the style and title I have yet,) Although he sent a thousand armed men
To intercept this haughty enterprize, Yet would I venture to conduct your grace, And die before I brought you back again!

CALLAPINE. Thanks, gentle Almeda: then let us haste, Lest time be past, and lingering let<36> us both.

ALMEDA. When you will, my lord: I am ready.

CALLAPINE. Even straight:–and farewell, cursed Tamburlaine! Now go I to revenge my father’s death.


Enter TAMBURLAINE, ZENOCRATE, and their three sons, CALYPHAS, AMYRAS, and CELEBINUS, with drums and trumpets.

TAMBURLAINE. Now, bright Zenocrate, the world’s fair eye, Whose beams illuminate the lamps of heaven, Whose cheerful looks do clear the cloudy air, And clothe it in a crystal livery,
Now rest thee here on fair Larissa-plains, Where Egypt and the Turkish empire part
Between thy sons, that shall be emperors, And every one commander of a world.

ZENOCRATE. Sweet Tamburlaine, when wilt thou leave these arms, And save thy sacred person free from scathe, And dangerous chances of the wrathful war?

TAMBURLAINE. When heaven shall cease to move on both the poles, And when the ground, whereon my soldiers march, Shall rise aloft and touch the horned moon; And not before, my sweet Zenocrate.
Sit up, and rest thee like a lovely queen. So; now she sits in pomp and majesty,
When these, my sons, more precious in mine eyes Than all the wealthy kingdoms I subdu’d, Plac’d by her side, look on their mother’s face. But yet methinks their looks are amorous, Not martial as the sons of Tamburlaine:
Water and air, being symboliz’d in one, Argue their want of courage and of wit;
Their hair as white as milk, and soft as down, (Which should be like the quills of porcupines, As black as jet, and hard as iron or steel,) Bewrays they are too dainty for the wars; Their fingers made to quaver on a lute,
Their arms to hang about a lady’s neck, Their legs to dance and caper in the air, Would make me think them bastards, not my sons, But that I know they issu’d from thy womb, That never look’d on man but Tamburlaine.

ZENOCRATE. My gracious lord, they have their mother’s looks, But, when they list, their conquering father’s heart. This lovely boy, the youngest of the three, Not long ago bestrid a Scythian steed,
Trotting the ring, and tilting at a glove, Which when he tainted<37> with his slender rod, He rein’d him straight, and made him so curvet As I cried out for fear he should have faln.

Well done, my boy! thou shalt have shield and lance, Armour of proof, horse, helm, and curtle-axe, And I will teach thee how to charge thy foe, And harmless run among the deadly pikes. If thou wilt love the wars and follow me, Thou shalt be made a king and reign with me, Keeping in iron cages emperors.
If thou exceed thy elder brothers’ worth, And shine in complete virtue more than they, Thou shalt be king before them, and thy seed Shall issue crowned from their mother’s womb.

CELEBINUS. Yes, father; you shall see me, if I live, Have under me as many kings as you,
And march with such a multitude of men As all the world shall<38> tremble at their view.

TAMBURLAINE. These words assure me, boy, thou art my son. When I am old and cannot manage arms,
Be thou the scourge and terror of the world.

AMYRAS. Why may not I, my lord, as well as he, Be term’d the scourge and terror of<39> the world?

TAMBURLAINE. Be all a scourge and terror to<40> the world, Or else you are not sons of Tamburlaine.

CALYPHAS. But, while my brothers follow arms, my lord, Let me accompany my gracious mother:
They are enough to conquer all the world, And you have won enough for me to keep.

TAMBURLAINE. Bastardly boy, sprung<41> from some coward’s loins, And not the issue of great Tamburlaine!
Of all the provinces I have subdu’d Thou shalt not have a foot, unless thou bear A mind courageous and invincible;
For he shall wear the crown of Persia Whose head hath deepest scars, whose breast most wounds, Which, being wroth, sends lightning from his eyes, And in the furrows of his frowning brows Harbours revenge, war, death, and cruelty; For in a field, whose superficies<42> Is cover’d with a liquid purple veil,
And sprinkled with the brains of slaughter’d men, My royal chair of state shall be advanc’d; And he that means to place himself therein, Must armed wade up to the chin in blood.

ZENOCRATE. My lord, such speeches to our princely sons Dismay their minds before they come to prove The wounding troubles angry war affords.

CELEBINUS. No, madam, these are speeches fit for us; For, if his chair were in a sea of blood, I would prepare a ship and sail to it,
Ere I would lose the title of a king.

AMYRAS. And I would strive to swim through<43> pools of blood, Or make a bridge of murder’d carcasses,<44> Whose arches should be fram’d with bones of Turks, Ere I would lose the title of a king.

TAMBURLAINE. Well, lovely boys, ye shall be emperors both, Stretching your conquering arms from east to west:– And, sirrah, if you mean to wear a crown, When we<45> shall meet the Turkish deputy And all his viceroys, snatch it from his head, And cleave his pericranion with thy sword.

CALYPHAS. If any man will hold him, I will strike, And cleave him to the channel<46> with my sword.

TAMBURLAINE. Hold him, and cleave him too, or I’ll cleave thee; For we will march against them presently. Theridamas, Techelles, and Casane
Promis’d to meet me on Larissa-plains, With hosts a-piece against this Turkish crew; For I have sworn by sacred Mahomet
To make it parcel of my empery.
The trumpets sound; Zenocrate, they come. Enter THERIDAMAS, and his train, with drums and trumpets. Welcome, Theridamas, king of Argier.

THERIDAMAS. My lord, the great and mighty Tamburlaine, Arch-monarch of the world, I offer here
My crown, myself, and all the power I have, In all affection at thy kingly feet.

TAMBURLAINE. Thanks, good Theridamas.

THERIDAMAS. Under my colours march ten thousand Greeks, And of Argier and Afric’s frontier towns Twice twenty thousand valiant men-at-arms; All which have sworn to sack Natolia.
Five hundred brigandines are under sail, Meet for your service on the sea, my lord, That, launching from Argier to Tripoly,
Will quickly ride before Natolia,
And batter down the castles on the shore.

TAMBURLAINE. Well said, Argier! receive thy crown again. Enter USUMCASANE and TECHELLES.
Kings of Morocco<47> and of Fez, welcome.

USUMCASANE. Magnificent and peerless Tamburlaine, I and my neighbour king of Fez have brought, To aid thee in this Turkish expedition,
A hundred thousand expert soldiers; >From Azamor to Tunis near the sea
Is Barbary unpeopled for thy sake,
And all the men in armour under me, Which with my crown I gladly offer thee.

TAMBURLAINE. Thanks, king of Morocco: take your crown again.

TECHELLES. And, mighty Tamburlaine, our earthly god, Whose looks make this inferior world to quake, I here present thee with the crown of Fez, And with an host of Moors train’d to the war,<48> Whose coal-black faces make their foes retire, And quake for fear, as if infernal<49> Jove, Meaning to aid thee<50> in these<51> Turkish arms, Should pierce the black circumference of hell, With ugly Furies bearing fiery flags,
And millions of his strong<52> tormenting spirits: >From strong Tesella unto Biledull
All Barbary is unpeopled for thy sake.

TAMBURLAINE. Thanks, king of Fez: take here thy crown again. Your presence, loving friends and fellow-kings, Makes me to surfeit in conceiving joy:
If all the crystal gates of Jove’s high court Were open’d wide, and I might enter in
To see the state and majesty of heaven, It could not more delight me than your sight. Now will we banquet on these plains a while, And after march to Turkey with our camp, In number more than are the drops that fall When Boreas rents a thousand swelling clouds; And proud Orcanes of Natolia
With all his viceroys shall be so afraid, That, though the stones, as at Deucalion’s flood, Were turn’d to men, he should be overcome. Such lavish will I make of Turkish blood, That Jove shall send his winged messenger To bid me sheathe my sword and leave the field; The sun, unable to sustain the sight,
Shall hide his head in Thetis’ watery lap, And leave his steeds to fair Bootes'<53> charge; For half the world shall perish in this fight. But now, my friends, let me examine ye;
How have ye spent your absent time from me?

USUMCASANE. My lord, our men of Barbary have march’d Four hundred miles with armour on their backs, And lain in leaguer<54> fifteen months and more; For, since we left you at the Soldan’s court, We have subdu’d the southern Guallatia,
And all the land unto the coast of Spain; We kept the narrow Strait of Jubalter,<55> And made Canaria call us kings and lords: Yet never did they recreate themselves,
Or cease one day from war and hot alarms; And therefore let them rest a while, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE. They shall, Casane, and ’tis time, i’faith.

TECHELLES. And I have march’d along the river Nile To Machda, where the mighty Christian priest, Call’d John the Great,<56> sits in a milk-white robe, Whose triple mitre I did take by force,
And made him swear obedience to my crown. >From thence unto Cazates did I march,
Where Amazonians met me in the field, With whom, being women, I vouchsaf’d a league, And with my power did march to Zanzibar, The western part of Afric, where I view’d The Ethiopian sea, rivers and lakes,
But neither man nor child in all the land: Therefore I took my course to Manico,
Where,<57> unresisted, I remov’d my camp; And, by the coast of Byather,<58> at last I came to Cubar, where the negroes dwell, And, conquering that, made haste to Nubia. There, having sack’d Borno, the kingly seat, I took the king and led him bound in chains Unto Damascus,<59> where I stay’d before.

TAMBURLAINE. Well done, Techelles!–What saith Theridamas?

THERIDAMAS. I left the confines and the bounds of Afric, And made<60> a voyage into Europe, Where, by the river Tyras, I subdu’d
Stoka, Podolia, and Codemia;
Then cross’d the sea and came to Oblia, And Nigra Silva, where the devils dance, Which, in despite of them, I set on fire. >From thence I cross’d the gulf call’d by the name Mare Majore of the inhabitants.
Yet shall my soldiers make no period Until Natolia kneel before your feet.

TAMBURLAINE. Then will we triumph, banquet and carouse; Cooks shall have pensions to provide us cates, And glut us with the dainties of the world; Lachryma Christi and Calabrian wines
Shall common soldiers drink in quaffing bowls, Ay, liquid gold, when we have conquer’d him,<61> Mingled with coral and with orient<62> pearl. Come, let us banquet and carouse the whiles. [Exeunt.]



Enter SIGISMUND, FREDERICK, and BALDWIN, with their train.

SIGISMUND. Now say, my lords of Buda and Bohemia, What motion is it that inflames your thoughts, And stirs your valours to such sudden arms?

FREDERICK. Your majesty remembers, I am sure, What cruel slaughter of our Christian bloods These heathenish Turks and pagans lately made Betwixt the city Zula and Danubius;
How through the midst of Varna and Bulgaria, And almost to the very walls of Rome,
They have, not long since, massacred our camp. It resteth now, then, that your majesty
Take all advantages of time and power, And work revenge upon these infidels.
Your highness knows, for Tamburlaine’s repair, That strikes a terror to all Turkish hearts, Natolia hath dismiss’d the greatest part Of all his army, pitch’d against our power Betwixt Cutheia and Orminius’ mount,
And sent them marching up to Belgasar, Acantha, Antioch, and Caesarea,
To aid the kings of Soria<63> and Jerusalem. Now, then, my lord, advantage take thereof,<64> And issue suddenly upon the rest;
That, in the fortune of their overthrow, We may discourage all the pagan troop
That dare attempt to war with Christians.

SIGISMUND. But calls not, then, your grace to memory The league we lately made with King Orcanes, Confirm’d by oath and articles of peace, And calling Christ for record of our truths? This should be treachery and violence
Against the grace of our profession.

BALDWIN. No whit, my lord; for with such infidels, In whom no faith nor true religion rests, We are not bound to those accomplishments The holy laws of Christendom enjoin;
But, as the faith which they profanely plight Is not by necessary policy
To be esteem’d assurance for ourselves, So that we vow<65> to them should not infringe Our liberty of arms and victory.

SIGISMUND. Though I confess the oaths they undertake Breed little strength to our security,
Yet those infirmities that thus defame Their faiths,<66> their honours, and religion,<67> Should not give us presumption to the like. Our faiths are sound, and must be consummate,<68> Religious, righteous, and inviolate.

FREDERICK. Assure your grace, ’tis superstition To stand so strictly on dispensive faith; And, should we lose the opportunity
That God hath given to venge our Christians’ death, And scourge their foul blasphemous paganism, As fell to Saul, to Balaam, and the rest, That would not kill and curse at God’s command, So surely will the vengeance of the Highest, And jealous anger of his fearful arm,
Be pour’d with rigour on our sinful heads, If we neglect this<69> offer’d victory.

SIGISMUND. Then arm, my lords, and issue suddenly, Giving commandment to our general host,
With expedition to assail the pagan, And take the victory our God hath given. [Exeunt.]


Enter ORCANES, GAZELLUS, and URIBASSA, with their train.

ORCANES. Gazellus, Uribassa, and the rest, Now will we march from proud Orminius’ mount To fair Natolia, where our neighbour kings Expect our power and our royal presence, T’ encounter with the cruel Tamburlaine, That nigh Larissa sways a mighty host,
And with the thunder of his martial<70> tools Makes earthquakes in the hearts of men and heaven.

GAZELLUS. And now come we to make his sinews shake With greater power than erst his pride hath felt. An hundred kings, by scores, will bid him arms, And hundred thousands subjects to each score: Which, if a shower of wounding thunderbolts Should break out of the bowels of the clouds, And fall as thick as hail upon our heads, In partial aid of that proud Scythian,
Yet should our courages and steeled crests, And numbers, more than infinite, of men, Be able to withstand and conquer him.

URIBASSA. Methinks I see how glad the Christian king Is made for joy of our<71> admitted truce, That could not but before be terrified
With<72> unacquainted power of our host.

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER. Arm, dread sovereign, and my noble lords! The treacherous army of the Christians,
Taking advantage of your slender power, Comes marching on us, and determines straight To bid us battle for our dearest lives.

ORCANES. Traitors, villains, damned Christians! Have I not here the articles of peace
And solemn covenants we have both confirm’d, He by his Christ, and I by Mahomet?

GAZELLUS. Hell and confusion light upon their heads, That with such treason seek our overthrow, And care so little for their prophet Christ!

ORCANES. Can there be such deceit in Christians, Or treason in the fleshly heart of man,
Whose shape is figure of the highest God? Then, if there be a Christ, as Christians say, But in their deeds deny him for their Christ, If he be son to everliving Jove,
And hath the power of his outstretched arm, If he be jealous of his name and honour
As is our holy prophet Mahomet,
Take here these papers as our sacrifice And witness of thy servant’s<73> perjury! [He tears to pieces the articles of peace.] Open, thou shining veil of Cynthia,
And make a passage from th’ empyreal heaven, That he that sits on high and never sleeps, Nor in one place is circumscriptible,
But every where fills every continent With strange infusion of his sacred vigour, May, in his endless power and purity,
Behold and venge this traitor’s perjury! Thou, Christ, that art esteem’d omnipotent, If thou wilt prove thyself a perfect God, Worthy the worship of all faithful hearts, Be now reveng’d upon this traitor’s soul, And make the power I have left behind
(Too little to defend our guiltless lives) Sufficient to discomfit<74> and confound The trustless force of those false Christians!– To arms, my lords!<75> on Christ still let us cry: If there be Christ, we shall have victory. [Exeunt.]


Alarms of battle within. Enter SIGISMUND wounded.

SIGISMUND. Discomfited is all the Christian<76> host, And God hath thunder’d vengeance from on high, For my accurs’d and hateful perjury.
O just and dreadful punisher of sin, Let the dishonour of the pains I feel
In this my mortal well-deserved wound End all my penance in my sudden death!
And let this death, wherein to sin I die, Conceive a second life in endless mercy! [Dies.]


ORCANES. Now lie the Christians bathing in their bloods, And Christ or Mahomet hath been my friend.

GAZELLUS. See, here the perjur’d traitor Hungary, Bloody and breathless for his villany!

ORCANES. Now shall his barbarous body be a prey To beasts and fowls, and all the winds shall breathe, Through shady leaves of every senseless tree, Murmurs and hisses for his heinous sin.
Now scalds his soul in the Tartarian streams, And feeds upon the baneful tree of hell, That Zoacum,<77> that fruit of bitterness, That in the midst of fire is ingraff’d,
Yet flourisheth, as Flora in her pride, With apples like the heads of damned fiends. The devils there, in chains of quenchless flame, Shall lead his soul, through Orcus’ burning gulf, >From pain to pain, whose change shall never end. What say’st thou yet, Gazellus, to his foil, Which we referr’d to justice of his Christ And to his power, which here appears as full As rays of Cynthia to the clearest sight?

GAZELLUS. ‘Tis but the fortune of the wars, my lord, Whose power is often prov’d a miracle.

ORCANES. Yet in my thoughts shall Christ be honoured, Not doing Mahomet an<78> injury,
Whose power had share in this our victory; And, since this miscreant hath disgrac’d his faith, And died a traitor both to heaven and earth, We will both watch and ward shall keep his trunk<79> Amidst these plains for fowls to prey upon. Go, Uribassa, give<80> it straight in charge.

URIBASSA. I will, my lord.

ORCANES. And now, Gazellus, let us haste and meet Our army, and our brother[s] of Jerusalem, Of Soria,<81> Trebizon, and Amasia, And happily, with full Natolian bowls
Of Greekish wine, now let us celebrate Our happy conquest and his angry fate.


The arras is drawn, and ZENOCRATE is discovered lying in her bed of state; TAMBURLAINE sitting by her; three PHYSICIANS about her bed, tempering potions; her three sons, CALYPHAS, AMYRAS, and CELEBINUS; THERIDAMAS, TECHELLES, and USUMCASANE.

TAMBURLAINE. Black is the beauty of the brightest day; The golden ball of heaven’s eternal fire, That danc’d with glory on the silver waves, Now wants the fuel that inflam’d his beams; And all with faintness, and for foul disgrace, He binds his temples with a frowning cloud, Ready to darken earth with endless night. Zenocrate, that gave him light and life, Whose eyes shot fire from their<82> ivory brows,<83> And temper’d every soul with lively heat, Now by the malice of the angry skies,
Whose jealousy admits no second mate, Draws in the comfort of her latest breath, All dazzled with the hellish mists of death. Now walk the angels on the walls of heaven, As sentinels to warn th’ immortal souls
To entertain divine Zenocrate:
Apollo, Cynthia, and the ceaseless lamps That gently look’d upon this<84> loathsome earth, Shine downwards now no more, but deck the heavens To entertain divine Zenocrate:
The crystal springs, whose taste illuminates Refined eyes with an eternal sight,
Like tried silver run through Paradise To entertain divine Zenocrate:
The cherubins and holy seraphins,
That sing and play before the King of Kings, Use all their voices and their instruments To entertain divine Zenocrate;
And, in this sweet and curious harmony, The god that tunes this music to our souls Holds out his hand in highest majesty
To entertain divine Zenocrate.
Then let some holy trance convey my thoughts Up to the palace of th’ empyreal heaven, That this my life may be as short to me
As are the days of sweet Zenocrate.– Physicians, will no<85> physic do her good?

FIRST PHYSICIAN. My lord, your majesty shall soon perceive, An if she pass this fit, the worst is past.

TAMBURLAINE. Tell me, how fares my fair Zenocrate?

ZENOCRATE. I fare, my lord, as other empresses, That, when this frail and<86> transitory flesh Hath suck’d the measure of that vital air That feeds the body with his dated health, Wane with enforc’d and necessary change.

TAMBURLAINE. May never such a change transform my love, In whose sweet being I repose my life!
Whose heavenly presence, beautified with health, Gives light to Phoebus and the fixed stars; Whose absence makes<87> the sun and moon as dark As when, oppos’d in one diameter,
Their spheres are mounted on the serpent’s head, Or else descended to his winding train.
Live still, my love, and so conserve my life, Or, dying, be the author<88> of my death.

ZENOCRATE. Live still, my lord; O, let my sovereign live! And sooner let the fiery element
Dissolve, and make your kingdom in the sky, Than this base earth should shroud your majesty; For, should I but suspect your death by mine, The comfort of my future happiness,
And hope to meet your highness in the heavens, Turn’d to despair, would break my wretched breast, And fury would confound my present rest. But let me die, my love; yes,<89> let me die; With love and patience let your true love die: Your grief and fury hurts my second life. Yet let me kiss my lord before I die,
And let me die with kissing of my lord. But, since my life is lengthen’d yet a while, Let me take leave of these my loving sons, And of my lords, whose true nobility
Have merited my latest memory.
Sweet sons, farewell! in death resemble me, And in your lives your father’s excellence.<90> Some music, and my fit will cease, my lord. [They call for music.]

TAMBURLAINE. Proud fury, and intolerable fit, That dares torment the body of my love,
And scourge the scourge of the immortal God! Now are those spheres, where Cupid us’d to sit, Wounding the world with wonder and with love, Sadly supplied with pale and ghastly death, Whose darts do pierce the centre of my soul. Her sacred beauty hath enchanted heaven; And, had she liv’d before the siege of Troy, Helen, whose beauty summon’d Greece to arms, And drew a thousand ships to Tenedos,
Had not been nam’d in Homer’s Iliads,– Her name had been in every line he wrote; Or, had those wanton poets, for whose birth Old Rome was proud, but gaz’d a while on her, Nor Lesbia nor Corinna had been nam’d,– Zenocrate had been the argument
Of every epigram or elegy.
[The music sounds–ZENOCRATE dies.] What, is she dead? Techelles, draw thy sword, And wound the earth, that it may cleave in twain, And we descend into th’ infernal vaults, To hale the Fatal Sisters by the hair,
And throw them in the triple moat of hell, For taking hence my fair Zenocrate.
Casane and Theridamas, to arms!
Raise cavalieros<91> higher than the clouds, And with the cannon break the frame of heaven; Batter the shining palace of the sun,
And shiver all the starry firmament, For amorous Jove hath snatch’d my love from hence, Meaning to make her stately queen of heaven. What god soever holds thee in his arms,
Giving thee nectar and ambrosia,
Behold me here, divine Zenocrate,
Raving, impatient, desperate, and mad, Breaking my steeled lance, with which I burst The rusty beams of Janus’ temple-doors,
Letting out Death and tyrannizing War, To march with me under this bloody flag! And, if thou pitiest Tamburlaine the Great, Come down from heaven, and live with me again!

THERIDAMAS. Ah, good my lord, be patient! she is dead, And all this raging cannot make her live. If words might serve, our voice hath rent the air; If tears, our eyes have water’d all the earth; If grief, our murder’d hearts have strain’d forth blood: Nothing prevails,<92> for she is dead, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE. FOR SHE IS DEAD! thy words do pierce my soul: Ah, sweet Theridamas, say so no more!
Though she be dead, yet let me think she lives, And feed my mind that dies for want of her. Where’er her soul be, thou [To the body] shalt stay with me, Embalm’d with cassia, ambergris, and myrrh, Not lapt in lead, but in a sheet of gold, And, till I die, thou shalt not be interr’d. Then in as rich a tomb as Mausolus'<93> We both will rest, and have one<94> epitaph Writ in as many several languages
As I have conquer’d kingdoms with my sword. This cursed town will I consume with fire, Because this place bereft me of my love; The houses, burnt, will look as if they mourn’d; And here will I set up her stature,<95> And march about it with my mourning camp, Drooping and pining for Zenocrate.
[The arras is drawn.]



Enter the KINGS OF TREBIZON and SORIA,<96> one bringing a sword and the other a sceptre; next, ORCANES king of Natolia, and the KING OF JERUSALEM with the imperial crown, after, CALLAPINE; and, after him, other LORDS and ALMEDA. ORCANES and the KING OF JERUSALEM crown CALLAPINE, and the others give him the sceptre.

ORCANES. Callapinus Cyricelibes, otherwise Cybelius, son and successive heir to the late mighty emperor Bajazeth, by the aid of God and his friend Mahomet, Emperor of Natolia, Jerusalem, Trebizon, Soria, Amasia, Thracia, Ilyria, Carmania, and all the hundred and thirty kingdoms late contributory to his mighty father,–long live Callapinus, Emperor of Turkey!

CALLAPINE. Thrice-worthy kings, of Natolia and the rest, I will requite your royal gratitudes
With all the benefits my empire yields; And, were the sinews of th’ imperial seat So knit and strengthen’d as when Bajazeth, My royal lord and father, fill’d the throne, Whose cursed fate<97> hath so dismember’d it, Then should you see this thief of Scythia, This proud usurping king of Persia,
Do us such honour and supremacy,
Bearing the vengeance of our father’s wrongs, As all the world should blot his<98> dignities Out of the book of base-born infamies.
And now I doubt not but your royal cares Have so provided for this cursed foe,
That, since the heir of mighty Bajazeth (An emperor so honour’d for his virtues) Revives the spirits of all<99> true Turkish hearts, In grievous memory of his father’s shame, We shall not need to nourish any doubt,
But that proud Fortune, who hath follow’d long The martial sword of mighty Tamburlaine, Will now retain her old inconstancy,
And raise our honours<100> to as high a pitch, In this our strong and fortunate encounter; For so hath heaven provided my escape
>From all the cruelty my soul sustain’d, By this my friendly keeper’s happy means, That Jove, surcharg’d with pity of our wrongs, Will pour it down in showers on our heads, Scourging the pride of cursed Tamburlaine.

ORCANES. I have a hundred thousand men in arms; Some that, in conquest<101> of the perjur’d Christian, Being a handful to a mighty host,
Think them in number yet sufficient To drink the river Nile or Euphrates,
And for their power enow to win the world.

KING OF JERUSALEM. And I as many from Jerusalem, Judaea,<102> Gaza, and Sclavonia’s<103> bounds, That on mount Sinai, with their ensigns spread, Look like the parti-colour’d clouds of heaven That shew fair weather to the neighbour morn.

KING OF TREBIZON. And I as many bring from Trebizon, Chio, Famastro, and Amasia,
All bordering on the Mare-Major-sea, Riso, Sancina, and the bordering towns
That touch the end of famous Euphrates, Whose courages are kindled with the flames The cursed Scythian sets on all their towns, And vow to burn the villain’s cruel heart.

KING OF SORIA. From Soria<104> with seventy thousand strong, Ta’en from Aleppo, Soldino, Tripoly,
And so unto my city of Damascus,<105> I march to meet and aid my neighbour kings; All which will join against this Tamburlaine, And bring him captive to your highness’ feet.

ORCANES. Our battle, then, in martial manner pitch’d, According to our ancient use, shall bear The figure of the semicircled moon,
Whose horns shell sprinkle through the tainted air The poison’d brains of this proud Scythian.

CALLAPINE. Well, then, my noble lords, for this my friend That freed me from the bondage of my foe, I think it requisite and honourable
To keep my promise and to make him king, That is a gentleman, I know, at least.

ALMEDA. That’s no matter,<106> sir, for being a king; or Tamburlaine came up of nothing.

KING OF JERUSALEM. Your majesty may choose some ‘pointed time, Performing all your promise to the full; ‘Tis naught for your majesty to give a kingdom.

CALLAPINE. Then will I shortly keep my promise, Almeda.

ALMEDA. Why, I thank your majesty.


Enter TAMBURLAINE and his three sons, CALYPHAS, AMYRAS, and CELEBINUS; USUMCASANE; four ATTENDANTS bearing the hearse of ZENOCRATE, and the drums sounding a doleful march; the town burning.

TAMBURLAINE. So burn the turrets of this cursed town, Flame to the highest region of the air,
And kindle heaps of exhalations,
That, being fiery meteors, may presage Death and destruction to the inhabitants! Over my zenith hang a blazing star,
That may endure till heaven be dissolv’d, Fed with the fresh supply of earthly dregs, Threatening a dearth<107> and famine to this land! Flying dragons, lightning, fearful thunder-claps, Singe these fair plains, and make them seem as black As is the island where the Furies mask,
Compass’d with Lethe, Styx, and Phlegethon, Because my dear Zenocrate is dead!

CALYPHAS. This pillar, plac’d in memory of her, Where in Arabian, Hebrew, Greek, is writ, THIS TOWN, BEING BURNT BY TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT, FORBIDS THE WORLD TO BUILD IT UP AGAIN.

AMYRAS. And here this mournful streamer shall be plac’d, Wrought with the Persian and th'<108> Egyptian arms, To signify she was a princess born,
And wife unto the monarch of the East.

CELEBINUS. And here this table as a register Of all her virtues and perfections.

TAMBURLAINE. And here the picture of Zenocrate, To shew her beauty which the world admir’d; Sweet picture of divine Zenocrate,
That, hanging here, will draw the gods from heaven, And cause the stars fix’d in the southern arc, (Whose lovely faces never any view’d
That have not pass’d the centre’s latitude,) As pilgrims travel to our hemisphere,
Only to gaze upon Zenocrate.
Thou shalt not beautify Larissa-plains, But keep within the circle of mine arms: At every town and castle I besiege,
Thou shalt be set upon my royal tent; And, when I meet an army in the field,
Those<109> looks will shed such influence in my camp, As if Bellona, goddess of the war,
Threw naked swords and sulphur-balls of fire Upon the heads of all our enemies.–
And now, my lords, advance your spears again; Sorrow no more, my sweet Casane, now:
Boys, leave to mourn; this town shall ever mourn, Being burnt to cinders for your mother’s death.

CALYPHAS. If I had wept a sea of tears for her, would not ease the sorrows<110> I sustain.

AMYRAS. As is that town, so is my heart consum’d With grief and sorrow for my mother’s death.

CELEBINUS. My mother’s death hath mortified my mind, And sorrow stops the passage of my speech.

TAMBURLAINE. But now, my boys, leave off, and list to me, That mean to teach you rudiments of war. I’ll have you learn to sleep upon the ground, March in your armour thorough watery fens, Sustain the scorching heat and freezing cold, Hunger and thirst,<111> right adjuncts of the war; And, after this, to scale a castle-wall, Besiege a fort, to undermine a town,
And make whole cities caper in the air: Then next, the way to fortify your men;
In champion<112> grounds what figure serves you best, For which<113> the quinque-angle form is meet, Because the corners there may fall more flat Whereas<114> the fort may fittest be assail’d, And sharpest where th’ assault is desperate: The ditches must be deep; the<115> counterscarps Narrow and steep; the walls made high and broad; The bulwarks and the rampires large and strong, With cavalieros<116> and thick counterforts, And room within to lodge six thousand men; It must have privy ditches, countermines, And secret issuings to defend the ditch; It must have high argins<117> and cover’d ways To keep the bulwark-fronts from battery, And parapets to hide the musketeers,
Casemates to place the great<118> artillery, And store of ordnance, that from every flank May scour the outward curtains of the fort, Dismount the cannon of the adverse part, Murder the foe, and save the<119> walls from breach. When this is learn’d for service on the land, By plain and easy demonstration
I’ll teach you how to make the water mount, That you may dry-foot march through lakes and pools, Deep rivers, havens, creeks, and little seas, And make a fortress in the raging waves, Fenc’d with the concave of a monstrous rock, Invincible by nature<120> of the place. When this is done, then are ye soldiers, And worthy sons of Tamburlaine the Great.

CALYPHAS. My lord, but this is dangerous to be done; We may be slain or wounded ere we learn.

TAMBURLAINE. Villain, art thou the son of Tamburlaine, And fear’st to die, or with a<121> curtle-axe To hew thy flesh, and make a gaping wound? Hast thou beheld a peal of ordnance strike A ring of pikes, mingled with shot and horse,<122> Whose shatter’d limbs, being toss’d as high as heaven, Hang in the air as thick as sunny motes, And canst thou, coward, stand in fear of death? Hast thou not seen my horsemen charge the foe, Shot through the arms, cut overthwart the hands, Dying their lances with their streaming blood, And yet at night carouse within my tent, Filling their empty veins with airy wine, That, being concocted, turns to crimson blood, And wilt thou shun the field for fear of wounds? View me, thy father, that hath conquer’d kings, And, with his<123> host, march’d<124> round about the earth, Quite void of scars and clear from any wound, That by the wars lost not a drop<125> of blood, And see him lance<126> his flesh to teach you all. [He cuts his arm.]
A wound is nothing, be it ne’er so deep; Blood is the god of war’s rich livery.
Now look I like a soldier, and this wound As great a grace and majesty to me,
As if a chair of gold enamelled,
Enchas’d with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, And fairest pearl of wealthy India,
Were mounted here under a canopy,
And I sat down, cloth’d with a massy robe That late adorn’d the Afric potentate,
Whom I brought bound unto Damascus’ walls. Come, boys, and with your fingers search my wound, And in my blood wash all your hands at once, While I sit smiling to behold the sight. Now, my boys, what think ye of a wound?

CALYPHAS. I know not<127> what I should think of it; methinks ’tis a pitiful sight.

CELEBINUS. ‘Tis<128> nothing.–Give me a wound, father.

AMYRAS. And me another, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE. Come, sirrah, give me your arm.

CELEBINUS. Here, father, cut it bravely, as you did your own.

TAMBURLAINE. It shall suffice thou dar’st abide a wound; My boy, thou shalt not lose a drop of blood Before we meet the army of the Turk;
But then run desperate through the thickest throngs, Dreadless of blows, of bloody wounds, and death; And let the burning of Larissa-walls,
My speech of war, and this my wound you see, Teach you, my boys, to bear courageous minds, Fit for the followers of great Tamburlaine.– Usumcasane, now come, let us march
Towards Techelles and Theridamas,
That we have sent before to fire the towns, The towers and cities of these hateful Turks, And hunt that coward faint-heart runaway, With that accursed<129> traitor Almeda, Till fire and sword have found them at a bay.

USUMCASANE. I long to pierce his<130> bowels with my sword, That hath betray’d my gracious sovereign,– That curs’d and damned traitor Almeda.

TAMBURLAINE. Then let us see if coward Callapine Dare levy arms against our puissance,
That we may tread upon his captive neck, And treble all his father’s slaveries.


Enter TECHELLES, THERIDAMAS, and their train.

THERIDAMAS. Thus have we march’d northward from Tamburlaine, Unto the frontier point<131> of Soria;<132> And this is Balsera, their chiefest hold, Wherein is all the treasure of the land.

TECHELLES. Then let us bring our light artillery, Minions, falc’nets, and sakers,<133> to the trench, Filling the ditches with the walls’ wide breach, And enter in to seize upon the hold.–<134> How say you, soldiers, shall we not?

SOLDIERS. Yes, my lord, yes; come, let’s about it.

THERIDAMAS. But stay a while; summon a parle, drum. It may be they will yield it quietly,<135> Knowing two kings, the friends<136> to Tamburlaine, Stand at the walls with such a mighty power. [A parley sounded.–CAPTAIN appears on the walls, with OLYMPIA his wife, and his SON.]

CAPTAIN. What require you, my masters?

THERIDAMAS. Captain, that thou yield up thy hold to us.

CAPTAIN. To you! why, do you<137> think me weary of it?

TECHELLES. Nay, captain, thou art weary of thy life, If thou withstand the friends of Tamburlaine.

THERIDAMAS. These pioners<138> of Argier in Africa, Even in<139> the cannon’s face, shall raise a hill Of earth and faggots higher than thy fort, And, over thy argins<140> and cover’d ways, Shall play upon the bulwarks of thy hold Volleys of ordnance, till the breach be made That with his ruin fills up all the trench; And, when we enter in, not heaven itself Shall ransom thee, thy wife, and family.

TECHELLES. Captain, these Moors shall cut the leaden pipes That bring fresh water to thy men and thee, And lie in trench before thy castle-walls, That no supply of victual shall come in, Nor [any] issue forth but they shall die; And, therefore, captain, yield it quietly.<141>

CAPTAIN. Were you, that are the friends of Tamburlaine,<142> Brothers of<143> holy Mahomet himself, I would not yield it; therefore do your worst: Raise mounts, batter, intrench, and undermine, Cut off the water, all convoys that can,<144> Yet I am<145> resolute: and so, farewell. [CAPTAIN, OLYMPIA, and SON, retire from the walls.]

THERIDAMAS. Pioners, away! and where I stuck the stake, Intrench with those dimensions I prescrib’d; Cast up the earth towards the castle-wall, Which, till it may defend you, labour low, And few or none shall perish by their shot.

PIONERS. We will, my lord.
[Exeunt PIONERS.]

TECHELLES. A hundred horse shall scout about the plains, To spy what force comes to relieve the hold. Both we, Theridamas, will intrench our men, And with the Jacob’s staff measure the height And distance of the castle from the trench, That we may know if our artillery
Will carry full point-blank unto their walls.

THERIDAMAS. Then see the bringing of our ordnance Along the trench into<146> the battery, Where we will have gallions of six foot broad, To save our cannoneers from musket-shot; Betwixt which shall our ordnance thunder forth, And with the breach’s fall, smoke, fire, and dust, The crack, the echo, and the soldiers’ cry, Make deaf the air and dim the crystal sky.

TECHELLES. Trumpets and drums, alarum presently! And, soldiers, play the men; the hold<147> is yours! [Exeunt.]


Alarms within. Enter the CAPTAIN, with OLYMPIA, and his SON.

OLYMPIA. Come, good my lord, and let us haste from hence, Along the cave that leads beyond the foe: No hope is left to save this conquer’d hold.

CAPTAIN. A deadly bullet, gliding through my side, Lies heavy on my heart; I cannot live:
I feel my liver pierc’d, and all my veins, That there begin and nourish every part, Mangled and torn, and all my entrails bath’d In blood that straineth<148> from their orifex. Farewell, sweet wife! sweet son, farewell! I die. [Dies.]

OLYMPIA. Death, whither art thou gone, that both we live? Come back again, sweet Death, and strike us both! One minute and our days, and one sepulchre Contain our bodies! Death, why com’st thou not Well, this must be the messenger for thee: [Drawing a dagger.]
Now, ugly Death, stretch out thy sable wings, And carry both our souls where his remains.– Tell me, sweet boy, art thou content to die? These barbarous Scythians, full of cruelty, And Moors, in whom was never pity found, Will hew us piecemeal, put us to the wheel, Or else invent some torture worse than that; Therefore die by thy loving mother’s hand, Who gently now will lance thy ivory throat, And quickly rid thee both of pain and life.

SON. Mother, despatch me, or I’ll kill myself; For think you I can live and see him dead? Give me your knife, good mother, or strike home:<149> The Scythians shall not tyrannize on me: Sweet mother, strike, that I may meet my father. [She stabs him, and he dies.]

OLYMPIA. Ah, sacred Mahomet, if this be sin, Entreat a pardon of the God of heaven,
And purge my soul before it come to thee! [She burns the bodies of her HUSBAND and SON, and then attempts to kill herself.]

Enter THERIDAMAS, TECHELLES, and all their train.

THERIDAMAS. How now, madam! what are you doing?

OLYMPIA. Killing myself, as I have done my son, Whose body, with his father’s, I have burnt, Lest cruel Scythians should dismember him.

TECHELLES. ‘Twas bravely done, and like a soldier’s wife. Thou shalt with us to Tamburlaine the Great, Who, when he hears how resolute thou wert,<150> Will match thee with a viceroy or a king.

OLYMPIA. My lord deceas’d was dearer unto me Than any viceroy, king, or emperor;
And for his sake here will I end my days.

THERIDAMAS. But, lady, go with us to Tamburlaine, And thou shalt see a man greater than Mahomet, In whose high looks is much more majesty, Than from the concave superficies
Of Jove’s vast palace, the empyreal orb, Unto the shining bower where Cynthia sits, Like lovely Thetis, in a crystal robe;
That treadeth Fortune underneath his feet, And makes the mighty god of arms his slave; On whom Death and the Fatal Sisters wait With naked swords and scarlet liveries;
Before whom, mounted on a lion’s back, Rhamnusia bears a helmet full of blood,
And strows the way with brains of slaughter’d men; By whose proud side the ugly Furies run, Hearkening when he shall bid them plague the world; Over whose zenith, cloth’d in windy air, And eagle’s wings join’d<151> to her feather’d breast, Fame hovereth, sounding of<152> her golden trump, That to the adverse poles of that straight line Which measureth the glorious frame of heaven The name of mighty Tamburlaine is spread; And him, fair lady, shall thy eyes behold. Come.

OLYMPIA. Take pity of a lady’s ruthful tears, That humbly craves upon her knees to stay, And cast her body in the burning flame
That feeds upon her son’s and husband’s flesh.

TECHELLES. Madam, sooner shall fire consume us both Than scorch a face so beautiful as this, In frame of which Nature hath shew’d more skill Than when she gave eternal chaos form,
Drawing from it the shining lamps of heaven.

THERIDAMAS. Madam, I am so far in love with you, That you must go with us: no remedy.

OLYMPIA. Then carry me, I care not, where you will, And let the end of this my fatal journey Be likewise end to my accursed life.

TECHELLES. No, madam, but the<153> beginning of your joy: Come willingly therefore.

THERIDAMAS. Soldiers, now let us meet the general, Who by this time is at Natolia,
Ready to charge the army of the Turk. The gold and<154> silver, and the pearl, ye got, Rifling this fort, divide in equal shares: This lady shall have twice so much again Out of the coffers of our treasury.



MESSENGER. Renowmed<155> emperor, mighty<156> Callapine, God’s great lieutenant over all the world, Here at Aleppo, with an host of men,
Lies Tamburlaine, this king of Persia, (In number more than are the<157> quivering leaves Of Ida’s forest, where your highness’ hounds With open cry pursue the wounded stag,)
Who means to girt Natolia’s walls with siege, Fire the town, and over-run the land.

CALLAPINE. My royal army is as great as his, That, from the bounds of Phrygia to the sea Which washeth Cyprus with his brinish waves, Covers the hills, the valleys, and the plains. Viceroys and peers of Turkey, play the men; Whet all your<158> swords to mangle Tamburlaine, His sons, his captains, and his followers: By Mahomet, not one of them shall live!
The field wherein this battle shall be fought For ever term’d<159> the Persians’ sepulchre, In memory of this our victory.

ORCANES. Now he that calls himself the<160> scourge of Jove, The emperor of the world, and earthly god, Shall end the warlike progress he intends, And travel headlong to the lake of hell, Where legions of devils (knowing he must die Here in Natolia by your<161> highness’ hands), All brandishing their<162> brands of quenchless fire, Stretching their monstrous paws, grin with<163> their teeth, And guard the gates to entertain his soul.

CALLAPINE. Tell me, viceroys, the number of your men, And what our army royal is esteem’d.

KING OF JERUSALEM. From Palestina and Jerusalem, Of Hebrews three score thousand fighting men Are come, since last we shew’d your<164> majesty.

ORCANES. So from Arabia Desert, and the bounds Of that sweet land whose brave metropolis Re-edified the fair Semiramis,
Came forty thousand warlike foot and horse, Since last we number’d to your majesty.

KING OF TREBIZON. From Trebizon in Asia the Less, Naturaliz’d Turks and stout Bithynians
Came to my bands, full fifty thousand more, (That, fighting, know not what retreat doth mean, Nor e’er return but with the victory,)
Since last we number’d to your majesty.

KING OF SORIA. Of Sorians<165> from Halla is repair’d,<166> And neighbour cities of your highness’ land,<167> Ten thousand horse, and thirty thousand foot, Since last we number’d to your majesty;
So that the army royal is esteem’d
Six hundred thousand valiant fighting men.

CALLAPINE. Then welcome, Tamburlaine, unto thy death!– Come, puissant viceroys, let us to the field (The Persians’ sepulchre), and sacrifice Mountains of breathless men to Mahomet,
Who now, with Jove, opens the firmament To see the slaughter of our enemies.


TAMBURLAINE. How now, Casane! see, a knot of kings, Sitting as if they were a-telling riddles!

USUMCASANE. My lord, your presence makes them pale and wan: Poor souls, they look as if their deaths were near.

TAMBURLAINE. Why, so he<168> is, Casane; I am here: But yet I’ll save their lives, and make them slaves.– Ye petty kings of Turkey, I am come,
As Hector did into the Grecian camp, To overdare the pride of Graecia,
And set his warlike person to the view Of fierce Achilles, rival of his fame:
I do you honour in the simile;
For, if I should, as Hector did Achilles, (The worthiest knight that ever brandish’d sword,) Challenge in combat any of you all,
I see how fearfully ye would refuse, And fly my glove as from a scorpion.

ORCANES. Now, thou art fearful of thy army’s strength, Thou wouldst with overmatch of person fight: But, shepherd’s issue, base-born Tamburlaine, Think of thy end; this sword shall lance thy throat.

TAMBURLAINE. Villain, the shepherd’s issue (at whose birth Heaven did afford a gracious aspect,
And join’d those stars that shall be opposite Even till the dissolution of the world,
And never meant to make a conqueror So famous as is<169> mighty Tamburlaine) Shall so torment thee, and that Callapine, That, like a roguish runaway, suborn’d
That villain there, that slave, that Turkish dog, To false his service to his sovereign,
As ye shall curse the birth of Tamburlaine.

CALLAPINE. Rail not, proud Scythian: I shall now revenge My father’s vile abuses and mine own.

KING OF JERUSALEM. By Mahomet, he shall be tied in chains, Rowing with Christians in a brigandine
About the Grecian isles to rob and spoil, And turn him to his ancient trade again: Methinks the slave should make a lusty thief.

CALLAPINE. Nay, when the battle ends, all we will meet, And sit in council to invent some pain
That most may vex his body and his soul.

TAMBURLAINE. Sirrah Callapine, I’ll hang a clog about your neck for running away again: you shall not trouble me thus to come and fetch you.– But as for you, viceroy[s], you shall have bits, And, harness’d<170> like my horses, draw my coach; And, when ye stay, be lash’d with whips of wire: I’ll have you learn to feed on<171> provender, And in a stable lie upon the planks.

ORCANES. But, Tamburlaine, first thou shalt<172> kneel to us, And humbly crave a pardon for thy life.

KING OF TREBIZON. The common soldiers of our mighty host Shall bring thee bound unto the<173> general’s tent<.>

KING OF SORIA. And all have jointly sworn thy cruel death, Or bind thee in eternal torments’ wrath.

TAMBURLAINE. Well, sirs, diet yourselves; you know I shall have occasion shortly to journey you.

CELEBINUS. See, father, how Almeda the jailor looks upon us!

TAMBURLAINE. Villain, traitor, damned fugitive, I’ll make thee wish the earth had swallow’d thee! See’st thou not death within my wrathful looks? Go, villain, cast thee headlong from a rock, Or rip thy bowels, and rent<174> out thy heart, T’ appease my wrath; or else I’ll torture thee, Searing thy hateful flesh with burning irons And drops of scalding lead, while all thy joints Be rack’d and beat asunder with the wheel; For, if thou liv’st, not any element
Shall shroud thee from the wrath of Tamburlaine.

CALLAPINE. Well, in despite of thee, he shall be king.– Come, Almeda; receive this crown of me:
I here invest thee king of Ariadan, Bordering on Mare Roso, near to Mecca.

ORCANES. What! take it, man.

ALMEDA. [to Tamb.] Good my lord, let me take it.

CALLAPINE. Dost thou ask him leave? here; take it.

TAMBURLAINE. Go to, sirrah!<175> take your crown, and make up the half dozen. So, sirrah, now you are a king, you must give arms.<176>

ORCANES. So he shall, and wear thy head in his scutcheon.

TAMBURLAINE. No;<177> let him hang a bunch of keys on his standard, to put him in remembrance he was a jailor, that, when I take him, I may knock out his brains with them, and lock you in the stable, when you shall come sweating from my chariot.

KING OF TREBIZON. Away! let us to the field, that the villain may be slain.

TAMBURLAINE. Sirrah, prepare whips, and bring my chariot to my tent; for, as soon as the battle is done, I’ll ride in triumph through the camp.
Enter THERIDAMAS, TECHELLES, and their train. How now, ye petty kings? lo, here are bugs<178> Will make the hair stand upright on your heads, And cast your crowns in slavery at their feet!– Welcome, Theridamas and Techelles, both: See ye this rout,<179> and know ye this same king?

THERIDAMAS. Ay, my lord; he was Callapine’s keeper.

TAMBURLAINE. Well, now ye see he is a king. Look to him, Theridamas, when we are fighting, lest he hide his crown as the foolish king of Persia did.<180>

KING OF SORIA. No, Tamburlaine; he shall not be put to that exigent, I warrant thee.

TAMBURLAINE. You know not, sir.–
But now, my followers and my loving friends, Fight as you ever did, like conquerors,
The glory of this happy day is yours. My stern aspect<181> shall make fair Victory, Hovering betwixt our armies, light on me, Loaden with laurel-wreaths to crown us all.

TECHELLES. I smile to think how, when this field is fought And rich Natolia ours, our men shall sweat With carrying pearl and treasure on their backs.

TAMBURLAINE. You shall be princes all, immediately.– Come, fight, ye Turks, or yield us victory.

ORCANES. No; we will meet thee, slavish Tamburlaine. [Exeunt severally.]



Alarms within. AMYRAS and CELEBINUS issue from the tent where CALYPHAS sits asleep.<182>

AMYRAS. Now in their glories shine the golden crowns Of these proud Turks, much like so many suns That half dismay the majesty of heaven.
Now, brother, follow we our father’s sword, That flies with fury swifter than our thoughts, And cuts down armies with his conquering wings.

CELEBINUS. Call forth our lazy brother from the tent, For, if my father miss him in the field, Wrath, kindled in the furnace of his breast, Will send a deadly lightning to his heart.

AMYRAS. Brother, ho! what, given so much to sleep, You cannot<183> leave it, when our enemies’ drums And rattling cannons thunder in our ears Our proper ruin and our father’s foil?

CALYPHAS. Away, ye fools! my father needs not me, Nor you, in faith, but that you will be thought More childish-valourous than manly-wise. If half our camp should sit and sleep with me, My father were enough to scare<184> the foe: You do dishonour to his majesty,
To think our helps will do him any good.

AMYRAS. What, dar’st thou, then, be absent from the fight, Knowing my father hates thy cowardice,
And oft hath warn’d thee to be still in field, When he himself amidst the thickest troops Beats down our foes, to flesh our taintless swords?

CALYPHAS. I know, sir, what it is to kill a man; It works remorse of conscience in me.
I take no pleasure to be murderous, Nor care for blood when wine will quench my thirst.

CELEBINUS. O cowardly boy! fie, for shame, come forth! Thou dost dishonour manhood and thy house.

CALYPHAS. Go, go, tall<185> stripling, fight you for us both, And take my other toward brother here,
For person like to prove a second Mars. ‘Twill please my mind as well to hear, both you<186> Have won a heap of honour in the field,
And left your slender carcasses behind, As if I lay with you for company.

AMYRAS. You will not go, then?

CALYPHAS. You say true.

AMYRAS. Were all the lofty mounts of Zona Mundi That fill the midst of farthest Tartary
Turn’d into pearl and proffer’d for my stay, I would not bide the fury of my father,
When, made a victor in these haughty arms, He comes and finds his sons have had no shares In all the honours he propos’d for us.

CALYPHAS. Take you the honour, I will take my ease; My wisdom shall excuse my cowardice:
I go into the field before I need!
[Alarms within. AMYRAS and CELEBINUS run out.] The bullets fly at random where they list; And, should I<187> go, and kill a thousand men, I were as soon rewarded with a shot,
And sooner far than he that never fights; And, should I go, and do no harm nor good, I might have harm, which all the good I have, Join’d with my father’s crown, would never cure. I’ll to cards.–Perdicas!


PERDICAS. Here, my lord.

Come, thou and I will go to cards to drive away the time.

PERDICAS. Content, my lord: but what shall we play for?

CALYPHAS. Who shall kiss the fairest of the Turks’ concubines first, when my father hath conquered them.

PERDICAS. Agreed, i’faith.
[They play.]

CALYPHAS. They say I am a coward, Perdicas, and I fear as little their taratantaras, their swords, or their cannons as I do a naked lady in a net of gold, and, for fear I should be afraid, would put it off and come to bed with me.

PERDICAS. Such a fear, my lord, would never make ye retire.

CALYPHAS. I would my father would let me be put in the front of such a battle once, to try my valour! [Alarms within.] What a coil they keep! I believe there will be some hurt done anon amongst them.


See now, ye<188> slaves, my children stoop your pride,<189> And lead your bodies<190> sheep-like to the sword!– Bring them, my boys, and tell me if the wars Be not a life that may illustrate gods,
And tickle not your spirits with desire Still to be train’d in arms and chivalry?

AMYRAS. Shall we let go these kings again, my lord, To gather greater numbers ‘gainst our power, That they may say, it is not chance doth this, But matchless strength and magnanimity?

TAMBURLAINE. No, no, Amyras; tempt not Fortune so: Cherish thy valour still with fresh supplies, And glut it not with stale and daunted foes. But where’s this coward villain, not my son, But traitor to my name and majesty?
[He goes in and brings CALYPHAS out.] Image of sloth, and picture of a slave,
The obloquy and scorn of my renown! How may my heart, thus fired with mine<191> eyes, Wounded with shame and kill’d with discontent, Shroud any thought may<192> hold my striving hands >From martial justice on thy wretched soul?

THERIDAMAS. Yet pardon him, I pray your majesty.

Let all of us entreat your highness’ pardon.

TAMBURLAINE. Stand up,<193> ye base, unworthy soldiers! Know ye not yet the argument of arms?

AMYRAS. Good my lord, let him be forgiven for once,<194> And we will force him to the field hereafter.

TAMBURLAINE. Stand up, my boys, and I will teach ye arms, And what the jealousy of wars must do.– O Samarcanda, where I breathed first,
And joy’d the fire of this martial<195> flesh, Blush, blush, fair city, at thine<196> honour’s foil, And shame of nature, which<197> Jaertis'<198> stream, Embracing thee with deepest of his love, Can never wash from thy distained brows!– Here, Jove, receive his fainting soul again; A form not meet to give that subject essence Whose matter is the flesh of Tamburlaine, Wherein an incorporeal<199> spirit moves, Made of the mould whereof thyself consists, Which makes me valiant, proud, ambitious, Ready to levy power against thy throne,
That I might move the turning spheres of heaven; For earth and all this airy region
Cannot contain the state of Tamburlaine. [Stabs CALYPHAS.]
By Mahomet, thy mighty friend, I swear, In sending to my issue such a soul,
Created of the massy dregs of earth, The scum and tartar of the elements,
Wherein was neither courage, strength, or wit, But folly, sloth, and damned idleness,
Thou hast procur’d a greater enemy
Than he that darted mountains at thy head, Shaking the burden mighty Atlas bears,
Whereat thou trembling hidd’st thee in the air, Cloth’d with a pitchy cloud for being seen.–<200> And now, ye canker’d curs of Asia,
That will not see the strength of Tamburlaine, Although it shine as brightly as the sun, Now you shall<201> feel the strength of Tamburlaine, And, by the state of his supremacy,
Approve<202> the difference ‘twixt himself and you.

ORCANES. Thou shew’st the difference ‘twixt ourselves and thee, In this thy barbarous damned tyranny.

KING OF JERUSALEM. Thy victories are grown so violent, That shortly heaven, fill’d with the meteors Of blood and fire thy tyrannies have made, Will pour down blood and fire on thy head, Whose scalding drops will pierce thy seething brains, And, with our bloods, revenge our bloods<203> on thee.

TAMBURLAINE. Villains, these terrors, and these tyrannies (If tyrannies war’s justice ye repute),
I execute, enjoin’d me from above,
To scourge the pride of such as Heaven abhors; Nor am I made arch-monarch of the world, Crown’d and invested by the hand of Jove, For deeds of bounty or nobility;
But, since I exercise a greater name,