Tamburlaine the Great, Part 1 by Christopher Marlowe - HTML preview

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     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.




     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.]




     a BASSO, ZENOCRATE, ANIPPE, with others.

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.


     and ARGIER; ZABINA and EBEA.

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'


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?

I'll make the kings of India, ere I die,

Offer their mines, to sue for peace, to me,

And dig for treasure to appease my wrath.--

Come, bind them both, and one lead in the Turk;

The Turkess let my love's maid lead away,

     [They bind them.]

BAJAZETH. Ah, villains, dare you touch my sacred arms?--

O Mahomet!  O sleepy Mahomet!

ZABINA. O cursed Mahomet, that mak'st us thus

The slaves to Scythians rude and barbarous!

TAMBURLAINE. Come, bring them in; and for this happy conquest

Triumph, and solemnize a martial[185] feast.