Tamburlaine the Great, Part 2 by Christopher Marlowe - HTML preview

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     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.



     SCENE II.

     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.




     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!


     Enter ORCANES, GAZELLUS, URIBASSA, with others.

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.



     SCENE IV.

     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



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.]