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THE FIRST PART OF

TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT.

THE PROLOGUE.

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

And then applaud his fortunes as you please.

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THE FIRST PART OF

TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT.

SCENE I.

Enter MYCETES, COSROE, MEANDER, THERIDAMAS, ORTYGIUS, CENEUS, Menaphon, with others.

ACT I.

Myc. Brother Cosroe, I find myself agriev'd; Yet insufficient to express the same,

For it requires a great and thundering speech :
Good brother, tell the cause unto my lords;
I know you have a better wit than I.

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

Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.

Myc. Brother, I see your meaning well enough, And through your planets I perceive you think I am not wise enough to be a king:

But I refer me to my noblemen,

That know my wit, and can be witnesses.
I might command you to be slain for this,-
Meander, might I not?

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

Myc. I mean it not, but yet I know I might.Yet live; yea, live; Mycetes wills it so.Meander, thou, my faithful counsellor,

⚫ Afric] So the 8vo.-The 4to "Affrica." ↑ their] Old eds. "his."

through] So the 4to.-The 8vo "thorough."

Declare the cause of my conceived grief,
Which is, God knows, about that Tamburlaine,
That, like a fox in midst of harvest-time,
Doth prey upon my flocks of passengers;
And, as I hear, doth mean to pull my plumes:
Therefore 'tis good and meet for to be wise.

Mean. Oft have I heard your majesty complain
Of Tamburlaine, that sturdy Scythian thief,
That robs your merchants of Persepolis
Trading by land unto the Western Isles,
And in your confines with his lawless train
Daily commits incivil* outrages,
Hoping (misled by dreaming prophecies)
To reign in Asia, and with barbarous arms
To make himself the monarch of the East:
But, ere he march in Asia, or display
His vagrant ensign in the Persian fields,
Your grace hath taken order by Theridamas,
Charg'd with a thousand horse, to apprehend
And bring him captive to your highness' throne.
Myc. Full true thou speak'st, and like thyself,
my lord,

Whom I may term a Damon for thy love:
Therefore 'tis best, if so it like you all,
To send my thousand horse incontinent +
To apprehend that paltry Scythian.
How like you this, my honourable lords?
Is it not a kingly resolution?

Cos. It cannot choose, because it comes from

you.

Myc. Then hear thy charge, valiant Theridamas, The chiefest captain of Mycetes' host,

* incivil] i. e. barbarous.-So the 8vo.-The 4to "vnciuill."

↑ incontinent] i. e. forthwith, immediately. chiefest] So the 8vo.-The 4to "chiefe."

The hope of Persia, and the very legs
Whereon our state doth lean as on a staff,
That holds us up and foils our neighbour foes:
Thou shalt be leader of this thousand horse,
Whose foaming gall with rage and high disdain
Have sworn the death of wicked Tamburlaine.
Go frowning forth; but come thou smiling home,
As did Sir Paris with the Grecian dame:
Return with speed; time passeth swift away;
Our life is frail, and we may die to-day.

Ther. Before the moon renew her borrow'd
light,

Doubt not, my lord and gracious sovereign,
But Tamburlaine and that Tartarian rout*
Shall either perish by our warlike hands,
Or plead for mercy at your highness' feet.

Myc. Go, stout Theridamas; thy words are
swords,

And with thy looks thou conquerest all thy foes.
I long to see thee back return from thence,
That I may view these milk-white steeds of mine
All loaden with the heads of killed men,
And, from their knees even to their hoofs below,
Besmear'd with blood that makes a dainty show.
Ther. Then now, my lord, I humbly take my
leave.

seat

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

Myc. Emboss'd with silk as best beseems my

state,

To be reveng'd for these contemptuous words!
O, where is duty and allegiance now?

Fled to the Caspian or the Ocean main?
What shall I call thee? brother? no, a foe;
Monster of nature, shame unto thy stock,
That dar'st presume thy sovereign for to mock !—
Meander, come: I am abus'd, Meander.

Myc. Theridamas, farewell ten thousand times.
[Exit THERIDAMAS.
Ah, Menaphon, why stay'st thou thus behind,
When other men press + forward for renown?
Go, Menaphon, go into Scythia,

How easily may you, with a mighty host,
Pass into Græcia, as did Cyrus once,

And foot by foot follow Theridamas.

[task]

Lest

Fits Menaphon than warring with a thief:
Create him pro-rex of all § Africa,

Cos. Nay, pray you, let him stay; a greater And cause them to withdraw their forces home,
you ** subdue the pride of Christendom !
[Trumpet within.
Cos. But, Menaphon, what means this trumpet's
sound?

That he may win the Babylonians' hearts,
Which will revolt from Persian government,
Unless they have a wiser king than you.

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

rout] i. e. crew.

+ press] So the 8vo.-The 4to "prease."
you] So the 8vo.-Omitted in the 4to.
§ all] So the 4to.-Omitted in the 8vo,

[Exeunt all except COSROE and MENAPHON. Men. How now, my lord! what, mated and amaz'd

To hear the king thus threaten like himself!
Cos. Ah, Menaphon, I pass not + for his threats!
The plot is laid by Persian noblemen
And captains of the Median garrisons
To crown me emperor of Asia:
But this it is that doth excruciate
The very substance of my vexèd soul,
To see our neighbours, that were wont to quake
And tremble at the Persian monarch's name,
Now sit and laugh our regiment to scorn;
And that which might resolve § me into tears,
Men from the farthest equinoctial line
Have swarm'd in troops into the Eastern India,
Lading their ships || with gold and precious stones,
And made their spoils from all our provinces.
Men. This should entreat your highness to
rejoice,

Since Fortune gives you opportunity
To gain the title of a conqueror
By curing of this maimèd empery.
Afric and Europe bordering on your land,
And continent to your dominions,

Re-enter ORTYGIUS and CENEUS, †† with others, bearing

a crown.

Cos. And add this to them,-that all Asia Orty. Magnificent and mighty prince Cosroe, Lament to see the folly of their king. We, in the name of other Persian states ✦✦ Myc. Well, here I swear by this my royal And commons of this mighty monarchy, Present thee with th' imperial diadem.

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

*mated] i. e. confounded.

+ pass not] i. e. care not.

regiment] i. e. rule, government.

§ resolve] i. e. dissolve.-So the 8vo.-The 4to "dissolue."

|| ships] So the 4to.-The Svo "shippe."
Pass] So the 8vo.-The 4to "Hast."
**you] So the 8vo.-The 4to "they."

tt Ceneus] Here both the old eds. "Conerus.”
It states] i. e. noblemen, persons of rank.

Cen. The warlike soldiers and the gentlemen,
That heretofore have fill'd Persepolis
With Afric captains taken in the field,
Whose ransom made them march in coats of
gold,

With costly jewels hanging at their ears,
And shining stones upon their lofty crests,
Now living idle in the wallèd towns,
Wanting both pay and martial discipline,
Begin in troops to threaten civil war,
And openly exclaim against their * king:
Therefore, to stay all sudden mutinies,
We will invest your highness emperor;
Whereat the soldiers will conceive more joy
Than did the Macedonians at the spoil
Of great Darius and his wealthy host.

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

Orty. And, in assurance of desir'd success,
We here do crown thee monarch of the East.
Emperor of Asia and Persia; +
Great lord of Media and Armenia;

Duke of Africa and Albania,
Mesopotamia and of Parthia,

East India and the late-discover'd isles; Chief lord of all the wide vast Euxine Sea, And of the ever-raging‡ Caspian Lake.

All. Long live Cosroe, mighty emperor ! Cos. And Jove may || never let me longer live Than I may seek to gratify your love, And cause the soldiers that thus honour me To triumph over many provinces !

By whose desires of discipline in arms

I doubt not shortly but to reign sole king, And with the army of Theridamas (Whither we presently will fly, my lords,) To rest secure against my brother's force. Orty. We knew, my lord, before we brought the crown,

Intending your investion so near
The residence of your despised brother,
The lords** would not be too exasperate

* their] So the 8vo.-The 4to "the."

+ and Persia] So the 8vo.-The 4to "and of Persia." 1 ever-raging] So the 8vo.-The 4to "riuer raging." ALL] So the 4to.-Omitted in the 8vo.

And Jove may, &c.] i. e. And may Jove, &c. This collocation of words is sometimes found in later writers: so in the Prologue to Fletcher's Woman's Prize,-" Which this may prove !"

knew] So the Svo.-The 4to "knowe."
lords] So the 4to.-The 8vo "Lord."

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Zeno. Ah, shepherd, pity my distressed plight! (If, as thou seem'st, thou art so mean a man,) And seek not to enrich thy followers

By lawless rapine from a silly maid,
Who, travelling with these Median lords
To Memphis, from my uncle's country of Media,
Where, all my youth, I have been governèd,
Have pass'd the army of the mighty Turk,
Bearing his privy-signet and his hand
To safe-conduct us thorough § Africa.

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

Tamb. But now you see these letters and commands

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