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TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT.

PART THE FIRST.

ACT THE FIRST.
SCENE I.

Enter Mycetes, Cos Roe, MEAN DER, THE RIDAMAs, ORTYG 1 us, CEN Eus, MENA PHoN, with others.

Myc. Brother Cosroe, I find myself agriev'd,
Yet insufficient to express the same;
For it requires a great and thund'ring 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 scarce dares 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.—

W0L. I. 1

Now Turks and Tartars shake their swords at thee,
Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.
Myc. Brother, I see your meaning well enough,
And thorough your planets I perceive you think
I am not wise enough to be a king,
But I refer me to my noble men
That know my wit, and can be witnesses.
I might command you to be slain for this:
Meander, might I not?
MEAN d. Not for so small a fault, mysovereign 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,
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. -
Meas D. Oft have I heard your Majesty compl"
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 uncivil outrages,
Hoping (misled by dreaming prophecies)
To reign in Asia, and with barb'rous arms
To make himself the monarch of the East;
But ere he march in Asia, or display
His vagrant ensign in the Persian fields,

[graphic]

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’t 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,
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.
The R. 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 kneese'en to their hoofs below
Besmear'd with blood that makes a dainty show.
Ther. Then now, my Lord, I humbly take my
leave.
Myc. Theridamas, farewell! ten thousand times.
[Erit Theridamas.
Ah, Menaphon, why stay'st thou thus behind,
When other men press forward for renown?
Go, Menaphon, go into Scythia;
And foot by foot follow Theridamas.
Cos. Nay, pray you let him stay; a greater [task"]
Fits Menaphon than warring with a thief:
Create him Prorex of all Africa,
That he may win the Babylonian 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.
Cos. And add this to them—that all Asia
Laments to see the folly of their king.
Myc. Well, here I swear by this my royal 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.

* This word, or one of similar import, has been dropped at the press.

[graphic]

0, where is duty and allegiance now 2
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.
[All go out but 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 nott for his threats;
The plot is laid by Persian noblemen
And captains of the Median garrisons
To crown me emperor of Asia:
But this it is that doth excruciate
The very substance of my vexed soul—
To see our neighbours that were wont to quake
And tremble at the Persian monarch's name,
Now sit and laugh our regiment 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.
Mex. This should entreat your highness to rejoice,
Since Fortune gives you opportunity
To gain the title of a conqueror
By curing of this maimed empery.
* mated—confounded; from the French mater.
+ pass not–care not.

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