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MYCETES, King of Persia.
COSROE, his Brother.
MENAPHON, Persian Captains.
TAMBURLAINE, a Scythian Shepherd.
CAPOLIN, an Egyptian Captain.
BAJAZETH, Emperor of the Turks.
King of Arabia.
King of Fez.
King of Morocco.
King of Argier.
Soldan of Egypt.
Governor of Damascus.
PHILEMUS, a Messenger.
ZENOCRATE, Daughter of the Soldan of Egypt.
ANIPPE, her Maid.
ZABINA, Empress of the Turks.
EBEA, her Maid.
Virgins of Damascus.
1 There is no list of characters in the old copies.
Enter MYCETES, COSROE, MEANDER, THERIDAMAS,
ORTYGIUS, CENEUS, MENAPHON, with others.
Myc. Brother Cosroe, I find myself aggrieved,
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 triumphed over Afric and the bounds
Of Europe, where the sun scarce dares appear
For freezing meteors and congealed cold,
Now to be ruled and governed by a man
At whose birthday Cynthia with Saturn joined,
And Jove, the Sun, and Mercury denied
To shed their 1 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 thiough your planets I perceive you think
I am.not wise enough to be a king,
But I refer me to my
That know my wit, and can be witnesses.
1. might command you to be slain for this:
Meander, might I not?
Meand. 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,
Declare the cause of my conceived grief,
Which is, God knows, about that Tamburlaine, 30
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.
Meand. 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,
Charged with a thousand horse, to apprehend
And bring him captive to your Highness' throne.
Myc. Full true thou speak'st, and like thyself, my
Whom I may term a Damon for thy love :
Therefore 'tis best, if so it like you all,
To send my thousand horse incontinenti
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.
Ther. Before the moon renew her borrowed light,
Doubt not, my Lord and gracious Sovereign,
70 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 thencega
That I may view these milk-white steeds of mine
All loaden with the heads of killed men,
And from their knees e'en to their hoofs below 2
Besmeared with blood that makes a dainty show.
Ther. Then now, my Lord, I humbly take my leave.
Myc. Theridamas, farewell! ten thousand times.
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 Babylonians' hearts
Which will revolt from Persian government,
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,