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A heaven of heavenly bodies in their spheres,
That guides his steps and actions to the throne
Where honour sits invested royally;
Pale of complexion, wrought in him with passion,
Thirsting with sovereignty and love of arms;
His lofty brows in folds do figure death,
And in their smoothness amity and life;
About them hangs a knot of amber hair,
Wrapped in curls, as fierce as Achilles' was,
On which the breath of heaven delights to play,
Making it dance with wanton majesty ;
His arms and fingers long and sinewy,
Betokening valour and excess of strength-
In every part proportioned like the man
Should make the world subdu'd to Tamburlaine.
HIS THIRST OF REIGN.
ACT II., SCENE 7.
Tamb. The thirst of reign and sweetness of a crown That caus'd the eldest son of heavenly Ops To thrust his doting father froin his chair, And place himself in the empyreal heaven, Mov'd me to manage arms against thy state. What better precedent than nighty Jove? Nature, that fram'd us of four elements Warring within our breasts for regiment, Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds: Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend The wondrous architecture of the world, And measure every wandering planet's course, Still climbing after knowledge infinite, And always moving as the restless spheres,
Will us to wear ourselves, and never rest,
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,
That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.
THE SULTAN'S SUMMONS.
ACT IV., SCENE 1.
Sold. Awake, ye men of Memphis! hear the clang
Of Scythian trumpets; hear the basilisks,
That, roaring, shake Damascus' turrets down!
The rogue of Volga holds Zenocrate,
The Soldan's daughter, for his concubine,
And, with a troop of thieves and vagabonds,
Hath spread his colours to our high disgrace,
While you, faint-hearted base Egyptians,
Lie slumbering on the flowery banks of Nile,
As crocodiles that unaffrighted rest
While thundering cannons rattle on their skins.
Mess. Nay, mighty Soldan, did your greatness see
The frowning looks of fiery Tamburlaine,
That with his terror and imperious eyes
Commands the hearts of his associates,
It might amaze your royal majesty.
Sold. Villain, I tell thee, were that Tamburlaine
As monstrous as Gorgon prince of hell,
The Soldan would not start a foot from him.
But speak, what power hath he?
Mess. Mighty lord,
Three hundred thousand men in armour clad,
Upon their prancing steeds, disdainfully
With wanton paces trampling on the ground;
Five hundred thousand footmen threatening shot,
Shaking their swords, their spears, and iron bills,
Environing their standard round, that stood
As bristle-pointed as a thorny wood;
Their warlike engines and munition
Exceed the forces of their martial men.
Sold. Nay, could their num
Or ever-drizzling drops of April showers,
Or wither'd leaves that autumn shaketh down,
Yet would the Soldan by his conquering power
So scatter and consume them in his rage,
That not a man should live to rue their fall.
Capo. So might your highness, had you time to sort
Your fighting men, and raise your royal host;
But Tamburlaine by expedition
Advantage takes of your unreadiness.
Sold. Let him take all th' advantages he can :
Were all the world conspir'd to fight for him,
Nay, were he devil, as he is no man,
Yet in revenge of fair Zenocrate,
Whom he detaineth in despite of us,
This arm should send him down to Erebus,
To shroud his shame in darkness of the night.
Mess. Pleaseth your mightiness to understand,
His resolution far exceedeth all.
The first day when he pitcheth down his tents,
White in their hue, and on his silver crest
A snowy feather spangled-white he bears,
To signify the mildness of his mind,
That, satiate with spoil, refuseth blood :
But, when Aurora mounts the second time,
As red as scarlet is his furniture ;
Then must his kindled wrath be quenched with blood, Not sparing any that can manage arms :
But, if these threats move not submission,
Black are his colours, black pavilion ;
His spear, his shield, his horse, his armour, plumes,
And jetty feathers, menace death and hell;
Without respect of sex, degree, or age,
He razeth all his foes with fire and sword.
Sold. Merciless villain, peasant, ignorant Of lawful arms or martial discipline! Pillage and murder are his usual trades: The slave usurps the glorious name of war.
TAMBURLAINE WOOS ZENOCRATE
ACT V., SCENE 1.
Tamb. Ah, fair Zenocrate !-divine Zenocrate !
Fair is too foul an epithet for thee-
That in thy passion for thy country's love,
And fear to see thy kingly father's harm,
With hair dishevell'd wip'st thy watery cheeks;
And, like to Flora in her morning's pride,
Shaking her silver tresses in the air,
Rain'st on the earth resolvèd pearl in showers,
And sprinklest sapphires on thy shining face,
Where Beauty, mother to the Muses, sits,
And comments volumes with her ivory pen,
Taking instructions from thy flowing eyes;
Eyes, when that Ebena steps to heaven,
In silence of thy solemn evening's walk,
Making the mantle of the richest night,
The moon, the planets, and the meteors, light;
There angels in their crystal armours fight
A doubtful battle with my tempted thoughts
For Egypt's freedom and the Soldan's life,
His life that so consumes Zenocrate;
Whose sorrows lay more siege into my soul
Than all my army to Damascus' walls;
And neither Persia's sovereign nor the Turk
Troubled my senses with conceit of foil
So much by much as doth Zenocrate.
What is beauty, saith my sufferings, then?
If all the pens that ever poets held
Had fed the feeling of their masters' thoughts,
And every sweetness that inspir'd their hearts,
Their minds, and muses on admired themes;
If all the heavenly quintessence they still
From their immortal flowers of poesy,
Wherein, as in a mirror, we perceive
The highest reaches of a human wit;
If these had made one poem's period,
And all combin'd in beauty's worthiness,
Yet should there hover in their restless heads
One thought, one grace, one wonder, at the least,
Which into words no virtue can digest.
But how unseemly is it for my sex,
My discipline of arms and chivalry,
My nature, and the terror of my name,
To harbour thoughts effeminate and faint!
Save only that in beauty's just applause,
With whose instinct the soul of man is touch'd;
And every warrior that is rapt with love
Of fame, of valour, and of victory,
Must needs have beauty beat on his conceits:
I thus conceiving, and subduing both,
That which hath stoop'd the chiefest of the gods,
Even from the fiery-spangled veil of heaven,
To feel the lovely warmth of shepherds' flames,
And mask in cottages of strowèd reeds,