Act IV. - Scene II.


TAMBURLAINE. Bring out my footstool. [They take BAJAZETH out of the cage.]

BAJAZETH. Ye holy priests of heavenly Mahomet, That, sacrificing, slice and cut your flesh, Staining his altars with your purple blood, Make heaven to frown, and every fixed star To suck up poison from the moorish fens, And pour it<193> in this glorious tyrant's throat!

TAMBURLAINE. The chiefest god, first mover of that sphere Enchas'd with thousands ever-shining lamps, Will sooner burn the glorious frame of heaven Than it should<194> so conspire my overthrow. But, villain, thou that wishest this<195> to me, Fall prostrate on the low disdainful earth, And be the footstool of great Tamburlaine, That I may rise into<196> my royal throne.

BAJAZETH. First shalt thou rip my bowels with thy sword, And sacrifice my heart<197> to death and hell, Before I yield to such a slavery.

TAMBURLAINE. Base villain, vassal, slave to Tamburlaine, Unworthy to embrace or touch the ground That bears the honour of my royal weight; Stoop, villain, stoop! stoop;<198> for so he bids That may command thee piecemeal to be torn, Or scatter'd like the lofty cedar-trees Struck with the voice of thundering Jupiter.

BAJAZETH. Then, as I look down to the damned fiends, Fiends, look on me! and thou, dread god of hell, With ebon sceptre strike this hateful earth, And make it swallow both of us at once! [TAMBURLAINE gets up on him into his chair.]

TAMBURLAINE. Now clear the triple region of the air, And let the Majesty of Heaven behold Their scourge and terror tread on emperors. Smile, stars that reign'd at my nativity, And dim the brightness of your<199> neighbour lamps; Disdain to borrow light of Cynthia! For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth, First rising in the east with mild aspect, But fixed now in the meridian line, Will send up fire to your turning spheres, And cause the sun to borrow light of you. My sword struck fire from his coat of steel, Even in Bithynia, when I took this Turk; As when a fiery exhalation, Wrapt in the bowels of a freezing cloud, Fighting for passage, make[s] the welkin crack, And casts a flash of lightning to<200> the earth: But, ere I march to wealthy Persia, Or leave Damascus and th' Egyptian fields, As was the fame of Clymene's brain-sick son That almost brent<201> the axle-tree of heaven, So shall our swords, our lances, and our shot Fill all the air with fiery meteors; Then, when the sky shall wax as red as blood, It shall be said I made it red myself, To make me think of naught but blood and war.

ZABINA. Unworthy king, that by thy cruelty Unlawfully usurp'st the Persian seat, Dar'st thou, that never saw an emperor Before thou met my husband in the field, Being thy captive, thus abuse his state, Keeping his kingly body in a cage, That roofs of gold and sun-bright palaces Should have prepar'd to entertain his grace? And treading him beneath thy loathsome feet, Whose feet the kings<202> of Africa have kiss'd?

TECHELLES. You must devise some torment worse, my lord, To make these captives rein their lavish tongues.

TAMBURLAINE. Zenocrate, look better to your slave.

ZENOCRATE. She is my handmaid's slave, and she shall look That these abuses flow not from<203> her tongue.-- Chide her, Anippe.

ANIPPE. Let these be warnings, then, for you,<204> my slave, How you abuse the person of the king; Or else I swear to have you whipt stark nak'd.<205>

BAJAZETH. Great Tamburlaine, great in my overthrow, Ambitious pride shall make thee fall as low, For treading on the back of Bajazeth, That should be horsed on four mighty kings.

TAMBURLAINE. Thy names, and titles, and thy dignities<206> Are fled from Bajazeth, and remain with me, That will maintain it 'gainst a world of kings.-- Put him in again. [They put him into the cage.]

BAJAZETH. Is this a place for mighty Bajazeth? Confusion light on him that helps thee thus!

TAMBURLAINE. There, whiles<207> he lives, shall Bajazeth be kept; And, where I go, be thus in triumph drawn; And thou, his wife, shalt<208> feed him with the scraps My servitors shall bring thee from my board; For he that gives him other food than this, Shall sit by him, and starve to death himself: This is my mind, and I will have it so. Not all the kings and emperors of the earth, If they would lay their crowne before my feet, Shall ransom him, or take him from his cage: The ages that shall talk of Tamburlaine, Even from this day to Plato's wondrous year, Shall talk how I have handled Bajazeth: These Moors, that drew him from Bithynia To fair Damascus, where we now remain, Shall lead him with us wheresoe'er we go.-- Techelles, and my loving followers, Now may we see Damascus' lofty towers, Like to the shadows of Pyramides That with their beauties grace<209> the Memphian fields. The golden stature<210> of their feather'd bird,<211> That spreads her wings upon the city-walls, Shall not defend it from our battering shot: The townsmen mask in silk and cloth of gold, And every house is as a treasury; The men, the treasure, and the town are<212> ours.

THERIDAMAS. Your tents of white now pitch'd before the gates, And gentle flags of amity display'd, I doubt not but the governor will yield, Offering Damascus to your majesty.

TAMBURLAINE. So shall he have his life, and all the rest: But, if he stay until the bloody flag Be once advanc'd on my vermilion tent, He dies, and those that kept us out so long; And, when they see me march in black array, With mournful streamers hanging down their heads, Were in that city all the world contain'd, Not one should scape, but perish by our swords.

ZENOCRATE. Yet would you have some pity for my sake, Because it is my country<213> and my father's.

TAMBURLAINE. Not for the world, Zenocrate, if I have sworn.-- Come; bring in the Turk. [Exeunt.]