Act III. - Scene III.


TAMBURLAINE. Basso, by this thy lord and master knows I mean to meet him in Bithynia: See, how he comes! tush, Turks are full of brags, And menace<155> more than they can well perform. He meet me in the field, and fetch<156> thee hence! Alas, poor Turk! his fortune is too weak T' encounter with the strength of Tamburlaine: View well my camp, and speak indifferently; Do not my captains and my soldiers look As if they meant to conquer Africa?

BASSO. Your men are valiant, but their number few, And cannot terrify his mighty host: My lord, the great commander of the world, Besides fifteen contributory kings, Hath now in arms ten thousand janizaries, Mounted on lusty Mauritanian steeds, Brought to the war by men of Tripoly; Two hundred thousand footmen that have serv'd In two set battles fought in Graecia; And for the expedition of this war, If he think good, can from his garrisons Withdraw as many more to follow him.

TECHELLES. The more he brings, the greater is the spoil; For, when they perish by our warlike hands, We mean to set<157> our footmen on their steeds, And rifle all those stately janizars.

TAMBURLAINE. But will those kings accompany your lord?

BASSO. Such as his highness please; but some must stay To rule the provinces he late subdu'd.

TAMBURLAINE. [To his OFFICERS] Then fight courageously: their crowns are yours; This hand shall set them on your conquering heads, That made me emperor of Asia.

USUMCASANE. Let him bring millions infinite of men, Unpeopling Western Africa and Greece, Yet we assure us of the victory.

THERIDAMAS. Even he, that in a trice vanquish'd two kings More mighty than the Turkish emperor, Shall rouse him out of Europe, and pursue His scatter'd army till they yield or die.

TAMBURLAINE. Well said, Theridamas! speak in that mood; For WILL and SHALL best fitteth Tamburlaine, Whose smiling stars give him assured hope Of martial triumph ere he meet his foes. I that am term'd the scourge and wrath of God, The only fear and terror of the world, Will first subdue the Turk, and then enlarge Those Christian captives which you keep as slaves, Burdening their bodies with your heavy chains, And feeding them with thin and slender fare; That naked row about the Terrene<158> sea, And, when they chance to rest or breathe<159> a space, Are punish'd with bastones<160> so grievously That they<161> lie panting on the galleys' side, And strive for life at every stroke they give. These are the cruel pirates of Argier, That damned train, the scum of Africa, Inhabited with straggling runagates, That make quick havoc of the Christian blood: But, as I live, that town shall curse the time That Tamburlaine set foot in Africa.


BAJAZETH. Bassoes and janizaries of my guard, Attend upon the person of your lord, The greatest potentate of Africa.

TAMBURLAINE. Techelles and the rest, prepare your swords; I mean t' encounter with that Bajazeth.

BAJAZETH. Kings of Fez, Morocco,<162> and Argier, He calls me Bajazeth, whom you call lord! Note the presumption of this Scythian slave!-- I tell thee, villain, those that lead my horse Have to their names titles<163> of dignity; And dar'st thou bluntly call me Bajazeth?

TAMBURLAINE. And know, thou Turk, that those which lead my horse Shall lead thee captive thorough Africa; And dar'st thou bluntly call me Tamburlaine?

BAJAZETH. By Mahomet my kinsman's sepulchre, And by the holy Alcoran I swear, He shall be made a chaste and lustless eunuch, And in my sarell<164> tend my concubines; And all his captains, that thus stoutly stand, Shall draw the chariot of my emperess, Whom I have brought to see their overthrow!

TAMBURLAINE. By this my sword that conquer'd Persia, Thy fall shall make me famous through the world! I will not tell thee how I'll<165> handle thee, But every common soldier of my camp Shall smile to see thy miserable state.

KING OF FEZ. What means the<166> mighty Turkish emperor, To talk with one so base as Tamburlaine?

KING OF MOROCCO. Ye Moors and valiant men of Barbary. How can ye suffer these indignities?

KING OF ARGIER. Leave words, and let them feel your lances' points, Which glided through the bowels of the Greeks.

BAJAZETH. Well said, my stout contributory kings! Your threefold army and my hugy<167> host Shall swallow up these base-born Persians.

TECHELLES. Puissant, renowm'd,<168> and mighty Tamburlaine, Why stay we thus prolonging of<169> their lives?

THERIDAMAS. I long to see those crowns won by our swords, That we may rule<170> as kings of Africa.

USUMCASANE. What coward would not fight for such a prize?

TAMBURLAINE. Fight all courageously, and be you kings: I speak it, and my words are oracles.

BAJAZETH. Zabina, mother of three braver<171> boys Than Hercules, that in his infancy Did pash<172> the jaws of serpents venomous; Whose hands are made to gripe a warlike lance, Their shoulders broad for complete armour fit, Their limbs more large and of a bigger size Than all the brats y-sprung<173> from Typhon's loins; Who, when they come unto their father's age, Will batter turrets with their manly fists;-- Sit here upon this royal chair of state, And on thy head wear my imperial crown, Until I bring this sturdy Tamburlaine And all his captains bound in captive chains.

ZABINA. Such good success happen to Bajazeth!

TAMBURLAINE. Zenocrate, the loveliest maid alive, Fairer than rocks of pearl and precious stone, The only paragon of Tamburlaine; Whose eyes are brighter than the lamps of heaven, And speech more pleasant than sweet harmony; That with thy looks canst clear the darken'd sky, And calm the rage of thundering Jupiter; Sit down by her, adorned with my crown, As if thou wert the empress of the world. Stir not, Zenocrate, until thou see Me march victoriously with all my men, Triumphing over him and these his kings, Which I will bring as vassals to thy feet; Till then, take thou my crown, vaunt of my worth, And manage words with her, as we will arms.

ZENOCRATE. And may my love, the king of Persia, Return with victory and free from wound!

BAJAZETH. Now shalt thou feel the force of Turkish arms, Which lately made all Europe quake for fear. I have of Turks, Arabians, Moors, and Jews, Enough to cover all Bithynia: Let thousands die; their slaughter'd carcasses Shall serve for walls and bulwarks to the rest; And as the heads of Hydra, so my power, Subdu'd, shall stand as mighty as before: If they should yield their necks unto the sword, Thy soldiers' arms could not endure to strike So many blows as I have heads for them.<174> Thou know'st not, foolish-hardy Tamburlaine, What 'tis to meet me in the open field, That leave no ground for thee to march upon.

TAMBURLAINE. Our conquering swords shall marshal us the way We use to march upon the slaughter'd foe, Trampling their bowels with our horses' hoofs, Brave horses bred on the<175> white Tartarian hills My camp is like to Julius Caesar's host, That never fought but had the victory; Nor in Pharsalia was there such hot war As these, my followers, willingly would have. Legions of spirits, fleeting in the air, Direct our bullets and our weapons' points, And make your strokes to wound the senseless light;<176> And when she sees our bloody colours spread, Then Victory begins to take her flight, Resting herself upon my milk-white tent.-- But come, my lords, to weapons let us fall; The field is ours, the Turk, his wife, and all. [Exit with his followers.]

BAJAZETH. Come, kings and bassoes, let us glut our swords, That thirst to drink the feeble Persians' blood. [Exit with his followers.]

ZABINA. Base concubine, must thou be plac'd by me That am the empress of the mighty Turk?

ZENOCRATE. Disdainful Turkess, and unreverend boss,<177> Call'st thou me concubine, that am betroth'd Unto the great and mighty Tamburlaine?

ZABINA. To Tamburlaine, the great Tartarian thief!

ZENOCRATE. Thou wilt repent these lavish words of thine When thy great basso-master and thyself Must plead for mercy at his kingly feet, And sue to me to be your advocate.<178>

ZABINA. And sue to thee! I tell thee, shameless girl, Thou shalt be laundress to my waiting-maid.-- How lik'st thou her, Ebea? will she serve?

EBEA. Madam, she thinks perhaps she is too fine; But I shall turn her into other weeds, And make her dainty fingers fall to work.

ZENOCRATE. Hear'st thou, Anippe, how thy drudge doth talk? And how my slave, her mistress, menaceth? Both for their sauciness shall be employ'd To dress the common soldiers' meat and drink; For we will scorn they should come near ourselves.

ANIPPE. Yet sometimes let your highness send for them To do the work my chambermaid disdains. [They sound to the battle within.]

ZENOCRATE. Ye gods and powers that govern Persia, And made my lordly love her worthy king, Now strengthen him against the Turkish Bajazeth, And let his foes, like flocks of fearful roes Pursu'd by hunters, fly his angry looks, That I may see him issue conqueror!

ZABINA. Now, Mahomet, solicit God himself, And make him rain down murdering shot from heaven, To dash the Scythians' brains, and strike them dead, That dare<179> to manage arms with him That offer'd jewels to thy sacred shrine When first he warr'd against the Christians! [They sound again to the battle within.]

ZENOCRATE. By this the Turks lie weltering in their blood, And Tamburlaine is lord of Africa.

ZABINA. Thou art deceiv'd. I heard the trumpets sound As when my emperor overthrew the Greeks, And led them captive into Africa. Straight will I use thee as thy pride deserves; Prepare thyself to live and die my slave.

ZENOCRATE. If Mahomet should come from heaven and swear My royal lord is slain or conquered, Yet should he not persuade me otherwise But that he lives and will be conqueror.

Re-enter BAJAZETH, pursued by TAMBURLAINE.<180>

TAMBURLAINE. Now, king of bassoes, who is conqueror?

BAJAZETH. Thou, by the fortune of this damned foil.<181>

TAMBURLAINE. Where are your stout contributory kings?


TECHELLES. We have their crowns; their bodies strow the field.

TAMBURLAINE. Each man a crown! why, kingly fought, i'faith. Deliver them into my treasury.

ZENOCRATE. Now let me offer to my gracious lord His royal crown again so highly won.

TAMBURLAINE. Nay, take the Turkish crown from her, Zenocrate, And crown me emperor of Africa.

ZABINA. No, Tamburlaine; though now thou gat<182> the best, Thou shalt not yet be lord of Africa.

THERIDAMAS. Give her the crown, Turkess, you were best. [Takes it from her.]

ZABINA. Injurious villains, thieves, runagates, How dare you thus abuse my majesty?

THERIDAMAS. Here, madam, you are empress; she is none. [Gives it to ZENOCRATE.]

TAMBURLAINE. Not now, Theridamas; her time is past: The pillars, that have bolster'd up those terms, Are faln in clusters at my conquering feet.

ZABINA. Though he be prisoner, he may be ransom'd.

TAMBURLAINE. Not all the world shall ransom Bajazeth.

BAJAZETH. Ah, fair Zabina! we have lost the field; And never had the Turkish emperor So great a foil by any foreign foe. Now will the Christian miscreants be glad, Ringing with joy their superstitious bells, And making bonfires for my overthrow: But, ere I die, those foul idolaters Shall make me bonfires with their filthy bones; For, though the glory of this day be lost, Afric and Greece have garrisons enough To make me sovereign of the earth again.

TAMBURLAINE. Those walled garrisons will I subdue, And write myself great lord of Africa: So from the East unto the furthest West Shall Tamburlaine extend his puissant arm. The galleys and those pilling<183> brigandines, That yearly sail to the Venetian gulf, And hover in the Straits for Christians' wreck, Shall lie at anchor in the Isle Asant, Until the Persian fleet and men-of-war, Sailing along the oriental sea, Have fetch'd about the Indian continent, Even from Persepolis to Mexico, And thence unto the Straits of Jubalter; Where they shall meet and join their force in one. Keeping in awe the Bay of Portingale, And all the ocean by the British<184> shore; And by this means I'll win the world at last.

BAJAZETH. Yet set a ransom on me, Tamburlaine.

TAMBURLAINE. What, think'st thou Tamburlaine esteems thy gold? I'll make the kings of India, ere I die, Offer their mines, to sue for peace, to me, And dig for treasure to appease my wrath.-- Come, bind them both, and one lead in the Turk; The Turkess let my love's maid lead away, [They bind them.]

BAJAZETH. Ah, villains, dare you touch my sacred arms?-- O Mahomet! O sleepy Mahomet!

ZABINA. O cursed Mahomet, that mak'st us thus The slaves to Scythians rude and barbarous!

TAMBURLAINE. Come, bring them in; and for this happy conquest Triumph, and solemnize a martial<185> feast. [Exeunt.]