The Second Part of Tamburlaine the Great, by Christopher Marlowe

Act 2.

Scene 1.

[Enter Sigismund, Frederick, and Baldwin, with their train.]

Sigismund. Now say, my lords of Buda and Bohemia,
What motion is it that inflames your thoughts,
And stirs your valours to such sudden arms?

Frederick. Your majesty remembers, I am sure,
What cruel slaughter of our Christian bloods
These heathenish Turks and pagans lately made
Betwixt the city Zula and Danubius;
How through the midst of Varna and Bulgaria,
And almost to the very walls of Rome,
They have, not long since, massacred our camp.
It resteth now, then, that your majesty
Take all advantages of time and power,
And work revenge upon these infidels.
Your highness knows, for Tamburlaine’s repair,
That strikes a terror to all Turkish hearts,
Natolia hath dismiss’d the greatest part
Of all his army, pitch’d against our power
Betwixt Cutheia and Orminius’ mount,
And sent them marching up to Belgasar,
Acantha, Antioch, and Caesarea,
To aid the kings of Soria63 and Jerusalem.
Now, then, my lord, advantage take thereof,64
And issue suddenly upon the rest;
That, in the fortune of their overthrow,
We may discourage all the pagan troop
That dare attempt to war with Christians.

Sigismund. But calls not, then, your grace to memory
The league we lately made with King Orcanes,
Confirm’d by oath and articles of peace,
And calling Christ for record of our truths?
This should be treachery and violence
Against the grace of our profession.

Baldwin. No whit, my lord; for with such infidels,
In whom no faith nor true religion rests,
We are not bound to those accomplishments
The holy laws of Christendom enjoin;
But, as the faith which they profanely plight
Is not by necessary policy
To be esteem’d assurance for ourselves,
So that we vow65 to them should not infringe
Our liberty of arms and victory.

Sigismund. Though I confess the oaths they undertake
Breed little strength to our security,
Yet those infirmities that thus defame
Their faiths,66 their honours, and religion,67
Should not give us presumption to the like.
Our faiths are sound, and must be consummate,68
Religious, righteous, and inviolate.

Frederick. Assure your grace, ’tis superstition
To stand so strictly on dispensive faith;
And, should we lose the opportunity
That God hath given to venge our Christians’ death,
And scourge their foul blasphemous paganism,
As fell to Saul, to Balaam, and the rest,
That would not kill and curse at God’s command,
So surely will the vengeance of the Highest,
And jealous anger of his fearful arm,
Be pour’d with rigour on our sinful heads,
If we neglect this69 offer’d victory.

Sigismund. Then arm, my lords, and issue suddenly,
Giving commandment to our general host,
With expedition to assail the pagan,
And take the victory our God hath given.


63 Soria] See note?, p. 44. {i.e. note 13.}

64 thereof] So the 8vo. — The 4to “heereof.”

65 that we vow] i.e. that which we vow. So the 8vo. — The 4to “WHAT we vow.” Neither of the modern editors understanding the passage, they printed “WE THAT vow.”

66 faiths] So the 8vo. — The 4to “fame.”

67 and religion] Old eds. “and THEIR religion.”

68 consummate] Old eds. “consinuate.” The modern editors print “continuate,” a word which occurs in Shakespeare’s TIMON OF ATHENS, act i. sc. 1., but which the metre determines to be inadmissible in the present passage. — The Revd. J. Mitford proposes “continent,” in the sense of — restraining from violence.

69 this] So the 8vo. — The 4to “the.”

Scene 2.

[Enter Orcanes, Gazellus, and Uribassa, with their train.]

Orcanes. Gazellus, Uribassa, and the rest,
Now will we march from proud Orminius’ mount
To fair Natolia, where our neighbour kings
Expect our power and our royal presence,
T’ encounter with the cruel Tamburlaine,
That nigh Larissa sways a mighty host,
And with the thunder of his martial70 tools
Makes earthquakes in the hearts of men and heaven.

Gazellus. And now come we to make his sinews shake
With greater power than erst his pride hath felt.
An hundred kings, by scores, will bid him arms,
And hundred thousands subjects to each score:
Which, if a shower of wounding thunderbolts
Should break out of the bowels of the clouds,
And fall as thick as hail upon our heads,
In partial aid of that proud Scythian,
Yet should our courages and steeled crests,
And numbers, more than infinite, of men,
Be able to withstand and conquer him.

Uribassa. Methinks I see how glad the Christian king
Is made for joy of our71 admitted truce,
That could not but before be terrified
With72 unacquainted power of our host.

[Enter a Messenger.]

Messenger. Arm, dread sovereign, and my noble lords!
The treacherous army of the Christians,
Taking advantage of your slender power,
Comes marching on us, and determines straight
To bid us battle for our dearest lives.

Orcanes. Traitors, villains, damned Christians!
Have I not here the articles of peace
And solemn covenants we have both confirm’d,
He by his Christ, and I by Mahomet?

Gazellus. Hell and confusion light upon their heads,
That with such treason seek our overthrow,
And care so little for their prophet Christ!

Orcanes. Can there be such deceit in Christians,
Or treason in the fleshly heart of man,
Whose shape is figure of the highest God?
Then, if there be a Christ, as Christians say,
But in their deeds deny him for their Christ,
If he be son to everliving Jove,
And hath the power of his outstretched arm,
If he be jealous of his name and honour
As is our holy prophet Mahomet,
Take here these papers as our sacrifice
And witness of thy servant’s73 perjury!

[He tears to pieces the articles of peace.]

Open, thou shining veil of Cynthia,
And make a passage from th’ empyreal heaven,
That he that sits on high and never sleeps,
Nor in one place is circumscriptible,
But every where fills every continent
With strange infusion of his sacred vigour,
May, in his endless power and purity,
Behold and venge this traitor’s perjury!
Thou, Christ, that art esteem’d omnipotent,
If thou wilt prove thyself a perfect God,
Worthy the worship of all faithful hearts,
Be now reveng’d upon this traitor’s soul,
And make the power I have left behind
(Too little to defend our guiltless lives)
Sufficient to discomfit74 and confound
The trustless force of those false Christians! —
To arms, my lords!75 on Christ still let us cry:
If there be Christ, we shall have victory.


70 martial] So the 4to. — The 8vo “materiall.”

71 our] So the 4to. — The 8vo “your.”

72 With] So the 4to. — The 8vo “Which.”

73 thy servant’s] He means Sigismund. So a few lines after, “this traitor’s perjury.”

74 discomfit] Old eds. “discomfort.” (Compare the first line of the next scene.)

75 lords] So the 8vo. — The 4to “lord.”

Scene 3.

[Alarms of battle within. Enter Sigismund wounded.]

Sigismund. Discomfited is all the Christian76 host,
And God hath thunder’d vengeance from on high,
For my accurs’d and hateful perjury.
O just and dreadful punisher of sin,
Let the dishonour of the pains I feel
In this my mortal well-deserved wound
End all my penance in my sudden death!
And let this death, wherein to sin I die,
Conceive a second life in endless mercy!


[Enter Orcanes, Gazellus, Uribassa, with others.]

Orcanes. Now lie the Christians bathing in their bloods,
And Christ or Mahomet hath been my friend.

Gazellus. See, here the perjur’d traitor Hungary,
Bloody and breathless for his villany!

Orcanes. Now shall his barbarous body be a prey
To beasts and fowls, and all the winds shall breathe,
Through shady leaves of every senseless tree,
Murmurs and hisses for his heinous sin.
Now scalds his soul in the Tartarian streams,
And feeds upon the baneful tree of hell,
That Zoacum,77 that fruit of bitterness,
That in the midst of fire is ingraff’d,
Yet flourisheth, as Flora in her pride,
With apples like the heads of damned fiends.
The devils there, in chains of quenchless flame,
Shall lead his soul, through Orcus’ burning gulf,
From pain to pain, whose change shall never end.
What say’st thou yet, Gazellus, to his foil,
Which we referr’d to justice of his Christ
And to his power, which here appears as full
As rays of Cynthia to the clearest sight?

Gazellus. ’Tis but the fortune of the wars, my lord,
Whose power is often prov’d a miracle.

Orcanes. Yet in my thoughts shall Christ be honoured,
Not doing Mahomet an78 injury,
Whose power had share in this our victory;
And, since this miscreant hath disgrac’d his faith,
And died a traitor both to heaven and earth,
We will both watch and ward shall keep his trunk79
Amidst these plains for fowls to prey upon.
Go, Uribassa, give80 it straight in charge.

Uribassa. I will, my lord.


Orcanes. And now, Gazellus, let us haste and meet
Our army, and our brother[s] of Jerusalem,
Of Soria,81 Trebizon, and Amasia,
And happily, with full Natolian bowls
Of Greekish wine, now let us celebrate
Our happy conquest and his angry fate.


76 Christian] So the 8vo. — The 4to “Christians.”

77 Zoacum] “Or ZAKKUM. — The description of this tree is taken from a fable in the Koran, chap. 37.” Ed. 1826.

78 an] So the 8vo. — The 4to “any.”

79 We will both watch and ward shall keep his trunk] i.e. We will that both watch, &c. So the 4to. — The 8vo has “AND keepe.”

80 Uribassa, give] So the 8vo. — The 4to “Vribassa, AND giue.”

81 Soria] See note?, p. 44. {i.e. note 13.}

Scene 4.

[The arras is drawn, and Zenocrate is discovered lying
in her bed of state; Tamburlaine sitting by her; three
Physicians about her bed, tempering potions; her three
sons, Calyphas, Amyras, and Celebinus; Theridamas,
Techelles, and Usumcasane.]

Tamburlaine. Black is the beauty of the brightest day;
The golden ball of heaven’s eternal fire,
That danc’d with glory on the silver waves,
Now wants the fuel that inflam’d his beams;
And all with faintness, and for foul disgrace,
He binds his temples with a frowning cloud,
Ready to darken earth with endless night.
Zenocrate, that gave him light and life,
Whose eyes shot fire from their82 ivory brows,83
And temper’d every soul with lively heat,
Now by the malice of the angry skies,
Whose jealousy admits no second mate,
Draws in the comfort of her latest breath,
All dazzled with the hellish mists of death.
Now walk the angels on the walls of heaven,
As sentinels to warn th’ immortal souls
To entertain divine Zenocrate:
Apollo, Cynthia, and the ceaseless lamps
That gently look’d upon this84 loathsome earth,
Shine downwards now no more, but deck the heavens
To entertain divine Zenocrate:
The crystal springs, whose taste illuminates
Refined eyes with an eternal sight,
Like tried silver run through Paradise
To entertain divine Zenocrate:
The cherubins and holy seraphins,
That sing and play before the King of Kings,
Use all their voices and their instruments
To entertain divine Zenocrate;
And, in this sweet and curious harmony,
The god that tunes this music to our souls
Holds out his hand in highest majesty
To entertain divine Zenocrate.
Then let some holy trance convey my thoughts
Up to the palace of th’ empyreal heaven,
That this my life may be as short to me
As are the days of sweet Zenocrate. —
Physicians, will no85 physic do her good?

First Physician. My lord, your majesty shall soon perceive,
An if she pass this fit, the worst is past.

Tamburlaine. Tell me, how fares my fair Zenocrate?

Zenocrate. I fare, my lord, as other empresses,
That, when this frail and86 transitory flesh
Hath suck’d the measure of that vital air
That feeds the body with his dated health,
Wane with enforc’d and necessary change.

Tamburlaine. May never such a change transform my love,
In whose sweet being I repose my life!
Whose heavenly presence, beautified with health,
Gives light to Phoebus and the fixed stars;
Whose absence makes87 the sun and moon as dark
As when, oppos’d in one diameter,
Their spheres are mounted on the serpent’s head,
Or else descended to his winding train.
Live still, my love, and so conserve my life,
Or, dying, be the author88 of my death.

Zenocrate. Live still, my lord; O, let my sovereign live!
And sooner let the fiery element
Dissolve, and make your kingdom in the sky,
Than this base earth should shroud your majesty;
For, should I but suspect your death by mine,
The comfort of my future happiness,
And hope to meet your highness in the heavens,
Turn’d to despair, would break my wretched breast,
And fury would confound my present rest.
But let me die, my love; yes,89 let me die;
With love and patience let your true love die:
Your grief and fury hurts my second life.
Yet let me kiss my lord before I die,
And let me die with kissing of my lord.
But, since my life is lengthen’d yet a while,
Let me take leave of these my loving sons,
And of my lords, whose true nobility
Have merited my latest memory.
Sweet sons, farewell! in death resemble me,
And in your lives your father’s excellence.90
Some music, and my fit will cease, my lord.

[They call for music.]

Tamburlaine. Proud fury, and intolerable fit,
That dares torment the body of my love,
And scourge the scourge of the immortal God!
Now are those spheres, where Cupid us’d to sit,
Wounding the world with wonder and with love,
Sadly supplied with pale and ghastly death,
Whose darts do pierce the centre of my soul.
Her sacred beauty hath enchanted heaven;
And, had she liv’d before the siege of Troy,
Helen, whose beauty summon’d Greece to arms,
And drew a thousand ships to Tenedos,
Had not been nam’d in Homer’s Iliads —
Her name had been in every line he wrote;
Or, had those wanton poets, for whose birth
Old Rome was proud, but gaz’d a while on her,
Nor Lesbia nor Corinna had been nam’d —
Zenocrate had been the argument
Of every epigram or elegy.

[The music sounds — Zenocrate dies.]

What, is she dead? Techelles, draw thy sword,
And wound the earth, that it may cleave in twain,
And we descend into th’ infernal vaults,
To hale the Fatal Sisters by the hair,
And throw them in the triple moat of hell,
For taking hence my fair Zenocrate.
Casane and Theridamas, to arms!
Raise cavalieros91 higher than the clouds,
And with the cannon break the frame of heaven;
Batter the shining palace of the sun,
And shiver all the starry firmament,
For amorous Jove hath snatch’d my love from hence,
Meaning to make her stately queen of heaven.
What god soever holds thee in his arms,
Giving thee nectar and ambrosia,
Behold me here, divine Zenocrate,
Raving, impatient, desperate, and mad,
Breaking my steeled lance, with which I burst
The rusty beams of Janus’ temple-doors,
Letting out Death and tyrannizing War,
To march with me under this bloody flag!
And, if thou pitiest Tamburlaine the Great,
Come down from heaven, and live with me again!

Theridamas. Ah, good my lord, be patient! she is dead,
And all this raging cannot make her live.
If words might serve, our voice hath rent the air;
If tears, our eyes have water’d all the earth;
If grief, our murder’d hearts have strain’d forth blood:
Nothing prevails,92 for she is dead, my lord.

Tamburlaine. For She Is Dead! thy words do pierce my soul:
Ah, sweet Theridamas, say so no more!
Though she be dead, yet let me think she lives,
And feed my mind that dies for want of her.
Where’er her soul be, thou [To the body] shalt stay with me,
Embalm’d with cassia, ambergris, and myrrh,
Not lapt in lead, but in a sheet of gold,
And, till I die, thou shalt not be interr’d.
Then in as rich a tomb as Mausolus’93
We both will rest, and have one94 epitaph
Writ in as many several languages
As I have conquer’d kingdoms with my sword.
This cursed town will I consume with fire,
Because this place bereft me of my love;
The houses, burnt, will look as if they mourn’d;
And here will I set up her stature,95
And march about it with my mourning camp,
Drooping and pining for Zenocrate.

[The arras is drawn.]

82 their] So the 4to. — Not in the 8vo.

83 brows] Old eds. “bowers.”

84 this] So the 8vo. — The 4to “the.”

85 no] So the 4to. — The 8vo “not.”

86 and] So the 4to. — The 8vo “a.”

87 makes] So the 4to. — The 8vo “make.”

88 author] So the 4to. — The 8vo “anchor.”

89 yes] Old eds. “yet.”

90 excellence] So the 4to. — The 8vo “excellency.”

91 cavalieros] i.e. mounds, or elevations of earth, to lodge cannon.

92 prevails] i.e. avails.

93 Mausolus’] Wrong quantity.

94 one] So the 8vo (“on”). — The 4to “our.”

95 stature] See note §, p. 27. — So the 8vo. — The 4to “statue.” Here the metre would be assisted by reading “statua,” which is frequently found in our early writers: see my REMARKS ON MR. COLLIER’S AND MR. KNIGHT’S EDITIONS OF SHAKESPEARE, p. 186.

{note §, from p. 27. (The First Part of Tamburlaine the

“stature] So the 8vo. — The 4to “statue:” but again, in the
SECOND PART of this play, act ii. sc. 4, we have, according
to the 8vo —

“And here will I set up her STATURE.”

and, among many passages that might be cited from our
early authors, compare the following;

“The STATURES huge, of Porphyrie and costlier matters
Warner’s ALBIONS ENGLAND, p. 303. ed. 1596.

“By them shal Isis STATURE gently stand.”
Chapman’s BLIND BEGGER OF ALEXANDRIA, 1598, sig. A 3.

“Was not Anubis with his long nose of gold preferred
before Neptune, whose STATURE was but brasse?”
Lyly’s MIDAS, sig. A 2. ed. 1592.”}

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58