Classic Horror Plays > Tamburlaine the Great, Part I > Act IV
Tamburlaine the Great, Part I
By Christopher Marlowe
Published in 1587
Act IV: Scene IV
A banquet set out; and to it come TAMBURLAINE all in scarlet, ZENOCRATE, THERIDAMAS, TECHELLES, USUMCASANE, BAJAZETH drawn in his cage, ZABINA, and others.
Now hang our bloody colours by Damascus,
Reflexing hues of blood upon their heads,
While they walk quivering on their city-walls,
Half-dead for fear before they feel my wrath.
Then let us freely banquet, and carouse
Full bowls of wine unto the god of war,
That means to fill your helmets full of gold,
And make Damascus' spoils as rich to you
As was to Jason Colchos' golden fleece.--
And now, Bajazeth, hast thou any stomach?
Ay, such a stomach, cruel Tamburlaine, as I could
willingly feed upon thy blood-raw heart.
Nay, thine own is easier to come by: pluck out
that; and 'twill serve thee and thy wife.--Well, Zenocrate,
Techelles, and the rest, fall to your victuals.
Fall to, and never may your meat digest!--
Ye Furies, that can mask invisible,
Dive to the bottom of Avernus' pool,
And in your hands bring hellish poison up,
And squeeze it in the cup of Tamburlaine!
Or, winged snakes of Lerna, cast your stings,
And leave your venoms in this tyrant's dish?
And may this banquet prove as ominous
As Progne's to th' adulterous Thracian king
That fed upon the substance of his child!
My lord, how can you suffer these
Outrageous curses by these slaves of yours?
To let them see, divine Zenocrate,
I glory in the curses of my foes,
Having the power from the empyreal heaven
To turn them all upon their proper heads.
I pray you, give them leave, madam; this speech
is a goodly refreshing for them.
But, if his highness would let them be fed,
it would do them more good.
Sirrah, why fall you not to? are you so daintily
brought up, you cannot eat your own flesh?
First, legions of devils shall tear thee in pieces.
Villain, knowest thou to whom thou speakest?
O, let him alone.--Here; eat, sir; take it
from my sword's point, or I'll thrust it to thy heart.
[BAJAZETH takes the food, and stamps upon it.]
He stamps it under his feet, my lord.
Take it up, villain, and eat it; or I will make thee
slice the brawns of thy arms into carbonadoes and eat them.
Nay, 'twere better he killed his wife, and then she
shall be sure not to be starved, and he be provided for a month's
Here is my dagger: despatch her while she is fat;
for, if she live but a while longer, she will fall into a
consumption with fretting, and then she will not be worth the
Dost thou think that Mahomet will suffer this?
'Tis like he will, when he cannot let it.
Go to; fall to your meat. What, not a bit!--Belike
he hath not been watered to-day: give him some drink.
[They give BAJAZETH water to drink, and he flings it on the ground.]
Fast, and welcome, sir, while hunger make you eat.--How now,
Zenocrate! doth not the Turk and his wife make a goodly show at a
Yes, my lord.
Methinks 'tis a great deal better than a consort of music.
Yet music would do well to cheer up Zenocrate.
Pray thee, tell why art thou so sad? if thou wilt have a song,
the Turk shall strain his voice: but why is it?
My lord, to see my father's town besieg'd,
The country wasted where myself was born,
How can it but afflict my very soul?
If any love remain in you, my lord,
Or if my love unto your majesty
May merit favour at your highness' hands,
Then raise your siege from fair Damascus' walls,
And with my father take a friendly truce.
Zenocrate, were Egypt Jove's own land,
Yet would I with my sword make Jove to stoop.
I will confute those blind geographers
That make a triple region in the world,
Excluding regions which I mean to trace,
And with this pen reduce them to a map,
Calling the provinces, cities, and towns,
After my name and thine, Zenocrate:
Here at Damascus will I make the point
That shall begin the perpendicular:
And wouldst thou have me buy thy father's love
With such a loss? tell me, Zenocrate.
Honour still wait on happy Tamburlaine!
Yet give me leave to plead for him, my lord.
Content thyself: his person shall be safe,
And all the friends of fair Zenocrate,
If with their lives they will be pleas'd to yield,
Or may be forc'd to make me emperor;
For Egypt and Arabia must be mine.--
Feed, you slave; thou mayst think thyself happy to be fed from
My empty stomach, full of idle heat,
Draws bloody humours from my feeble parts,
Preserving life by hastening cruel death.
My veins are pale; my sinews hard and dry;
My joints benumb'd; unless I eat, I die.
Eat, Bajazeth; let us live in spite of them, looking
some happy power will pity and enlarge us.
Here, Turk; wilt thou have a clean trencher?
Ay, tyrant, and more meat.
Soft, sir! you must be dieted; too much eating
will make you surfeit.
So it would, my lord, 'specially having so small
a walk and so little exercise.
[A second course is brought in of crowns.]
Theridamas, Techelles, and Casane, here are the
cates you desire to finger, are they not?
Ay, my lord: but none save kings must feed with
'Tis enough for us to see them, and for Tamburlaine
only to enjoy them.
Well; here is now to the Soldan of Egypt, the King
of Arabia, and the Governor of Damascus. Now, take these three
crowns, and pledge me, my contributory kings. I crown you here,
Theridamas, king of Argier; Techelles, king of Fez; and
king of Morocco.--How say you to this, Turk? these are
not your contributory kings.
Nor shall they long be thine, I warrant them.
Kings of Argier, Morocco, and of Fez,
You that have march'd with happy Tamburlaine
As far as from the frozen plage of heaven
Unto the watery Morning's ruddy bower,
And thence by land unto the torrid zone,
Deserve these titles I endow you with
By valour and by magnanimity.
Your births shall be no blemish to your fame;
For virtue is the fount whence honour springs,
And they are worthy she investeth kings.
And, since your highness hath so well vouchsaf'd,
If we deserve them not with higher meeds
Than erst our states and actions have retain'd,
Take them away again, and make us slaves.
Well said, Theridamas: when holy Fates
Shall stablish me in strong Aegyptia,
We mean to travel to th' antarctic pole,
Conquering the people underneath our feet,
And be renowm'd as never emperors were.--
Zenocrate, I will not crown thee yet,
Until with greater honours I be grac'd.
Act IV: Scene III |
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