Classic Horror Plays > Tamburlaine the Great, Part II > Act III
Tamburlaine the Great, Part II
By Christopher Marlowe
Published in 1587
Act III: Scene III
[Enter TAMBURLAINE and his three sons, CALYPHAS, AMYRAS, and CELEBINUS; USUMCASANE; four ATTENDANTS bearing the hearse of ZENOCRATE, and the drums sounding a doleful march; the town burning.]
So burn the turrets of this cursed town,
Flame to the highest region of the air,
And kindle heaps of exhalations,
That, being fiery meteors, may presage
Death and destruction to the inhabitants!
Over my zenith hang a blazing star,
That may endure till heaven be dissolv'd,
Fed with the fresh supply of earthly dregs,
Threatening a dearth and famine to this land!
Flying dragons, lightning, fearful thunder-claps,
Singe these fair plains, and make them seem as black
As is the island where the Furies mask,
Compass'd with Lethe, Styx, and Phlegethon,
Because my dear Zenocrate is dead!
This pillar, plac'd in memory of her,
Where in Arabian, Hebrew, Greek, is writ,
THIS TOWN, BEING BURNT BY TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT,
FORBIDS THE WORLD TO BUILD IT UP AGAIN.
And here this mournful streamer shall be plac'd,
Wrought with the Persian and th' Egyptian arms,
To signify she was a princess born,
And wife unto the monarch of the East.
And here this table as a register
Of all her virtues and perfections.
And here the picture of Zenocrate,
To shew her beauty which the world admir'd;
Sweet picture of divine Zenocrate,
That, hanging here, will draw the gods from heaven,
And cause the stars fix'd in the southern arc,
(Whose lovely faces never any view'd
That have not pass'd the centre's latitude,)
As pilgrims travel to our hemisphere,
Only to gaze upon Zenocrate.
Thou shalt not beautify Larissa-plains,
But keep within the circle of mine arms:
At every town and castle I besiege,
Thou shalt be set upon my royal tent;
And, when I meet an army in the field,
Those looks will shed such influence in my camp,
As if Bellona, goddess of the war,
Threw naked swords and sulphur-balls of fire
Upon the heads of all our enemies.--
And now, my lords, advance your spears again;
Sorrow no more, my sweet Casane, now:
Boys, leave to mourn; this town shall ever mourn,
Being burnt to cinders for your mother's death.
If I had wept a sea of tears for her,
would not ease the sorrows I sustain.
As is that town, so is my heart consum'd
With grief and sorrow for my mother's death.
My mother's death hath mortified my mind,
And sorrow stops the passage of my speech.
But now, my boys, leave off, and list to me,
That mean to teach you rudiments of war.
I'll have you learn to sleep upon the ground,
March in your armour thorough watery fens,
Sustain the scorching heat and freezing cold,
Hunger and thirst, right adjuncts of the war;
And, after this, to scale a castle-wall,
Besiege a fort, to undermine a town,
And make whole cities caper in the air:
Then next, the way to fortify your men;
In champion grounds what figure serves you best,
For which the quinque-angle form is meet,
Because the corners there may fall more flat
Whereas the fort may fittest be assail'd,
And sharpest where th' assault is desperate:
The ditches must be deep; the counterscarps
Narrow and steep; the walls made high and broad;
The bulwarks and the rampires large and strong,
With cavalieros and thick counterforts,
And room within to lodge six thousand men;
It must have privy ditches, countermines,
And secret issuings to defend the ditch;
It must have high argins and cover'd ways
To keep the bulwark-fronts from battery,
And parapets to hide the musketeers,
Casemates to place the great artillery,
And store of ordnance, that from every flank
May scour the outward curtains of the fort,
Dismount the cannon of the adverse part,
Murder the foe, and save the walls from breach.
When this is learn'd for service on the land,
By plain and easy demonstration
I'll teach you how to make the water mount,
That you may dry-foot march through lakes and pools,
Deep rivers, havens, creeks, and little seas,
And make a fortress in the raging waves,
Fenc'd with the concave of a monstrous rock,
Invincible by nature of the place.
When this is done, then are ye soldiers,
And worthy sons of Tamburlaine the Great.
My lord, but this is dangerous to be done;
We may be slain or wounded ere we learn.
Villain, art thou the son of Tamburlaine,
And fear'st to die, or with a curtle-axe
To hew thy flesh, and make a gaping wound?
Hast thou beheld a peal of ordnance strike
A ring of pikes, mingled with shot and horse,
Whose shatter'd limbs, being toss'd as high as heaven,
Hang in the air as thick as sunny motes,
And canst thou, coward, stand in fear of death?
Hast thou not seen my horsemen charge the foe,
Shot through the arms, cut overthwart the hands,
Dying their lances with their streaming blood,
And yet at night carouse within my tent,
Filling their empty veins with airy wine,
That, being concocted, turns to crimson blood,
And wilt thou shun the field for fear of wounds?
View me, thy father, that hath conquer'd kings,
And, with his host, march'd round about the earth,
Quite void of scars and clear from any wound,
That by the wars lost not a drop of blood,
And see him lance his flesh to teach you all.
[He cuts his arm.]
A wound is nothing, be it ne'er so deep;
Blood is the god of war's rich livery.
Now look I like a soldier, and this wound
As great a grace and majesty to me,
As if a chair of gold enamelled,
Enchas'd with diamonds, sapphires, rubies,
And fairest pearl of wealthy India,
Were mounted here under a canopy,
And I sat down, cloth'd with a massy robe
That late adorn'd the Afric potentate,
Whom I brought bound unto Damascus' walls.
Come, boys, and with your fingers search my wound,
And in my blood wash all your hands at once,
While I sit smiling to behold the sight.
Now, my boys, what think ye of a wound?
I know not what I should think of it;
methinks 'tis a pitiful sight.
'Tis nothing.--Give me a wound, father.
And me another, my lord.
Come, sirrah, give me your arm.
Here, father, cut it bravely, as you did your own.
It shall suffice thou dar'st abide a wound;
My boy, thou shalt not lose a drop of blood
Before we meet the army of the Turk;
But then run desperate through the thickest throngs,
Dreadless of blows, of bloody wounds, and death;
And let the burning of Larissa-walls,
My speech of war, and this my wound you see,
Teach you, my boys, to bear courageous minds,
Fit for the followers of great Tamburlaine.--
Usumcasane, now come, let us march
Towards Techelles and Theridamas,
That we have sent before to fire the towns,
The towers and cities of these hateful Turks,
And hunt that coward faint-heart runaway,
With that accursed traitor Almeda,
Till fire and sword have found them at a bay.
I long to pierce his bowels with my sword,
That hath betray'd my gracious sovereign,--
That curs'd and damned traitor Almeda.
Then let us see if coward Callapine
Dare levy arms against our puissance,
That we may tread upon his captive neck,
And treble all his father's slaveries.
Act III: Scene II |
Table of Contents
| Act III: Scene IV
Return to Classic Horror Plays
Terms of Service
| RSS Feeds
Copyright ©1994-2013 by The Cabinet Productions, Inc.
If you have any questions, comments or corrections, please Contact Us