Tamburlaine the Great
Tamburlaine the Great
Enter MYCETES, COSROE, MEANDER, THERIDAMAS, ORTYGIUS,
CENEUS, MENAPHON, with others.
MYCETES. Brother Cosroe, I find myself agriev'd;
Yet insufficient to express the same,
For it requires a great and thundering speech:
Good brother, tell the cause unto my lords;
I know you have a better wit than I.
COSROE. Unhappy Persia,-that in former age
Hast been the seat of mighty conquerors,
That, in their prowess and their policies,
Have triumph'd over Afric, and the bounds
Of Europe where the sun dares scarce appear
For freezing meteors and congealed cold,-
Now to be rul'd and govern'd by a man
At whose birth-day Cynthia with Saturn join'd,
And Jove, the Sun, and Mercury denied
To shed their influence in his fickle brain!
Now Turks and Tartars shake their swords at thee,
Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.
MYCETES. Brother, I see your meaning well enough,
And through your planets I perceive you think
I am not wise enough to be a king:
But I refer me to my noblemen,
That know my wit, and can be witnesses.
I might command you to be slain for this,-
Meander, might I not?
MEANDER. Not for so small a fault, my sovereign lord.
MYCETES. I mean it not, but yet I know I might.-
Yet live; yea, live; Mycetes wills it so.-
Meander, thou, my faithful counsellor,
Declare the cause of my conceived grief,
Which is, God knows, about that Tamburlaine,
That, like a fox in midst of harvest-time,
Doth prey upon my flocks of passengers;
And, as I hear, doth mean to pull my plumes:
Therefore 'tis good and meet for to be wise.
MEANDER. Oft have I heard your majesty complain
Of Tamburlaine, that sturdy Scythian thief,
That robs your merchants of Persepolis
Trading by land unto the Western Isles,
And in your confines with his lawless train
Daily commits incivil outrages,
Hoping (misled by dreaming prophecies)
To reign in Asia, and with barbarous arms
To make himself the monarch of the East:
But, ere he march in Asia, or display
His vagrant ensign in the Persian fields,
Your grace hath taken order by Theridamas,
Charg'd with a thousand horse, to apprehend
And bring him captive to your highness' throne.
MYCETES. Full true thou speak'st, and like thyself, my lord,
Whom I may term a Damon for thy love:
Therefore 'tis best, if so it like you all,
To send my thousand horse incontinent
To apprehend that paltry Scythian.
How like you this, my honourable lords?
Is it not a kingly resolution?
COSROE. It cannot choose, because it comes from you.
MYCETES. Then hear thy charge, valiant Theridamas,
The chiefest captain of Mycetes' host,
The hope of Persia, and the very legs
Whereon our state doth lean as on a staff,
That holds us up and foils our neighbour foes:
Thou shalt be leader of this thousand ho